Samsung Galaxy Live Buds REVIEW
Samsung Galaxy Live Buds REVIEW
Samsung has stuffed quality AKG smarts inside its stylish new ear buds and it’s a win aesthetically and audiophonically writes PAT PILCHER.
Samsung is not lacking when it comes to research and development or manufacturing. Add to this their acquisition of high-end audio equipment maker, AKG, and it isn’t too hard to see why their wireless earbuds are hugely popular. This time around, the folks from Sammy have been extra busy, and they’re back with a radical earbud redesign.
There are literally dozens of Wireless earbuds launching every week. Most are generic and unexciting, so it’s good to see Samsung trying to stand out from the crowd. Unlike Apple EarPods, they don’t make the user look like they’ve stuffed a pair of golf tees in their ears. Their unique design also gives them the added advantage of not jutting out from the wearer’s ears.
Galaxy Live Buds is a bit of a mouthful to say after a few pints, so it’s not a massive surprise that Sammy’s new ear gear is being called the ‘Galaxy Beans’ by fans. This makes sense as the buds sport a kidney bean-like shape which handily makes them a super comfy fit in one’s ears. The beans also come in three different colours. If you’re into bling or want to match your shiny bronze Note 20 Ultra 5G you’ll probably go for Mystic Bronze beans. There’s also Mystic White or Mystic Black. I’m mystified as to why Samsung didn’t just call them ‘white’ or ‘black’, but then again, I’m not a marketer.
Their design initially had me wondering how comfortably they’d fit into my ears. Unlike most other earbuds, they don’t go into the ear canal but sit inside the ear, hence their unusual shape. This worked surprisingly well. They were snug and comfy and didn’t feel like they were going to fall out.
They were a doddle to set up. Pairing them with my Huawei phone wasn’t hard, and it was effortless with a Galaxy phone. After I’d lifted the lid of the charging case, they connected to my Galaxy Fold 2 instantly. Installing the Galaxy wearables app also gives you access to a range of equaliser presets to help tweak their output to suit your tastes.
When combined with Samsung’s rather excellent Adapt audio, I got a well-rounded sonic experience. Music was crisp, detailed and had plenty of bass, which didn’t overpower mids or highs. The sound stage was roomy too. Reverbed snare drums in Jean Michelle Jarre’s The Concerts In China gave me a start. They seemed to be happening outside of the earbuds. The shape of the Galaxy beans doesn’t just look unique, it also impacts on sound quality. Tucked away Inside the beans are 12mm AKG drivers. These are larger than those used on the earlier Galaxy Buds. Additionally, there’s an acoustic chamber that has a tuned bass duct and vents.
My first test saw me stuffing the beans into my ears as I flew back to Wellington from the Samsung product briefing in Auckland. This was also an ideal test of their active noise-cancelling chops. I’d read several reviews that had said that their ANC fell short of reviewer expectations. This isn’t hugely surprising. Where most wireless earbuds pop into your ear canal and physically seal things with a silicone tip, the beans sit in your ears and have an open design. The lack of physical acoustic isolation means some background audio can leak through. I was pleasantly surprised to find that activating noise cancellation saw jet engine noise fade away.
Perhaps most critical of all with any wireless buds is their battery life. It turns out that it is full of beans (pun intended). The beans lasted for just over five hours from a single charge with ANC turned on. I got close to seven hours with no noise cancellation. Popping them back in their compact square charging case for five minutes added another hour of playback. Better still, the charging case can also be charged wirelessly and gives a total of 21-hours of use.
Driving the beans is easy, thanks to touch-sensitive controls. With them, I could pause and skip tracks and increase/decrease volume via a long press. While the Galaxy Wear app wouldn’t let me customise all the touch controls, it did give options for the long presses. I could use a long press to switch on or off noise-cancelling, adjust their volume or fire up the Bixby assistant (you need a Samsung phone to do that though).
All told, I’m impressed. The Beans are a lot comfier in the ear than their design would have you think. Being Samsung kit, they’re also well-built and thanks to an innovative design, they deliver good audio too. They’re also easy to set up and use and they last ages off a single charge.