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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A unique take on wireless sound

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Samsung’s uniquely designed true wireless Galaxy Buds Live were launched globally alongside the Galaxy Note 20 series in August at the Galaxy Unpacked event. While we were anticipating a delayed launch in India due to the ongoing pandemic situation, Samsung took no time in bringing these to India as well. The company launched Galaxy Buds Live here in August itself, and these were put on sale for Rs 14,990. At this price, the Buds Live directly compete with the likes of premium Sony WF-1000XM3 and Apple AirPods Pro. Also Read – Realme Buds Wireless Pro review: Best under Rs 5,000?

The kidney bean-shaped design of Samsung Galaxy Buds Live isn’t just the pretty looking in its segment, there are some unique features which make these earbuds premium. From highlights like 12mm speakers with sound by AKG to active noise-cancellation, are these Buds Live wireless worth your money? Read our full review to find this out. Also Read – Sony WF-1000XM3 Review: Stellar noise-cancelling TWS

Design, fit and noise-cancelling

To start with the looks, I don’t even need to tell you how creatively Samsung has designed these Galaxy Buds Live because you can clearly see that in pictures. The unique kidney bean-shaped design stands apart from the standard TWS earphones available in the market at present. These combined in a true wireless form factor with great finish and colors (especially Mystic Bronze), makes it even more premium. For me, Galaxy Buds Live are the show stopper TWS earbuds this year. Also Read – Jabra Elite Active 75t Review: The best true wireless sports earbuds right now

That said, some users might like this open-air kind of design but then some might not. It is completely subjective. Personally, I do not like in-ear style earphones (my standard disclosure of all earphone reviews) because they just get me disconnected from the outer world, and in case of Galaxy Buds Live, this wasn’t the problem at all. At no point, I felt uncomfortable because these do not seal the ears completely, and you feel connected to the surroundings.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

In terms of fit, I had no issues wearing Galaxy Buds Live for hours. It initially felt weird because the shape is not of a standard earphone or earbud, but it was still comfortable and felt very secure in ears. Samsung ships a pair of ‘wingtips’ for the Buds Live, to make sure the speakers are placed towards the bottom of your ears. Fortunately, for me I never needed those, because the fit was anyway perfect for my ears.

When it comes to the active noise-cancellation (ANC), the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live feature open type ANC, and I kind of knew that it would be hard to successfully implement this kind of tech for an open type TWS, and I was right about it. During my review, I felt Buds Live were not quiet with ANC ON, and did very little in cancelling big noise around. In this premium TWS segment, consumers expect better ANC and unfortunately, Buds Live do not come at par with the competition, especially AirPod Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 TWS. I recently reviewed the Sony WF-1000XM3, and these were the best ANC TWS for me.

Battery life, Charging case and My experience

On paper, Samsung promises long-lasting battery life on Galaxy Buds Live, It can provide up to 8 hours of music playback, and the charging case allows you to enjoy an additional 23 hours over multiple charges. During my review time, I couldn’t keep a track of full battery drain time, but on an average, these were good for about 4-5 hours with ANC on. Also, five minutes of charging gave me about 40-45 minutes of listening time back. So I was happy.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live reviews

Coming to the charging case, the tiny charging case can easily snuggle in your jeans pocket and you won’t even feel it. Samsung provides USB Type-C port on the case for charging and is also compatible with Qi wireless charging.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

Now talking about my experience, I can say Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are full of sound but are not bass-heavy. The 12mm speakers with sound by AKG offer clean audio output but doesn’t offer a thumping bass. That said, you can always fiddle with the equalizer or use bass boost in Galaxy Wear app for your listening pleasure. The Buds Live use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity, and support the SBC, AAC, and scalable Bluetooth codecs.

The only problem I had with Galaxy Buds Live was the sound leaking out of the earbuds. What I mean here is, while listening to music on max volume, the buds spill out sound in a way that the person sitting next to you can hear the music and lyrics of a song, loud and clear.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live reviews

Coming to the touch controls, Buds Live allow you to play or stop music or answer or reject calls with a simple touch. You can also set the earbuds to perform other actions. By default, a single touch works for play/ pause, a double touch for next track, answer or end a call, and you can do more such actions. Initially, I felt these were way too touch sensitive and the accidental touches were way too many for me. But over a period of time, I got the hand of it. All I can say is that you need to be gentle while using touch controls.

Should you buy?

At Rs 14,990, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live offer a fascinating bean-shaped tipless design that stands apart from the crowded TWS market. I liked how they sound, and I am confident you’ll like it too. Especially, if you are not a fan of in-ear style earphones/ earbuds. That said, I would not say these are best for active noise-cancellation earbuds in the market right now, especially when you have products like Sony WF-1000XM3 or Apple AirPods Pro, but you can definitely consider these for a unique design and good audio performance. Also, you’ll have to spend a lot less than the AirPods and Sony WF-1000XM3 to buy these Galaxy Buds Live.

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