Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review
- Pros – Decent sound output, battery life is fantastic, case can be charged wirelessly and supports fast charging, tons of features when using with a Samsung phone, Bonus: works well with iPhones as well
- Cons – Design for us didn’t work (this is subjective, and you might like it), Mediocre call quality, Average ANC performance, the accidental trigger of touch controls on beans every time!
Samsung, with the launch of the Galaxy Buds Live, has seen a departure from the boring true wireless earbuds design that has reached a point where almost all of them look similar. Apart from a different design approach, Samsung has also packed some exciting features in its new bean-shaped earbuds that make it competitive in the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment.
When we talk about the truly wireless stereo category, Samsung is a known player now and had some impressive offerings like the Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds Plus. But, with the latest Galaxy Buds Live, Samsung is trying to popularise a design that’s unheard and even unseen so far. It brings the familiar and iconic AKG tuned sound that’s enough to keep you pumped. We have been using the Galaxy Buds Live for a few weeks now, and here we try to answer whether it is worth your money or not.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review: The unorthodox design may or may not impress you
If there’s one thing that truly keeps the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live different from the crowd, then it has to be the design. The company calls them ‘bean buds’ which looks apt.
In India, the Galaxy Buds Live has the biggest doppelganger – rajma – which is a very popular dish in North India. Well, we had to point the similarity. Comparisons aside, the design might be functional for a lot of people and ergonomic in daily use. However, we faced some issues while using the Galaxy Buds Live in our early days of review. It wasn’t the perfect fit according to our ear size, and we have to admit that there’s a learning curve attached to these earbuds and it will take a few days before you start liking them. There are additional tips in the box that you can try.
We have also to point out that these were the first TWS units for which we had to follow the tips and user manual that we got with the retail box. You can also look up the manual through the Galaxy Wearable app, which also offers tons of options, more on that in a bit. The two-wing tip size was sticking around our canals while use until to the point that we got used to them. The Galaxy Buds Live won’t give you an airtight seal but a closer experience.
Talking about the charging case, the Galaxy Buds Live ship with a solid box with Samsung branding on top. The hinge of the Galaxy Buds Live look decent and in the long run, shouldn’t be an issue.
On closer look, you can also see there’s “Sound by AKG” tagline embossed below the company branding. There’s a charging indicator on the outside that shows red when the case is charging while turns green when fully charged. Opening the case and you will see the two bean-shaped earbuds with a light indicator where green means these are charged above 20-25 per cent while below that the light turns red. Now, what we didn’t like about the case is the fact that the green light will continuously turn on until you have taken out the buds. This is one way that the case will drain the battery and could have been avoided. The charging case supports wireless charging, so it’s a bonus. The Galaxy Buds Live are available in Mystic Black, Mystic Bronze, and Mystic White colours. We got the Mystic Black unit for the review.
The new bean-shaped design means there’s barely any spot that can house the touch controls on the sides. What does that mean? The touch area is placed on top of the earbud, and almost every time you try to adjust the earbuds, you may either pause it, or long-press may cause ANC to kick in or turn off now and then.
Talking about the touch controls, the Galaxy Buds Live offer single tap for play or pause track while a double-tap on earbuds will play next track, answer or end the call. There’s also triple-tap that plays previous track. On touching and holding, users can decline calls and enable Google Assistant that can be set in Settings.
Setting up the Galaxy Bud Live is a pretty simple method. You can put on your earbuds, then touch and hold both earbuds for 3 seconds until you hear a beep.
Our final thoughts on the design are it depends on the user. The best thing will be to go out and try these in a Samsung showroom and take a call. One thing that kept bothering us to some extent is the glossy finish of the earbuds as well as charging case. Especially, the charging case is a fingerprint magnet. It is not a deal-breaker, but a matte finish with subtle elements could have been a great choice.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review: Sound should impress everyone!
Before jumping to the sound quality, we want to talk about the numerous features that Samsung users get when they use the Galaxy Buds Live.
Samsung users, much like OnePlus Buds, get the added advantage over other Android devices and iPhones. You can download the Galaxy Wearable app to manage the earbuds. It shows battery status as well as Active Noise Cancellation status for the earbuds which usually get enabled when long-pressing the earbud. You also get the Equaliser setting which offers presets for Normal, Bass boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear, and Treble boost. The best part about getting a dedicated app for managing the earbuds is the fact that you can enable or disable touches with the app. One feature that we really loved was the read aloud while using the phone. This allows you to hear notifications from your phone on your earbuds even when you’re using it. And, Samsung being Samsung. You also get the Bixby option.
Another advantage that the Samsung users will get when buying the Galaxy Buds Live is the ‘Find My Earbuds’ option. They are very loud just in case you think that these can’t produce some loud noise. There’s also the Gaming mode which promises to minimise audio delay for vivid and synchronised gaming sound. We tried the feature, and it worked well. Samsung users will also be able to update the software on the Buds Live with the help of the app. Another advantage that Samsung users get over other Android or iPhone users.
Coming to the real-world performance, the Galaxy Buds Live pack 12mm speakers which deliver crisp sound and good bass effects. While testing these earbuds, we noticed that the Galaxy Buds Live impressed us providing clear notes as well as handling highs and lows. The air vent design makes sure that the music feels lively. Unfortunately, there are not many earbuds for which you will hear something like this. The audio performance is pretty decent across different genres so much so that we felt that it delivers better or at least matching experience that the second-gen AirPods offer around in the same price bracket.
What we thought could have been implemented slightly better is the fact that ANC isn’t as good as you may have experienced on the AirPods Pro. The Galaxy Buds Live can handle small background noises with ease which means if there’s a train announcement happening, then you will not miss it.
While Samsung markets that these earbuds are designed for handling calls, though, we didn’t seem to agree with that claim. The Galaxy Buds Live packs three built-in mics as well as a voice pickup unit. But, during the review, we saw people whom we were talking to on calls kept complaining about something or the other when using the Galaxy Buds Live. In our opinion, the enhanced ANC feature could have helped improve the call clarity. We can expect the issue to be resolved with a future software update as well, if this may be related to software. But again, it will be limited to Samsung users.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review: Battery life
Talking about battery life, the Galaxy Buds Live offer impressive battery life with earbuds offering over 4 hours of music playback in a single charge. Samsung claims up to 6 hours of continuous music playback in a single charge without charging case.
Combined with the charging case, the Galaxy Buds Live offer up to 21 hours which we couldn’t test. The earbuds also support fast charging which means 15 minutes charging offered up to 1 hour of music playback.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live Review: Verdict
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is available in India at Rs 14,990 and offers a balanced package. This one is the perfect everyday accessory for music lovers and provides enough battery life to keep you pumped up all day.
If you like the new design that’s unheard and unseen so far in TWS category, then the Galaxy Buds Live is for you.
The Galaxy Buds Live is especially an excellent option for those who already own a Samsung device as this one offers tons of additional features which is not there for iPhone or non-Samsung users.
If you’re looking for alternatives, then the Jabra Elite Active 75t is a good option around the Rs 15,000 price point. You can also go for the second-gen AirPods that is cheaper than the Galaxy Buds Live.