Active noise cancellation, two drivers, IPX7 – the year is off to a good start!
Interestingly enough, Samsung already has a pair of flagship TWS headphones in early 2021: these are Buds Live and Buds Pro. Both devices are equipped with active noise cancellation, a bunch of microphones, and are well prepared to work with a wide variety of content, but they differ greatly in appearance and a number of features. Let’s take a closer look at them.
Galaxy Buds Pro design can be called a classic – if the appearance of Buds Live in its time raised a number of questions, and how to sit, and how to insert, and what kind of case, then here everything is traditional. The only thing is that now Samsung also has its own nozzles, they come off with a click, they are easy to change, there are three pairs in the set. There is also a USB Type-C cable, and, of course, wireless charging is supported.
Proper fit depends a lot on the size of the nozzles (and how you do it), well, as always, a caveat is needed. The Buds Live and Buds Pro went for me, but everything is individual – so the best way is one: go into the salon yourself, try them on, listen to them, try all the features.
Another point has to do with color. Glossy black headphones look cool, but there are also silver and purple ones, and I would choose purple ones – I understand that this is not the most popular decision, but they look really cool. In general, Samsung has very interesting colors.
Now the most important thing: the correct way to insert these headphones is one: insert and turn, the top of the cup should be deflected from itself by 25-30 degrees. If it looks up then it is not inserted correctly and it will bring you nothing but discomfort. If the headphones are badly seated, it means that they will sound much worse and the positive vibrations will bypass you.
The case is small, easily fits in any pocket, there are light indicators that signal the charging / discharging the headphones. But, most importantly, it’s size: carried the Buds Pro in jeans, in sports pants, in shorts at home – generally great. I even wear the headphones to dive in, the Buds Pro are the best protected against water – IPX7, half an hour in one meter depth, everything is as it should be.
The Buds Pro is the best of all the headphones that the company offers – IPX7 waterproofing for half an hour in a depth of one meter, all things considered. And the charging case is not waterproof, but Samsung promises a special case with moisture protection for the charging case.
There are no buttons on the cups, control is done by touch. Some things happen intuitively. For example, if you turn on a special setting in the menu of the Galaxy Wearable program, then when you start talking, the headphones will turn on transparency mode – this is very convenient in the office. Someone asked you something, you didn’t hear because the music is playing, you ask them again – and immediately all the surrounding sounds break through to you. And all this without your hands!
Galaxy Wearable program
When I opened the case next to the Galaxy Fold 2, immediately I was prompted to plug in my headphones, then the download of the Galaxy Wearable program began. I won’t bore you with a description of each function, I’ll tell you the important ones.
Immediately turn on “Voice Detection” – at least it’s definitely worth a try. With this feature, the headphones automatically turn off noise cancellation and mute the music volume the moment you start talking to someone.
Don’t forget to download an update for the headphones – during the time I’ve been using them, one has arrived and one will also be available at the beginning of sales.
It also comes in handy quick headphone connection, activated in the tab “Advanced”. And when you start listening to music, try to choose an equalizer to your liking, there is such a section here too.
Each cup has touch pads, in the Galaxy Wearable app you can choose which touch is responsible for what. In short, the headphones understand four types of touch: one touch, two touches, touch and hold, touch and hold pads of two headphones at once (needed to go into pairing mode). Touch and hold can be customized – for example, instead of controlling noise cancellation / transparency, choose to decrease or increase the volume. For fans of lying on the pillow and watching a movie (for me) there is also a sensor off.
I can not help but remind you that in the coming weeks it will be cold, headphones and other equipment do not like the cold, and the batteries run out faster, and the sensors react worse, and generally nothing good. Hide your headphones under a hat or at least under the hood. By the way, since the Buds Pro barely stick out of your ears, you can wear them with any hat.
The claimed working time is up to 5 hours with noise cancelling system on and 8 hours with ANC off, for five minutes of charging in the case we get one hour of playback. Accordingly, the case gives from 13 to 20 hours extra. In real life you just forget about the charging: you listen on the way to work, put it in the case, in the office the case put it on wireless charging, take it out, listen to music, put it away again. Considering that many people do not use ANC all the time, you can safely count on at least 6-7 hours of battery life.
