When Samsung first unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, we thought “kidney?” like many others who saw the product. Boasting ANC and a new open type design approach, we gave the Buds Live a try so here’s our review of the company’s latest Galaxy Buds Live TWS earbuds.
Tested with Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G.
|Technology||Active Noise Cancellation|
Bixby Voice Wake-up
|BT Profile||HFP, A2DP, AVRCP|
|Codec||SBC, AAC, Scalable (Samsung Proprietary)|
– 5.5h / TTL 20h*ANC & Bixby voice wake-up ON
– 6h / TTL 21h*ANC or Bixby voice wake-up ON
– 8h / TTL 29h*ANC & Bixby voice wake-up OFF
– 4.5h / TTL 17h (ANC ON)
– 5.5h / TTL 19h (ANC OFF)
|Quick Charging||60min play / 5min charging|
(Wired, Wireless, D2D)
|Sensor||Accelerometer, Infrared, Hall, Touch, Grip, Voice Pickup Unit|
|Dimensions And Weight||Earbud|
Dimensions: 16.5 x 27.3 x 14.9mm
Dimensions: 50.0 x 50.2 x 27.8mm
What’s In The Box
- Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
- USB Type-C Cable
- Spare Wingtips
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live feature a new ergonomic open type design for a pair of TWS earbuds, which somewhat looks like a mini kidney or an enlarged soy bean. It has a glossy finish, and ours came in the Mystic Black colour.
On the outside of the earbuds, there are two microphones to help with active noise cancellation (ANC). The outer part of the earbuds are also where the touch gesture areas are. On the inner part of the earbuds, there’s another microphone with a voice pickup unit for better calls. The magnetic charging ports are on the inner top part of the earbuds and that’s also where the left (L) and right (R) indicators are located.
As for the charging case, it’s inspired by jewelry boxes, and has the same glossy Mystic Black finish as the Buds Live. On the front, there’s a notification light for the charging status of the case and buds, while on the back, there’s the USB Type-C charging port.
Having this new open type design, to be honest, there’s a learning curve of how to wear it properly. The best way to wear it is to hold the top part of the earbuds, and slide the bottom half into your ears as it curves along the edges. When you feel the earbuds are snug in your ears and you can’t hear your environment that much, that’s when you know they’re in place.
During my time with it, my left ear actually feels a bit of soreness after prolonged hours of use, where my right ear feels totally fine. This is probably due to the shape of my ear being slightly different. Once worn properly, the earbuds stay in place and doesn’t come out or get shaken out easily.
Because of the glossy finish, the earbuds can sometimes be quite slippery to hold, especially after you’ve used it for a workout session.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are a pair of fuss-free TWS earbuds. I’m currently using the Galaxy Note 20 5G, so when I pop open the charging case and take the earbuds out, it automatically detected the Buds Live and initiated the pairing process through the Galaxy Wearable app. Not only that, with the Swift Pair feature, my PC’s Bluetooth could also easily connect to the Buds Live.
The Galaxy Wearable app is where I’d tweak all the settings for the Galaxy Buds Live. From the app’s dashboard, you can view the Buds Live and the charging case’s battery status, turn on/off ANC, and choose or customise your equalizer profile. Not only that, you can also customise your own touch controls, set notification reading settings, and change Bixby voice wake-up settings.
The seamless earbud connection feature lets you quickly switch device to where your earbuds need to be. For example, if I’m listening to music from my phone and a call comes in, and I answer the call on my tablet, the buds would then switch over the tablet, provided you’ve paired them up before.
As for gaming mode, it further reduces the latency so your games would have the audio synced properly to the Buds Live. There’s also a feature that relieves in-ear pressure by playing ambient sound.
If you ever misplace your earbuds, you can even use the “Find My Earbuds” feature where the earbuds would play a bird chirping tone to help you find them. Also, the app is also where you can reset the Galaxy Buds Live or perform firmware updates.
Also, another useful feature I really love about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is the ability to use it as a Bluetooth microphone. Of course, this only applies to Samsung Galaxy devices, particularly the S20 and Note 20 series. All you need to do is open the camera app, and go into the “Pro Video” mode. From there, just choose the audio source and set it to “Bluetooth” with your Buds Live paired to the phone. Then, you can just hold the Buds Live and speak into it as you would a regular microphone.
When it comes to touch gestures, they’re are accurate. That being said, because the earbuds are rather deep into your ear canal (depending on your ear shape and size), the effective touch area is reduced. Here’s the full list of touch gesture available on the Galaxy Buds Live. And don’t forget, they are customizable in the Galaxy Wearable app.
Single Tap Idle – Play
Music – Pause
Double Tap Music – Next Song
Incoming call: Receive a call
During call: End a call
Incoming 2nd call: Put current call on hold & Receive incoming call
Multiple calls: Put current call on hold & Activate held call
Triple Tap Music – Previous Song Touch And Hold (1 Sec) Idle – Activate user-set function in the app
Incoming call / Incoming 2nd call: Reject a call / Reject 2nd call
Touch And Hold (3 Sec) While wearing both earbuds – Pairing mode
Sampling Song List
- Hardwell Feat. Cascada – Everytime We Touch (Remix)
- Mura Masa – Lotus Eater
- Billie Eilish Feat. Blackbear – Ocean Eyes (Remix)
- Beauz – Count The Hours (Extended Mix)
- Joyner Lucas Feat. Logic – ISIS
- Lisa – Gurenge (The First Take)
- Lisa – Gurenge
The Galaxy Buds Live has 12mm drivers tuned by AKG. There’s even a bass duct to enhance lower frequency sound, and air vents to reduce occlusion for spacious audio.
Initially, when I saw the Galaxy Buds Live’s design, I thought the ANC wouldn’t do that well because it didn’t incorporate an in-ear design, but I’m glad it proved me wrong. The ANC on the Buds Live is surprisingly good, despite it being an open type TWS earbud. Standing 0.5m from a vacuum cleaner that’s on “High” mode, I could only hear a faint buzzing sound with ANC turned on.
The Galaxy Buds Live are best used to listen to songs that focus on vocals as the mids are handled really well. The highs are only decent, but the lows are pretty impressive as the bass packs quite a punch for such a small pair of earbuds, thanks to the bass duct. Soundstage is also decent, as the frequencies are well isolated and doesn’t crossover into each other.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live offer amazing call quality with great volume and mic clarity. Calls are loud and clear, and the person on the other end of the call could hear me clearly as well. This is thanks to the three microphone system and the inner voice pickup unit.
I’ve never once needed to say “can you hear me?” while using the Galaxy Buds Live, neither have I ever needed to adjust the earbuds or move to a quieter place to take a call.
When it comes to battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live offers up to 6 hours of non-stop music listening. Paired with the charging case, the Buds Live can offer up to a total of 21 hours of usage.
During my time with it, on a single charge, I could get about 5 hours and 32 minutes of use with ANC turned on the entire time and 60% volume. Of course, you can get longer listening hours if you listened at lower volumes with ANC turned off.
If your Galaxy Buds Live are totally out of power (including the charging case), you can also turn on the Wireless Powershare on your phone to charge it wirelessly. So yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live does support wireless charging, which is an extremely useful feature.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are a great pair of TWS earbuds, especially if you’re already in the Samsung ecosystem. Paired with the latest Galaxy smartphones, you could unlock additional features compared to other Android smartphones.
Priced at RM699, it has amazing sound for an open type TWS earbud, and tonnes of features that work well with other devices like your smartphone and PC. It’s definitely a worthy upgrade from the original Galaxy Buds, and even the Galaxy Buds+.