The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro – potentially the industry’s worst-kept secret – have finally been announced at the Samsung Unpacked event.
The true wireless earbuds, which were leaked on multiple occasions over the past few weeks, are available starting on January 14 at Samsung’s website for $199.99 / AU$349 (around £150) before rolling out to retailers on January 15.
The highlights of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are their improved active noise cancellation of up to 20db to better match up against the Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3, and new IPX7 water resistance rating – the highest of any earbud Samsung has released so far.
Other neat features include 360 Audio featuring Dolby Head Tracking technology that keep the sound in front of you even when you turn your head and Game Mode that reduces the latency of the earbuds while playing mobile games.
The battery life, according to Samsung’s estimates, is around 8 hours per charge with noise cancellation turned off, and 5 hours with it on. The petite charging case that ships with the earbuds holds another 20 or 13 hours depending if you’re using active noise cancelling or not, and Samsung says that with quick charging, you can get an hour of playback after only five minutes of charging.
Last but not least, inside you’ve got Bixby as the helpful (sometimes) assistant that can answer texts and answer questions on the go.
So far, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are shaping up to be excellent alternatives to the AirPods Pro and great companions for the new Samsung Galaxy S21. Here’s everything you need to know before you buy a pair.
Cut to the chase
- What are they? The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, a pair of true wireless earbuds
- When will they be released? January 14, 2021
- How much will they cost? $199 / AU$349 (around £150)
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro photos
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Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro release date
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro will launch alongside the Galaxy S21 smartphone on January 14, 2021 on Samsung’s website. That said, you’ll see them at every retailer starting on January 15.
What’s strange about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro’s release date is that it comes just five short months after the South Korean company launched the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and less than a year after the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.
Samsung’s putting out earbuds at a neck-breaking pace, and the Galaxy Buds Pro are just the latest stop on the journey.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro price
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro will set you back $199 / AU$349 (around £150). That’s pricey but it makes sense that they’d cost a little more than their predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, which cost $169.99 / £179 / AU£319 at launch.
It also makes sense that Samsung would try to undercut the Apple AirPods Pro ($249 / £249 / AU$399), as its buds are often a little cheaper than its biggest rival.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro design
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. They’re more water-resistant than ever, and can switch between ambient audio and active noise cancellation modes by holding the touch-capacitive panel.
As a whole, the Galaxy Buds Pro look more like the Galaxy Buds Plus, rather than the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live that launched a few months ago. That said, Samsung says the Buds have been redesigned to fit into your ears better than before and use a tiny vent to alleviate pressure build up – similar in nature to the one Apple developed for the Powerbeats Pro.
Inside, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro uses an 11mm woofer and 6.5mm tweeter for a more balanced sound quality, plus three mics (2 outer 1 inner) alongside the Voice Pickup Unit and Wind Shield for better call quality.
The Buds come with multiple eartips in the box that allow you to find a better fit, but don’t come with wingtips – a risky move on Samsung’s part.
Overall, they look rather sleek with shiny rounded housings, and we’ve so far seen the Galaxy Buds Pro in three different colors: Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet to match the new Samsung Galaxy S21.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro features
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro come with AKG-tuned audio, a longer battery life than their predecessors, support for Bluetooth 5.1, USB-C charging, and active noise cancellation.
While the previous Galaxy Buds Live did offer noise cancellation, their semi-open design meant that the tech wasn’t particularly effective. It looks like the Galaxy Buds Pro come with silicone ear tips, which should provide a far better seal and hopefully, better noise cancellation.
The inclusion of active noise cancellation could make the Galaxy Buds Pro real competition for the AirPods Pro – and rumors of a 3D audio feature to rival Apple’s Spatial Audio will only heat up that rivalry.
With spatial audio support, you’ll be able to watch Dolby Atmos films with their full immersive surround sound quality – making the Galaxy Buds Pro a much more competitive pair of earbuds compared to their predecessors.
That 3D audio feature is said to come with head-tracking, which means the audio should stay ‘locked’ to your phone, even as you move your head around. Apple’s Spatial Audio feature works in a similar way, using gyroscopes and accelerometers built into the AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max to ensure that your film’s audio always sounds as though it’s coming from the source of the action onscreen.
That being said, previously you could enable Dolby Atmos audio through a Samsung Galaxy phone’s settings in the past to improve sound quality, but this is the first time we’ll see spatial audio support with head tracking.
The only other caveat here is that, from the looks of things, you’ll need to have a phone that supports Android 11 to get the spatial audio support, which rules out some older devices from seeing the feature.
Other features spotted within the Galaxy app include voice/conversation detection, a Bixby voice wake-up sensor, and left/right hearing adjustment in addition to new ways to control the active noise-cancellation levels.
Last but not least, the wireless earbuds will boast an IPX7 water-resistance rating, which means they should survive a short immersion in water – but more importantly, it means they should be suitable for working out, easily able to withstand sweat or rain.
- Looking for more? Check out the best wireless earbuds you can buy today