It’s that time of the year again – Samsung always announces a new pair of truly wireless earbuds alongside the Galaxy S series of smartphones – and this year is no different. We have the Galaxy Buds Pro which is surprisingly quite anticipated by many.
So, after using it for about 2 weeks – and through Lunar New Year because it’s a noisy festival – and here’s what we have to share.
Let’s start off with the box. It’s exactly the same box shape as the Galaxy Buds Live. Of course, the design of the packaging is different – but that’s expected. Opening up, the layout of the box is exactly the same as well – the earbuds are sitting at the recessed piece whereby the accessories box at slotted at the bottom.
The Galaxy Buds Pro uses the exact same case design as the Galaxy Buds Live – which means all of your protective shells from the Galaxy Buds Live will fit on the Galaxy Buds Pro.
However, I don’t really see a reason to cover it up – other than to protect it from scratches or something – because the Galaxy Buds Pro’s case is covered in a nice matte finish. All of the other colors are matte too – not only the Violet color that we have here. This is a nice upgrade compared to the Buds Live where only the bronze color is in matte, by the way.
Then, opening up the case, I realize there’s a big quality of life improvement that Samsung did for the Galaxy Buds Pro. I always complain about the hinge and the Buds Pro has a magnificent hinge that springs up and locks itself, which is definitely better than the Galaxy Buds Live’s stiff-all-the-way-through hinge.
And of course, the inside of the case is different too since the buds themselves are different in shape entirely. No more are the beans, and we’re back to the typical Galaxy Buds+ type of design.
The Galaxy Buds Pro still have more or less the same design language as the Buds Live, whereby the buds themselves have this type of glossy metal finish facing outwards and a matte plastic finish facing inwards.
In terms of design, I’m okay with it, just like how I’m already okay with the Buds+ design from a year ago.
The usual ports and proximity sensor are still here – and what’s new here is actually the eartip. It’s now much softer compared to anything I’ve tried previously, and it’s also now oblong-shaped.
I have been seeing a lot of truly wireless earbuds incorporating this type of oblong-shaped eartips, presumably because it provides a better seal around the ear canal for better ANC, and also better comfort.
Inside the accessories box – alongside the USB-A to USB-C cable, is where you’ll find yet another smaller box with both the S and L eartip sizes.
Also, there’s a mesh on the eartips themselves, separated from the earbuds’ speaker port mesh. That means you can essentially take it for a wash – but please, don’t love the eartip that came with the Galaxy Buds Pro.
But, as I mentioned earlier, the eartips themselves are much softer than what I’ve tried so far – and for me, who has a small ear canal, the M-sized eartip fits me nicely.
Pairing the Galaxy Buds Pro to my phone is easy – since I’m using the Galaxy S21 Ultra anyway. I connected it to my phone and linked it to the Galaxy Wearable app and then a whole list of options and features become available for customization.
We’ll start off with the biggest feature – ANC. Samsung finally got around to make a truly wireless pair of earbuds to have ANC that works as intended. I mean, once I fitted it in my ears and turned on ANC, the world around me disappears.
And let me share my story with you guys. My neighborhood is noisy – and during the Lunar New Year, it’s especially noisy because there are many kids visiting my neighbors’ houses and also lots of fireworks and firecrackers. It’s difficult to even listen to whatever’s playing on my speakers so I thought – hey, it’s the best opportunity to test out ANC.
The Galaxy Buds Pro’s ANC works pretty well. I don’t expect it to cut all of the firecrackers and fireworks out but it did cut a large majority out. I can no longer hear the kids screaming on the streets and the firecrackers don’t give me a scare when it pops all of a sudden.
And looking back at the Galaxy Wearables app, there’s an option to tune the ANC level to “low” or “high”. From what I’ve tested, it did make some difference, but generally unnoticeable.
There’s a new option called “voice detect” where if you speak for a second, it will automatically change to ambient sound mode until you stopped speaking for 5 seconds. This feature works very well and it’s rather important so that you can listen to yourself while you speak and adjust your speaking volume accordingly.
Then there’s the “touch and hold” option which is just weird to me. The only customizable touch gesture that the Galaxy Buds Pro has is the “touch and hold” gesture. And by default, holding it will switch between ANC and ambient sound mode, but it goes into the “off” mode where both ANC and ambient sound are off.
Other gestures are still here, though. Tap once to play/pause, double-tap to go previous track, and triple tap the right side to go to the next track.
The sound quality coming out of the Galaxy Buds Pro is rather good by default. The frequency ranges do not mix and muddle each other. The bass, mids, and highs are clearly separated – making my big band jazz sound clear by default, right out of the box. However, I also tried the equalizer to try to change its frequency response a little – but it made surprisingly little difference. I mean, between “normal” and “dynamic” EQ settings, the differences are barely noticeable.
But, to all Samsung users out there – here’s a tip for you. Go into settings, search for Dolby Atmos, and enable it. Leave everything in auto. By just enabling this option, the Galaxy Buds Pro sounds so much more dynamic.
And back to the app – we now have a new seamless earbud connection feature but it is only truly seamless if you have two Samsung devices logged into the same Samsung account. For other non-Samsung smartphones or tablets, the multi-device connection still works – but it’s definitely not seamless.
There’s also a new 360 audio feature that creates a soundstage. Certain apps – like YouTube – support this functionality. Turning your head while watching a video will cause the audio to sound like it’s still coming out from the same position.
And then – gaming mode. The situation here is the same as the Galaxy Buds+. Without gaming mode, the delay is pretty high, and turning gaming mode on shortened the delay by a little. It’s still not good enough for time-critical games like PUBG Mobile, so don’t bother using the Galaxy Buds Pro for gaming – and that is why the “gaming mode” feature is nested under “labs”. It’s still a feature in testing phase.
And oh – before I forget, we did do a microphone test as well. But, you’ll have to watch the video at the top of this review for that.
Then, the battery life. The Galaxy Buds Pro manages around 7.5 hours with ANC turned off at around medium – and that’s pretty good battery life. Turning on ANC will shorten the battery life to about 5 hours. The case itself provides more than 2 charges but not quite 3 charges – which means you get freaking long battery life.
It charges via USB-C like usual, and it also supports Qi wireless charging.
These buds are also IP X7 rated, which means you can wear these buds and take a bath – no issues at all, but the charging case itself is not water-resistant.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro?
So, at the end of the day – do I recommend the Galaxy Buds Pro? Well, lemme tell you something. For the official retail price of RM799 – it’s actually not that expensive compared to other premium true wireless earbuds from – let’s say – Jabra with the Elite 75t or the Apple AirPods Pro.
The Galaxy Buds Pro sounds good, the ANC works great, and Samsung’s integration with its own ecosystem is good – although I do wish to see the dual-device connection feature to work with Windows 10 laptops and desktops too. I mean, it’s valid feedback since Samsung has a lot of partnerships with Microsoft.
And also, since the Galaxy Buds Pro is using the exact same case as the Buds Live, there are tonnes of cute little accessories available now that you can customize it to however you want it to look.
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