Samsung's Galaxy Buds Live vs. Apple's AirPods Pro

Samsung last week unveiled new flagship smartphones and the new bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live, a set of wireless earbuds with Active Noise Cancellation that are designed to rival Apple's AirPods Pro. We got a set of the new Galaxy Buds Live and compared them to the ‌AirPods Pro‌ in our latest YouTube video.


Priced at $179, the Galaxy Buds Live have a unique look with a jelly bean-like design that matches the contour of the ears. We found them to be comfortable even for long periods of time, and the multiple ear tips available will allow them to work with most ear sizes.

Samsung added 12mm drivers to the Galaxy Buds Live along with three built-in microphones and a voice pickup unit, with the microphone quality demoed in the video above.

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When it comes to sound quality, the Galaxy Buds Live sound decent (and better than the AirPods), but the ‌AirPods Pro‌ win out with more balance and clarity. The Galaxy Buds Live have more noticeable bass, but it can cause songs to sound a bit muddy. Sound can be adjusted with equalizer settings available in the Galaxy Buds app, but we didn't see much of an improvement tinkering with these settings.

One of the main selling points of the Galaxy Buds Live is Active Noise Cancellation, a feature also offered in the ‌AirPods Pro‌, but the Galaxy Buds Live ANC functionality was mediocre, at least with our unit.

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It's hard to tell when ANC is enabled or disabled on the Galaxy Buds Live because the feature just doesn't seem to be blocking out much ambient noise. There's no comparison to the ‌AirPods Pro‌, which offer much better Active Noise Cancellation. It's better than no ANC at all, but it's so subtle that it can't compare to competing products.

There are several gestures available for the Galaxy Buds, which are similar to the gestures available on ‌AirPods Pro‌. One tap pauses, two taps skips a song, and three taps goes back. A long press can be set to turn Active Noise Cancellation on or off, activate Siri, or control the Volume.

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The Galaxy Buds Live offer eight hours of battery life before needing to be recharged, while the ‌AirPods Pro‌ offer 4.5 hours of listening time. The square-shaped case that houses the Galaxy Buds Live and provides extra battery life is compact and pocketable, plus it has a USB-C port for charging. It adds an additional 21 hours of playback time, while Apple makes about 20 hours of additional battery life available with the ‌AirPods Pro‌ case. In total, the Galaxy Buds offer 29 hours of battery life while the ‌AirPods Pro‌ offer 24.

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Galaxy Buds Live have useful features for Samsung users, such as one tap pairing and seamless switching, but on an iPhone they function as standard Bluetooth earbuds. There's a Galaxy Buds app in the iOS App Store for connecting and to provide firmware updates and equalizer settings, but since these are designed for Samsung devices, Apple features are limited.

Galaxy Buds owners who have iPhones are going to want to download the app and update the Galaxy Buds Live software right away because we found the Active Noise Cancellation and gestures weren't working properly until an update was installed.

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Even with the less than stellar Active Noise Cancellation functionality, the Galaxy Buds Live sound decent, fit well, and are some of Samsung's best true wireless headphones. At $179, they're cheaper than the $250 ‌AirPods Pro‌, but if you're an ‌iPhone‌ user, you'd be better off with Apple's more expensive option.

Android users seeking a solid set of true wireless earbuds should take a look at the Galaxy Buds Live as a potential option.

Top Rated Comments

jeplex Avatar
19 months ago

It's hilarious watching so many companies attempt to differentiate and still all look the precise same. Of all of the imaginable configurations, it must be a pure white, glossy case with a pinpoint-sized bright green LED?
Enough with the "copying" garbage. Samsung was the first of the two companies with true wireless earbuds. Their Gear IconX headphones preceded the AirPods to market by 6 months. (They rebranded their wearables division, dropping the "Gear", in 2018.) And in the going on 5 years since Apple released the AirPods, there has been absolutely no attempt by Samsung to emulate their form or function. Instead, Samsung has continued to iterate on their pre-existing product. The same with their smartwatches: preceded the Apple Watch by 2 years, introduced LTE to smartwatches back when everyone mocked it as a ridiculous concept, and continue to mostly do their own thing with it regardless of what Apple's product does.

I know that a lot of people are still salty over the "rounded corners/home button/pinch to zoom" thing but seriously that was 2009. Since Samsung went in their own direction with the Galaxy Note - and "phablets" in general - and became the largest selling smartphone company in the world as a result, the most significant idea that Samsung has gotten from Apple was dropping the headphone jack. By contrast, since then Apple has adopted A) the phablet form factor, B) the multi-tasking UI features, C) stylus support, D) curved OLED screens, E) dropped the home button, F) will within the next 2 years adopt in screen fingerprint scanners and foldable phones ... modern iPhones have far more in common with the look and UX/UI of Samsung Galaxy phones - and this will be the case even more so when iOS 14 is released - than they do all iPhones released before the iPhone 6. But Samsung won't sue because they are making far more money selling Apple the components that Apple uses to make iPhones more closely resemble Samsung phones!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plinga Avatar
19 months ago

These earbuds look distinctive, I suppose works well, and are definitely cheaper than AirPods Pros... could be a hit if Samsung really pushes it smartly.
These Buds are not just much more lower priced than the Airpods Pros, the Buds also cost $20 less than the 2nd gen AirPods with wireless charging case. Samsung is already losing on marketing because everyone is comparing it to the Pros when the Buds are great value compared to the regular AirPods (even MacRumors says the Buds are "better than the AirPods"). Most people have the regular Airpods not the Pros and they should be seriously considering the Buds
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nozuka Avatar
19 months ago

they look like peanuts
Let's be honest... they are all far from beautiful.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
19 months ago

I agree with many tech reviewers across the web, these should be called the "Beans".:p

AirPods is a prime example of modern day marketing that embraces the peculiarity of a product. These earbuds look distinctive, I suppose works well, and are definitely cheaper than AirPods Pros... could be a hit if Samsung really pushes it smartly.
100% guarantee that "Beans" was at least a consideration. A consideration that should have been finalized imo. They're Beans. In fact, Samsung even called them Beans. iFixt's tear down revealed each Bud's connecting cable says "BEAN RIGHT" and "BEAN LEFT".
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Samsung+Galaxy+Buds+Live+Teardown/135908
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
FightTheFuture Avatar
19 months ago
The sales for these are going to be huge in Chicago.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
19 months ago

It's hilarious watching so many companies attempt to differentiate and still all look the precise same. Of all of the imaginable configurations, it must be a pure white, glossy case with a pinpoint-sized bright green LED?
It would be necessary to ignore the obvious differences in each product to come up with looks precisely the same. Heck, even a blind person would be like, bruh... c'mon man. Considering white is but one of the available colors, it's even more hilarious to claim sameness. What you're doing is the equivalent of claiming a Ford Focus and a Honda Civic look precisely the same because they're painted white and have headlights. :D


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Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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