Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Unboxing and ears-on impressions

Samsung just unleashed its first premium pair of earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, and they come brimming with features such as improved water resistance, spatial 3D audio, adjustable active noise cancellation, a four-step ambient noise mode, and the ability to dial down the ANC and up the ambient sound when you start talking.

We’ll have a full review of the Galaxy Buds Pro once our review takes them for a thorough test drive, but I couldn’t resist cracking the box and taking them for a quick spin. Read on for my first impressions.


Inside the box you’ll find the Galaxy Buds Pro sitting in their charging case (roughly an inch thicks, and two ounces with the earbuds inside), along with a USB-C to USB-A charging cable and three eartips—small, medium, and large—in addition to the tips that are already on the buds.

samsung galaxy buds pro unboxed Ben Patterson/IDG

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro come with a USB-C-to-USB-A charging cords along with three extra pairs of eartips.

The Buds Pro come in three colors: phantom violet, phantom black (the color of our review unit), and phantom silver. Gone is the bean shape of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live; instead, we’re talking more of a compact, traditional shape with a glossy finish, akin to the Galaxy Buds Plus. The buds fit snugly in my ears, protruding out only slightly, and I never feared they were about to pop out.

One of the biggest design changes for the Galaxy Buds Pro isn’t visible to the naked eye: It’s much more resistant to water than previous Galaxy Buds. While the Galaxy Buds Plus and Buds Live have an IPX2 rating, meaning they’re only resistant to water than hits them at a 15-degree angle or less, the Buds Pro boast an IPX7 rating, which means they can be submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes. In other words, you could probably get away with wearing the Buds Pro in a car wash, not that doing so would be a great idea.

samsung galaxy buds pro detail Ben Patterson/IDG

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro boast an IPX7 rating, which means they should withstand being submerged in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

Active noise cancellation

Once I paired the Galaxy Buds Pro with a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 (the process took less than a minute, and went without a hitch), I fired up the Samsung Wearables app to take the buds’ ANC feature for a test drive.

Samsung says the Buds Pro can screen out up to 99 percent of background noise, and in my preliminary tests the buds did an impressive job of quieting the low rumble of my dishwasher and the whir of a floor fan. I could, however, still hear higher-range sounds, such as the clickity-clack of my mechanical keyboard and voices from my daughter’s remote learning class. It’s not unusual for noise-cancelling earbuds to mainly block low-frequency sounds, but still, it’s worth noting.

samsung galaxy buds pro anc setting Ben Patterson/IDG

Active noise cancellation on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro comes with “high” and “low” settings, with the “low” step recommended for quieter environments.

The Buds Pro also has “high” and “low” ANC settings, with the “low” setting recommended for quieter environments where you don’t need the full—and sometimes too-full—noise cancelling effect. I didn’t notice much of a difference between the “high” and “low” ANC settings, but those who get an uncomfortably clogged-up feeling from noise-cancelling earbuds might appreciate the option.

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