Recently, I got into wireless earbuds, and not to lie, mostly just for the feeling of owning them. I didn’t expect them to have tremendous audio quality. Nor did I expect to use them at all, after all, most of what I do involves sitting at a desk and not moving around so much (although I should). After researching online for a few days, I stumbled upon 4 final choices: the OnePlus buds, Galaxy Buds Plus, Galaxy Buds Live, and the Noise Shots Neo 2, and I ended up buying the Buds Live. And to be upfront, I started liking them more than I thought I would.
So, let’s get everything out of the way and talking about the extremely poor naming. Well, not really, the name isn’t terrible, but it would have bean SO much better if Samsung named them the Galaxy Beans. I mean, just look at them. They’re small, and comfortable, and cute, and bean-shaped, and the bronze color certainly adds to that.
Design and Build
With that thought out, let’s start with the build. I have tried using Airpods, the OnePlus buds, the Galaxy Buds Plus, and even the default earbuds that came with every phone I have ever used, and the problem wasn’t that they didn’t fit in my ear and falling off, because they didn’t, it was wearing them for more than 5 minutes.
Now I know this is subjective, but I prefer having hard-plastic buds that sit outside my ear rather than the in-ear rubber seal. I know that all sounds aren’t truly blocked out, but my ears start hurting after a while because of the pressure created. The only ones that felt comfortable in my ear were the Airpods and the Airpods Pro. The Pro because of the mesh that reduces pressure in the ear. But I use Android, and so Airpods weren’t going to work out.
The Buds Live certainly adhere to my choices, they have hard plastic that rests on the outer part of my ear, and the bean shape is, to be honest, pretty damn comfortable, enough to make you forget you’re wearing them in the first place. And this, by watching countless reviews and reading many articles, seems to be the case for most ears out there, I seriously couldn’t find one review not talking about how comfortable these are.
Sound (obligatory I’m not an audiophile)
(obligatory I’m not an audiophile).
These sound good. Yeah, that’s it. The quality isn’t that bad and they have neutral bass, which I prefer. Now all people don’t, but you can easily add it in by turning on Bass Boost in the Galaxy Wearable app. The highs and mids are also clear, and these can get really loud as well, I usually use them at around 45% volume. Normally I use my Audio Technica ATH-M40x, and I struggle to find a difference between the two. Even more, they have Active Noise Cancellation.
Now the Noise Cancellation is what Samsung calls “Open-type ANC”, which is exactly what it sounds like as the buds don’t create a physical seal. And it sort of works. It cancels out a lot of white noise and lower frequency sounds, but it won’t remove someone talking right next to you.
The thing is, you have to make sure that you use the correct tips. For the first 3 days of owning them, I used the default tips that came pre-installed, and the ANC was meh. Then, out of curiosity, I tried the larger ones, and boy was that a difference. Regardless, I never found myself struggling to listen to my music with these buds, I never got them for noise isolation in the first place, and for me, this is just a bonus feature.
The pairing on these earbuds is also extremely fast. You hold down both buds for 3 seconds to activate pairing mode and then you pair them like normal. Samsung phones automatically detect them, but since I use a Pixel, I had to manually add them. Once you pair them, the buds connect instantly when you open the case and shut down when you close it with the buds inside.
Connections are as you expect. They connect the moment I put them in my ear and pause when I remove one of them. Never have I lost connection mid-way using them.
One thing I miss on my Pixel is not getting the animation that occurs when pairing the buds, but well, that clearly isn’t an issue.
It’s really good on these beans. You get 8 hours per bud and 29 with the case. They also support wireless charging and so, the battery is not a problem on them at all.
Gestures include a tap on either earbud to play/pause, double-tap to skip tracks, triple-tap to go back, and a customizable long press on both buds. Me, I’m using a long press on the left bud to toggle ANC and on the right bud to bring up Google Assistant. The gestures are also intuitive and not awkward at all.
Now I mentioned before that these are good beans. They are comfortable, and unlike *ahem ahem* some brands they don’t stick out of my ear. You can only see them if you’re looking from the side, and even still they’re kinda pretty. The gloss finish surprisingly does not collect as many fingerprints and, well, they just look so much better than the hundreds of Airpods clones in the market. Even more, they have some character to them.
Let’s be honest not everyone cares about the crispiest audio or ground-breaking noise cancellation. Very few really need Bluetooth headphones in the first place — they’re expensive, they lose some audio quality, and well, they’re another device you need to charge.
I’m not saying that Bluetooth devices are just a fashion statement, because they aren’t. They prevent a lot of hassles, but most of which aren’t tough to live without. But how they do look matters to a lot of people, and these are a breath of fresh air to the earbuds space.
Do I recommend these beans? Of course! Let me tell you why so, over my other options:
- Over the OnePlus Buds: Sound quality, looks, and the ability to customize controls on my non-OnePlus phone
- Over the Galaxy Buds Plus: Sound quality and looks
- Over the Noise Shots Neo: Sound quality and a partially biased manufacturer preference
- Over Airpods: Price, Android support, looks, and also, price