With Galaxy S21, Samsung released the new wireless earbuds: Galaxy Buds Pro in January 2020 as an upgrade for Galaxy Buds+. This causes some confusions on Galaxy Buds’ lineup because Galaxy Buds Live (released with Galaxy Note 20 in August 2020) is also an upgrade for Galaxy Buds+. So, how about Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live?
This earbuds guide explains the new features of Galaxy Buds Pro (vs Galaxy Buds Live): traditional fit/shape, IPX7 rating, Voice Detect, ambient sound, 360 Audio, Auto Switch. Based on the comparison of Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live, you may also understand which earbuds are the right one to meet your needs.
The differences among Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds+, and Galaxy Buds were explained in detail here (Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds+) and here (Galaxy Buds+ vs Galaxy Buds). The layout of Galaxy Buds Live can found here.
Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds Live share similar active noise cancelling (ANC), similar battery life, similar audio quality, and similar microphone quality. This guide tries to highlight the new features of Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live.
Galaxy Buds Pro looks more like Galaxy Buds+ than the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live.
The more traditional ear tip design offers a better seal for the earbuds sound from the ambient noise. You can choose the ear tip of different sizes to fit your ear. It also makes active noise cancelling more effective.
But some users may feel it less comfortable compared to Galaxy Buds Live.
The bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live is usually more comfortable for wearing for a long time. But it seems a few owners find the Galaxy Buds Live does not fit their ears well and therefore it may cause pains. The wingtip on Galaxy Buds Live offers minor support, and many owners are not aware of different sizes of wingtips in the box.
Anway, Galaxy Buds Pro returned to the traditional shape and improved the fit and comfort over Galaxy Buds+.
Galaxy Buds Pro improved water-resistant and has an IPX7 rating, which means Galaxy Buds Pro is waterproof and can be submerged in water at a depth of one meter for 30 minutes. This matches water-resistant of Jabra Elite Sport, which is one of the best sports earbuds.
So, it is safe to wear the Galaxy Buds Pro when exercising in the rain. Or if you accidentally drop the earbuds to the washing basin, Galaxy Buds Pro should survive easily.
As a comparison, Galaxy Buds Live (and Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+) has an IPX2 rating. They are only sweat-proof, and you should not expose them to water.
Please note, the water-proofing rating is only for the buds, not for the charging case.
Anyway, IPX7 rating is probably the most welcomed new feature of Galaxy Buds Pro for the gym and running guys.
Ambient sound mode let you be aware of the background noise when you are listening with the earbuds. The background sound is passed to your ear through the microphones.
Galaxy Buds Pro not only brings back the ambient sound mode (which is absent from Galaxy Buds Live) but also allows you to set the ambient sound to 4 different levels.
FYI, both Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+ also have the ambient sound mode. It was not available only in Galaxy Buds Live.
For Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live, the noise-cancelling is similar. But the ambient sound mode makes Galaxy Buds Pro more usable in some special situations.
Galaxy Buds Pro can detect it when you are talking or in a conversation. Then make adjustments so that it is easier for you to talk and listen.
Samsung coined this new feature of Galaxy Buds Pro as Voice Detect.
Once your voice is detected, Galaxy Buds Pro can:
- Turn off ANC, switch to ambient sound mode, lower the volume of your music if ANC is on.
- Lower the volume of your music if the ambient sound mode is on.
If your voice is not detected for a certain period of time (which you can specify among 5, 10, or 15 seconds), Galaxy Buds Pro automatically reverts to the previous setting/mode.
Voice Detect is a totally new feature of Galaxy Buds Pro. But apparently, it works quite accurate and fast. It relies on the voice detector sensor inside the earbuds.
Galaxy Buds Pro also supports Samsung’s 360 Audio, which is similar to Apple’s Spatial Audio on AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro Max.
