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Samsung's Galaxy Buds 3 Look Like AirPods, But That's Not All That's New

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 3 Look Like AirPods, But That's Not All That's New

In a first for Samsung, its new earbuds, Galaxy Buds 3 And Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, have stems similar to Apple's AirPods. The new buds are more premium, with the open-style Buds 3 priced at $180 and the Buds 3 Pro going for $250, but their “blade” designs give them a more generic look than previous Galaxy Buds models. Both are. Available now for pre-order. And will ship on or after July 24.

I've spent some limited time with the buds, but I haven't had a chance to properly evaluate them yet, so this isn't a complete review. I have some initial impressions on their design and lots of features and specs to talk about.

Read more: Everything was announced at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event.

Galaxy Buds 3, successor to Galaxy Buds Live

Available in white or silver, the Galaxy Buds 3 are open earbuds like standard AirPods. Like Samsung's first open earbuds, Galaxy Buds Live (aka the Beans), the Buds 3 have some active noise cancellation, according to Samsung. I don't expect it to be that effective because ANC doesn't usually work well with open buds. I will be able to comment further on this once I have fully tested the buds.

The Galaxy Buds 3 have an open design and look quite similar to Apple's AirPods 3.

David Carnoy/CNET

Like the AirPods, these are designed for people who don't like to keep their earbuds in their ears and like to listen to the outside world. They are light and comfortable and fit a little more securely than my ears. AirPods 3. Both the Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro feature pinch controls like the latest AirPods (I like their pinch controls), as well as swipe controls to adjust volume levels. Both models also have ear-detection sensors that pause your audio when you take the bud out of your ear and resume playback when you put the bud back in. Finally, you can issue voice commands to control music playback without touching the buds.

Because open earbuds allow ambient sound to leak into your ears and don't offer a tight seal, bass performance can be an issue. The Galaxy Buds 3 have a single 11mm dynamic driver. Their sound quality won't be as good as the Buds 3 Pro, but hopefully it measures up well against what you get with other premium open earbuds.

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The buds' charging case has a translucent top.

David Carnoy/CNET

The Buds 3 are rated for up to 6 hours of battery life with ANC off and up to 5 hours with it on (the charging case charges wirelessly and has a Bluetooth button). Both new earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.4, are IP57 water and dust resistant and support LE audio with the new. Oracast feature (Samsung's 360 audio feature is also on board). The IP57 rating means the buds aren't completely waterproof, but they can withstand a constant spray of water.

Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, the new flagship

The Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are Samsung's new flagship earbuds and are also available in white and silver. They have some key differences from the Galaxy Buds 3. First and foremost, they're noise-isolating buds and include a set of small, medium, and large earcups to choose from (a tight seal is essential to get the best). (sound quality).

They also have active noise cancellation and transparency mode. The ANC is of the adaptive variety and sounds pretty good — at least based on the buds' very limited time in my ears. “The Buds 3 Series microphones analyze both indoor and outdoor sounds in real-time to improve sound quality and active noise cancellation through Adaptive EQ and Adaptive ANC,” says Samsung.

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Galaxy Buds 3 Pro has a noise-isolating design. Both new earbuds have pinch controls and you can swipe up and down on the edge of their stems to adjust the volume level.

David Carnoy/CNET

Additionally, the Buds 3 Pro, “continuously collects and identifies surrounding sound and automatically adjusts the volume and sound level without manual adjustments via Adaptive Noise Control, Siren Detect, and Voice Detect. ” It looks like the AirPods Pro 2. Adaptive audio featuresbut the Buds 3 Pro doesn't have a conversation-aware mode.

While the Galaxy Buds 3 have a single dynamic driver, the Buds 3 Pro have a 10mm dynamic driver and a separate planar tweeter, which should help deliver clear sounding highs. Samsung also says the Buds 3 Pro have dual amps, which help reduce wireless hiccups.

In my initial listening tests, I found the buds to sound better than the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. The Buds 2 Pro sound good, but the Buds 3 Pro have better treble clarity and bass definition, and they sound cleaner and more accurate overall.

