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How to use the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Tips, tricks and instructions

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is by far the most complex set of wireless earbuds that Samsung has ever produced. It targets the rival AirPods Pro not just with active noise cancellation (ANC) and IPX7 waterproofing, but with a heap of new and upgraded features like 360 Audio and automated Ambient modes. 

To help you make sense of the Galaxy Buds Pro's huge toolkit, we've prepared this guide. It comes complete with step-by-step instructions for setting up features and settings, and a few other tips to help you get as much out of these earbuds as possible.

How to connect the Galaxy Buds Pro to your Android device

To pair the Galaxy Buds Pro to an Android smartphone or tablet, first make sure you’ve got the Samsung Wearable app installed. This should come pre-installed on Samsung Galaxy phones but it otherwise available on Google's Play Store. From there:

1. Open the charging case, with the Galaxy Buds Pro inside, to enter pairing mode.

2. Open the Galaxy Wearable app, tap “Get Started” and select the Galaxy Buds Pro.

3. Follow the on-screen instructions to finish setup.

After that, the Galaxy Buds Pro will automatically connect to your device within a few seconds of opening the charging case.

How to connect the Galaxy Buds Pro to iOS, PC or Mac

You can also use the Galaxy Buds Pro with other devices. But because the Galaxy Wearable app is only available on Android, you’ll only be able to use basic playback. If you want to pair the earbuds anyway:

1. Remove the Galaxy Buds Pro from the charging case and hold down on the touch sensors for three seconds.

2. This will enter a separate pairing mode, signaled by a beep sound. Use your device’s Bluetooth settings menu to find and connect to the earbuds.

How to use and customize the Galaxy Buds Pro controls

You can perform a variety of actions entirely with the Galaxy Buds Pro’s touch controls. Here are the default gestures and what they do:

  • Single tap: Play or pause playback.
  • Double tap: Skip to the next track.
  • Triple tap: Skip back to the previous track.

You can also customize what the “tap and hold” gesture does. In the Wearable app, tap “Touch and hold” then select the desired action for each earbud. You can choose from:

  • Switch noise controls (toggles between ANC and Ambient Sound modes)
  • Volume up
  • Volume down
  • Activate voice assistant
  • Open Spotify on device

You can also use touch controls to manage phone calls — the following gestures will override their usual actions when your phone is ringing, or currently in a call.

  • Double tap: Answer or end call
  • Touch and hold: Decline call

How to use ANC and Ambient Sound on the Galaxy Buds Pro

Active noise cancelling reduces the volume of nearby sounds, whereas Ambient Sound mode uses microphones to make them clearer. This lets you enjoy music with fewer interruptions, while also being able to give yourself some extra spatial awareness in busy areas.

You can switch between modes in the Galaxy Wearable app, under “Noise controls,” and can also use it to adjust the ANC effect’s intensity between High and Low settings. Alternatively, if you set one of the touch and hold gestures to switch noise controls using the previous steps, repeating touching and holding will toggle through the different modes. Using either method, you can also turn both modes off to save on battery.

There’s also Samsung’s new Voice Detect feature. When enabled, this will automatically engage Ambient Sound when the microphones detect you speaking, and will automatically disable the feature when you’ve been quiet for a few seconds.

To switch Voice Detect on, open the Galaxy Wearable app and simply tap the toggle switch. It’s underneath the ANC level controls. You can also tap on Voice Detect itself to set the delay for when Ambient Mode should switch off: 5, 10 or 15 seconds.

How to use 360 Audio on the Galaxy Buds Pro

We’ve already produced an in-depth guide on how to use 360 Audio, Samsung’s version of spatial audio. However, if you’d prefer the short version of how to enable this 3D surround sound tech:

1. Make sure you’ve got a compatible Samsung Galaxy device: it needs to be running Samsung’s One UI 3.1 software.

2. Pair your Galaxy Buds Pro and open the Galaxy Wearable app. Tap “Advanced.”

3. Toggle on 360 Audio, if it isn’t already.

4. Find movies and TV content that supports a Dolby Atmos sound option; Atmos-compatible content works with 360 Audio as they use the same mastering process.

Compatible content can be found on Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, though there aren’t currently any music services that support 360 Audio. To enjoy music with a similar 3D effect, you'll need Sony 360 Reality Audio.

How to use Seamless earbud connection on the Galaxy Buds Pro

Seamless earbud connection lets the earbuds automatically switch between two devices you’re using at the same time. For example, if you’re playing music on a phone but start video playback on a separate tablet, the Galaxy Buds Pro should instantly switch its own source device from the phone to the tablet.

Samsung says this should work with any two devices on which you’re signed into the same Samsung account, but only Samsung Galaxy devices allow you to use the feature without having previously paired the buds to both devices. Otherwise, you’ll need to start by manually pairing the Galaxy Buds Pro to any devices you might want to use Seamless earbud connection with:

1. Follow the steps in the “How to connect” sections above to pair your two devices.

2. Open the Galaxy Wearable app and tap “Advanced.” Then toggle on Seamless earbud connection.

3. Repeat step 2 for the second device you’re likely to switch to.

Once set up, you don’t need to do anything else as the switching process is automatic. You can also go back into the app to disable Seamless earbud connection at any time.

How to check the Galaxy Buds Pro battery level

When connected, the Galaxy Wearable app will show the current battery level of each Galaxy Buds Pro earbud on the home screen.

The charging case itself can also give you a rough idea of its remaining juice. Placing the buds inside the case will make the status LED on the front of the case light up, with different colors and effects signaling how much is left:

  • Green: Fully charged, or at least 60% battery remaining.
  • Yellow: Between 30% and 60% battery remaining.
  • Red: Charging, or less than 30% battery remaining.
  • Flashing red: This means a charging error has occurred. Remove and replace the buds in the case, and contact support if it keeps happening

How to use Samsung PowerShare with the Galaxy Buds Pro

The Galaxy Buds Pro case supports wireless charging. It should be compatible with any Qi-standard charger. But Samsung PowerShare lets you use certain Galaxy smartphones as a convenient powerbank for the buds. It’s easy to use, too:

1. In the phone’s Quick settings, menu, tap “Wireless PowerShare.”

2. Place the phone screen-side down and put the Galaxy Buds Pro charging case on the backplate. Either a sound or vibration alert will play to confirm charging has begun.

The tricky part is making sure you’ve got a compatible handset; Samsung lists suitable models on its support site. The Samsung Galaxy S21 range, Galaxy Note 20 range, Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2 all work, as do older Galaxy flagships.

How to find your lost Galaxy Buds Pro

If you misplace your Galaxy Buds Pro, there a couple of tools available to help track the headphones down. The first, Find My Earbuds, is handy if you’ve just lost the buds somewhere at home or work:

1. In the Galaxy Wearable app, select Find My Earbuds and tap Start.

2. This will force the Galaxy Buds Pro to start beeping. Follow the noise until you’ve found them, then tap Stop in the app.

The other, SmartThings Find, is for when you think the buds have gone missing further afield:

1. Download and install the SmartThings app. Tap the SmartThings Find card, then Download to install the required add-ons.

