Another feature that’s great for workouts is the ability to turn off the external touch controls, which have a tendency to confuse a lock of sweaty hair with a deliberate finger tap. I left them off because I typically just change settings on my phone, but when you’ve got touch controls enabled, they actually work better than most. They’re easy to “find” and very reactive to touches, without randomly misfiring.
Noise canceling is as good as I’ve heard from any earbuds, with the Buds Pro taking most ambient sounds down to inaudible levels, especially when music is playing. When you want to hear what’s going on around you, you don’t need to remove them; there’s a mode that lets outside sound pass through. There’s even a feature that turns on ambient sound when the headphones detect that you’re speaking—pretty neat in practice.
The case charges wirelessly, and it works with whatever wireless charging pad you already have. In a pinch, it can also grab a charge off the back of a Samsung Galaxy phone. The included USB-C port is the fastest way to charge the buds; plugging in gives them an hour of playtime in just five minutes. Overall juice is also better than the AirPods Pro, with five hours of ANC-enabled playback besting Apple’s four.
One of the most unique things about the Galaxy Buds Pro is hiding somewhere you’ll never see. Beneath the shiny plastic exterior sits a dual driver array designed by the folks at the audio company AKG. The use of two discrete drivers allows the headphone to have both deep bass and hyper-detailed highs.
For the non-headphone nerds among us: Most earbuds have just a single driver, which takes on a jack-of-all-trades role by playing back the entirety of the audio, from the highest frequencies to the lowest. Instead, by dividing up the highs and lows and sending them two separate drivers, each designed to handle just high or low frequencies, AKG and Samsung drastically increased the clarity of the audio when compared to other Galaxy Buds models.
I’d go so far as to say these are some of the best-sounding wirefree earbuds you can buy right now. Even with noise canceling engaged (often a hindrance to higher frequency response), punchy hip-hop tracks to Perfume Genius’ shimmering pop brought a deep and immersive sound to my portable listening.
It’s not just sound quality that’s impeccable; these headphones also have pretty astonishing microphones. I have been seriously impressed with their call quality, and even more so with the audio quality I get when shooting videos where I’m using them as the microphones. Everything is crisp and clear, without any of the muddiness I get from other earbuds. They’re nearly as good as a lavalier mic.
A Real Pro
If you’re gonna spend $200 on a pair of earbuds, it stands to reason you should be able to use them for all your audio needs. Whether you’re searching for peace and quiet in a quarantined house, getting out and about for some exercise, leading your thousandth Zoom call, or making a TikTok video, the Galaxy Buds Pro are a worthy companion.
Even with so many great earbuds available these days, these are the best Pro model I’ve found.