Samsung’s latest fully wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, have been released, so it’s natural to begin comparing them to Samsung’s older (and cheaper) Buds Live. The question is why you wouldn’t. The situations, at least, seem to be identical at first sight…
Here is a comparison of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, the Buds Live, and the Buds Plus to help you choose the best option. It’s a lot to say, but if you understand the subtleties of each kind of earphone, the result is music that’s easy on the ears.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus specs
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|Row 0 – Cell 0||Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro||Samsung Galaxy Buds Live||Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus|
|Colors||Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver||Mystic White, Mystic Black, Mystic Copper, Mystic Red, Mystic Blue||White, Black, Red, Blue, Cloud Blue|
|Battery life||Up to 8 hours (28 with charging case)||Up to 8 hours (29 with charging case||Up to 11 hours (22 with charging case)|
|Earbud size||0.8 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches||0.6 x 1 x 0.6 inches||0.7 x 0.9 x 0.8 inches|
|Case size||2 x 2 x 1.1 inches||2 x 2 x 1.1 inches||0.7 x 0.9 x 0.8 inches|
|Weight||0.2 ounces (earbuds); 1.6 ounces (case)||0.2 ounces (earbuds); 1.4 ounces (case)||0.2 ounces (earbuds); 1.4 ounces (case)|
|Compatibility||Android, iOS||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus price and value
The Galaxy Buds Pro are the priciest of the bunch, at $199. The Buds Plus are $50 cheaper at $149, and the Galaxy Buds Live are $169.
And while the Galaxy Buds Plus are the most affordable, that extra $20 may be worth it for many for the improved sound quality of the Buds Live, or $50 for the smarts of the Buds Pro, as we’ll explain below.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus design and comfort
The Galaxy Buds Pro have the same sophisticated chrome finish as the Buds Live but a more conventional design. Among the two designs, we think the Buds Pro one is more conventional and appealing to the average consumer. The Buds Plus are less stylish and more mainstream in appearance.
The earbuds themselves come in a variety of colors, adding even another point of differentiation between Samsung’s options. Phantom Violet is the real show-stopper, making Phantom White and Phantom Black appear boring in comparison. The Galaxy Buds Live in Mystic Copper are just as beautiful and are your only really fashionable choice among the lot (the Mystic Blue and Red options are a bit too strong, and the Mystic Black and White are subdued). The Buds Plus are also available in five colors (white, red, black, Cloud Blue, and Aura Blue), although they aren’t quite as flashy.
The Galaxy Buds Pro’s major design improvement is a more sturdy construction. The new Buds Pro feature an IPX7 water resistance grade, which means it can be immersed in up to one meter of water for 30 minutes, while the IPX2-rated Buds Live and Buds Plus can only tolerate water when it strikes at an angle of 15 degrees or less.
The charging case for the Buds Pro and the Buds Live are identical in size, measuring in at 2 by 2 by 1.1 inches. It implies that both are much bigger than the Buds Plus carrying case (0.7 x 0.9 x 0.8 inches).
Although we can’t comment on how the Buds Pro fits until we actually try them, we can say that the Buds Live felt more secure and comfy throughout our testing. And that’s priceless for such personal headphones.
Yet, Samsung claims that the Buds Pro “feature a redesigned, more ergonomic form factor,” which “reduces the contact area between your ear and the bud, boosting comfort and reducing any clogged-up sensation.”
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus controls
All three pairs of buds have touch controls, but the Galaxy Buds Pro stand out with a new way for users to silence audio output. That’s because Galaxy Buds Pro will literally lower your music (or whatever you’re listening to) when you’re talking, as it reacts to when you’re speaking.
This eliminates the need to repeatedly press the pause button if you want to speak with another person. You may also use this function if active noise cancellation is turned off or if you switch to Ambient Sound.
We found the touch controls on the Galaxy Buds Plus and Buds Live to be either too sensitive or too insensitive, respectively, so we’re curious to see whether the Galaxy Buds Pro hit the sweet spot.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus audio quality
Naturally, Samsung is boasting about the sound quality of the Galaxy Buds Pro, noting that “the shape of the canal-type earbuds improves sound quality.”
The company also claims that the 11mm woofer in the Galaxy Buds Pro will deliver deeper bass and 6.5mm tweeters will provide richer treble. Plus, a trio of microphones and a Voice Pickup Unit (VPU) are there to make sure you sound better on calls. Until we test the Galaxy Buds Pro out, though, we won’t know which offers the best overall sound.
Between the Galaxy Buds Live and Buds Plus, the former were the clear winner on audio quality. The Buds Live provided deeper bass, crisper treble and clearer vocals.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus battery life
Testing also will tell the truth here, but it looks like the Galaxy Buds Pro should offer great endurance, as Samsung rates it for up to 8 hours of life on a single charge — and then 28 with the charging case. The Buds Live are also rated for 8 hours on a single charge, but 29 with the case.
Impressively, the Galaxy Buds Plus last the longest on a single charge, rated for 11 hours.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus noise cancellation and special features
The Galaxy Buds Pro should be amazing at letting you block out the world or letting it in, whereas the Buds Live and Buds Plus locked you into only one half of that equation. Samsung rates the Buds Pro’s Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) for blocking out up to 99% of background noise, with the option to fine tune to the exact amount of noise cancellation you prefer. Want to hear what’s going on around you? Ambient Sound mode increases the sounds around you by more than 20 decibels, and Samsung is again giving you the ability to set these tricks to the levels you prefer.
Comparatively, the Buds Live focus on ANC (though it’s supposed to let in some voices and announcements), while the Buds Plus offer Ambient Aware mode for letting the world around you in.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs Buds Live vs Buds Plus outlook
As far as new consumers are concerned, the Galaxy Buds Pro seem to be the greatest choice on the market for intelligent headphones. Toggling between ANC and Ambient Sound, in addition to the Buds Pro function that mutes the sound while you converse, makes for a more nuanced listening experience. Also, you may add waterproofing for extra protection, which may end up saving you a lot of money over time.
Nevertheless, we can’t make a call in this Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Buds Live vs. Buds Plus showdown until we’ve reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
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Henry has been evaluating gadgets and services for the last seven years as a managing editor at Tom’s Guide, where he writes about streaming media, laptops, and anything Apple. He has also evaluated software and technology for TechRadar Pro and conducted artist interviews for Patek Philippe International Magazine before joining Tom’s Guide. He has also interviewed athletes and industry veterans while covering the crazy world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats.
Which wireless headphones, the Samsung Buds Pro or the Buds Live, should you buy?
Ultimately, it boils down to personal opinion and whether or not you really need the Buds Pro’s additional capabilities. If the Buds Pro’s 360 Audio, Auto Switch, and Multi Mic Recording capabilities were a selling point for you, keep in mind that they only work with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. The Buds Live have satisfied my needs, however there is a chance they won’t suit your ears because of their unusual shape. On the other hand, your ears will feel better without the rubber eartips…
The Buds Pro and the Buds Live are equally excellent wireless headphones, suitable for anything from Zoom conferences to workouts thanks to their lengthy battery lives and high-quality audio reproduction. The ones you choose should ultimately come down to aesthetic and comfort choices.