SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is a must-have for Samsung users. You will enjoy the excellent sound quality and all the Samsung-exclusive features.
You will not be able to access certain features if you aren’t a Samsung smartphone/tablet owner, but you can still enjoy great performance and a wide range of premium features at a very affordable price of Rs 15,999.
The Galaxy Buds app doesn’t support the Buds Pro, so iOS users will not be able to access in-app adjustments and customizations.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO DETAILED REVIEW
Samsung’s entry into the market for truly wireless earbuds has been mixed success. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus was a huge success, with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live a disappointment due to its polarising, bean-shaped buds.
With its S21 range of 2021 products, the company introduced the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. The company seems to have abandoned its bean-shaped folly and adopted an in-ear design.
These buds come with premium features like Voice Detect, Active Noise Cancellation, and Voice Detect. They also have 360 Audio, Dolby head tracking, Auto Switch, Dolby Head Tracking, and 360 Audio.
Many of these features are only compatible with modern Samsung smartphones. The Buds Pro offers a wide variety of features that are accessible to all while still being cheaper than comparable products by Apple, Bose, and Sennheiser.
Let’s see if the Galaxy Buds Pro, priced at Rs 15,999 is worth considering as a premium TWS option.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: BUILD AND COMFORT
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Violet. They match the colours of this year’s new Samsung Galaxy S21 Series.
The buds feel almost like a cross between the Galaxy Buds Plus, the Galaxy Buds Live, and the Galaxy Buds Pro.
They have the same glossy metallic appearance and clamshell charging case design as the Buds Live. However, the Buds Plus has the in-ear form factor.
Although the earbuds do not have the same fin-like protrusions as the Galaxy Buds Plus, they feel extremely secure and comfortable. However, the earbuds bulge out from the ears quite a bit.
Although the in-ear fit should fit most ears, those with smaller ears may find it difficult to achieve the ideal fit. The company provides 3 pairs of silicone tips in the box. This should ensure that most people are able to get a snug fit.
The snug fit of the ear tips and passive isolation is very satisfying. The buds held their position during light exercise, jogging and even a frantic session of head-banging.
They are comfortable enough to be worn over long listening sessions. The ergonomic design Samsung has created is remarkable. We didn’t feel any discomfort for 3-4 hours.
The texture of the buds is a mix of glossy and matte. This can make them polarizing, especially in the Phantom Silver colour that we received for review. Samsung also included IPX7 water resistance so that they can withstand splashes and sweat.
The case is similar to the Galaxy Buds Live’s clamshell design and has a slight iridescent appearance.
The case is square-shaped and houses an LED indicator at the front and a USB C charging port at its rear. The case’s magnets are strong and the lid locks in a satisfying way.
You can use the case to charge your Qi Wireless Charging device. Simply place it on a Qi charging mat, or even on the back of your phone.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: GALAXY WEARABLE PRODUCT
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro uses the Galaxy Wearable app to access many features. You can adjust noise cancellation and ambient sound levels, customize touch controls, set different EQ settings, activate 360 audio and much more.
The app allows users to toggle between Active Noise Cancellation and Normal modes, as well as Ambient Sound. You can also adjust the levels of Ambient Sound (4 levels) or ANC (2 levels).
You can also customize touch controls in the app. While most premium wireless earbuds offer this feature, Samsung limits customization to the ‘Touch and Hold’ command.
Users cannot change the commands or set them according to their preferences. You can still use the touch-and-hold command to activate voice assistant, change volume, and activate noise controls (ANC or Ambient mode).
Users can also activate Voice Detect, a feature that the app allows them to do. Similar functionality was found on the Sony WH1000XM4: The headphones detect your speech and switch from ANC to Ambient mode.
This allows users to have a short conversation. It was not very reliable and didn’t work half of the time we tried it.
You can switch between EQ profiles such as Bass Boost and Dynamic, Soft, Clear or Treble Boost. It is however not possible to customize your EQ settings. This is somewhat disappointing.
The Galaxy Wearable app offers 360 Audio, which can be used to create a spatial sound environment similar to the one found on the Apple AirPods Max. You can create a virtual surround sound environment using Dolby head track support.
This is a very cool feature, which increases immersiveness. Unfortunately, it can only be used with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet. The Buds Pro was tested on a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
We were able to use it extensively on streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar and YouTube. This feature is not available on any Samsung devices.
The Galaxy Wearable app for Android is available. Support is provided by the app for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
However, the Galaxy Buds Pro app for iOS doesn’t support it yet. iOS users will only be able to use the buds at their default settings and won’t be able to adjust or customise the app until the update is available.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION and OTHER FEATURES
Active Noise Cancellation is one of the most striking features of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. This device has decent ANC.
The device’s three microphones inside are good at detecting external sounds and can reduce low-end constant sounds like an AC drone or low-speed ceiling fans.
