Ever since renders leaked earlier this month showing what appears to be Samsung’s next true wireless earbuds, speculation has been running high as to their features, price, and planned release date. South Korean website m-i.kr looks like it might have the inside track on some of this info, claiming that the new bean-shaped buds will have active noise cancellation and will launch for 170,000 won (approximately $140).
Those two claims are surprising. Active noise cancellation (ANC) is a premium feature and has so far only appeared in true wireless earbuds that cost $200 or more. These include the $250 Apple AirPods Pro, the recently reduced $199 Sony WF-1000XM3, and the $300 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
Amazon’s $130 Echo Buds include Bose’s active noise reduction (ANR) technology, but this is not considered as effective as full ANC. If Samsung is able to offer full ANC for just $10 more than the Echo Buds, and over $100 less than the AirPods Pro, that will be a significant achievement.
Before we get too excited at this prospect, it’s worth considering whether or not Samsung’s ANC will be as effective as that offered by higher-priced competitors, given the unusual design of the new earbuds.
All true wireless ANC earbuds — including the Echo Buds — use a noise-isolating design that depends on a soft silicone-covered ear tip being inserted in the wearer’s ear canal. Without effective noise isolation, ANC technology can’t do its job. The leaked 3D renders of Samsung’s new earbuds show an ear tip-less design, which fills the concha (the outer portion of the ear) but does not enter the ear canal itself.
It’s still unknown whether the Galaxy Buds 2’s bean-shaped design can adequately prevent external sounds from entering the ear canal directly. Moreover, we don’t know how well the new earbuds will fit various ear shapes and sizes. Typically, true wireless earbuds ship with a variety of silicone ear tips, which let users customize the fit, or — as with Apple’s original AirPods — they employ a design that relies a lot less on the physical shape of each person’s ears.
There’s still plenty that we don’t know about the Galaxy Buds 2 — if in fact that’s what they’ll be called — but we are gathering everything we learn in one spot so you can stay in the loop with all of the details as they emerge: This is everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.