2. Select the devices you want to find — the Galaxy Buds Pro should be here if you’ve paired it before.

3. Hopefully, the app will locate your earbuds and show an approximate position on a map.

Keep in mind that SmartThings Find is built on a volunteer network of Galaxy owners and requires any lost items to fall within the Bluetooth range of one of these owners’ phones. Otherwise, it may not be picked up, which in turn would prevent it from being visible on the map. Be careful with the Galaxy Buds Pro in remote areas, in other words.

How to install software updates for the Galaxy Buds Pro

You’ll usually be prompted whenever a software update is available for the Galaxy Buds Pro, in which case just follow the on-screen instructions.

You can also manually check for updates through Galaxy Wearable:

1. In the app, tap “Earbuds software update.”

2. Tap on “Download and install” to check for uninstalled updates, or “Last update” to read information on the current software version.

As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. His favorite musical genre is rock, despite once claiming the guitar is “too complicated” for humans to play. He plays bass instead.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Jabra Elite 75t: Which earbuds will you choose?

Table of contents

True wireless earbuds are maintaining their stride, and there are plenty of choices to pick from. Rather than break down every option, we’re looking directly at the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Jabra Elite 75t. Both true wireless headsets offer advanced hardware and software, with good microphone systems, and vastly different sound signatures. It’s less a matter of which is objectively the best headset, and more of which brand best suits your needs.

A newer version of both devices are now available. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro feature active noise-cancelling (ANC) and an IPX7 rating, while the Jabra Elite 85t features active noise-cancelling and a more advanced microphone array. Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Jabra Elite 85t reviews for full details.

Update, May 10, 2021: Added details about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and included new noise-cancelling and frequency response charts for the Jabra Elite 75t.

Fit and hardware: Do you value durability or compactness?

The all-plastic Galaxy Buds Plus appear identical to the original Samsung Galaxy Buds, save for a few minor changes to the case’s interior. Samsung’s sophomore Galaxy Buds are extremely compact and lightweight, making them comfortable for extended periods of listening. To test that, I did in fact listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack without fatigue.

Samsung provides listeners with an assortment of wing and ear tips, so most users are bound to find a comfortable and secure fit. The earphones rest in the lightweight charging case, which now features a glossy finish. Not only does said case support Qi wireless charging, but it may also be charged atop compatible Samsung devices with Wireless PowerShare.

The Jabra Elite 75t isn’t yet available with a wireless charger. That feature aside, its case feels much sturdier than Samsung’s. Perhaps it’s the soft-touch matte finish or the more substantial audible feedback as the case is closed; either way, we prefer it to the Galaxy Buds Plus. However, it is a little larger than the Buds Plus case, so if you’re really stretched for space, Samsung may be the smarter option.

Jabra’s earbuds take on a more rugged appearance. The company disregarded the whimsy of Samsung for a more durable design: instead of using touch-capacitive panels, the Elite 75t relies on multifunction buttons. With a recent update, Jabra Elite 75t and Jabra Elite Active 75t users may remap the controls via the Jabra MySound app. Just like Samsung, Jabra provides small, medium, and large ear tips but doesn’t use wing tips to secure the earbuds.

Adam Molina / Android Authority

Both headsets are water-resistant, but the Jabra Elite 75t are the earbuds for athletes: they’re IP55-rated, meaning they can resist both dust and water, while the Galaxy Buds Plus are just IPX2-rated. Samsung and Jabra’s products also share the ability to enable ambient listening, also referred to as HearThrough. This is useful for anyone who spends time walking down busy streets or exercising outside.

Automatic ear detection

Both headsets also support automatic ear detection and pause music when an earbud is removed. Well, the Elite 75t only requires that one earbud is removed for playback to be paused. With the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, you must remove both at the same time. To resume playback with Jabra’s earbuds, re-insert the ‘bud within one minute of its removal. For the Buds Plus, reinsert both earbuds, and tap either touch panel to resume playback.

On-board controls

Adam Molina / Android Authority

Jabra’s earphones support a comprehensive control layout whereby each earbud dictates different commands. The Galaxy Buds Plus are the same, but more simultaneous options are afforded by the Elite 75t. You may control playback, answer or reject calls, adjust volume, access your virtual assistant, toggle listening modes, and mute the mic during a call all from the Jabra Elite 75t.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus allow all the same control options along with direct Spotify access. Unlike Jabra’s hearty button-operated controls, the Buds Plus touch controls aren’t the most reliable. During testing, I often accidentally paused a track when I meant to skip it. Both headsets allow you to field two calls simultaneously by placing one on hold while receiving the other.

Which headset has better software features?

Lily Katz / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Jabra Elite 75t both have accompanying applications. Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app is great, and the company is fastidious about updating products’ software. In fact, the first-generation Galaxy Buds were recently granted direct Spotify access — something I originally thought was exclusive to the Galaxy Buds Plus. Aside from that, you may adjust ambient sound intensity, choose from six EQ presets, remap the touch controls (or lock the touchpads, so they can’t accidentally be triggered), and use the Find My Earbuds feature.

Jabra also offers an excellent app to its users: as of September 22, 2020, the Jabra Sound+ app lets enable active noise-cancelling (ANC), so long as they update their pre-existing Jabra Elite 75t series firmware. This is a free upgrade to all Elite 75t series owners, and was announced alongside the new Jabra Elite 85t noise-cancelling earbuds. Our noise cancelling test is ongoing, and we’ll update this versus article once we have objective performance measurements.

Don’t miss:Jabra Elite 85t review

The Sound+ app also lets users adjust HearThrough intensity, create a custom hearing profile, and make granular EQ adjustments — something the Galaxy Wearable app doesn’t permit. You can do a lot more with the Jabra Sound+ app, but both companies deserve a nod for providing significant updates to their older headsets, Samsung updated its original Galaxy Buds to support Spotify integration and Jabra updated its Elite 75t with ANC.

Are the Jabra Elite 75t or Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus better for phone calls?

More and more of us spend our time fielding calls directly from our headphones or earbuds, so it makes sense to want the best microphone quality possible. Whether you go with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus or the Jabra Elite 75t, you’re buying into a great microphone system.

Jabra Elite 75t microphone demo:

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo:

As you may hear from the demos above, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus do a better job of relaying accurate vocal transmission, though they do so without amplifying the speaker at all. On the other hand, the Jabra Elite Active 75t four-microphone array filters out ambient noise, and does a much better job of reducing wind noise than the Galaxy Buds Plus.

Ultimately, the Jabra earphones have the better mic setup for most of us. Even if you’re working from home in a relatively quiet environment, background noise like roommates or washing machines is nullified more effectively.

Connection stability and Bluetooth codecs

Adam Molina / Android Authority

Samsung and Jabra’s earphones both use Bluetooth 5.0 firmware, which facilitates efficient power consumption, and neither headset supports aptX for reliable high-quality audio on Android devices. That said, listeners with Samsung devices do benefit from the Samsung scalable codec, which is supported by the Galaxy Buds Plus. This essentially acts like aptX adaptive by constantly scaling for optimal audio quality and connection stability.

