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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro (2021): Comparing Noise-Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds

Arguably, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are the best true wireless earbuds of the South Korean brand yet. After all, they have active noise cancellation (ANC), 360 Audio, and IPX7 water resistance, as well as a decent price point. That begs the question of whether older models such as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are still worth getting or not.

In this Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Pro comparison, we put the two head-to-head on a few important points to help you make a more informed buying decision.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy Buds LiveSamsung Galaxy Buds Pro
 SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds Live True Wireless Earbuds US Version Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Charging...SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds Pro, Bluetooth Earbuds, True Wireless, Noise Cancelling, Charging Case, Quality...
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
FitSemi-openTight in-ear seal
Audio12mm speakersTwo-way 11mm speakers, 6.5mm tweeter
Microphones2 x outer, 1 x inner, voice pick-up unit2 x outer, 1 x inner, voice pick-up unit
Active Noise CancellationYesYes
Ambient Aware ModeNoYes
Water ResistanceIPX2IPX7
BatteryUp to 7.5 hours (up to 28 hours with case)Up to 8 hours (up to 28 hours with case)
Charging10 minutes for 1 hour and 30 minutes of playtime, wireless charging supported10 minutes for 1 hour and 45 minutes of playtime, wireless charging supported
ColorsMystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic WhitePhantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Violet

Design and Fit

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live may be more comfortable, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have a more secure fit.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro Design and Fit
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left) have a semi-open fit, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (right) are in-ear.

Right off the bat, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have a more traditional design than the bean-shaped Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. They’re similar to previous iterations like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, but they have improved tips and air vents that should prevent pressure build-up in your ears.

Beyond aesthetics, the Galaxy Buds Live in-ear headphones are different in that they have a semi-open fit. That means they aren’t as secure and have little to no passive isolation, so it’s no surprise that sound will leak. Its ANC isn’t as effective because of that too, but its form factor makes for a comfortable wear. For one thing, they don’t form a tight seal in your ear, so you won’t feel like they’re “clogging” your ears. In fact, it’s noticeably comfier than the Galaxy Buds Pro.

Where the Galaxy Buds Pro have a clear advantage is water resistance. Sporting an IPX7 rating, they can be worn while exercising or in the rain. Needless to say, there’s no need to worry about liquid spilling on them, and they can even be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of one meter. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Buds Live only have IPX2, so you have to be extra careful with them since they can only survive dripping water from a certain angle.

As for color options, the Galaxy Buds Live come in Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, and Mystic White, while the Galaxy Buds Pro are available in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, and Phantom Violet.

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

Audio Performance

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sound better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro Audio Performance
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (in photo) deliver a balanced listening experience.

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro has got the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live beat. For starters, they have a two-way setup with 11mm speakers and a 6.5 tweeter for high frequencies, producing a balanced sound profile. On the other hand, the latter may have slightly larger 12mm speakers, but it lacks a tweeter and only has a single-driver design.

Both have Bluetooth 5.0 and support the same codecs: AAC, SBC, and SSC. The last of which stands for Samsung Scalable Codec, the company’s proprietary tech that lets the bit-rate change depending on connection strength to keep audio nice and steady, even with a weak signal.

Noise Cancellation

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have better noise canceling than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro Noise Cancellation
Compared to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (left), the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro (right) do a better job at blocking out noise.

Now the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live may be the company’s first pair of earbuds with ANC, but as noted, they’re not that good in this department because of their semi-open design. 

Owing to their in-ear fit, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are definitely better here, but they’re not the best in the game. They’re pretty decent in blocking out low-frequency sounds, but it’s a different story with high frequencies like whistles. And that’s when their ANC level is set to High as opposed to Low, which is configurable via the Galaxy Wearable app. For the record, there’s an optional feature that lets them adjust the level of ANC on their own depending on what you’re doing and your environment.

Along a similar vein, the Galaxy Buds Pro’s ambient mode has four levels to choose from: Low, Medium, High, and Extra High. They don’t really stand out in this regard, but they work as advertised. They do have a Detect Conversations feature that allows them to automatically go into ambient mode when they pick up your voice so you can have a conversation and return to ANC mode afterward. 

It goes without saying that the Galaxy Buds Live don’t have an ambient mode, but that’s because there’s no need for it since you’ll be able to hear external sounds with them on.

Battery and Other Features

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro pack more features than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.

Galaxy Buds Live vs Galaxy Buds Pro Battery and Other Features
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro’s (in photo) Automatic Switching feature lets you switch between Samsung Galaxy devices seamlessly.

On a single charge, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro can last up to 8 hours, while the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live last up to 7.5 hours. That’s only for the buds themselves. Including the juice available in their cases, they can both go up to 28 hours in total. With 10 minutes of charging, you’ll get an hour and 45 minutes of playback with the former and an hour and 30 minutes with the latter. The two are also compatible with QI wireless chargers.

Both earbuds have a Game Mode, which basically reduces audio latency when you’re gaming. However, only the Galaxy Buds Pro have 360 Audio. It’s a feature that aims to provide a more immersive listening experience by firing sound from all directions so you’d “feel like you’re right in the scene,” according to Samsung. But take note that it’s exclusive to Galaxy smartphones and tablets.

Moreover, the Galaxy Buds Pro have Automatic Switching, and as its name suggests, it lets you seamlessly switch from one Galaxy device to another. For example, if you’re watching Netflix on your, say, Galaxy S6 Lite and then you receive a call on your Galaxy S21, you can pick up the call without using your smartphone. After the call, the earbuds will connect back to the tablet to boot.

Click here for our comparison between the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 and S6 Lite.

Verdict

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are better than the Galaxy Buds Live across the board.

Considering all the new features and improvements the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have, there’s arguably no reason to get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, unless their comfortable bean-shaped design appeals more to you. Still, that isn’t really enough to tilt the scales to their favor since it doesn’t outweigh the Galaxy Buds Pro’s better audio, stronger water resistance, superior ANC, Automatic Switching, 360 Audio, and slightly longer battery life.

FAQs

📌 Are Galaxy Buds Live noise canceling?

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

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

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have more features and outperform the Galaxy Buds Live in many ways. They have better audio quality and active noise cancellation, an IPX7 water resistance compared to IPX2, and 8 hours of battery life instead of 7.5 hours on a single charge.

📌 Are Galaxy Buds Pro noise canceling?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro have active noise cancellation, as well as an ambient mode. They also have a Detect Conversation feature, where they automatically switch from ANC to ambient mode if they hear you talking and turn on ANC again after your conversation.

📌 Are Galaxy Buds Pro worth it?

Yes, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are better than their predecessors by a mile. They have decent audio quality, an IPX7 water resistance, and 8 hours of battery life, as well as a slew of features like active noise cancellation, Automatic Switching, and 360 Audio, among other things.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / 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.