Samsung Galaxy Buds Live leaks are flooding the mobile audio tech sphere, and for good reason: the alleged Galaxy Buds Live have a baffling bean-shaped design. We’ve been updating you with leaks on a potentially pushed-up release date, colorways, and more. Now, let’s round-up all that we know and what we expect to see from the anticipated Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on July 27, 2020, to include information about the leaked Galaxy Wearable manual citing information on noise-cancelling, hands-free Bixby access, touch controls, and a wing tip design.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: All the rumors and leaks
A new bean-shaped design with a wing tip
Galaxy Beans pic.twitter.com/uJBO2BZbKB
— WalkingCat (@h0x0d) July 17, 2020
Twitter user @h0x0d revealed a render of the anticipated Galaxy Buds Live depicting white, rose gold, and black color variants. The video ends with text reading, “Keep the noise out. Let the sound in,” a strong suggestion of noise-cancelling technology. It appears each earbud has two contact points for charging, and the case has two LED indicators to communicate case and headset battery life.
The same Twitter account threaded the above image of the Galaxy Buds Live which depicts what appear to be inward and outward-facing vents or microphones, along with a sensor that likely enables automatic ear detection. This image and video are promising, further cementing the revamped Samsung Galaxy Buds X design.
Per the leaked Galaxy Wearable app manual for the Samsung Galaxy Live Buds, the bean-shaped earbuds will include an oblong wing tip that encircles the charging contacts. This should help keep the earbuds in place and facilitate consistent noise-cancelling performance. A disclaimer warns users against wearing the buds without the wing tips, because doing so may be painful.
The Verge shared multiple screenshots of the Galaxy Wearable app walking users through the Samsung Galaxy Buds. The first image instructs users how to properly wear the earbuds for optimal audio quality, and the second tells them how to connect the earbuds. Interestingly, each earbud will make an independent connection to the source device, which should result in a more stable connection and reduced latency. The third card depicts the basic home screen: battery life for the earbuds and charging case, equalizer options. touch controls, find my earbuds, and more. There’s also an active noise-cancelling toggle, which all but confirms the presence of noise cancellation with the upcoming earphones.
This is how you will have to put in your Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (or BEANS).
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24) July 24, 2020
On July 24, 2020, leaker @ishangarwal24 shared an instructional video showing how to properly insert the earbuds for an optimal fit. This was found from the Galaxy Buds Live APK, according to Agarwal.
B E A N S
— Max Weinbach (@MaxWinebach) July 24, 2020
We’ve seen more leaks from Twitter user @MaxWinebach, demonstrating how to pair the earbuds. If you follow the thread of tweets, instructions are shared on how operate touch controls.
The previously cited Galaxy Wearable manual confirms active noise-cancelling, which would pit them directly against the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM3, and Panasonic RZ-S500W. This is some stiff competition for earbuds that don’t appear to seal to the ear canal. The manual also includes directions on how to lock the touch pads, so they don’t register false touches, and how to remap the controls.
All signs point to noise-cancelling technology with these rounded earbuds
Even with the Twitter leaks, you have every right to feel skeptical of the noise-cancelling performance: noise cancellation works best when a physical barrier is created between the listener’s eardrum and the outside world. Most earbuds achieve this with a standard silicone ear tip that creates a weak suction to the ear, thereby passively blocking out external noise. Without this kind of passive isolation, noise-cancelling — no matter how advanced the technology — won’t be very effective.
However, as seen in the leaked image of a woman wearing the Galaxy Buds Live, it appears the earbuds may lodge into the ear canal to create an unconventional blockage. If this is the case, the jury is still out on comfort, but this may be effective enough to facilitate passable noise-cancelling.
Direct voice assistant access and improved mic quality
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are all but guaranteed to have better microphone quality than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. We already saw a huge improvement in call quality from the first-generation Galaxy Buds to the Galaxy Buds Plus, so it only makes sense to see this taken one step further.
Samsung Galaxy Buds microphone demo:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus microphone demo:
Even if microphone noise-reduction or noise-cancelling isn’t included, we could see an improvement to the beamforming microphones used in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Voice clarity improvements would be a welcome upgrade as more and more of us rely on our wireless headphones to field calls, rather than our handsets. The last thing anyone wants during a call is to annoy his boss because of poor voice quality.
WinFuture alludes to Always On Mic (AOM) functionality, which means the microphone is always ready to take commands for Samsung’s assistant, Bixby. Perhaps, though, direct voice assistant access could be expanded to Google Assistant too.