Both the Buds Plus and Elite 75t support AAC for consistent high-quality performance on iOS devices, and of course, there’s SBC as a fallback Bluetooth codec. Only the Jabra Elite 75t may be connected to two devices at a time with Bluetooth multipoint support. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus switches very quickly between devices, but the earbuds don’t afford the same functionality.

Since Samsung’s codec is limited to Samsung devices and can’t be streamed with the Galaxy Buds Plus if used on a Google Pixel, for example, and Jabra’s has the useful feature of connecting to two devices simultaneously, we’re giving this section to Jabra.

Which earbuds have better battery life?

Lily Katz / Android Authority

This category is the easiest to measure. The Jabra Elite 75t last 7 hours, 14 minutes on a single charge while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus get away with an extraordinary 11 hours, 44 minutes.

The Jabra charging case provides an additional 2.73 charge cycles totalling almost 28 hours of playback, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus case only provides one extra charge cycle. Both support quick charging: 15 minutes of charging the Elite 75t yields one hour of listening, while just three minutes in the Buds Plus case supplies an hour of playtime. Both cases use USB-C charging, and take nearly 2.5 hours to fully recharge. Only Samsung’s includes wireless charging by default.

This comes down to what you prioritize: would you rather have more on-the-go listening time, or more single-use listening time? For most people, either headset provides more than enough battery life but we’re giving this to the Galaxy Buds Plus for having exceptional battery life and supporting wireless charging.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus favor accuracy, while the Jabra Elite 75t are for bassheads

Both Jabra and Samsung’s true wireless headsets use cutting edge technology, and while these are multifunction devices, they’re ultimately earphones. To compare the two true wireless headsets in the sound quality section, we used the default sound settings without any equalizer adjustments.Let’s look at how each headset sounds, and why one sound may be preferable to the other.

We have charts to illustrate data for the earbuds’ frequency responses. The closer the solid, colored line falls against the dotted red line, the more accurate a headset’s sound signature is. In a perfect world, if you’re looking strictly for accurate audio reproduction, there will be a complete overlap between the two lines, but that’s not really possible. Technical limitations aside, not everyone wants a neutral sound signature: some people love booming bass, while others like amplified mids.

The Jabra Elite 75t heavily exaggerate low notes, which is great if you want to stay pumped during your workout, but can be detrimental to overall sound reproduction. Since sub-bass and bass notes are relayed two to three times louder than they’re engineered to sound. SoundGuys Editor Adam Molina felt this heavy-handed approach to the bass notes was fatiguing for daily listening. However, the benefit to Jabra’s app is that you can easily equalize this to reduce the low-end impact. Midrange notes sound good in a vacuum, but because of the strong bass emphasis, it’s very difficult to hear vocal and instrumental detail.

Lily Katz / Android Authority

The Galaxy Buds Plus, on the other hand, are tuned by AKG and have a much more tempered bass response. Listeners with a more eclectic music collection beyond the most popular genres will appreciate how well the Buds Plus reproduce sound. Again, the mild bass amplification is nice as it adds a bit more of a rumble to bass-heavy musical sections without making it hard to perceive other instruments.

Neither headset does a particularly stellar job of blocking out background noise, so if you’re on a subway platform listening to music, you’re bound to experience auditory masking. This is when a loud sound makes it very difficult to hear a relatively quiet one. Coincidentally, this is also why it’s hard to hear musical detail from the Elite 75t.

Listeners who don’t want to fiddle with EQ presets or create their own personalized sounds should get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, but others may be fine experimenting with the software tools Jabra offers.

The Jabra Elite 75t have noise-cancelling

The Jabra Elite 75t received a software update in the fall of 2020, that enabled active noise-cancelling (ANC). The update is free but the ANC performance isn’t anything special. You won’t notice much of a difference as you toggle it on and off, but it is a nice addition to the headset. The earbuds’ midrange isolation is excellent, and surpasses that of most consumer earbuds.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds also have great isolation when it comes to high-frequency sounds, but the Elite 75t are better for commuting. If you want a pair of Samsung earphones with noise-cancelling, check out the Galaxy Buds Pro. These earbuds are more compact than Jabra’s and boast very good ANC along with an IPX7 rating.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Jabra Elite 75t: Final thoughts

Lily Katz / Android Authority

If we were to officially tally up each category, we’d come to a draw. While this isn’t the clean-cut conclusion everyone likes to see, it speaks volumes about where the consumer audio industry is: most products are very good, and true wireless technology has radically improved since its debut. Going off price alone, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are the more economical earbuds and cost $149 new — making them significantly cheaper than the $179 Jabra Elite 75t. That said, if you have a particular use case in mind, one headset is objectively better than the other, especially if you want to give noise-cancelling a shot.

Athletes should pick up the Jabra Elite 75t, for these earbuds are significantly more durable than the Galaxy Buds Plus. Although I personally love the Buds Plus for their comfortable fit and extremely compact case, I’m not comfortable using them with chalked-up hands when rock climbing — that’s where Jabra’s IP55-rated earphones come in handy. Anyone who takes hands-free calls when outside or in a space with substantial background noise will benefit more from the Jabra Elite 75t microphone array, because of how well it rejects background noise.

Jabra Elite 75t

Tough earbuds for every day.

The Jabra Elite 75t true wireless earbuds will make even the most tech-wary person enjoy them. That's thanks to the clean sound, IP55 rating for water and dust resistance, and small design for comfortable listening sessions. The 7.5-hour battery life of the earbuds and 20.5-hour battery life of the case will keep the technophobe in your life listening all day.

$149.99 at Amazon

The biggest advantage of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus is its Wireless PowerShare feature, which is exclusive to Samsung devices, and its superb standalone battery life. What’s more, microphone quality is good, but degrades when speaking from a noisy setting. When picking for yourself, between the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Jabra Elite 75t headsets, you’ll have to determine what you prioritize. What’s best for me between these true wireless headphones may not be best for you.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus

Compact true wireless earbuds with neat tricks up its sleeves

The new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus boast the same design as the originals, now with improved battery life, Spotify integration, and quicker fast charging.

$149.00 at Samsung

Both of these true wireless headsets can be found heavily discounted during Black Friday, so no matter which you pick, you’re bound to get a good deal.

If the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Jabra Elite 75t aren’t for you

Alternatively, you may have come to the conclusion from this Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vs Jabra Elite 75t breakdown that neither pick is for you. If that’s the case, you’re in luck: true wireless earbuds have struck a chord with consumers and are here to stay, meaning your options are boundless.

iPhone users should consider the Beats PowerBeats Pro or Apple AirPods Pro

Anyone leaning toward the Jabra Elite 75t yet feel something’s missing should look into the Beats Powerbeats Pro. These true wireless earbuds use an earhook design that keeps the earbuds in place during all sorts of movement. Whether you’re out gardening in the yard or training for your first half marathon, the PowerBeats Pro are going to stay in your ear. They use the same H1 chip as the AirPods (2019) and AirPods Pro, so you’re afforded hands-free access to Siri and excellent battery life. A cheaper model of this: the Beats Powerbeats.

