Samsung is adding a new flagship set of earbuds to its range, with the Galaxy Buds Pro promising active noise cancelation and more as they take on Apple’s AirPods Pro. Unveiled alongside the Galaxy S21 family today, the new earbuds stick with the general bean shape of last year’s Galaxy Buds Live, but with a more natural design that should stick out less from your ears.
Each earbud is IPX7 water-resistant, meaning they’re fine for running in the rain or just plain sweating all over. Inside there’s an 11mm woofer and a 6.5mm tweeter, together with a three microphone system that relies on beam-forming for clearer voice calls.
Samsung is calling that High SNR Wind Shield Sound technology, and it basically relies on two external microphones and one inside the ear to better isolate your speech from background noise. The same hardware also powers the Galaxy Buds Pro’s new active noise cancellation (ANC) system which, the company claims, can cut up to 99-percent of background noise.
Controlled with the Galaxy Wear app, the level of ANC can be adjusted either manually or automatically. Ambient Sound mode, meanwhile, will allow through some degree of external noise, making it easier and safer to navigate through urban environments or co-exist in the workplace. If set to automatic, the Galaxy Buds Pro will be able to intelligently switch ANC settings between the various levels and Ambient Sound mode, optimizing the audio. Start speaking, for example, and the earbuds will pipe through more external audio, then turn it off after you stop.
Similarly promising is Auto Switch multi-pairing. That will allow easier switching between devices, albeit only as long as they’re Galaxy devices with One UI 3.1 or above. Assuming that’s the case, and you’re signed into the same Samsung account on each, the earbuds should automatically shift their active connection between each source.
There’s 360 Audio support, which mimics the effect of multidirectional surround sound with Dolby Head Tracking. Turn your head while listening to content with a surround sound audio track, and you should get the feeling of moving around in relation to multiple speakers. Game Mode has been carried over from the Galaxy Buds Live to trim latency when playing mobile titles, and if you’re recording video with a Galaxy phone you can use both its microphones and those on the Galaxy Buds Pro for clearer ambient and voice pickup.
Samsung says the Galaxy Buds Pro’s battery will last for up to 5 hours of playback with ANC turned on, or 8 hours with it turned off. The charging case will add a further 13 hours of ANC-on playback, or 20 hours more with ANC off. Five minutes charging is sufficient for about an hour of listening, and there’s support for both USB-C and wireless charging of the case itself.
SmartThings Find, the new location-tracking system from Samsung’s smart home platform, is supported to help hunt down missing earbuds. There’ll be three colors to choose between – Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, and Phantom Silver – each priced at $199.99. Sales kick off today from Samsung direct, and from tomorrow across retailers more generally.