Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Buds Plus

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Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Buds Plus comparison review
Samsung has finally made its new truly wireless earbuds official – we already published our Galaxy Buds Live review - and you can even have up to $150 Samsung accessory credit for them with a Note 20 series purchase. 

Naturally, people who are interested in getting wireless earbuds may be wondering how the Buds Live fare against the heretofore best Samsung Buds, the Buds+ we reviewed just in March, with their record battery life but no ANC. Should you sacrifice the battery life of the Buds+ for the active noise cancellation (ANC) and wonky design of the Buds Live? Let's find out...

Buds Live vs Buds Plus design and comfort

How do the new Galaxy Buds Live compare to Samsung's earlier Buds+? Well, from a design standpoint, the Buds Live are definitely more fashionable, with their smooth curves and charging case that opens up like a wedding ring case.

On the other hand, looks aside, the Buds+ have wingtips and rubber tips, which may make them the better choice for users who normally have issues with fitting earbuds in their ears. Although we didn't find any isolation or ear-fitting problems when trying out the Buds Live, in theory, people with uniquely shaped ears or larger ear holes may have issues with them over the Buds+.

Buds Live vs Buds Plus sound quality and ANC

As for how they both sound, the Buds Live are definitely richer in sound frequencies and especially bass. And we're not talking muddy, overpowering bass either. The Buds Live have a nice and clear bass presence, while the Buds+ produce about as little bass as the AirPods Pro – far from what fans of modern dance music or hip-hop may want.

However, both the Buds Live and Buds+ feature impressive, clear sound. So if bass isn't a necessity, the Buds+ should be good enough for users who mainly enjoy listening to podcasts or classical music genres. They'll also be the better choice for people who are bothered by bass, or dislike it altogether.

A notable difference between the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds+ is the lack of ANC on the latter. While the Galaxy Buds Live provide good noise isolation and active noise cancellation, the Buds+ earbuds rely only on the noise isolation from their rubber tips. They still do a good job of isolating outside sounds, but it's nowhere near as good an experience as ANC.

Voice assistants

As both the Galaxy Buds Live and Buds+ are Samsung products, they both support the use of the Korean giant's voice assistant – Bixby – similarly to how Apple's AirPods employ the use of Siri. To use Bixby on either Buds, the user needs to own a Samsung smartphone and turn Bixby Voice Wake-up on via the Galaxy Wearable app.

As previously mentioned, the smart voice assistant can then be triggered hands-free, and asked to perform a task, such as sending a message to a friend, checking the weather, and so on. Bixby can also be triggered via a touch gesture on either Buds. There is no option in the Samsung Wearable app to use a different voice assistant, such as Google Assistant.

Buds Live vs Buds Plus battery life

The Buds Live and Buds+ cases can be charged both wirelessly and via the USB Type-C ports on their cases. The cases' Qi wireless charging certification allows them to be conveniently charged from certain flagship Samsung smartphones (with wireless charging support), by simply placing the Buds' case on top of the phone.

According to Samsung, the Buds+ should last up to 22 hours of play time if using the case for the occasional recharge. The Buds Live are said to last up to 28 hours with the case (ANC off). With ANC on, they're about as equally long-lasting as the Buds+, again up to 22 hours on a single charge.

In real-life usage, both the Buds Live and Buds+ can last well up to a work week, depending on frequency of use and whether ANC on the Buds Live is on or off.

Buds Live vs Buds Plus bluetooth pairing and connectivity range

Samsung's Buds Live and Buds+ both use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity. Samsung smartphone users can simply open either Buds' case near their phone for the initial pairing process to start. Users of other Android phones, as well as iPhone users can use standard Bluetooth pairing.

As for how far from your phone you can get without your music stopping, the Buds+ are about as equally long-ranged as the AirPods Pro. That is, you can leave your phone somewhere and walk around your apartment just fine, even close a door behind you – you won't experience music interruptions.

The Buds Live on the other hand are a bit weaker in their connectivity range. When using them, your music may start getting scrambled at about 12 steps away from your phone, which is still very good, just not on par with the Buds+.

Buds Live and Buds Plus customization options

Needless to say, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and Buds+ can both be used with the Galaxy Wearable app if on Android, which is preinstalled on Samsung phones. It has a built-in equalizer, customizable touch gestures, the option to turn ANC or Bixby on or off, and even a tutorial on how to place the earbuds in your ears.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Buds Plus price

Here are the main specs and feature points of the Buds Live, Samsung's first true wireless earphones with ANC, against its spring  Galaxy Buds+ chicken, the venerable AirPods Pro, and a few other notables.


Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Buds Plus specs and features


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