Samsung has remained true to itself and has also introduced new wireless in-ear headphones in addition to its Galaxy S21 series. With a price of 229 euros, the Galaxy Buds Pro are the current top product from the Koreans after the Buds + and Buds Live when it comes to wireless music enjoyment. In addition to Active Noise Canceling (active noise suppression), there is now also better water protection and a smart ambient mode for the higher price. Our practical test reveals what Samsung’s new Buds Pro still have to offer, what the in-ears sound like and what weak points the design has.
Chic design and compact case
With the last in-ear headphones, the Galaxy Buds Live, Samsung opted for a very unusual, kidney-shaped design. In addition, the Buds Live were only wedged in the ear. That was probably not well received by everyone, because the new Buds Pro are now being introduced back into the ear in a classic way. In addition to passive attenuation, this also offers better music transmission into the ear canal. What has remained is the high-gloss surface, with which you can choose between the colors Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet.
The Buds Pro case, which is in the same color as the plug, is also nice to look at. Even if Samsung makes it completely out of matte plastic, it still feels good and gives a high-quality feel. Conveniently, you not only charge the shell via USB-C, but also wirelessly via Qi and then have up to 18 hours of music with you – if you use ANC. We also really like the compact dimensions of 50 x 50 x 28 millimeters and the low weight of 45 grams, which allow the case to disappear unnoticed in your trouser pocket.
Galaxy Buds Pro with good wearing comfort and water protection
Weighing in at 13 grams for the pair, the Galaxy Buds Pro are also relatively light themselves. The plugs do not get intrusive in the ear even after long periods of wear. Samsung also includes two additional pairs of earmolds if the standard set does not match your own ear canal. Once turned in, the Buds Pro hold very well in our ears, even when jogging. Thanks to water protection according to IPX7, nobody has to fear for their in-ears even in heavy rain.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are controlled via touch surfaces, which take up the entire outside of the in-ears. Unfortunately, this system is a curse and a blessing at the same time: If you want to skip or pause a song quickly, you almost always hit the mark – in this case the control surface. Adjusting the earplugs, on the other hand, regularly leads to incorrect entries if you do not touch the sides of the Buds Pro with pointed fingers. Overall, you control the in-ears quickly and reliably, if intended. Touch inputs can also be completely blocked using the app.
Bass sound, ANC and smart ambient mode
The in-ears sound good and are tuned to pop music, with very clear, present voices, good highs and quite a bassy undertone. For our taste, the mids are a bit flat. As a result, music lacks warmth and pressure, which are more prevalent in Sennheiser in-ears, for example. If you lack warmth in your music, you can choose between five equalizer presets in the Galaxy Wear app. Here the settings “Soft” and “Dynamic” offer the most balanced results. Of course, we will measure more precisely in our test laboratory. We would have liked to see the hi-res audio codec aptX for the price, which you have to do without here.
Active noise cancellation (ANC) is part of the good tone in the price range over 200 euros. The active damping of the Galaxy Buds Pro does it very well when you first listen to it, keeping muffled and low frequencies out of the ear canal. We were surprised by the very good transparency mode, which lets outside noise through the in-ears via the microphone if required. Voice perception, which can be activated via the app, is really clever. If you are spoken to while listening to music or speak yourself, the Buds Pro automatically switch to ambient mode. In addition, the volume of the ambient noise can be regulated in four levels, with a maximum amplification of a full 20 decibels.
We are not entirely convinced of the acoustics when making calls: the other person’s voice sounds very far away and suffers from echo. According to Samsung, the Buds Pro have a talk time of four hours and a music playing time of five hours when ANC is activated, which is probably the case with most.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are solid in-ear headphones with good ANC, good workmanship and compact design. Their sound is good and clear, but we lack a bit of pressure in the middle. We liked the smart ambient mode with voice recognition. There is still room for improvement in the telephony acoustics and the large touch surfaces are great for responsive operation, but are also prone to incorrect entries. We now pass the Buds Pro on to our test laboratory for a frequency and attenuation analysis as well as a runtime test.
Galaxy Buds Pro: Pre-orderers receive a free wireless charging pad
You can pre-order the Galaxy Buds Pro from January 14th to 28th in Samsung’s online shop or at Mediamarkt. And pre-ordering is worthwhile, because as an encore you get a free wireless charging pad for 59.90 euros with which you can charge the Buds Pro wirelessly. The official market launch is January 29th.
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