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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus (2021): Which True Wireless Earbuds Are Better?

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are one of the company’s better-performing true wireless earbuds, but they’re “basic” in the sense that they don’t stand out in any meaningful way. On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are sort of a polar opposite. After all, they’re the South Korean brand’s first pair with active noise cancellation (ANC), and in comparison, they look drastically different with their kidney bean design.

On that note, we put the two side by side in this Galaxy Buds Live vs Buds Plus comparison to clear up which one is better—and, of course, which one will give you a better bang for your buck.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Buds LiveSamsung Galaxy Buds Plus
 Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, True Wireless Earbuds W/Active Noise Cancelling (Wireless Charging Case...SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds+ Plus, True Wireless Earbuds (Wireless Charging Case Included), Black –...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
FitSemi-openIn-ear
Speakers12mmTwo-way dual dynamic
Microphones2 x outer, 1 x inner, voice pick-up unit2 x outer, 1 x inner
Active Noise CancellationYesNo
Ambient Aware ModeNoYes
Water ResistanceIPX2IPX2
BatteryUp to 7.5 hours (up to 28 hours with case)Up to 11 hours (up to 22 hours with case)
Charging10 minutes for 1 hour and 30 minutes of playtime, wireless charging supported10 minutes for 2 hours of playtime, wireless charging supported
ColorsMystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic WhiteBlack, White, Blue, Red

Design

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are comfier to wear for longer periods than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus Design
Compared to the bean-shaped Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left), the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (right) have a more typical design.

One of the first things you’ll notice is the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a square charging case, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus’ is oblong, which is more traditional for true wireless earbuds.

Along a similar vein, the Galaxy Buds Live have a bean-shaped form factor, as mentioned earlier. They also have a semi-open fit, and all that makes for a comfortable wear since there’s little to no pressure build-up. However, the trade-off is passive noise isolation is practically nonexistent and sound will definitely leak if you crank up the volume. 

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds Plus are relatively more typical in appearance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Owing to their in-ear design, they have better passive noise isolation since they form a pretty tight seal in your ears.

Both only have IPX2 water resistance, so they can’t be submerged in water at all. They can be worn while working out, though, but you’ll have to be careful not to get them too wet. As for options, Galaxy Buds Live colors include Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White. The Galaxy Buds Plus are available in more flavors: Black, White, Blue, and Red.

Audio

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live sound a whole deal better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus Audio
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left) are better for calls than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (right).

Under the hood, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have 12mm speakers, and in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus’ case, the company only says they have two-way dual dynamic speakers. At any rate, the former has the upper hand here, delivering richer bass and clearer highs than the latter. 

Both do have six EQ presets to choose from: Normal, Bass boost, Treble boost, Clear, Soft, and Dynamic. The last of which is more or less a necessity for the Galaxy Buds Plus since they sound way too quiet on Normal but deliver a decent performance on Dynamic. In contrast, the Galaxy Buds Live are loud enough right out of the box, and fine-tuning their EQ based on your preferences can only make them better.

In addition, the Galaxy Buds Live beat the Galaxy Buds Plus in call quality. That’s because they have better microphones that make your voice sound more natural. On the other hand, the latter makes you sound a bit tinny and robotic.

Features

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live may have ANC, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus can block out noise better.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus Features
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left) have ANC, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (right) have an ambient aware mode.

One of the eye-catching Samsung Galaxy Buds Live features is ANC. It’s pretty decent, but it’s hindered by its semi-open fit. Basically, it can’t compare to in-ear counterparts, such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Sure, they can block out low frequencies fairly well, but they can’t do the same for high-frequency sounds.

Now the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus don’t have ANC, but even so, they do a better job at keeping unwanted and external noise out than the Galaxy Buds Live with ANC on. That’s thanks to their passive noise isolation, of course. 

The Galaxy Buds Live don’t have ambient aware mode, but that’s because they don’t need it. In other words, you’ll have no problem hearing people talking while wearing them. In comparison, the Galaxy Buds Plus have ambient aware mode, and they work about as well as you’d expect.

Click here to see our comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Pro.

Battery

Including their cases, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live pack more power than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Plus Battery
The cases of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left) and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (right) have USB Type-C ports and wireless charging.

When it comes to battery life, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. First off, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a longer 28 hours of battery life as opposed to 22 hours if you include the case. However, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus can go up to 11 hours on a single charge instead of 8 hours if you’re only counting the earbuds themselves.

As for quick top-ups, you can get an hour and 30 minutes of playback with the Galaxy Buds Live in 10 minutes, while you can get two hours of juice with the Galaxy Buds Plus in the same charging time.

For the record, both of their charging cases have USB Type-C ports and support QI wireless charging.

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live pack more features and perform better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live win by a sizable margin. They have superior sound quality, ANC (even though it doesn’t work that well), a more comfortable fit, clearer microphones, and a longer total battery life with their case. 

But in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus’ defense, they have better passive noise isolation and are better at keeping noise out even though they don’t have ANC, and the earbuds themselves last longer on a single charge. However, they can’t quite hold a candle to the Galaxy Buds Live’s features and better specs.

FAQs

📌 Are Galaxy Buds Live better than Galaxy Buds Plus?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live best the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus in terms of sound and microphone quality, fit, and total battery life. They have active noise cancellation to boot, even though it leaves a lot to be desired.

📌 Do Galaxy Buds Live fall out?

Assuming you use the proper wingtip size, you shouldn’t have to worry about the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live falling out of your ears.

📌 What’s the difference between Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Plus?

Among the main differences are that the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have a kidney bean shape, a semi-open fit, and a squarish charging case. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus have a more typical in-ear design and oblong charging case.

📌 Are Galaxy Buds Live noise canceling?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live have active noise cancellation, but because of their semi-open fit, it isn’t that effective.

Last update on 2021-06-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.