Having been leaked all across the web in recent months, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are finally official. The company’s latest true wireless earbuds have been announced alongside its Galaxy S21 phones during today’s Galaxy Unpacked event, and are its latest and most ambitious response to the AirPods Pro yet.
If you’ve watched this 17-minute long hands-on video leak, you already know a lot about these next-generation Samsung wireless earbuds. Indeed, most of it has turned out to be true. But if you haven’t, or would rather read about them instead, here’s the full lowdown…
Like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live they replace, the Galaxy Buds Pro sport active noise-cancellation – only this time it’s more versatile and supposedly more effective. Which is why Samsung is calling it ‘Intelligent ANC’. While Samsung claimed that the Buds Live could reduce background noise under 700Hz (e.g. trains and buses) by up to 97 per cent, the Buds Pro promise to block 99 per cent of outside noise.
There’s ‘high’ and ‘low’ levels of ANC this time, as well as four levels of Ambient Sound, allowing users to vary the intensity of the isolating effect and let in varying degrees of sound if they need to.
Also helping to justify the ‘Intelligent’ naming, the Buds Pro can also automatically switch between ANC and Ambient Sound, too, with the earbuds able to recognise when a conversation begins and ends. Start talking and the Buds Pro will turn down your music, firing it back up to volume when you’re done, and offering a skip-back function if you missed your favourite part of the song you were listening to.
Samsung Galaxy fans can take advantage of the AirPods-like Auto Switch feature, which lets the earbuds simultaneously connect to multiple Galaxy devices and automatically switch to the one you’re using. For example, if you’re watching a video on your Galaxy Tab tablet when a call comes in, the Buds Pro will switch to your phone so you can answer it, switching back when you hang up.
As rumoured, the Pro Buds offer IPX7 water protection – an upgrade from the IPX2-rated Buds Live and Galaxy Buds+ before them. That’s the difference between surviving water drips to being able to be completely submerged under at least one meter of water for at least half an hour. Consider the Buds Pro pretty waterproof, then!
As for battery life, you get 18 hours in total (which is OK but only OK), with a five-minute fast charge delivering one hour of playback time.
As you can see, Samsung has ditched the kidney-bean design of their predecessors (which is a shame; we actually quite liked it) and returned to the more traditional rounder shape of the Galaxy Buds+ with more traditional earbud tips. They come in Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver and Phantom Black – all pictured above.
We can only hope the 11mm woofer and 6.5mm tweeter pairing inside their glossy exterior fares better than the drivers inside the Buds Live, too. Our Galaxy Buds Live review only deemed them worthy of three stars and concluded: “They produce a hefty and full-bodied sound, but it’s a sound that lacks dynamism and excitement.” Fingers crossed the Buds Pro are more competitive in the sonic department, and they’ll need to be, given their price tag.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro cost £219 ($199) – a smidgeon over the rumoured UK price of £199 – and can be pre-ordered now, with shipping beginning on the 29th January.