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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live earphones review – they look like beans but they sound great

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VERDICT
  • VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live might not look like your regular earphones but they sure deliver excellent sound, call quality and comfort for extended wear.

The last thing Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Live earphones look like are earphones. They look more like beans than traditional wire-free earphones but they still offer a remarkable sound and comfort.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, released at the same time as the Galaxy Note20 smartphone, are yet another addition to the Galaxy ecosystem.

They naturally work hand-in-glove with Samsung phones but they can also be used with other Android phones and even with an iPhone.

Galaxy Buds Live offer a new approach to earphones and rest across your ear canal instead of inside it.

The glossy Buds twist into place in your ear but, unlike other earphones are there is nothing inserted into your ear canal so you don’t get the earplugs effect.

And the different design makes more room for larger 12mm speakers with the sound directed into your ears.

We found earphones quite comfortable once we fitted. There are little winglets you can attach to add grip as well.

It took a couple of attempts to insert them properly when we first received them and it did feel like they were on the verge of falling out, but it only required a slight adjustment to make them secure enough to walk and run and workout in the gym wearing them.

Another thing we liked about them was they are also discreet – you can hardly tell you’re wearing.

In fact they were so discreet I decided to wear them for my weekly Sky News tech segment which I do over Skype each week which require me to wear earphones so I can hear the host Jaynie Seal. My external microphone, located on a boom arm above my head out of frame, provides my audio.

You can hardly see that you’re wearing them so they worked out fine.

On the audio side, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live sound great. Decent bass and crisp detail despite the earbuds not being physically in your ear canal.

Oh, and by the way, they also have active noise cancellation which can reduce outside ambient noise so you can hear just your music or your podcast or your audiobook.

It’s not the best ANC we’ve ever heard but it’s still pretty damn good considering the open design.

One downside of the open design is a bit of sound leakage so what you’re listening to can be heard by someone standing close to.

In fact, we’ve been told to turn down the volume of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live from the control room at Sky News before our cross because what I was hearing was being picked up by my external microphone.

It’s not a big deal in noisy environments but something to keep in mind in quieter situations.

But generally the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live were a joy to listen to and comfortable to wear for long periods.

Sound has been tuned by AKG and deliver a nice spacious sound. The bass is also quite satisfying thanks to a dedicated duct from the larger driver that adds real punch to the sound.

Another impressive feature is the call quality which was so good we would often use them for our radio interviews.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a voice pick-up unit that can actually sense your jaw moving while you’re talking to enhance the sound quality.

Tech Guide editor Stephen Fenech wearing the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live during his weekly Sky News tech segment

The outside of the earbuds are also touch sensitive controls to help navigate your music and content.

But it is a little too sensitive. The most minor touch or adjustment paused the music or podcast or skipped ahead to whatever we were listening to. So we had to be really careful with how we handled them.

On the positive side, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have decent battery life of about six hours on their own.

The tiny charging case – one of the smallest we’ve seen – can bring that playback time up to an impressive 21 hours.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are available now in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black and Mystic White and are priced at $319.

VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live might not look like your regular earphones but they sure deliver excellent sound, call quality and comfort for extended wear.