Touch controls and voice access to Bixby
Both earbuds feature a touch area, according to the leaked Galaxy Wearable app manual, and different tap and tap-and-hold combinations perform different functions. According to the manual, these are the expected controls:
- Single-tap: Play or pause a track, and stop the Text-to-Speech feature.
- Double-tap: Skip to the next track, answer or end a call, place a current call on hold and answer an incoming call, switch between a current and held call.
- Triple-tap: Play previous track.
- Tap-and-hold: Activate a custom feature (e.g. active noise cancellation, virtual assistant command, volume adjustment). By default, Samsung sets this to toggle active noise-cancelling, but you may remap it to do something else. This gesture also lets you reject calls.
You may also access Bixby with just your voice by using the wake-up phrase, “Hi Bixby,” if you don’t feel like lifting your hand to the touch panels. This requires a Bixby-enabled devices, like a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. There’s no clear mention of direct voice access to alternative assistants like Google or Alexa.
Live fitness tracking
Per the Galaxy BudsX trademark registration filed back in April, it appears the headset may hearken back to the Samsung Gear IconX by integrating a fitness tracker and a heart rate sensor. The exact verbiage from the filing is as follows, “… central processing unit and software that incorporates and provides fitness guides for users … software for measuring distance, speed, time, change in heart rate, activity level and calories burned.”
The reintroduction of fitness tracking into the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live would be a wise move seeing as many of us rely on at-home exercise regimens. By tracking daily activity such as calories burned, steps taken, heart rate fluctuations, and more, it may make it easier for stay-at-home athletes to achieve fitness goals.
Related: Best workout earbuds
Not all notes included in trademark filings make it to the end product; in which case, there are plenty of fitness trackers and smartwatches to choose from. However, assuming Samsung includes these features in the new Galaxy Buds, greater water-resistance will likely follow: the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are IPX2-rated, which is fine for moderate workouts. For extremely intense exercises or those performed in humid climates, a greater IP rating may be in order.
We may not see better battery life if noise-cancelling is included
Noise-cancelling technology is uniquely power-hungry, and if the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live include it, standalone battery life may last just 4.5 hours according to WinFuture. This may not seem like a lot, but it’s plenty when you consider how the case is expected to allow for 28 hours of combined playback (with noise-cancelling and Always On Mic functionalities disabled). Fast charging is said to be supported too: 3 minutes in the case should supply 35 minutes of playtime, and the case will support Qi wireless charging and be outfitted with a USB-C input. The Galaxy Wearable manual also demonstrates how to charge the Galaxy Buds Live case atop a Samsung Galaxy smartphone and via Qi wireless charger.
According to renders leaked by @MaxWinebach, the charging case’s external LED will have alternate between colors to indicate battery status (red, yellow, green). What’s more, the Galaxy Wearable app will allow users to see the battery levels of each earbud and the charging case.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: Price and release date
WinFuture suggests the earbuds will be priced at $169 USD, which is more expensive than the previous generations’ pricing. We expect to learn of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live official specifications from the Samsung Unpacked event on August 5, alongside the Galaxy Note 20 series. Hopeful news-trackers suspect we may get official word by the end of this month.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live: What we want to see
While the leaks have set high expectations for Samsung’s next-generation true wireless earbuds, there are still some features we hope to see that haven’t been talked about.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live should be able to connect to two devices at a time
Bluetooth multipoint was an anticipated feature of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, and one that we’ve seen properly implemented with the likes of the Jabra Elite 75t and Jabra Elite Active 75t. However, Samsung quietly pulled any mention of dual-device connectivity from the official Galaxy Buds Plus product page upon launch. Perhaps the company will include this useful feature in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, which would make it a very versatile pair of earbuds.
While it will be disappointing to see yet another wireless headset lack the ability to connect to two devices at once, Samsung Dual Audio remains a useful feature on Samsung Galaxy smartphones. It doesn’t completely make up for the lack of multipoint connectivity, but it’s nice to output audio to more than one headset from a single Samsung device.
A non-bean shaped design
Okay, this is a long shot…
The kidney bean earbud renders continue to permeate various corners of the internet. It seems inevitable that this bizarre form factor is what we’re getting, but I sincerely hope that’s not the design Samsung ran with. Tech reviewers across the board lamented the Apple AirPods design for their poor fit, and we’re bound to hear the same complaints with bean-shaped buds that don’t include silicone sleeves.
What features would you like to see for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live? Let us know in the comments.