Related:Beats Powerbeats review (SoundGuys)

The Apple AirPods Pro is an expensive alternative to the main headsets we looked at today, but they’re worth it for iPhone owners in need of portable active noise-cancelling earphones. Battery life is about average, which is great considering how much power needs to be drawn for the earbuds to operate. Users benefit from a streamlined experience that was unmatched until the new Pixel Buds came along.

The Google Pixel Buds are feature-packed

Android users who need an Apple-like experience on their smartphones should dig into the Google Pixel Buds (2020): these boast nearly the same immediate pairing process as the AirPods do on Apple’s devices, and afford direct voice access to Google Assistant. The earbuds are IPX4-rated, and can withstand your workouts; plus, they’re structured to stay in place due to the concha wing tips. Just like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, the new Pixel Buds package includes a USB-C case that supports wireless charging.

Perhaps none of these alternatives fit your needs; in that case, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of sub-$100 true wireless earbuds available. One of our favorites is the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2. The microphone array is great for phone and conference calls while the SoundCore app is useful for anyone looking to equalize the premade sound. The earphones support aptX and AAC for high-quality streaming, and the case can be charged wirelessly.

VSAudio, Samsung

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If your Samsung Galaxy Buds are very quiet even when you turn the volume up, you are not alone. There are actually quite a few reasons why that might be happening, so don’t worry. So, here are some of the reasons why your Galaxy Buds are quiet. 

The most common reason is that the volume of the phone and the earbuds are not set to max. Your phone and the earbuds actually have separate volume controls. A less common reason is that the earbuds are low on battery or they could be dirty or even damaged. If the earbuds are new, then they should not be damaged or dirty, but the battery could be a problem. 

So, here are some methods that you can use to make your Samsung Galaxy Buds loud again. Make sure that you do all methods until your problem is gone as they are not related. Let’s get started! 

How to Fix Quiet Samsung Galaxy Buds:

1. Make Sure They Sit Comfortably

Before you even try doing anything else, you have to be sure that you are using the Galaxy Buds correctly. The wing tips should be facing upwards and you should have a snug fit. If you can’t get it right as soon as you put them into your ears, you can rotate them slightly until you get a perfect seal. 

This will ensure that no audio is leaking out and that you are actually getting the volume that you expect. When the seal is not perfect on an in-ear style earbud, the sound leakage can get pretty bad. So make sure that your earbuds are always sitting comfortably in both ears. 

2. Adjust the Volume

As hinted above, the volume of your phone and your earbuds is separated. Changing the volume on your phone is easy. You just have to press the volume up button or turn the slider up to the maximum. Make sure that it is actually controlling the Bluetooth volume, not your device volume, though. 

And to change the volume on your Galaxy Buds, you will have to set up touchpad commands. Here is how to do it: 

  1. Download and install the Galaxy Wearable app. Once installed, open it and press on the Touchpad / Touch and hold option. 
  1. Choose the left or right earbud. 
  1. Choose the control that you want. In this case, it would be Volume up. 
  1. You can also completely disable the Galaxy Buds touchpads, but then you will have to control the volume using your phone. Also, it may get bugged, so play around with it. 

And if you have the Galaxy Buds+, you can change the volume using the earbud tips, regardless of touchpad commands. You just go to Labs in the app and turn on Double tap earbud edge

3. Turn off Media Volume Limiter

This is the feature that almost all modern smartphones have. It is supposed to prevent the earbuds from getting too loud because you can damage your hearing with loud sounds. However, the media volume limiter is not really essential for the vast majority, especially if you already have a problem with quiet earbuds. 

If you wish to disable the media volume limiter on your Samsung phone, this is how it’s done (Other phone brands should be using a similar method): 

  1. Go to Settings and find Sounds and vibration. 
  1. Open Volume and go to More options. 
  1. Turn off the Media volume limit by tapping the switch. 
  1. Other Android phones call this option “Disable absolute volume”. You can find it under Settings – Developer options. To enable developer on your phone, you can check the phone brand’s official website, but it’s usually turned on by tapping the Build number in the About phone section. 

Now you can turn the volume up way more and listen to music and watch videos without any struggle. Make sure that you take good care of your hearing and that you don’t turn the volume up too much because it can be harmful. 

4. Check the Battery

If your Samsung Galaxy Buds are low on battery, then the volume could be lower as a result of that. You will have to charge the earbuds. The best way to check the battery level of your earbuds is through the Galaxy Wearable app. 

You can also check the battery life by inserting the earbuds into the case. The indicator light is either on the front or rear side of the case. 

5. Check the Microphone

If your playback volume is fine but instead nobody can hear you during calls, then it’s your microphone. While you can’t really change the volume of your microphone through the app or phone settings, you can make sure that the microphone isn’t muted. 

This often happens during calls if you accidentally tap and hold your touchpad. So, you can use the same way that you accidentally muted the microphone to unmute it. Simply touch and hold your touchpad and the microphone should be unmuted. 

6. Inspect for Dirt and Damage

If you have been using your Samsung Galaxy Buds for a while now, then they have likely built up some dirt. They might even be damaged. You have to clean your earbuds regularly to prevent the build-up of earwax, dust, and other tiny particles. They make the earbuds much quieter over time. 

To clean your Galaxy Buds, remove the earbud tip and wash it separately using water and soap. You can clean the earbud mesh using a cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol. Be gentle because if you force the dust in through the mesh, it will be permanently stuck there. If you have the Galaxy Buds Pro, clean the air ducts using the same method as well. 

When you have finished cleaning, allow the earbuds to dry in the open air. Once your ear tips and earbuds are completely dry, put the ear tips back on gently so that you don’t tear them. 

To inspect your earbuds for damage, check if the case has any cracks, loose, or broken parts. If it does, then maybe your earbuds got damaged as well. And inspecting your earbuds for damage is not difficult either. If there are any cracks, chips, or other obvious damage on the earbuds from falling, then the impact could have damaged the earbud functions as well. 

And if the earbuds have fallen into water and have suffered water damage as a result, then you can’t really check for that. 

7. Restart Your Phone and Earbuds

Last but not least, the most obvious solution might be the best one after all. Reboot your phone by holding the power button. And restart your earbuds by following the manual. 

Final Thoughts

If your Samsung Galaxy Buds are quiet, then there are many steps that you can take to fix them. The most common issue that Galaxy Buds users experience is the one with touchpad controls. But if you know for a fact that the touchpad controls work well, then you can try other methods. You can try restarting and repairing the earbuds and your phone multiple times before giving up and make sure that your earbuds are always charged. Good luck! 

