It's been quite a while since the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 launched – all the way back in August 2021 – so it's fair to say that the successors are now overdue. We did get the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in August 2022, but so far we haven't see any Galaxy Buds 3 Pro either.
That's not to say Samsung hasn't been busy: check out our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 review for example, to see what Samsung has been up to this year. There's also our Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 review, our Samsung Watch 6 Classic review, our Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 review and our Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra review, so there's lots of new Samsung hardware about.
You came here for wireless earbuds though, and Samsung is still making us wait for the Galaxy Buds 3. We did get the launch of the more affordable Samsung Galaxy Buds FE in October 2023, so the Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro should be next.
Here are the leaks and rumors we've heard so far, together with what we're hoping for from the next set of wireless earbuds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3: release date and price
Considering there was a two-year gap between Samsung's inaugural Galaxy Buds and the Galaxy Buds 2, the smart money might have been on 2023 being the Galaxy Buds 3's year – but we haven't seen them yet.
Samsung also held a Galaxy Unpacked event in February 2023, which made us think Samsung's annual August Unpacked event would an ideal stage for a big Buds 3 reveal, but no.
Now let's have a bit more fun with some leaks. An April 16 post on X by tipster @chunvn8888 claimed that the Galaxy Buds 3 are "coming soon".
Galaxy Buds 3 coming soon 👀April 16, 2023
So, that's something, right?
As reported by SamMobile, purported photos of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 leaked as part of their supposed certification by regulators in Korea. That implies they'll be with us sooner rather than later – possibly before the end of 2023. If not, then we expect them to arrive in early 2024, probably at an Unpacked event in February to launch the Samsung Galaxy S24 range. This is all speculation, of course, but it fits Samsung's product release patterns.
In terms of pricing, we really hope the Galaxy Buds 3 will follow Samsung's trend of offering affordable true wireless earbuds. Not necessarily as cheap as the best budget wireless earbuds, you understand, but close.
The Galaxy Buds 2 and original Galaxy Buds both launched for $150 / £139 / €149 / AU$219, so we really hope Samsung doesn't buck this trend upon releasing its third-generation, non-suffixed Buds.
Other wireless earbuds loosely meant to accompany smartphones also exist, of course, thus fostering brand loyalty within a beneficial ecosystem. And here Samsung comes off looking relatively affordable. Apple's closest rival for price, the AirPods 3, launched at $179 / £169 / AU$279 in October 2021 – and those basic AirPods don't include active noise cancellation while the Galaxy Buds do.
But Samsung isn't the cheapest option out there. The Nothing Ear (2) arrived in March 2023 (now a natural partner for the Nothing Phone 2) with a price tag of $149 / £129 / AU$219, which was more expensive than the inaugural Nothing Ear (1) but still marginally cheaper than any Galaxy Buds.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3: leaks and rumors
We're now starting to see a few more leaks and rumors when it comes to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, and as the momentum builds, it becomes more and more likely that a launch is imminent.
We've now seen a regulatory filing, for example, that apparently shows off the look of the Galaxy Buds 3. From this leak it appears the design of the earbuds has been tweaked slightly, giving off Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus vibes.
When it comes to the Pro version of the upcoming earbuds, the rumor is that they're scheduled to be launching next year – alongside, we presume, the standard earbuds. However, we don't know exactly when they might show up.
There's really not all that much to go off in terms of leaked specs or features, but as the launch date gets closer, we hope that situation will change – and we'll update this page regularly as more information comes in.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3: what we want to see
Best thing about the entry-level Galaxy Buds 2? Probably the fun, light, compact and pebble-shaped earpieces and supremely pocketable square case. Oh, and the and fact Samsung was able to achieve such bijou proportions without losing Qi wireless charging. We hope Samsung doesn't ditch that – and the overall design language – for the Buds 3.
At just 5g per earbud, we truly hope Samsung won't stray too far from the design and shape of the Buds 2 (aside from new colorways, perhaps) – because as one TechRadar writer knows, silicone stability bands on Bose earbuds have an annoying shelf-life. Also, Samsung tried the kidney-bean shape… We'll leave it there.
One aesthetic we would like Samsung to tweak? The glossy finish. A matte coat on the driver housing, (similar to that sported by the Buds 2 Pro) would aid both security and fingerprint smudges – although Sony has adopted a shinier approach with its Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds so we may be out of luck there.
Now, sound quality. This year, rivals such as the excellent Sony WF-C700N are delivering much better audio at much lower price points (albeit without Sony's top-tier LDAC spatial audio or DSEE extreme upscaling engine), so we'd truly like to see some form of spatial audio here, which Samsung tends to call 360 audio. And it can be done at this level! Considering that the Sony WF-C700N offer both active noise-cancellation and Sony 360 Reality audio, your Tidal account just got a massive, immersive audio boost.
Perks we'd like to see? The flagship Technics EAH-AZ80 now offer multipoint connectivity to three devices, not two – but we wouldn't expect to see that here, right? Well actually, Technics' step-down earbuds (the EAH-AZ60) offer it too, so if Samsung really wants to make us invest in its watches, tablets and folding phones in the hope of a truly stress-free homogenous ecosystem, it knows what it has to do…
Better ANC (besides the existing on or off, as you'll find in the Buds 2) is also a no-brainer of a request for us to make – and again, the Sony entry-level option listed above offers adaptive sound control (you can select 'Walking', 'Waiting', 'Travelling' or 'Registered places' in the app), which actually tailors the levels of noise nixing for you.
Samsung's Voice Detect, found in the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, is an excellent little perk meaning that when you pipe up vocally, Ambient mode and lower music volume is automatically deployed to make your conversation easier. After five, 10 or 15 seconds of no talky (you can choose in the app), the music simply returns to normal. We'd love to see this trickle down to the Buds 3.
Lastly, we really need to talk about battery life – a sore point across Samsung's entire Buds lineup. Samsung's output has typically only managed about five hours of playtime on a single charge, whereas the Sony WF-C700N manage 7.5 hours – and although the overall battery life from the older, still inexpensive Sony WF-C500 isn't amazing (there's only one extra charge in the case) you'll get 10 hours from the earbuds alone. We'd really hope for a little extra stamina from Samsung's next Galaxy Buds 3.
With these upgrades, we might soon be able to slip the unannounced Galaxy Buds 3 straight into our best noise-cancelling earbuds guide – and possibly even our top three ANC earbuds for 2023 roundup too. For now, we wait…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.