VP Verdict

Samsung's New Wireless Ear Beans That Have No Silicone Tips Are Quite Out Of This World

When the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live were first revealed, my immediate reaction was, “What? How are they going to fit and stay in your ears?”

I just couldn’t figure it out, until I had them in my own hands (and put them into my own ears).

Inside their compact squarish case, they sit like two detached kidneys, or for a more attractive picture, they look like very shiny jellybeans.

The last and only pair of Samsung wireless earbuds I’d reviewed was the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, and as hard as I tried to find something that I hated about them, I couldn’t.

During that review, I was surprised as Samsung had never seemed like a strong contender in the wireless earbuds scene to me.

After all, its first products were TVs and today, some of its most well-known products are its phones.

On the other hand, brands like Jabra and Sudio had their focus on audio equipment from the start, and we’ve reviewed Jabra’s Elite 75t here and multiple models of Sudio wireless earbuds here.

With my Samsung Galaxy Buds+ experience, it’d be unfair to say that I had low expectations for the Buds Live.

Looks: She’s An Extra-Curvy One

Samsung has a gift for making compact casings that are easy to open with one hand, with the Buds Live one being the easiest yet, I believe.

The shape also allowed for a better one-handed grip while doing so, as opposed to the Buds+ case’s pill shape.

It looks and feels good in the hand.

Now, taking out the actual earbuds was where it got a little tricky. Most earbuds have some sort of edged contour where you can get a firmer grip on them (for the Buds+, it was the winged tips).

On the Buds Live, however, it’s smooth all-around. No hard edges, just curves.

With their shiny, polished coatings, it’s easy to lose your grip on them too, so I was extra careful whenever I took them out.

They fit better than expected, especially since they were also larger than I expected (from just looking at pictures). Thankfully, once they’re in, they don’t stick out oddly.

But putting them in wasn’t as effortless as I would’ve liked.

I had to do quite some pushing until they were at a point where, 1) they fit securely in my ears, and 2) the audio sounded clear and not distant.

Once I had them in securely, I could jump around and jerk my head from side to side without them falling out.

Because they’re so shiny, it almost feels like they give the illusion of being smaller in the ears, and the Mystic Bronze colour helps too.

Instead of silicone tips encasing the speakers, they’re directly facing your ear canals.

Without the silicone tips, even after I shoved them as far in as they’d go, I still felt like the fit wasn’t as “sealed” as that of silicone tipped earbuds. But eventually, I just got used to it.

Audio: On Par, With Minor Improvements

You’d think the speaker design means that the sound quality would be loads better, but I honestly couldn’t find much difference between the Buds+ and Buds Live.

My audio problems with the Buds Live were similar to the ones I had for the Buds+, with the exception of an improvement to how the treble quality came across.

I mostly used these to listen to music, and from listening to a few different genres like pop and rock, they performed wonderfully for the former, and less so for the latter.

When it came to anything with more bass, I felt like the music just blended together into something more monotone, which was slightly disappointing.

Overall, for certain genres, it felt like I was listening to my music through a thick blanket, but it didn’t dampen my enjoyability too much.

I know this sounds bad, but it’s an improvement to me as I felt that way about the Buds+ in general (whatever genre of music), so at least the Buds Live is doing better.

There is a way to make things even better though, and it’s through the Samsung Galaxy Buds app.

I recommend downloading the app if you haven’t already, if only to get more control over how the Buds Live work.

In it, I could adjust the equalisation according to pre-set modes, and setting it to Bass Boost helped my aforementioned issue slightly.

Other Features: It’s A Hit Or Miss

Samsung states that these have active noise cancellation. I’ll state that I find that claim rather oversold.

You’ll still be able to hear most of what’s going on around you, and a little less if you’ve got music playing.

Turning the feature on and off also doesn’t make much of a difference except for cutting out low humming/droning background noises.

When it came to calls, I could hear the other person clearly, but I was told that I sounded soft and muffled, which is odd because Samsung mentioned having a “voice pickup unit” for better speech detection.

I’m still not a fan of touch controls (buttons are superior, fight me), but Samsung makes them more bearable both in the Buds+ and Buds Live.

They carry over the useful beeps that let you know when you’ve tapped them once (to pause or play) or when you tap and hold (to increase or decrease volume on either earbud).

To change what your gestures control, you’ll have to open up the app.

Verdict

Were my expectations met?

Yes, and more than that, Buds Live exceeded them. Once again, Samsung has managed to surprise me with its wireless earbuds.

Pretty cute. And no, I didn’t go swimming, this was just for the aesthetic.

The Buds Live always connected quickly to my phone, though it’s worth noting that they can only connect to one device at a time.

Thanks to their shape, they’re quite a fun pair of earbuds to wear and didn’t fail to pique the intrigue of everyone I showed them to.

There are still minor improvements to make, but I’d still consider them quite the catch at a price of RM699 for the quality offered.

As they’re only RM100 more than the Buds+ (RM599), they might not be worth upgrading to if you’re already using the latter.

However, if you’re simply looking to try some Samsung wireless earbuds, both are great choices at their price points. It’ll just be down to which one you’re more interested to try.

ProsCons
Shape of earbuds is unique, eye-catching and funOne-size-fits-all design might not fit very small ears well
Clearer audio quality in terms of trebleBass-heavy music still sounds muffled
Despite the shape, they fit securely enough for active movementThe “sealing” sensation of silicone tipped wireless earbuds is missing, so active noise cancellation isn’t as effective
  • You can learn more about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live here.
  • You can read more of our VP Verdict series here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

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