Galaxy Buds Pro: How to Wear \u0026 Care - Samsung

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro shown in black Comments

Samsung please give us bronze colour also

  • Anonymous
  • myj

GregLu, 10 Dec 2020I'm the only one that prefer the oval shape of the Buds / Buds+ ?Me to

If they are like the Buds+ they will most likely be fabulous but if they are like the Live Buds then I will not be purchasing them. As an owner of the Buds, Buds+ (own 2 pairs) & then Live, you can see i am avid Samsung fan. Well got the Live earbuds when I got pre ordered the note 20 ultra, this was replacing Note 10 plus & buds+, which replaced note 9 plus & buds, see told u I was samsung fan, I hated the Live ear buds. They were hard to operate they were awkward and just not user friendly. There was no ambient sound feature, they did stay in a little better as no seal is made like on the bud+. But sometimes sound would be super muted. So hope the Buds Pro stay more like Buds+. From looks its hard to say cause finding place that controlled answering calls & changing music etc was hard to find on Live & was more defined area on bud+, & looks like they rounded it more towards Live appearance.

  • Markobarko
  • 3pu

Now this is polished product worth buying. It took time, I hope it delivers.

  • Anonymous
  • keG

The ultimate question for me is whether these will use little earfins like the Galaxy Buds Plus. These are pretty crucial for me for workouts and such.

Lightning2.0, 10 Dec 2020Interesting lip on the back side of the tray. Wonder what that's for.Probably just made to fill up the emtpy space since the case is carried over from the Buds Live

GregLu, 10 Dec 2020I'm the only one that prefer the oval shape of the Buds / Buds+ ?no :)


I'm the only one that prefer the oval shape of the Buds / Buds+ ?

Wow, who would've thought that they'd come in black!

Interesting lip on the back side of the tray. Wonder what that's for.


Buds mute call galaxy

Samsung's new $199 Galaxy Buds Pro will turn off ANC when you start talking

The battle for your ears continues. Alongside announcing three new Galaxy S21 models, Samsung Thursday announced the Galaxy Buds Pro. The completely wireless earbuds are available starting Jan. 14 for $199 directly from Samsung and will be in retail stores starting Friday, Jan. 15.

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They have a familiar look, using the Galaxy Buds Live core design, but with some minor tweaks. There are three microphones in total, along with an 11mm woofer and a 6.5mm tweeter.

Battery life comes in at around 5 hours on a single charge, or 18 hours when you include the battery life boost from the case. That's with ANC enabled. With it turned off, you're looking at 8 hours on a single charge, and 28 hours total, according to Samsung.

One of the core new features that give the Buds Pro their "pro" name is a new Intelligent ANC feature. Instead of an on/off switch for active noise cancellation that blocks environmental noise, Intelligent ANC on the Buds Pro can detect when you start talking and will turn on ambient sound as well as turn down your music so you can hear a person talking.

When you're done talking, Buds Pro will turn ANC back on and resume playing your music at full volume.

It's a feature that AirPods Pro, or even the super expensive AirPods Max, currently lack.

The Buds Pro also gained a new automatic switching feature that will switch between Samsung devices automatically, based on what you're doing. For example, when watching a movie on a tablet and you get a phone call on a Galaxy S21, the Buds Pro will switch from the tablet to the phone without any interaction on your part. Of course, they'll also switch back to the tablet automatically.

The Buds Pro have a water resistance rating of IPX7, so you can wear them while working out and shouldn't have to worry about sweat damaging them.

The Buds Pro will come in three colors: Phantom violet, phantom black, and phantom silver. The same colors that some of the Galaxy S21 models come in at launch.

Again, you can order the Galaxy Buds Pro right now from Samsung, or find them in retailers on Friday.  

Place your pre-order or buy now:

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review

Someone get the can opener, because the beans are in. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have attracted plenty of media attention for their kidney bean-shaped design, and rightfully so: these non-sealing, noise cancelling earbuds are unlike any other earbuds on the market. Samsung may have bitten off more than it can chew with the Galaxy Buds Live, so we’re going to see how these buds held up in the real world. Grab your spoons, and let’s dig in.

Editor’s note: this Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review was updated on July 26, 2021, to update scoring, add context to the battery life section.

Who should get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live?

Opening the charging case for the first time felt like digging into a new pair of earrings.

  • Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners will benefit the most from the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, because the company’s handsets support the Samsung Scalable Codec for optimal audio quality and connection stability. Samsung smartphone users also get to use Wireless PowerShare; otherwise, the experience is very similar on Android and iOS.
  • Anyone considering the AirPods should get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live instead. These have the same open-air fit that allows you to remain aware of your surroundings, but don’t fall out of your ears.

What are the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live like to use?

Each earbud is absolutely packed with sensors and vents.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are meant to afford a luxurious and simple user experience, which is generally the case. Your first interaction with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live isn’t with the earbuds at all; rather, the experience starts with the squared-off, plastic charging case. Don’t let the material choice turn you off to the buds, though: it has a nice sheen and semi-matte finish that makes it enjoyable to use, especially compared to the glossy veneer of the Galaxy Buds Live. No buttons exist on the or in the case, just two LEDs to indicate the case and earbuds’ respective battery levels.

Each half of the jewelry box-inspired charging case has a lip that makes it very easy to open the case with one or both hands. Samsung added an extra reflective finish to the Mystic Bronze color variant, but the Mystic Black, Mystic White, and Mystic Red options are treated with the same glossy finish. When I opened the earbuds for the first time, it felt like I’d just unboxed a pair of earrings or a ring box.

Magnets keep the earbuds in place, which allowed me to be imprecise about dropping the buds into their cutouts. Sometimes, though, I had to push the earbuds up, so the contacts would touch the pin connectors for charging.

How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live fit?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live don’t look like they should stay in place, but they do.

Now, onto the earbuds. They’re shaped like beans, and I was skeptical about the fit. The earbuds lack ear tips, which means they don’t seal to your ear canal and passively block background noise out. Knowing that, I thought these would be even less comfortable and less stable than the AirPods, which I can’t wear. Yet, I was happily proven wrong: the Galaxy Buds Live stayed in my ears during an assortment of exercises like rock climbing, and running. No matter how much I jumped or shook my head, they never fell out.

You may like: Samsung Galaxy Buds vs Apple AirPods

They weren’t always comfortable: the one-size-fits-all approach is nice in theory, but leaves a lot of us unsatisfied. After 1.5 hours, I had to remove the earbuds, because my outer ears were a little sore. This happened whether I used the small or large-sized ear stays. There’s a learning curve to placing the earbuds in correctly, but it soon becomes rote memory. If you’re unsure of how to install the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, Samsung provides directions on how to wear them in the Galaxy Wearable application.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live chipped away at my skepticism, and proved to be a fine pair of buds for the right consumer.

Touch panels make it easy to operate controls without reaching for your phone, and someone out there is could be excited to know that direct voice access to Bixby is here. Non-Samsung users can control media playback, make volume adjustments, and toggle noise-cancelling all from the headset. The inward-facing IR sensors also detect when the earbuds are in and out of your ears, which allows for auto-pause functionality. To resume playback, you must tap either earbud. Automatic ear detection isn’t the Galaxy Buds’ strong suit, and pales in comparison to the OnePlus Buds’ response time. If you want to remap any of the controls or delve further into the earphones’ feature set, get the companion app.

