With the Galaxy Buds Live, Samsung has launched what is probably the most extraordinary earbud in recent years. These have a completely new form factor that I’ve never seen before. The earbuds are shaped like a bean! Samsung does not seal your ears 100%, but still wants to block up to 97% of all background noise thanks to active noise canceling. Thanks to the collaboration with AKG, the sound should also be right. Sounds good, but how do the Galaxy Buds sound live in practice? Let’s find out in the Review.
Unusual is a very accurate description of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. The earphones themselves are based on a kind of “bean shape” and completely dispense with a silicone attachment. Instead, the earbuds are simply placed in your ears. There is only a small silicone cushion at the top to prevent the plastic of the earphones from rubbing against the inside of your ear.
In addition to the shape, the “chrome” back is certainly the most visually striking feature of the earphones. This back is without question very chic, but also very sensitive to scratches etc. A touchpad for controlling the earphones is also integrated in the back. This is very delicate! Strictly speaking, a bit very sensitive for my taste.
The earphones are charged as usual in a small charging case. This measures 50 x 50 x 27mm and can charge the earphones around 2 x times. According to Samsung, the earbuds last 6 hours with every charge, a figure that is quite good.The charging box itself can be charged either wirelessly or via the USB C port on the back.
The form factor of the Galaxy Buds Live can clearly be described as extraordinary. In essence, these are semi-in-ear earphones, similar to the Apple AirPods
The earphones are inserted into your ears, but they do not penetrate the ear canal and do not seal it. As a result, you don’t have that “fingers in the ears” feeling. Enjoyable! The Galaxy Buds live feel much more airy and lighter. However, the earphones tended to squeeze slightly when I put them a little deeper in my ears.The bottom line is that I would rate the comfort as good to very good.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have active noise canceling. Surprisingly because the earphones do not rely on a seal on your ear. As a result, the passive noise canceling is very low and ambient noise can “penetrate” more or less unhindered. So active noise canceling has to do all the work.
Unfortunately, the ANC can only be described as bad. The difference between on and off is absolutely small. In the meantime I wasn’t even sure if the ANC was working at all, but yes it does. It’s just very weak. Even “simple” noises such as fans or motors are only minimally reduced. So don’t buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live for noise canceling!
I have to admit that I have seldom been so excited about the sound of the earphones as I did with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Let’s put it this way the earphones sound better than feared, but neither are they sound champions.
Let’s start at the beginning, i.e. at the heights . The heights are absolutely successful. These are clear and wonderfully clean without sounding shrill or annoying. This was a point that the older Galaxy Buds always managed to do very well.
Voices and singing will of course be reproduced. This is also due to the slightly more open design, which means that the earphones generally sound a bit more airy. Instruments sound reasonable, but could be a bit fuller here and there.
But let’s get to the really exciting point, the bass . Here the Galaxy Buds Live stand a bit between two chairs. Due to the more open design, the earphones have massive problems building up “pressure”. All “semi-in-ear” earphones without silicone tips, such as the Apple AirPods, have a similar experience. As a result, the bass is clearly flatter and less saturated than with many regular in-ear headphones. However, this is not to say that the bass is bad per se. The earphones have a good depth and an impressive volume, but sound less direct. If we like, the earphones cannot really bring their performance to the road due to their design and the lack of sealing.
I’m pretty tough on the Galaxy Buds Live and a lot of semi-in-ear headphones in general, but this design also has many advantages. Music sounds much more open and wider than most regular in-ear headphones. The sound can develop more with the Galaxy Buds Live and sounds a little lighter and more airy. Music just seems more spatial and not as if it came from a small plug in your ear. So if it weren’t for the slight bass weakness, I would also clearly prefer this design.
I’m a bit caught between the chairs with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. However, the “semi-in-ear” style is of course a matter of taste! The feeling of not having something stuck deep in your ears can also be very pleasant. I have various people in my circle of friends who prefer such earphones, although they sound a little worse off.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live even sound quite decent! The highs are perfect, the mids are solid and the bass is okay. This has a good volume and a usable depth, but due to the design, a lot of the bass fizzles out again. So you have little “pressure” in the sound. So there are clearly better earphones in terms of sound, especially if you like a lot of bass.
But what I absolutely have to criticize is the ANC. This is practically useless! I’ve rarely heard earphones / headphones that block as little outside noise as the Galaxy Buds Live.