New Render Shows Us The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro’s Design
Samsung only recently launched the third incarnation of its Galaxy line of true wireless earbuds — the Galaxy Buds Live — but it’s already prepping for the fourth generation, according to reports. Listed in a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filing document as the SM-R190L “Buds Pro,” we don’t yet have many details about these new earbuds, like how much they’ll cost, when they’ll be available, or their full specifications. But as we learn more, this is the place we’ll share all of the new details.
Design: Bean or bud?
Some folks really enjoyed the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, but we were disappointed with one their biggest features — active noise cancellation (ANC). Frankly, we weren’t that impressed with the sound quality, either. Samsung took a big risk with the shape of the Buds Live. It avoided the in-ear-canal form that virtually all high-end wireless earbuds use in favor of a more ergonomic, outer-ear-filling bean-like shape. Unfortunately, the risk wasn’t worth it: Even with a subtle silicone fin attached to the backsides of the buds, they couldn’t achieve a decent seal against the ear canal. Without that seal, the Buds Live couldn’t control how much outside sound leaked through, or how much audio leaked out.
Famed leaker^( has posted what he claims are renders of the new buds (including the animation above) and they appear to reinforce an earlier report from SamMobile claiming that Samsung will return to the classic earbud shape of the Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+ — after all, why mess with a proven formula, especially given the poor results of the bean experiment?
Interestingly, despite the apparent move back to an in-ear design, Samsung is keeping the Buds Live charging case with its rounded-corner square shape instead of returning to the capsule-shaped charging case of the Galaxy Buds+.
Active noise cancellation
Names don’t always represent what a product can do, and names can change, especially this early in a product’s life. The “Pro” designation on true wireless earbuds, however, has come to represent one significant difference over the last year. Ever since Apple debuted the AirPods Pro with active noise cancellation (ANC), other manufacturers have followed the trend. JBL’s Club Pro+ are the company’s first ANC-equipped true wireless earbuds, and Earfun uses the Pro designation to indicate the ANC versions of its Earfun Air and Earfun Free models.
If the trend continues with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, these new earbuds will likely also make ANC a major focus.
Some will no doubt point out that the Galaxy Buds Live offer ANC and they don’t bear the Pro label. While this is true, our review of the Galaxy Buds Live showed that the ANC on those earbuds didn’t exactly earn them much praise. “Compared to even the worst noise-canceling we’ve tested in other earbuds,” our reviewer wrote, “the Galaxy Buds Live come in with even less performance: This is the new low.” Ouch.
Price, full specifications, and release date
As for the rest of the details around the Galaxy Buds Pro, we can only speculate. But here are a few educated guesses:
The Galaxy Buds+ are $150, and the Galaxy Buds Live are $170 (when not on sale). Assuming that the Galaxy Buds Pro feature upgrades over both of these models, it’s likely they will debut at $199. That would be the most Samsung has ever charged for a set of Galaxy earbuds, but it’s still well under the $249 price of the AirPods Pro.
The battery capacity as listed on the FCC label appears to show no change from the Galaxy Buds Live in terms of how much juice the earbuds or the charging case can hold (120 mAh total for the earbuds, 500 mAh for the case). We’re guessing that this will translate into identical battery life for the Galaxy Buds Pro: 6 hours with ANC or Bixby Voice Wake-up on, 5.5 hours with ANC and Bixby Voice Wake-up on, and 8 hours if both are turned off.
Wireless charging will stick around, and it would make sense if Samsung continued to leverage its ownership of AKG for more improvements in the sound quality department.
Samsung has historically put water and dust resistance low on its Galaxy earbud priority list, and if the company sticks with the Galaxy Buds Live design, it’s unlikely that will change. We expect the Galaxy Buds Pro will have IPX2 — but possibly IPX4 — protection from water. It’s worth noting that Apple’s AirPods Pro are IPX4.
When will we see the Galaxy Buds Pro surface? Reports suggest they will accompany the launch of the Galaxy S21, which we believe won’t happen until February 2021.