Should you get the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app?

You can use the Galaxy Wearable app for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Buds Plus.

The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app is worth downloading if only for firmware update access. You may also select from six EQ presets (Normal, Bass boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear, and Treble boost), remap the touch controls, enable incoming notifications to be read aloud, toggle hands-free Bixby access on/off, and enter the Galaxy Labs tab where Samsung stores experimental features.

Galaxy Labs is where you’ll find Gaming mode which minimizes audio-visual lag, perfect for gaming and video streaming. Labs also has an ambient sound option that is supposed to mitigate that clogged-ear feeling. Of course, you can also update the earbuds’ software and take a guided tour of your earbuds via the illustrated user manual.

Learn more: Headphones are collecting too much personal data

iOS and Android users can access the app, but some features are limited to Android (e.g. direct Spotify access, and notification readouts). Only Samsung Galaxy devices support hands-free, direct Bixby access with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live noise cancelling works

Because testing an unsealed ear necessarily introduces a type of selection bias, we’ve opted to hold off on publishing measurements on the ANC performance of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Instead we will post scores, but no charts. We absolutely do not want this kind of thing passed around until we can verify a range of reasonably representative outcomes in normal use. The problem is twofold: because the earphones don’t seal the ear, a number of variables we can’t control (like the size and shape of your ear, distance of the Buds to your ear canal, etc.) will dramatically change the performance for you—much more so than earphones that seal the ear canal. Because whatever chart we posted would not reflect your experience, its utility is very limited here.

While the noise cancelling doesn’t meet the hubristic claim of muting 0-600Hz frequencies, the technology quiets low-frequency noises to the point where they sound about 1/2 as loud as they would without ANC enabled. The ability to dispel low frequencies without a proper seal is no small achievement: having an unsealed ear canal makes it nearly impossible to combat outside noise in real time. Let’s not mince words—the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live’s noise cancelling performance is nowhere near the best, but it is impressive when you consider the conditions it operates under. The software has to work much harder to reduce background noise without the help of good passive isolation.

Samsung braved new ground with its earbuds, and took a risk in a time when everyone is following Apple's lead.

The noise cancelling performance is impressive given the conditions, but there’s no getting around the fact that passive isolation is the cornerstone of all the best cancelling headsets, and that requires a proper seal to form between the earbuds and your ear canal. If said seal isn’t created, well, that introduces outside noise to your music. No matter how effective a noise cancellation system is, it can’t completely make up for a tenuous fit.

I prefer traditional noise cancelling earbuds, but I understood the Galaxy Buds Live’s appeal most when walking around. I really enjoy being able to hear my surroundings without any sort of software passthrough, which normally sounds unnatural and grating. Even then, I didn’t notice a big difference between enabling and disabling noise-cancelling, I just really enjoyed the fit.

You can learn about the ins and outs of feedforward and feedback noise cancelling, but all you have to know from this Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review is this: the noise cancelling works, but will not mute your surroundings.

How to pair the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live on Android

As long as Bluetooth is enabled on your Android phone, the Galaxy Buds Live will send a pop-up request to initiate pairing.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus streamlines the pairing process with Android devices running Android 5.0 and later, much like the Google Pixel Buds (2020). All you have to do to pair the earbuds is enable Bluetooth on your Android smartphone, and open the charging case. A pop-up card will appear and read, “My Galaxy Buds Live” at the top. Once you tap “Connect,” a connection will then establish between your smartphone and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

Streamlined pairing processes like this make wireless headsets accessible. Even the least tech-savvy among us can get to using the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live right out of the box with little effort.

Unfortunately, the Samsung Galaxy Buds lineup still doesn’t support Bluetooth multipoint, so you must manually switch from one device to another. Device switching is very easy though: just select the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live from the desired source device’s Bluetooth menu. This quick switching requires you to have already established an initial connection between the headset and smartphone, though.

How to pair the earphones with an iPhone

Pairing the Bluetooth earbuds with an iPhone is a bit more involved, but easy nonetheless.

  1. Enable Bluetooth on your iPhone.
  2. Open the charging case.
  3. Select “Galaxy Buds Live” from the list of available devices in your iPhone’s Bluetooth menu.
  4. A connection will then establish between your iPhone and the earbuds.

To enter pairing mode directly from the onboard touch controls, tap-and-hold both touch panels at the same time until a beep resonantes. Then, follow the steps for your respective device.

How good is the connection quality?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live support mono listening.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live uses Bluetooth 5.0 firmware and forgoes aptX support in favor of AAC, which is good news for iPhone users interested in these earbuds. Samsung’s Scalable Codec is also supported, and rather than hopping between static streaming rates, the Scalable Codec operates on a sliding scale from 96-512kbps. It balances sound quality and connection stability, so listeners using a Samsung device experience few if any connection stutters.

This proved true during my review period as I used my personal Samsung Galaxy S10e and experienced only a few hiccups, namely when in my backyard and my phone nearly five meters away from me. When streaming from my Microsoft Surface Book, connection pauses were more prevalent but were generally a non-issue.

Absent aptX support isn’t as big of a deal as you might expect

Although the absence of aptX support is disappointing, its presence wouldn’t have made much of a practical difference: high-quality Bluetooth codecs require all of the basics to be optimized first. In other words, you need to achieve a proper fit with a seal between the earbuds and your ear canal. Music is subjected to plenty of auditory masking: loud external sounds make it hard to perceive relatively quiet sounds, and even quiet ones will impact sound quality to varying degrees.

This means any detail gained by using a high-quality Bluetooth codec to stream your music (compared to SBC) would be rendered null, because environmental noise masks music detail. In this particular instance, AAC, SBC, and the Samsung Scalable Codec are fine for sound quality purposes; no high-quality codec will magically make audio from the Galaxy Buds Live make you forget an audiophile setup.

How good is the battery life?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live lasted 5 hours, 15 minutes on a single charge with noise cancelling enabled. Our testing methodology subjects every audio product to the same rigors: a constant 75dB(SPL) output until battery depletion, so if you listen at quieter volumes, you’re bound to get closer to the specified 6-hour playtime from the earphones. Quick charging the earbuds takes just five minutes for one hour of listening.

Listeners who plan to exclusively listen with ANC enabled will enjoy an additional 2.5 charge cycles from the branded case, while disabling ANC entirely affords approximately 8 hours of standalone playtime and 2.63 extra charge cycles. Samsung’s case retains wireless charging capabilities, and is Qi wireless compliant. You may also top up the case directly from your Samsung Galaxy smartphone via Wireless PowerShare.

Do true wireless earbuds batteries degrade over time?

Samsung hasn’t announced any plan to optimize battery life as Apple has with iOS 14.

This decrease in capacity is exacerbated by the constant deplete-and-recharge nature of true wireless batteries. Most all of us place the earbuds back in the case when we’re not using them. While this makes for a convenient organizational tool, it also means the earbuds are always charging to 100%, and rarely hitting 0%. Right now, most totally wireless earbuds have an expiration date before the two-year mark.  With that in mind, be sure to adjust your budget for earphones accordingly.

