Galaxy Buds Live aka 'Galaxy Beans': Noise-canceling wireless earbuds for $170
Nicknamed the Galaxy Beans after images leaked in recent weeks, Samsung's new open earbuds feature active noise cancellation.
David CarnoyExecutive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
ExpertiseMobile accessories and portable audio, including headphones, earbuds and speakersCredentials
Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
latest wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Live, haven't exactly been the best-kept secret. Images of the kidney-bean-shaped buds leaked three weeks ago on Twitter and we pretty much saw the full monty when Samsung updated its Galaxy Wear app for
and Android a little ahead of schedule. The only things we didn't know by that point were a few key specs -- like battery life and what they cost -- and how good their sound and noise-canceling function was.
You can read our full review here. They cost $170 (£179, AU$319) and come in three color options -- mystic white, mystic black and mystic bronze. They certainly have a unique look, eat-your-beans jokes aside. Samsung calls them "stylish and ergonomic." They're available today, so you won't have to wait to get your hands on a pair.
, the Galaxy Buds Live have an open design, which means they nestle in your ear and don't require you to jam an ear tip in your ear canal. They come with two sizes of "wingtips" that are designed to help you get a more secure fit.
Samsung calls this particular flavor of noise cancellation "ANC for Open Type." Typically, you need to have a tight seal to get good noise canceling, so it will be interesting to see how effective it actually is.
The previous Samsung headphones, the Galaxy Buds Plus, boasted a solid 11 hours of battery life. The Buds Live aren't quite as tireless, rated for eight hours with noise canceling off and six hours with it on. The compact charging case, which charges wirelessly or via USB-C, provides an additional 2.5 extra charges and a five-minute quick charge gets you an hour of battery life.
Like the Galaxy Buds Plus, the Buds Live are IPX2 water-resistant (they can take a splash from a certain angle). Many earbuds offer better resistance, but these are sweat-resistant and you can work out in them. By comparison, the standard AirPods have no water-resistance rating while the AirPods Pro are IPX4 water-resistant, which means they're fully splashproof.
If you own a Galaxy phone or tablet, you get a couple of extra features, including a low-latency gaming mode. That was available for the Galaxy Buds Plus under the "Labs" section of the app but it's been improved, according to a Samsung spokesperson, and will come in handy for Galaxy Note 20 users who want to play Xbox games from the cloud. Galaxy owners can also use Bixby, Samsung's voice assistant, hands-free without using the Buds' touch controls. Activate it by saying, "Hi, Bixby." You do lose half an hour of battery life if you activate hands-free Bixby, however.