Intelligent active noise cancellation and speech quality
Active noise cancelling can be turned on and off, and you can also adjust the level of noise cancelling, it can be high or low. I am typing these lines in the office, my colleagues are talking and I have music playing and I can see their mouths open but I can’t understand anything. If I turn on Ambient Sound (for simplicity let’s call it transparency mode) – it’s like a dam is broken, and then you immediately find yourself in the epicenter of all the sounds around, it’s very cool. By the way, there are several levels of adjustment in this mode, too.
I checked the quality of speech transmission in the office and on the street. In the office I can be heard perfectly, literally as if I was standing nearby – you can stand, sit, walk, speech quality is excellent. If you’re talking on the street my interlocutors notice how the headphones are trying to pull my voice to the foreground due to DSP – obviously there are still software updates to be made, but even now you can walk through Nikolskaya and communicate and have no problems with the quality. You can be heard, you can hear.
In addition to a bunch of microphones to pick up voice, ambient sounds to feed in antiphase for ANC work, there’s also an interesting thing called Wind Shield, it’s holes on the cup – the system filters out exactly wind noise.
One of the external microphones is highly sensitive with a high SNR (signal to noise ratio), which has never been seen before in Galaxy Buds headphones. In addition, the bone conduction sensor, which first appeared in Buds Live, is also present here.
In the settings of the application, there is a Labs section, where various experimental modes are collected. While only game mode is available, I turned it on immediately. If you play games on mobile devices, you’ve probably encountered delays in sound transmission, there may be artifacts or interruptions. This mode is designed to correct the situation.
To test it, I chose the hardest option, played Call of Duty: Mobile on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2. This is an online shooter, it is demanding to the iron, to the quality of the network, to the headphones – in short, to everything. What can I say, everything is fine, no interruptions were not, it is easy to understand where the enemy is heading, even the average volume is enough for a comfortable game, explosions, shots, effects are cool. The immersion effect is present. I hope to see more than one more special setting in the experimental section.
The Fold 2 has accumulated quite a few movies in the library. Actually, I’m still going to write more about the device – one of my favorite gadgets that I used to have. The device is not simple, expensive, with its own features and applications. Both Buds Pro and Buds Live are ideal companions for Fold and any smartphone with a big screen. You can watch TV series, movie or YouTube in your crib, on your lunch break, on the subway, or on the plane – it takes seconds to set up and it lasts.
The first thing I turned on was the beautiful movie “The Lighthouse”, where the sound is very important and evokes a lot of emotions – Buds Pro proved to be good here. I also watched about twenty minutes of “The Gentlemen” – and no questions asked: lush, bright, in keeping with the great pictures and images.
It will be interesting to try the 360 Audio with the new Samsung, I have not yet had time to take the S21 from my colleagues. I’ll try to complete this chapter a little later.
The headphones are very interestingly arranged inside, below is a cross-sectional picture. Two drivers are used: 6,5 mm high-frequency and 11 mm low-mid-frequency. Let me remind you, in TWS headphones this design is very rare. The drivers were tuned by the people from AKG.
There’s more interesting stuff, too. In terms of Bluetooth, everything is cool here: 5.0 profile, quick reconnection to different devices in the Galaxy ecosystem (for example, if you have a tablet or other smartphone with OneUI 3.1). In terms of codecs – it’s proprietary Scalable Codec, AAC and SBC, the model is universal and will suit users of any device. With Fold 2 works Scalable Codec, and it’s good, I used Spotify with the “maximum” subscription and got a lot of pleasure from the sound. Don’t neglect the fit! It’s very important.
Esser Conscient, we have this wonderful Upercent. You can use this track for the headphone test, well a good example of modern electronic music.
Okay, okay, here’s another great album, great mood music – Gorillaz, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez, all tracks are good. Try listening to it on Buds Pro!
I liked the sound quality, speech quality, implementation of noise cancellation system, automatic activation of transparency mode when you start talking. The application is comfortable, the running time is optimal, the right set of codecs, the perfect behavior in games, movies, when watching streaming video, whether Netflix or YouTube. The only recommendation is to try it on when you buy it. Otherwise, I can safely recommend it.
And, as you have already realized, this is one of the first Samsung headphones designed for “their” audience, Galaxy owners of all kinds – here you have autoswitching, and its own application, experimental modes, and surely there are a lot of interesting features to come. We’ll be waiting!