I liked how Samsung's Galaxy Beans — errr Galaxy Buds Live — looked. But its open-style design meant its active noise-cancellation was weak. Really weak. The Galaxy Buds Pro throw the bean design away in favor of an in-ear design that looks and fits more like the still very good Galaxy Buds+ while adding in proper ANC to compete with the AirPods Pro.
Battery life sounds solid — Let's cut right to the chase: Samsung says the Buds Pro get up to 5 hours of battery life with ANC on. That's 30 more minutes than the AirPods Pro. The charging case looks identical to the Buds Live one (and supports wireless charging) and gets the Buds Pro and additional 13 hours with ANC.
Turn ANC off and the Buds Pro lasts up to 8 hours on a single charge and the case nets an extra 20 hours for a total of 28 hours or 4 more hours than AirPods Pro.
Samsung also says a 5-minute charge juices up the buds for a little over an hour of listening time.
More noise blockage and 360 sound — With proper ANC this time around, Samsung says the Buds Pro should block out more external sound than the Buds Live. The bar's low for beating the Buds Live; I'm more interested in how Buds Pro compare to the passive noise-cancellation on the Galaxy Buds+, which is one of the best.
As for sound upgrades to the Buds Pro. Samsung says they've improved the sound with larger 2-way speakers in each bud; each one has an 11mm woofer for stronger bass and a 6.5mm tweeter for better mids and highs. The Buds Pro also supports 360-degree audio with Dolby Head Tracking; this is basically Samsung's answer to the mind-blowing Spatial Audio feature on AirPods Pros and AirPods Max. 360 audio provides a virtual surround sound experience.
Cheaper than AirPods Pro — There are a handful of other new features like multi-mic recording and auto-switching between other Galaxy devices (like a tablet), but the deciding factor for wireless earbuds is often price. Good news: The Buds Pro will retail for $199.99, which works out to $50 less than AirPods Pro. They're also available starting today — weeks ahead of the Galaxy S21 phones.