Apple is attempting to soften this issue with software: its iOS update now instructs the AirPods line of earbuds to communicate with the case, preventing them from charging beyond 80% capacity, until you plan to use them. This slows down the degradation process by learning your usage habits. If you consistently listen to your earbuds on the train to and from work during the week, the earbuds will only top-up in preparation for that event. That’s just one example of the technology, and it will become familiar with each user’s habits over time.

How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live sound?

Bass notes sound twice as loud as midrange notes, which makes it hard to hear detail from music.

Sound quality is relatively okay from the Galaxy Buds Live, but again: your mileage will vary based on fit, outside noise, and other consequences of an unsealed ear canal. The 12mm dynamic drivers have been tuned by AKG and have a consumer-friendly sound that handles popular genres of music like hip-hop, pop, and rock, but we suggest playing around with the app if you find that the sound isn’t what you want out of the box. Obviously, these are not audiophile products given their likely use, but not everyone needs a set of high-performance audio products when they’re out and about.

We’re going to caution you again to take any charts posted of the measurements with a truckload of salt, because the nature of an unsealed ear canal means that the fit can’t be controlled for. However, the most repeatable result is shown above. On top of that, you’re unlikely hear your music quite as the chart depicts because of how auditory masking works: the loud external noises of your environment make it hard to process the sounds from your music. This happens because our brains have limited bandwidth for auditory processing, and they prioritize threatening sounds (e.g. a screeching car, or a roommate washing dishes) over quieter ones (e.g. music playback). Our brains do this as a means of survival, but it can make it difficult to enjoy music to the fullest when out and about.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (left) have ear tips that help block out background noise more reliably than the Galaxy Buds Live.

The sound is good for general consumers, and falls in line with what we’re accustomed to hearing: amplified bass and high notes. Bass emphasis isn’t as egregious as I expected it to be, though voices are hard to hear during instrumentally busy parts of any song like choruses.

Related: How to read charts

When you’re listening to your music out on the street, or even as your roommate goes about loading up the washing machine, clarity will be lost; your brain will be more focused on picking up those external, loud sounds than on parsing apart tonal resonances.

These bean-shaped buds stayed in my ears while exercising—which didn’t happen when I wore the Apple AirPods.

That said, the familiar sound will attract listeners of all sorts. Bass emphasis like this actually helps your ability to drown out noise near you, given that at your ear canal they’re about 1.5 times louder than low-midrange notes, which masks some instrumental detail and vocal resonances. How AKG tuned these 12mm dynamic drivers won’t give you a surgically-accurate representation of what your music sounds like, but it’s a pretty typical sound target for consumer audio products. If you usually buy your audio products from big box stores, you’ll be at home with this kind of sound that plays kindly with pop, hip-hop, and electronic music.

Lows, mids, and highs

Samsung’s Galaxy Wearable app differs from other companies’ headphone applications.

Angie McMahon’s song Slow Mover begins with a C-F chord riff on electric guitar, and the on the upstroke of the strumming pattern, string-muting is audible, but just barely. This sound is relayed very clearly through the AKG K371 headphones. What’s more, the reverb effect from the guitar amp is also very hard to hear when listening to Slow Mover.

McMahon’s low register is reproduced rather well enough, and her high pitched resonances are reproduced well. To hear this, skip ahead to 1:26, as she sings, “He thinks we can make it work.” Here her pitch raises at the end of the word “work,” and you can hear the squeak of the letter -k. Throughout most of the song, though vocal detail is masked by the accompanying instruments. It’s easy to forget the voice is a sort of string instrument, and has resonances of its own which often fall victim of the Galaxy Buds Live open-type design. Highs were difficult for me to discern during the song’s chorus, too, particularly cymbal hits at 1:58.

How good is the microphone?

All frequencies are relayed with relatively equal loudness, but the sound comes out a bit “hollow.”

Microphone quality is excellent, as Samsung used an advanced array with its noise cancelling true wireless earbuds. Each earbud is decked out with internal hardware, among which are three microphones. Two of the microphones are beam forming and the third is an inward-facing voice pickup unit; this is a fancy name for an accelerometer that detects vibrations from your jawbone and uses bone conduction to turn it into audio signals. All of this combines to transmit clear audio while rejecting background noise. Microphone quality is one of those things that improves over time with firmware updates, so I expect this will only get better as the months pass.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live microphone demo:

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Background noise rejection is pretty good when inside, but like all embedded microphone systems, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live struggle with combating wind noise. If you like to pass personal calls by going on walks, make sure you check the weather first. A gust of wind may not be so loud to you, but could irritate your friend on the other end of the call.

As of March 30, 2021, around 75% of our readers rate the above sample as somewhere between “okay” and “good,” with 22.1% giving it a rating of “okay” and 52.2% giving it a rating of “good.” This is in line with other higher-end true wireless earphones, but the technology is limited at best. We’re not surprised by these results, but all they mean is that the Buds Live are best suited to phone calls and not music production.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs. Apple AirPods

Now, nothing about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live makes sense, because anyone who had a hand in engineering the audio portion of the Galaxy Buds Live knows that noise cancelling is at its most effective with a good seal. Clearly there’s no illusion of that here: the open-fit is marketed as a huge plus, and the noise cancelling promises the best of both worlds. Still it seems an odd move by Samsung, but a calculated one to compete with the AirPods. It had to find a way to regain its foothold in the audio market, and settled on this shiny bean.

The Galaxy Buds Live provide a more stable fit than the AirPods

The earbuds are comfortable at first but may cause outer ear pain to those with smaller ears.

Neither the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live nor the Apple AirPods provide a comfortable all-day fit or award-winning sound quality, but I would recommend the Galaxy Buds Live over the AirPods any day of the week. It all boils down to fit, and the Apple AirPods and nearly any variant of its design fail to stick in my ears. If you’re someone who can run and jump around without them falling out, disregard this: the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live stay in my ears, and the AirPods don’t. It’s as simple as that.

If you want to break down other features, the AirPods don’t have noise cancelling but that’s what the AirPods Pro are for. Sound quality is clearer with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, and are more durable than the AirPods which don’t warrant an IP rating.

Apple’s UI is smoother than Samsung’s

User experience is very smooth on each headset’s main operating system, and microphone quality is similar between headsets. Battery life is better with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, even with noise cancelling enabled. Fast charging is supported by both headsets, and its performed at the same rate. The AirPods (2019) require you to select—and pay more for—the wireless charging case, while Samsung includes that to boot.

For the best look at Sony, Jabra, or the AirPods Pro

If you want Samsung earbuds, just get the Galaxy Buds Pro. Not only will you get more reliably good sound, but you’ll also get better isolation and a better fit, too.


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Alongside its Galaxy S20 lineup, Samsung has introduced the second-gen Galaxy Buds Plus. These completely wireless earbuds have nearly double the battery life of last year's Galaxy Buds, with improved audio quality and another microphone that makes you sound better on a phone call. 

