With the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, the manufacturer is already delivering the fourth model of its true wireless headphones. The in-ears reveal many qualities in the test, but are not suitable for every user.
It’s hard to believe the pace Samsung is showing in the further development of its true wireless in-ear headphones: The very good Galaxy Buds Plus with excellent battery life, but without active noise canceling, were only released in February 2020. In August, the manufacturer followed up with the Galaxy Buds Live and their unusual design as well as active noise suppression and now the Galaxy Buds Pro are following.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Classic design with good noise suppression
In terms of their construction, the Buds Pro are again clearly based on the Galaxy Buds Plus. They have exchangeable earplugs and sit in the ear, which makes for good passive noise cancellation. But there is also active noise canceling (ANC). In combination, this actually ensures a very good shielding of outside noise, although no one hundred percent shielding is achieved.
The earphones, like the charging case, make a high-quality impression. The latter charges the two buds while they are in the bowl. The case with its internal battery stores energy for around 18 hours of music enjoyment at medium volume and the ANC switched on. The case is charged either via USB-C or wirelessly via induction. Incidentally, the earphones lasted between four and four and a half hours in the test without charging the case in the meantime, an average value.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Good sound with the possibility of fine tuning
With the Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung delivers its best wireless in-ear headphones to date. The new Buds are among the best wireless in-ears that we have been able to test so far for both high and low frequencies. The earbuds resolve well in all sound ranges and have enough bass to produce a rich but transparent sound. A well-functioning equalizer in the Samsung wearables app can also be used to adapt the sound image to different styles and, of course, to your own taste.
In terms of sound, the Galaxy Buds Pro, for example, do better than the AirPods Pro from Apple or the Google Pixel Buds 2. When it comes to noise canceling, however, the Apple headphones are ahead and block noticeably more of the ambient sound.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are also well suited for making calls. The built-in microphones ensure that speech is easy to understand, while at the same time disturbing ambient noises are filtered out fairly efficiently for the other person.
Unfortunately, the haptic operation of the Buds Pro is a bit fiddly. Both earphones have a touch surface on the outside. The interrupts playback with a single tap and continues with a repeated tap. However, the touchpads are a bit too sensitive for my taste. Even when I tried to turn the earphones a little in my ear, the playback was usually interrupted immediately.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Features make the difference
The market for wireless in-ear headphones is known to be highly competitive. What really scores points with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro compared to the competition, apart from the good sound, are numerous additional comfort features that the manufacturer provides via its software. For this, Samsung ties the Buds Pro much closer to its own ecosystem than all previous models.
The new Galaxy Wearables app, which replaces the old wear and gear apps on Android, serves as the control center on the smartphone. iOS users have so far left nothing here, because Samsung has not yet offered the app for iPhone users. Although they can use the Buds Pro with their devices via Bluetooth, they do not have access to the numerous special features.
In the app, users can not only choose between two different levels of noise canceling, but also switch it off or switch to a transparency mode. This not only lets ambient noises through, but even amplifies them if desired. In theory, it can also be used to overhear whispered conversations from a distance.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Conversation mode works
The so-called conversation mode, which can be activated in the app, is remarkable. It switches on active noise canceling, but deactivates it automatically as soon as the user is talking to someone. This works thanks to intelligent voice recognition and movement recognition of the jawbones. In practice, this mode works very well, although it always takes a second or two before conversation mode is started. The previously heard music continues to play quietly in the background. After the call has ended, the noise canceling reactivates automatically after a few seconds.
This worked mostly well during testing. Every now and then, however, the conversation mode turned on unintentionally after I cleared my throat. So it could be that this feature is too sensitive for some users.
Seamless transition to other Samsung devices
A feature that has been around for a while at Apple or Huawei is the seamless change of headphones from one device to the next. For example, if I hear music on my smartphone and then decide the next moment to watch a film on the tablet, the Galaxy Buds Pro should recognize this and automatically switch the sound playback to the other device. Samsung calls the feature Auto Switch and is offering it in this form for the first time. The prerequisite is that the same Samsung account is used on both devices and that the One UI 3.1 operating system is running on both devices.
But the latter is the big sticking point, because the latest version of Samsung’s Android interface currently only runs on the devices of the Galaxy S21 series. So if you don’t happen to own two Galaxy S21 smartphones, you can’t use the feature yet. Many older Samsung devices will certainly receive a corresponding update in the coming months, but that won’t be of much use at the beginning of February 2021. If you don’t use any Samsung devices at all, you won’t get anything from this feature. The optional 360-degree sound playback, which can also be activated in the app, also only works with One UI.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Conclusion: Great option! But only in the Samsung cosmos
With the Galaxy Buds Pro, Samsung has launched some really good true wireless in-ear headphones that can shine with very good sound, active noise canceling and many additional functions. That’s a lot of pluses. If you own a Samsung smartphone and are looking for an equivalent alternative to the AirPods Pro, the Buds Pro is a very attractive offer.
However, if you use a smartphone outside of the Galaxy cosmos, you have to forego at least a few features, if not, as in the case of the iPhone, pretty much all of them. In this way, Samsung is to a certain extent mirroring Apple’s strategy of building its own ecosystem of products and services and not worrying so much about compatibility with products from other manufacturers.
In principle, this is not a problem, because attractive alternatives can also be found outside of the manufacturer’s own product worlds: for example with the Jabra Elite 85T.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Pros:
- + Great sound
- + Noise canceling
- + Lots of features
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Cons:
- – Missing features without One UI