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Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in their case.

David Carnoy/CNET

Another added feature of the Buds 3 Pro are the lights in their stems or “blades,” as Samsung calls them. They tell you when the buds are in pairing mode and light up when you use the Find My feature because the buds make a chirping sound (this will make them easier to find in a dark room). You can also activate the lights by pinching and holding each bud for a few seconds, and if that's your thing, wear the buds with the lights on.

The Buds 3 Pro also has an IP57 rating for dust and water resistance. The Galaxy Buds 3 Pro's battery life is rated at 7 hours with noise cancellation off and 6 hours with it on. Its charging case also has a dedicated button for wireless charging as well as Bluetooth pairing so you can easily connect the buds with a variety of Bluetooth audio devices.

Better voice calling

Samsung has done a good job with voice calling performance in most of its Galaxy Buds models, and these new Series 3 models deliver excellent voice calling performance with superior noise reduction. They have three microphones in each bud along with the sound pickup unit. Earbuds with a stem design put the microphones a little closer to your mouth, so it can also help with voice calling. In my calls using the Galaxy Buds Pro on the noisy streets of New York (with some wind), callers said they could barely hear any background noise and that my voice was mostly clear with limited warbling. was He was impressed.

Samsung says; “With a pre-trained model based on machine learning, the Buds 3 series is now able to restore the speaker's original sound in a variety of noisy environments while also delivering a rich and natural call — one of the highest in smartphones.” Like quality calls — with a super wideband call feature.” According to Samsung, this allows the Buds to transmit sound at up to 16kHz instead of up to 8kHz.

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End of introduction.

David Carnoy/CNET

Exclusive features for Galaxy Buds 3 and 3 Pro Galaxy users

As noted, buds share many of the same characteristics. The Buds 3 are missing dual amps, lighting in their stems, transparency mode (they're open earbuds, so you don't need it), adaptive noise control and the voice detect/siren detect feature. Also, the Buds 3 Pro have dual drivers.

As for other exclusive features for Galaxy smartphone users, they have automatic pairing and audio switching with Galaxy devices including Galaxy PCs. This is another way of saying that they have multi-point Bluetooth pairing for Galaxy devices.

Both buds also support the Samsung Seamless codec, which Samsung says is now capable of delivering 24bit/96khz high resolution with HD music streaming services like Qobuz or Tidal. This codec is only available with certain Galaxy devices, but the Buds' default audio codec is AAC, which sounds just fine (iPhones and other Android devices will use AAC).

The last Galaxy-exclusive feature that Samsung has highlighted is its interpreter feature, which is part of Galaxy AI. “If you're going to a class in a foreign language, you can turn on the interpreter. Put the Flip 6 in your ears in listening mode on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 or with the Buds 3 series,” Samsung said, giving an example of how to use the feature. will allow listening to lectures translated by Overcoming language barriers that may exist in your studies.”

Final first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro

Like I said, this is just a quick first look at the Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro and I'll have a lot more to talk about in my upcoming full reviews, including the AirPods 3, AirPods Pro 2 Comparison of sound quality and performance. And other top true wireless earbuds.

Some of you might be a little disappointed that Samsung gave in a bit and followed Apple's design. I personally prefer earbuds with stems and I think it makes some sense to go for that design, even if it seems like a cop out to go with the herd, so to speak.

From what Samsung told me, they found from their testing that the “blade” design works best for most people. A lot of people had proper issues with the Galaxy Buds Live and more. Galaxy Buds Pro 2 (I had to use my big ear tips with them). At least from my initial wear tests, my impression is that these new models will fit more people better.

The only problem is that their designs are a bit generic and lack the wow factor for their relatively high prices — the AirPods Pro 2, like the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, retail for $250, but typically But it sells for less than $200. Amazon and so on. $169 now. It is therefore key that the buds perform well. After some preliminary tests, I'm pretty impressed, but I'll have more to say about my full reviews, which I'll be posting in the coming days.

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Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro compared.

Screenshot by David Carnoy/CNET

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