Both versions of the Galaxy Buds look the same and, for the most part, work the same. Below you'll find tips about pairing, controlling playback and adjusting the volume. Most of them apply to both the Buds and Buds Plus, with the latter adding a few extra features

There's not a steep learning curve, but there are several things you can do to get the most out of them. 

Now playing:Watch this: Samsung introduces Galaxy Buds Plus


There's an iPhone app now

The standard Galaxy Buds always worked with the iPhone, but they lacked an app to adjust settings or update their software. To do any of that, you had to use an Android phone. 

The Galaxy Buds Plus, however, have an iPhone app. You'll need to install the app before you can pair your earbuds with an iPhone. Download the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app for iPhone. 

You're out of luck if you have the standard Galaxy Buds -- the new app is only for the Plus model.

Pairing the Buds with your phone

Pairing the Galaxy Buds or Buds Plus with one of Samsung's Galaxy phones is simple: Unlock your phone, open the Galaxy Buds case, tap Connect when prompted. That's it. 

Pairing with an Android phone from another manufacturer, such as Motorola or Google, requires a little more work. Install Samsung's Galaxy Wear app from the Play Store. After it's installed, open the app and the charging case for your Galaxy Buds. Select Galaxy Buds or Buds Plus from the list of devices and follow the prompts. The app will walk you through the steps for approving the connection and installing a Galaxy Buds Plus plugin.

Pairing the Galaxy Buds Plus with an iPhone is somewhat streamlined. After installing the Galaxy Buds Plus app, open the lid to your Galaxy Buds Plus charging case and then open the app. Select Galaxy Buds Plus from the list of devices, then tap on your earbuds in the list of available devices and you're done. 


One tap, two taps, three taps, more?

Both Galaxy Buds will respond to taps and allow you to control music playback or interact with your phone without touching your screen. The number of taps on the middle of the Galaxy Bud will determine what happens:

  • Single tap: Play/Pause
  • Double tap: Play next track/Answer or end call
  • Triple tap: Play previous track
  • Touch and hold: Customizable (see below)

If you tap and hold on either Galaxy Bud when your phone begins ringing, it will decline the call.


Customize the touchpads' actions

You can customize what happens when you touch and hold on either earbud, assigning separate tasks like prompting Google Assistant or Siri to the action. To customize the touchpad actions, open the Galaxy Wearable app, select your earbuds from the list of devices and then select Touchpad.

The standard Galaxy Buds have four potential settings for the tap-and-hold interaction: Voice command, Quick ambient sound, Ambient sound or volume up/down.

The Galaxy Buds Plus have three settings: Voice command, Ambient sound or volume up/down. You also have the option to launch Spotify with a long-press. 

Selecting volume up or down for either earbud will automatically apply the opposite direction of volume control to the other bud. Meaning, if you assign volume down to the left bud, the right bud will change to volume up.

Lock the touchpad

If you find yourself randomly hitting the touchpad and skipping songs or pausing your music, you can lock the touchpads. To lock them, open the Galaxy Wearable app (or the Galaxy Buds Plus app on iPhone) and turn on Lock touchpad in the Touchpad section of the app. 


Check out the Labs

This feature is specific to the Galaxy Buds Plus and it's downright cool. There's a Labs section in the app where you can turn on experimental features for the earbuds. For example, you can adjust the buds' volume by tapping the outside ring of the earbuds instead of using the touchpad. 

There are two different Labs available on the iPhone app: Double tap earbud edge and Extra-high ambient volume. Android users gain a Gaming mode option that decreases the latency between what's on your screen and what you hear. 

I've been using double-tapping to adjust playback volume, and while it took me a few tries to learn exactly where to tap, it's a handy feature and something I plan to leave on indefinitely. 



On the back of the Galaxy Buds case is a USB-C port for charging the case. If you have a Qi-compatible wireless charging pad, you can place the case on the pad and it will charge without any wires. 

You can also use the Galaxy S20's Wireless PowerShare feature to add some extra power to the case while on the go. Battery life on a single charge for the Galaxy Buds should get you around 6 hours of use. Battery life for the Galaxy Buds Plus is around 11 hours. 

View earbud and case battery levels

To view the charge level of the earbuds and the charging case, just open the app on your phone. At the top will be a picture of each earbud and the charging case with their respective charge percentages. Have the charging case open and nearby to ensure the charging case is shown, otherwise just the earbuds will be displays. 

Auto-pause is a nice touch 

If you remove both Galaxy Buds, whatever was playing will automatically pause. It's a built-in feature so you don't have to enable a setting or hidden button beforehand. And, yes, this feature also works with the iPhone. 

Putting the Galaxy Buds back in will not auto-resume whatever you playing, though. You'll need to single tap on either touchpad for that to happen.


Let in ambient sound so you don't miss an announcement

Galaxy Buds will allow you to hear ambient sound around you, say in an airport or while working out. You can either set the touch and hold action to activate Ambient Sound on demand, or you can enable and customize the feature in the Galaxy Wearable app under Ambient Sounds.

If you've got a pair of Galaxy Buds Plus, you can open the app on their phone and turn on Ambient Sound from the main screen. There's even an option to adjust the amount of sound you want to let in. If you've got Galaxy Buds, you'll need to open the app and then select Ambient Sound from the list of options to make adjustments. 

You don't have to use both earbuds

If you want to extend the battery life of the Galaxy Buds, one option is to only use one earbud at a time, leaving the other one in the charging case. 

Outside of extending battery life, this is also an option for those who don't like the ambient sound feature of the Galaxy Buds.

Set up and customize app notifications


When you set up your Galaxy Buds you'll be asked to grant the earbuds access to your phone's notifications. That's because when using the Galaxy Buds, an alert followed by the app name can play in your ear.

In the Galaxy Buds section of the Galaxy Wearable app, select Notifications and customize the list of apps you want to receive alerts for. The content of the notification isn't read to you, instead you'll hear the alert's sound followed by "Messenger" or "Facebook."

Find a lost earbud


Also built into both apps is the ability to help you track down a lost earbud. Your phone will need to be within Bluetooth range of the lost Galaxy Bud, so that may be a nonstarter in some situations. 

Open the app and view your Galaxy Buds. Select Find My Earbuds, then press the green Start button. Both buds will begin playing a sound, getting louder as it plays, in a bid to help you find it.

Check for software updates

Samsung frequently updated the Galaxy Buds, fixing issues and adding new features. There's no reason to believe Samsung won't do the same with the Galaxy Buds Plus. Using either the iPhone or Android app, you can check for and install software updates with just a few taps. 

Open the app and navigate to the Galaxy Buds section. Scroll to the bottom of the list and select Earbuds software update. Next, select Update earbuds software followed by Download and install then follow the prompts. 

If there is an update available, place your earbuds in the charging case and leave it open. The update will download, copy over to your earbuds and then be installed. The entire process takes less than 5 minutes. 

Samsung's Galaxy S20 lineup launches on March 6, with preorders going live on Feb. 21. We can help you decide which model to get. Or if you'd rather get something a little different, check out our living review of the foldable flip phone, the Galaxy Z Flip. 

Originally published last year. Updated with new information.


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