Samsung unveils Galaxy Buds 3 and Buds 3 Pro with AirPods-like design, and some actually interesting AI features

an photo of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in white
(Image credit: Future)

Samsung wants to put artificial intelligence in your ears – at least that’s going by its newly announced Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro wireless earbuds. 

Revealed at Samsung Galaxy Unpacked on July 10, 2024, the two new sets of Galaxy Buds bring in a new design, with both pairs of earbuds now featuring an AirPods-esque stem used for physically controlling the volume of the earbuds via swipes up or down. And the Buds have a case that’s more vertically oriented than the horizontal, rounded rectangle of the Galaxy Buds 2.

The standard Galaxy Buds 3 feature an ‘open type’ design, in that they don’t have tips to get into one’s ear canal (much like AirPods 3rd Gen), while the new Galaxy Buds 3 Pro do have in-ear tips (like AirPods Pro 2), which should result in better passive blocking of unwanted external noise to help boost their active noise cancellation. 

a photo of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in white

(Image credit: Future)

Let’s start off with specs. The Galaxy Buds 3 have an 11mm dynamic driver to provide the sound, 3 mics, support for 24-bit Hi-Res Audio when used with compatible Galaxy devices, and can handle 360 Audio spatial sound with head tracking. Active noise cancellation is present too, though we'll have to see how well it work in an open design without an in-ear tip to seal off the outside world.

The Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are broadly the same, only they have a two-way speaker design with a 10.5mm dynamic driver and a 6.1mm planar tweeter. The ANC has ambient sound detection and the ability to detect voices and let conversations filter through without the wearer needing to stop any music or take the earbuds out of their ears – a feature we've seen before on Sony headphones and AirPods Pro 2, to varying degrees of success, so hopefully Samsung has improved on those others here.

a photo of the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in silver

(Image credit: Future)

On the battery life side, the Buds 3 themselves have a 48mAh capacity, while the Buds 3 Pro have a 53mAh battery capacity. The cases for both hold a 515mAh battery, but it’s worth noting the Pro buds have “Blade Lights' which are light strips on their stems that light up to indicate things like the earbuds’ pairing mode being active or can help you to find misplaced buds. Such lighting could suck up a little more electrical use than the light-less standard Buds , on top of the double-speaker system and more advanced processing.

So far, the new Galaxy Buds don’t have much to set them apart from the best wireless earbuds you can buy right now. And having had a look at them in person, I wasn’t immediately blown away by their build quality.

An AI ace-in-the-hole

a photo of the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in silver

(Image credit: Future)

However, AI could be the secret sauce of these wireless earbuds. Not only can smart audio detection provide an adaptive equalizer function in the Buds 3 Pro, it can also intelligently adjust ANC filtering based on one’s environment. Say you’re walking past a busy worksite with a lot of heavy machinery, the adaptive ANC will crank up to keep the noise at bay, but if an alarm goes off, the smart tech will know to let that alarm klaxon filter past the noise cancellation, since it's probably important that you hear it. 

Then there's an ‘Interpreter’ feature in the Listening mode of the new Galaxy Buds  3 and 3 Pro, which will automatically detect when a supported foreign language is being spoken and provide a direct translation right into your ears. 

I didn’t get a change to test this out, but it could be one way to break down language barriers without the fiddly process of actually learning another language; the only caveat is that there are a limited number languages supported at launch, so don’t expect to be able to visit a restaurant in Wales and understand what ‘mochyn tew’ means. 

a photo of the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro in silver

(Image credit: Future)

Another smart addition is the Super-Wideband Call feature, which uses a pre-trained AI model to lets the Buds 3 and 3 Pro restore the voice of a caller who’s real-time audio is blighted by background noise, which Samsung claims will see calls made through the earbuds be of a similar quality to those made directly through a smartphone.

All in all the new Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro look like notable upgrades over previous Galaxy Buds, offering better audio and smarter features. Both are available in silver and white color options, and are available to pre-order today (July 10) with general availability on July 24, with the Buds 3 coming in at $179 / £159 / AU$299 and the Buds 3 Pro costing $249 / £219 / AU$399. Pre-orders for Australia start July 11, with the Buds going on sale on July 31. 

We’ll need to test the new Galaxy Buds 3 to see if Samsung’s upgrades and smart features are enough to beat the competition. But these new wireless earbuds are looking promising.

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Managing Editor, Mobile Computing

Roland Moore-Colyer is Managing Editor at TechRadar with a focus on phones and tablets, but a general interest in all things tech, especially those with a good story behind them. He can also be found writing about games, computers, and cars when the occasion arrives, and supports with the day-to-day running of TechRadar. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face and a nose for food markets.