Samsung Galaxy Buds Live could launch within weeks. Here’s what we know

Simon Cohen

We could be fast approaching the release of a new set of Samsung true wireless earbuds if a recently spotted addition to the company’s Galaxy Wearable app is any indication.

A new icon buried within the app has the same telltale bean shape as previously released renders of the rumored product (see below), according to XDA Developers. The icon’s filename, however, is labeled “buds_live.” This is significant because Galaxy Buds Live is reportedly what Samsung will call the new earbuds, according to SamMobile, a move that suggests they won’t be positioned as a follow-up to the previous Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+, but an entirely new product instead.

The debut of the Galaxy Buds Live is expected to coincide with the launch of Samsung’s next smartwatch, the Galaxy Watch 3. Given that both of these wearables will likely be equipped with a variety of onboard sensors, this could be the start of a new, multipronged health and fitness effort from Samsung. Recently, the company rolled out its health and wellness app suite to its smart TVs, making the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Watch 3 a logical set of monitoring accessories.

As with any early set of reports concerning a new device, the details on the Galaxy Buds Live are still light. There’s far more that we don’t know than what we do know. Nonetheless, we can expect more information to emerge over the coming weeks, so we’ve created one spot where you can learn the latest news. This is everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

Price and release date

It’s too early to offer any accurate information around launch timing for the Galaxy Buds Live. However, as XDA Developers points out, Samsung typically doesn’t update the content of its apps until right before it announces new products. Based on this, we may see the new true wireless earbuds very soon, and possibly even before its rumored August Unpacked event. SamMobile has said it believes the launch will happen in July.

On the other hand, debuting new earbuds on their own, instead of alongside a new phone such as the expected update to its Galaxy Note smartphone, would be out of character for Samsung, which tends to cluster product announcements into one event.

A report issued in April from South Korean media site m-i.kr suggests that the new earbuds will sell for 170,000 won (about $140), which would be surprisingly affordable given that the Galaxy Buds+ sell for $150. We suspect it will end up being at least $150 when the time comes.

An all-new design

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The reports of a new set of Samsung true wireless earbuds began in early April 2020 when a leaked set of 3D designs were rendered and published by WinFuture.

These renders show a bean-like shape that would not only be a first for Samsung, but also a first for the true wireless earbud category. What makes them unique is the way they sit in your ear. Unlike the majority of true wireless earbuds. which incorporate a short stem, capped with a silicone eartip, the Galaxy Buds Live use a smooth one-piece shape. “Bean” was even Samsung’s code name for the new earbuds, according to WinFuture.

There’s no separate part that embeds itself into your ear canal, which makes the Galaxy Buds Live closer in approach to Apple’s AirPods — and their many imitators.

The renders also show what appears to be two microphones on the outer shell, and possibly a third on the inner shell. Charging contacts are visible, as are areas that could be used for various sensor arrays. In the past, these have been used to detect if an earbud is actually seated in the ear, as well as for health-monitoring functions like heart rate.

With no visible buttons, we’re assuming the Galaxy Buds Live will use a touch-sensitive outer surface for all control functions.

More comfort?

This unusual design could come with some significant benefits for those who typically find in-ear true wireless earbuds uncomfortable. The absence of a silicone ear tip means no unwanted pressure within the ear canal, something that even the most comfortable earbuds — like the Jabra Elite 75t — require us to put up with.

On the other hand, those silicone tips are often an essential element of the design that helps to keep true wireless earbuds secure in our ears. Removing them could reduce that security.

Better sound?

Another aspect of the Galaxy Buds Live that could be affected by the bean-shaped design is sound quality. All of the best-sounding true wireless models, from Apple’s AirPods Pro to Sony’s WF-1000XM3 and the recently launched Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, all have one thing in common: They use an ear canal-seated silicone tip. It’s a design that is highly effective at isolating the ear from external sounds — whether you employ active noise cancellation (ANC) or not — which naturally produces higher sound quality.

Can a set of true wireless earbuds that eschew such a feature still sound as good? The odds don’t favor it. Apple’s original AirPods sit just outside the ear canal and offer little to no sound isolation. They don’t sound especially good, either.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live do appear to do something that the AirPods don’t. If the initial images are correct, these new earbuds might provide a significant degree of sound isolation despite their lack of silicone eartips, thanks to a design that fills the concha — that part of the ear that sits immediately outside of the ear canal.

It’s a design that has been used successfully on hearing aids, and it could be a good compromise between the leaky design of an AirPod, and a fully isolating shape used by the majority of true wireless earbuds.

Active noise cancellation unlikely

Could such a design incorporate ANC?

Even though they’d be the first non-in-ear variety to do so, m-i.kr claims the Galaxy Buds Live will have ANC.

ANC works best when it can completely control what you’re hearing, which is why, so far, it has only appeared on over-ear or on-ear headphones and in-ear-canal earbuds. Apple’s AirPods Pro, Sony’s WF-SP800N, and Master and Dynamic’s MW07 Plus are all examples of this trend. If the Galaxy Buds Live ship with ANC, it may not be as effective as the ANC found in these other true wireless models.

Better battery life?

The best true wireless earbuds offer a battery life of up to 11 hours between charges. Samsung’s own Galaxy Buds+ do just that. It’s a feat that’s usually accomplished through more efficient management of Bluetooth wireless connections because battery sizes and capacities haven’t increased all that much. Because the Galaxy Buds Live appear to have a larger overall shape than other designs, there may be room on board for a bigger battery.

If the Galaxy Buds Live make use of the advantages offered by the latest Bluetooth specification — LE Audio — and they possess a bigger battery, that could lead to some seriously impressive battery life numbers.