Wireless earphones come in all shapes and sizes, but none as distinct and intriguing as the Samsung Buds Live. These true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones are one of their kind, at least in terms of design. Each earphone has a kidney-bean-shaped build, which fits surprisingly well into your ears. The earphones’ semi in-ear design is comfortable, too, especially if you use them for extended hours. However, the lack of silicone tips affect the earphones’ passive noise isolation capability; the ambient noise easily passes through the earphones and you hear everything crystal clear even with earphones on. The earphones have active noise cancelling (ANC), which seems experimental. It blocks the ambient noise but only to an extent. Unfortunately, there is no way to customise ANC intensity.
As for the performance, the earphones have a balanced audio output. They sound similar to the Galaxy Buds+, even better in some cases, and that is a big feat, considering that the Buds+ has an in-ear design. These earphones handle calls well, too. They pick your voice even in a high-noise environment and the listener gets to hear what you speak, as the earphones filter out noise distractions through their multi-microphone set-up.
The Galaxy Buds Live supports sub-band codec (SBC) and advance audio codec (AAC). It also supports Samsung’s scalable audio codec but only when used with the supported Samsung smartphones. In real-life scenarios, however, the earphones sound equally good, irrespective of the device they are paired with. Pairing the earphones with Samsung smartphones is quick and easy. Though first-time pairing takes some time, the earphones connect instantly with a paired Samsung device as soon as you flip open the earphones’ case. But pairing the earphones with non-Samsung devices is a bit of a hassle, especially if you do it through the Samsung Wearables app. On the positive side, the earphones support almost all Bluetooth-enabled devices – smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, notebooks, PCs, and Macs.
Complementing the earphones is an impressive on-battery time. With ANC activated, the earphones go for around seven hours on a single charge. Without the ANC, the earphones return around nine hours of on-battery time on a single charge. For on-the-go charging, the earphones’ case has a built-in battery for additional 15 hours.
Priced at Rs 14,990, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live is an impressive pair of earphones with a distinct design, great audio output, and a long-lasting on-battery time. The novel design has led to some compromises – underwhelming noise cancellation and isolation, and lack of enhanced water and dust resistance. Yet, the earphones do not seem wanting as an overall package.