We could be fast approaching the release of a new set of Samsung true wireless earbuds if a recently spotted addition to the company’s Galaxy Wearable app is any indication.
A new icon buried within the app has the same telltale bean shape as the previously released renders (see below) according to XDA-Developers. The icon’s filename, however, is labeled “buds_live,” which suggests that these new earbuds might not be positioned as a follow up to the previous Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+, but instead, an entirely new product.
It’s also possible they will be called the Galaxy Beans, due to their unique, bean-shaped design.
As with any early set of reports concerning a new device, the details are still light. There’s far more that we don’t know than what we do know. Nonetheless, we can expect more information to emerge over the coming weeks so we’ve created one spot where you can learn the latest news. This is everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy (Beans? Buds Live?) Buds 2.
Price and release date
It’s too early to offer any accurate information around launch timing for the Galaxy Buds 2. However, as XDA-Developers points out, Samsung typically doesn’t update the content of its apps until right before it announces new products. Based on this, we may see the new true wireless earbuds very soon, and possibly even before its rumored August Unpacked event.
On the other hand, debuting new earbuds on their own, instead of alongside a new phone such as the expected update to its Galaxy Note smartphone, would be out of character for Samsung, which tends to cluster product announcements into one event.
A report issued in April from South Korean media site m-i.kr suggests that the new earbuds will sell for 170,000 won (about $140) which would be surprisingly affordable given that the Galaxy Buds+ sell for $150. We suspect it will end up being at least $150 when the time comes.
An all-new design
These renders show a bean-like shape that would not only be a first for Samsung, but also a first for the true wireless earbud category. What makes them unique is the way they sit in your ear. Unlike the majority of true wireless earbuds. which incorporate a short stem, capped with a silicone ear-tip, the Galaxy Buds 2 use a smooth one-piece shape. “Bean” is even Samsung’s code name for the new earbuds, according to WinFuture.
There’s no separate part that embeds itself into your ear canal, which makes the Galaxy Buds 2 closer in approach to Apple’s AirPods — and their many imitators.
The renders also show what appears to be two microphones on the outer shell, and possibly a third on the inner shell. Charging contacts are visible, as are areas that could be used for various sensor arrays. In the past, these have been used to detect if an earbud is actually seated in the ear, as well as for health-monitoring functions like heart rate.
With no visible buttons, we’re assuming the Galaxy Buds 2 will use a touch-sensitive outer surface for all control functions.
This unusual design could come with some significant benefits for those who typically find in-ear true wireless earbuds uncomfortable. The absence of a silicone ear tip means no unwanted pressure within the ear canal, something that even the most comfortable earbuds — like the Jabra Elite 75t — require us to put up with.
On the other hand, those silicone tips often comprise an essential element of the design that helps to keep true wireless earbuds secure in our ears. Removing them could reduce that security.
Another aspect of the Galaxy Buds 2 that could be affected by the bean-shaped design is sound quality. All of the best-sounding true wireless models, from Apple’s AirPods Pro to Sony’s WF-1000XM3 and the recently launched Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, all have one thing in common: They use an ear canal-seated silicone tip. It’s a design that is highly effective at isolating the ear from external sounds — whether you employ active noise cancellation (ANC) or not — which naturally produces higher sound quality.
Can a set of true wireless earbuds that eschew such a feature still sound as good? The odds don’t favor it. Apple’s original AirPods sit just outside the ear canal and offer little to no sound isolation. They don’t sound especially good, either.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 do appear to do something that the AirPods don’t. If the initial images are correct, these new earbuds might provide a significant degree of sound isolation despite their lack of silicone eartips, thanks to a design that fills the concha — that part of the ear that sits immediately outside of the ear canal.
It’s a design that has been used successfully on hearing aids, and it could be a good compromise between the leaky design of an AirPod, and a fully-isolating shape used by the majority of true wireless earbuds.
Active noise cancellation unlikely
Could such a design incorporate ANC?
Even though they’d be the first non-in-ear variety to do so, m-i.kr claims the Galaxy Buds 2 will have ANC.
ANC works best when it can completely control what you’re hearing, which is why, so far, it has only appeared on over-ear or on-ear headphones and in-ear-canal earbuds. Apple’s AirPods Pro, Sony’s WF-SP800N, and Master and Dynamic’s MW07 Plus are all examples of this trend. If the Galaxy Buds 2 ship with ANC, it may not be as effective as the ANC found in these other true wireless models.
Better battery life?
The best true wireless earbuds offer a battery life of up to 11 hours between charges. Samsung’s own Galaxy Buds+ do just that. It’s a feat that’s usually accomplished through more efficient management of Bluetooth wireless connections because battery sizes and capacities haven’t increased all that much. Because the Galaxy Buds 2 appear to have a larger overall shape than other designs, there may be room on board for a bigger battery.
If the Galaxy Buds 2 make use of the advantages offered by the latest Bluetooth specification — LE Audio — and they possess a bigger battery, that could lead to some seriously impressive battery life numbers.