2020 saw a flurry of True wireless earbuds debut. Of all the buds that we put under the scanner, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live was probably the most unique in terms of design. These buds opted for a jellybean shape, designed to fit securely despite opting for a ‘one size fits all approach’. It worked really well, the Buds Live became my ‘go-to’ earbuds for gym workouts and outdoor fitness routines. The Buds Pro marks the fourth outing for the Samsung Galaxy Buds line and it is the best we’ve seen from Samsung; by a distance.
Don’t pull the case out when you’re out on a romantic date. She might mistake the charging case, with its jewel box design for a ring box and get ready to say – ‘I do’. It’s almost identical to the Buds Live charging case, except this one opts for a matte finish (we checked out the black colour option) that looks even more refined. The design similarity ends with the case. The buds ditch the jellybean shape – I certainly will miss that, opting for a design template that’s almost a blend between the second-gen Galaxy Buds Plus and the Buds Live. It comes together quite well and offers a better ear seal than the Buds Live. You also have extra silicon tips in the box to achieve the perfect fit and sound isolation.
The Buds Pro land in the Rs 15,000 – 20,000 price band, at this price you will need more than just a good ear seal – ANC (Active noise cancellation) is a given in this segment. I paired these buds with a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra via the Samsung Wearable app. While these buds work best with Samsung Galaxy devices as well as Android smartphones, you can pair it seamlessly with your iPhone too but just like AirPods paired with Android devices, you can’t get tap into all the cool features and customisations with your iPhone. The Samsung Wearable App gives you multiple options to play around and also program the touch controls on the earbuds. You can set the ANC level that lets you swing from complete sound isolation to plugging into external sounds. Noise cancellation is very impressive but it’s the sound quality that totally blew me away.
It’s the audio experience where the Buds Pro takes a leap over its predecessors and allows it to compete on a level playing field with other formidable rivals like the Sennheiser CX 400BT and Apple’s AirPods Pro. Samsung has kitted these buds with an 11mm woofer for deeper bass and 6.5mm tweeter for enhanced treble. It pays off. These buds kept up with my assorted Spotify playlist with rich bass and terrific detail. The other cool add-on is 360 Audio with Dolby Head Tracking technology, that puts you into the centre of your favourite video or movie. This worked particularly with HD content on Netflix on our tests. The 360 Audio feature is only available currently on the Galaxy S21 devices but is likely to be rolled out to other Samsung devices shortly. Call quality was quite stellar on the Buds Live, the Buds Pro stays in the same zone. My callers could hear me whether I was in internal or external environments; the three in-built mics certainly help.
It’s not been easy to fly in a post-pandemic world with a mask and a face shield. I experienced a rare wow moment on a recent flight with the Buds Pro. The music volume automatically dropped as I began to speak with the flight attendant and switched back to the same volume two seconds after my conversation ended. Samsung calls it Voice Detect; a handy feature that eliminates the need to look for the pause button or take your earbuds off especially in a crowded space. It’s one of the many clever touches (that also include IPX7 certification for water resistance) along with decent battery life (5 hours for the buds and 18 hours with ANC on and 8 hours and 28 hours without ANC) and excellent sound quality that makes these buds a compelling option.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro cost Rs 15,990 and come in Black, White and Violet.