Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live are underrated in terms of design. The Korean company has very quietly changed the earbud landscape by inventing an ergonomic, seemingly tailored, style of earbud that – to date – are the best fitting earbuds I’ve ever used.
The bean shape is, frankly, genius. I’m currently reviewing Jabra’s Elite 85T earbuds and whilst my early impressions are very positive, I haven’t missed the precarious nature of earbuds that rely solely on the rubber ear tips to stay in place.
Samsung is also facing stiff competition from Motorola’s Razr 5G, but is it worth your money?
I say this because Samsung has proven what’s possible with earbud shapes and, in effect, opened the floodgates for more unusual – but better fitting – options. I don’t know if Apple has been inspired by Samsung’s design switch, but the news that it is considering moving away from the iconic stem-shape suggests something else similarly unique is on the way. Whichever form the new AirPods Pro take, it will have been meticulously planned and tested.
Ditching the stem is a significant statement. Not only is it instantly recognisable as Apple’s design, but it also provides a practical solution to the hardware that’s crammed into AirPods these days, including the gyroscopes and accelerometers that will play a pivotal role in future earbud abilities (more on that later).
But that iconic design has been copied to death by virtually every new earbud startup or rival Android OEM moving into wearables. Apple also created a form that was different at the time, but is now the norm. Modern earbud design is quickly moving towards being smaller and less imposing, which the AirPods are not. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live are barely visible when you look at someone wearing them straight on, whilst Google’s miniaturised Pixel Buds design might be behind their connectivity problems.
Smaller is in vogue, so I’m interested to see what the new AirPods Pro will look like….