Samsung joined the wireless ear bud party by bringing out the Samsung Galaxy Buds. Not too long after, they then brought out the Buds Live and the Buds Pro, with the Pros being the top of the range and the regular Buds being the bottom.
Despite being specifically Samsung branded, Galaxy Buds Live will work with just about any Bluetooth capable device – including Apple products. They fit into your ears fairly easily and have touch sensitive “buttons” for pausing or changing the track. I’ve used Samsung ear buds for a very long time, but never wireless. These definitely surprised me with both their range and their sound quality.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are optimised for Samsung devices, despite them working with any Bluetooth item. They connect to the Galaxy Wearable app where you can then perform software updates on the ear buds as well as changing the settings to make the sound have more bass or treble. They even have a specific “game” mode to optimise the sound for mobile gaming.
When it comes to sound quality, I thought my old £3.99 Samsung ear buds that I’ve stuck by for years couldn’t be beaten. Every other pair I tried sounded so different, or even slightly tinny in comparison. However, these Galaxy Buds Live are without a doubt the best quality in-ear headphones I’ve ever had. Their noise cancelling feature kicks in the second you put them in your ears, and you can actually hear the change in room tone when it happens.
In addition to the standard features we’d want from wired ear buds, there are also the things we want to see for wireless ones. If you’re going to rival wired earphones, you’re going to have to have a pretty hefty battery life, otherwise what’s the point? Well, the Galaxy Buds Live have around 7 hours of use from just one charge, while the actual case (that charges the Buds) will last for 28 hours (when charging the Buds). Once the earphones are fully charged, both they and the case keep their charge for absolutely ages. I’ve had mine around a month and use them almost daily, and I’ve only had to charge the case twice.
Of course, for all the positives, there must be negatives. Due to the Buds being Bluetooth, your device’s Bluetooth must be turned on the entire time you’re using them, which naturally drains your battery faster than if you were using regular wired earphones. While this isn’t necessarily an issue with the Galaxy Buds themselves, it’s definitely something worth considering, especially if your device already doesn’t hold it’s battery too well.
The only other downside I can find to these headphones is the fit. They’re designed to fit neatly and comfortably inside your ears, but obviously everyone’s ears are slightly different. I find my left one fits a lot more comfortably than my right one does. I can only imagine that if someone had larger or smaller ears, these may not fit so well, either falling out or just being very uncomfortable, particularly since there’s nothing to keep them in place asides from their peculiar shape.
The Buds are very expensive, with the regular Buds coming in around £80, the Lives being around £150, and the Pros being just shy of £200. In some cases you are made to feel like the price is only there because of the brand, but I have to say it doesn’t feel like that here. With such an incredible array of features (including a tracker you can use on your phone if you lose them) I think the price is pretty much justified. Granted, this is definitely a factor that prevents these from being easily available to everyone.
Despite their few downfalls, the Galaxy Buds Live are fantastic pieces of kit. The sound is far superior to any other earphones I’ve used, and being able to find them easily no matter where I lose them is a huge bonus. The case is small enough to just slip inside my pocket, meaning I can take them pretty much wherever I go. If you’re looking for high quality earphones and these are within your budget, I would highly recommend them.