Which Are Right For You?

There are lots of wireless earbuds available, and it can be hard to know which ones to buy. Even once you’ve narrowed it down to a manufacturer, they often have multiple ranges to choose from.

That’s true of Samsung, who offer a variety of wireless earbuds depending on what features you need and your budget. We’re going to examine the Samsung Galaxy Buds, Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live to help you decide which is best for you.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

Samsung Galaxy Buds

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The Samsung Galaxy Buds are true wireless earbuds that were first available in March 2019. Whereas Apple’s AirPods feature an awkward stem that protrudes down, the Galaxy Buds are more circular and fit into your ear canal. They are praised for their good sound quality and comfortable, stylish design.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

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Less than a year later, in February 2020, Samsung released the Galaxy Buds Plus. As the name suggests, these are a direct improvement over the standard Buds. The sound and microphone quality are improved, as is the battery life. Otherwise, much remains the same, including the aesthetic design.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live

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The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live released in August 2020 and are a clear departure from the previous two pairs of earbuds. The design is completely different. These slot into your ear, with no tip that goes inside your ear canal. Though style is naturally subjective, these are less obtrusive than their predecessors.

The Buds Live also provide noise-canceling technology, great battery life, and clear audio quality.

Design and Shape

samsung buds plusThe Buds and the Buds+ are near-identical in design. The original Buds were praised for their comfortable design, so Samsung saw no reason to change them for the Buds+.

These two have a silicone tip that goes into your ear canal. At the top of the earbuds are wing tips, which help secure them and stop them from falling out of your ear. As everyone has different shaped ears, multiple wing tip sizes are included in the box so you can find which works best for you.

The Buds Live are different and are affectionately referred to as beans due to their unique shape. There is no tip here, but instead, the earbuds slot inside your ear’s concha, making them feel less intrusive. While the Buds Live are taller than the Buds and Buds+, they are slimmer, lighter, and fit closer to the ear for a less noticeable presence.

Color Scheme and Finish

samsung buds live colorsWhen it comes to color, there’s a nice variety to choose from.

  • Buds: White, yellow, and black.
  • Buds+: White, blue, black, red, pink, deep blue.
  • Buds Live: White, black, and copper.

The earbuds and charging case of the Buds have a matte finish, while the Buds+ are glossy. The Buds Live have a glossy exterior, to the point that the copper color can look different depending on the light, but the interior that sits against your ear is matte.

Sound Quality

samsung buds live breakdownSound quality is essential when it comes to earbuds. What’s the point of having them if they don’t sound good?

In terms of the raw specifications, the Buds have a one-way dynamic speaker. Opinion on the audio quality varies, but most agree the sound is vibrant and full of bass. The Buds+ have a two-way dynamic speaker, which offers clear and accurate audio that is a marked improvement over the original Buds.

The Buds Live are the best of the bunch when it comes to sound quality. The bass remains good, and it can handle high volumes well. However, while the Buds Live do filter out low-frequency noise thanks to their noise-cancelling technology, by design, they aren’t as tight-fitting as the Buds or Buds+. As a result, you can hear people talking next to you, for example.

Microphone Quality

If microphone quality does matter to you, avoid the original Buds. While they have one inner and one outer microphone, they don’t isolate your voice well, meaning they struggle in busy environments. Even in quiet places. they sound muffled.

The Buds+ are much improved, with one internal and two outer microphones. They are far better at removing background audio and generally offer clearer voice quality. The Buds Live are equally good, if not better, thanks to hardware and software advancements. They eliminate background noise well and offer crisp vocals.

Battery Life

samsung buds live batteryEach pair of Samsung earbuds comes with a wireless charging case neatly stores the earbuds, and also charges them. The case itself can be charged wirelessly or with a USB cable. All three versions of the Buds can also use Samsung’s PowerShare feature, which charges the case when placed on the back of compatible Samsung devices.

On a full charge, the Buds can get six hours of playtime, with an additional seven hours from the case. They can last 100 minutes from just 15 minutes of charge. The Buds+ improves things with 11 hours on a full charge, with another 11 from the case. They are also speedy to get back once charge is lost—60 minutes of play can be gained from a three-minute charge.

Finally, the Buds Live’s battery depends on whether you enable the active noise-canceling and Bixby wake-up features. Keep them on, and you’ll get six hours from a single charge. Turn both of these features off, and you get eight hours, with an additional 21 hours from the case.

Device Compatibility and App Support

If you’re an Android user, you’ll be pleased with the compatibility offered by the Buds, Buds+, and Buds Live. You can download the Galaxy Wearable app to control your earbuds. This includes allows you to tweak audio levels, check the battery, and change the touch functions.

If you’re an iPhone user, a companion app only exists for the Buds+ or Buds Live. Because of that, you may as well avoid the Buds entirely—while they technically do still work with an iPhone, the additional features offered by the app aren’t worth missing out on.

The Best Samsung Galaxy Buds for You

If you want the cheapest Samsung earbuds, go for the Galaxy Buds. However, you are much better off with either the Galaxy Buds+ or the Galaxy Buds Live—both offer good speaker and microphone quality, plus decent battery life and app support.

Your decision between those two then comes down to your personal preference on design. If you’re not convinced by any of these, check out our guide to the best wireless earbuds

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