It isn’t as sophisticated, however, as the ANC on Sony WF-1000XM3, which does a better job of isolating high-range sounds like mechanical keyboards and voices.
Ambient Sound can also be adjusted via the Wearable App. Ambient Sound can sound almost too jarring at times and is not natural. We recommend that Ambient Sound mode be kept at the lowest setting as higher levels can make the experience too overwhelming and may even ruin it.
Galaxy Buds Pro have touch controls via the glossy capacitative touch surface. It is very sensitive and can activate unintentionally, which can be a bit annoying.
Single touch to pause/play, double for next track/answer/end calls and triple for previous tracks are the default controls.
Although touch-and-hold commands can be customized, it defaults to switching between ANC or ambient sound mode. We would prefer to be able to customize all controls and not just one.
There are also a few Samsung-specific features, such as the hands-free Bixby mode or Find My Earbuds powered by SmartThings Find.
You can also seamlessly switch between Galaxy devices using the Auto Switch feature of the Buds Pro. Although the feature worked as expected, it was quite useful. However, the reviewer only has two Samsung devices.
Bluetooth 5.0 powers the earphones and supports three Bluetooth codecs: AAC, SBC and Samsung’s Scalable codec. This codec only works with modern Samsung devices.
The scalable codec allows UHQ audio streaming over Bluetooth up to 24-bit/96kHz. This makes it comparable with aptX. Although aptX is more widely supported, it would have been easier to adopt since many Android phones can support it.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: SOUND QUALITY & MICROPHONE
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro was designed for Samsung users. The earbuds have a two-way driver system that includes an 11mm woofer and a 6.5mm tweeter. The buds were tuned by AKG, which is a Harman subsidiary owned by Samsung.
The device supports AAC and SBC codecs. It also supports Samsung’s Scalable Bluetooth codec, which is compatible with Samsung smartphones. This means that you will enjoy a better sound quality when the buds are used with a compatible Samsung smartphone.
You will need to use the AAC or SBC Bluetooth codecs if you don’t own a Samsung tablet or smartphone. A scalable codec makes audio quality and connection stability much better and can be felt immediately.
We were delighted by the open and natural sound when we listened to Pull me Under by Dream Theatre on a compatible Samsung phone with the Scalable Bluetooth codec. The instruments sounded vibrant, the soundstage was large and the vocals were clear.
Although the bass response is a bit exaggerated in the high-lows it doesn’t affect the clarity of vocals and instruments in the mid-range when the Scalable Bluetooth codec is in use.
The sound quality was not as good as we expected, even though it was flatter than the AAC codec. The soundstage can be narrowed by using the AAC codec. Bjork’s track Hunter was too tight with its hi-hats, vocals, and instruments. However, Scalable codec instruments, and vocals, allowed for more space.
We still think the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has good audio quality, despite its dual-driver configuration. Each earpiece has a woofer and a tweeter that each handles a different frequency range, which allows for more clarity and detail.
The earbuds are great for Samsung users, but they also sound impressive enough for other people. The soundstage is smaller and less detailed, but you still get a natural, balanced sound.
Moving on to the microphone. The earbuds can handle calls on any device, regardless of which one they were tested on. Voice calls are clear and background sounds are reduced to an acceptable level.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: BATTERY LIFE
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro’s battery life is poor. TWS earbuds have been known to exceed the limits when it comes to battery life.
This is why we are somewhat disappointed that these earphones only last 18 hours (5 hours on buds and 13 hours via the case). We actually got 16 hours total usage with ANC on and volume at 60 per cent. The buds alone lasted about 4 hours.
If you turn off Active Noise Cancellation or listen to music at lower volumes, these numbers will increase significantly.
According to the company, the battery life with ANC off was 28 hours (8 hours on buds and 20 hours via the case). Your mileage will vary depending on your usage. The battery life isn’t as good as we would like, especially considering the price.
You get Fast Charge support. This means that five minutes of charging will give you an hour of playtime.
This is great if you have a pressing need to get some juice into your buds quickly. Wireless Charging is also available for the case. This allows you to use any Qi wireless charger, or the back of newer flagship Samsung smartphones to charge your earbuds.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDDS PRO: VERDICT
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is a great choice for Samsung users. These are Samsung’s most wireless earbuds. They have a great noise-isolating fit and amazing sound quality using the Scalable Bluetooth codec.
There’s also a range of premium features and a great accompanying app. You won’t be able to use some of the most popular features like 360 Audio, Dolby head tracking, Find My Earbuds and others if you are not a Samsung user.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro truly wireless earphones are great value for money and offer many features that rival its price.
We recommend the Apple AirPods Pro or the Sony WF1000XM3 for the best ANC experience. The buds are not yet supported by the iOS Galaxy Buds app for iOS users.
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