Samsung today announced its competitor to Apple’s AirPods Pro: the Galaxy Buds Pro (how original!). Samsung promises the headphones are an improvement over the Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Live in every respect, offering better sound and microphone quality, as well as “the most intelligent” active noise canceling (ANC) on any true wireless earbuds.
Bold claims, given the myriad earbuds launching every week. Still, Samsung says the headphones can “reduce background noise by up to 99%,” although a footnote in the press release clarifies that number applies to the very specific frequency of 118.43 Hz. Meanwhile, an ambient sound mode can boost the sound around you by up to 20 decibels.
More interesting is that the headphones can automatically switch noise canceling levels depending on what you’re doing. They can detect when you’re speaking, for example — something we saw with Sony’s WH-1000XM4 — automatically adjusting noise canceling and music levels.
I’ve had mixed success with this type of feature, so I’m curious to see if it’s worth it in Samsung’s implementation. Meanwhile, a new microphone setup better reduces wind noise when using the headphones outdoors.
Samsung also says it’s implemented an auto-switch feature that allows the earbuds to intelligently switch between two devices without having to fiddle with Bluetooth settings. Battery life is rated at 8 hours per charge with 20 extra hours in the case, albeit only 5 and 13 hours, respectively, when using ANC.
In terms of sound quality, the Buds Pro sport 11 mm woofers and 6.5 mm tweeters. Samsung has also added spatial audio via Dolby Atmos with head tracking, allowing the headphones to have a more immersive sound that more closely replicates a speaker system. Unfortunately, it’s limited to Samsung devices running One UI 3.1 or higher., so you won’t get the same level of immersive sound if you own another type of phone.
The Galaxy Buds Pro are available starting today for $200.
Did you know we have a newsletter all about consumer tech? It’s called Plugged In – and you can subscribe to it right here.