Samsung’s dynamic 360 Audio provides a 360-degree surround sound and creates an immersive environment for your media. When you move your head, the intelligent motion-tracking sensor calculates the direction of the sound so that the sound follows your head movements.
Of course, there is no magic. The 360 Audio is created by changing the left and right sound volumes (and phases) of the earbuds.
Please do not confuse Samsung’s 360 Audio with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. They are totally different and unrelated.
360 Reality Audio requires both a comparable headset (or earbuds like Sony WF-1000XM3) and a special audio source. The music file for 360 Reality Audio requires additional info embedded. So, you must play 360 Reality Audio files (not normal audio files) to get the special 360 Reality Audio effects on supported headsets.
Samsung’s 360 Audio requires a pair of compatible earbuds (currently Galaxy Buds Pro) and compatible Samsung devices with Android 11(e.g., Galaxy S21, Galaxy S20, Galaxy Note 20, and Galaxy Note 10). It does not require a special audio source. In other words, the 360 Audio effects are generated from normal audio files.
Auto Switch is another new feature of Galaxy Buds Pro. It requires Samsung devices with One UI 3.1 (currently Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy Tab S7, and Galaxy Tab S7+ only).
Basically, Galaxy Buds Pro can switch among Samsung devices automatically in various situations, for example:
- You are watching a video (or listening to music) on a tablet (e.g., Galaxy Tab S7) with Galaxy Buds Pro and someone calls you on your Galaxy S21, Galaxy Buds will automatically pause the media on the tablet, and you can immediately answer the call with Galaxy Buds Pro (which is automatically switched to Galaxy S21 without any interventions). Once the call is ended, the media on the tablet will resume automatically, and Galaxy Buds will switch to the tablet immediately.
- You are watching a video on Galaxy S21 with Galaxy Buds Pro, and now you open the same video on Galaxy Tab S7, the Galaxy Buds Pro will automatically switch to the tablet.
Please note, Auto Switch actually is a new feature of One UI 3.1 (with Android 11). So, to use Auto Switch on Galaxy Buds Pro, you need to have Samsung devices with One UI 3.1. The Android 11 update for Galaxy S20, S10, Note 10, and Note 20 only comes with One UI 3.0. For those devices, you have to wait for a new One UI 3.1 update, which will start to roll out globally in March 2021.
Besides, both Samsung devices must use the same Samsung account to make Auto Switch work.
Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live: Galaxy Buds Pro is a major upgrade for Galaxy Buds+, and a minor update for Galaxy Buds Live.
By comparing Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live, you can find:
- Galaxy Buds Pro offers an incremental update for Galaxy Buds Live. If you are happy with the Galaxy Buds Live, there is no compelling reason to spend another $200 for Galaxy Buds Pro.
- Galaxy Buds Pro is a major upgrade for Galaxy Buds+. If you are planning to “upgrade” your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy Buds Pro is the best candidate.
So, if you want to upgrade your Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Buds+, you can skip Galaxy Buds Live unless you feel Galaxy Buds Pro less comfortable.
For Galaxy Buds Live owners, generally, it is not necessary to change to Galaxy Buds Pro with some exceptions, including
- You often use earbuds during workouts. The tighter fit, ambient sound mode, and improved water-resistant makes Galaxy Buds Pro better workout earbuds.
- You feel Galaxy Buds Pro is more comfortable to wear. For most users, Galaxy Buds Live fits well and is comfortable to wear for an extended period.
- Voice Detect is important for you. If you need to pull out the Galaxy Buds Live (or stop the media) for conversations or talks occasionally, you may find it is irritating. Voice Detect in Galaxy Buds Pro solves this issue.
Anyway, it depends on your needs and budget.
Do you have any questions on Galaxy Buds Pro vs Galaxy Buds Live? Do you know the new features of Galaxy Buds Pro?
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Sports headphones section is dedicated to guides on sports headphones.
Active noise-cancelling headphone guides can be found in the Noise-canceling headphones section.