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Samsung's Galaxy Buds 3 have an AirPods-esque design and a dash of AI

Both the regular and Pro version are equipped with ANC.

Sam Rutherford for Engadget

Samsung's new Galaxy Buds lineup is hardly a surprise thanks to a recent leak, but the company still had to officially debut its latest audio accessory at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. Alongside new folding phones, watches and even a smart ring, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Buds 3 series. The new models have a more AirPods-like look thanks to their stickbud or "blade" design, and Samsung is playing catch-up with new features like an Interpreter tool, Adaptive EQ and others.

Until now, Samsung has opted for the more common, rounded earbud design most companies favor for their products. The stick-based look has become increasingly popular though, and much of Apple's competition have debuted their own takes on the style. Now we can count Samsung among the fold. The company says its new "blade" design is based on "a variety of collected statistical data" and offers "a more intuitive physical experience" thanks to pinch and swipe controls — another aspect of the AirPods Pro. The key difference is the "regular" Galaxy Buds 3 are an open fit like the "regular" AirPods while the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro have a tip that completely seals off your ear canal. Despite that variance, both offer active noise cancellation (ANC), but only the Pro model has ambient sound/transparency mode.

Another big difference between the two models is the two-way speakers on the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. Samsung has paired a 10.5mm dynamic driver with dual amplifiers and a 6.1mm planar tweeter that offers "precise high range sound production." Both Galaxy Buds 3 models support ultra high quality (UHQ) sound up to 24bit/96kHz and 360 Audio when paired with a compatible Samsung device. The two models vary on battery life as well. The Galaxy Buds 3 will last up to five hours with ANC on (24 hours total with the case), but you'll get an hour more of noise-canceling performance on the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro (26 hours total with the case).

As you might expect, Samsung is sprinkling AI on its new earbuds. Both models offer an Interpreter feature that works with compatible Galaxy devices, a tool that relies on artificial intelligence to do its translating. It's similar to what Google has been doing on its Pixel Buds for a while now and all of the work is done by the connected device rather than the earbuds.

The company says microphones on the Galaxy Buds 3 series monitor external noise in real time and apply tweaks with both an Adaptive EQ and Adaptive ANC. On the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro, the noise cancellation setup can also detect sirens and your voice, and when it picks up the latter, it automatically reduces the volume and activates transparency mode. That feature, known as Voice Detect, was available on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but it's nice to see the feature return.

Samsung has also added hands-free controls for music and other content with what it calls Voice Command. To improve overall voice quality, the company added a Super Wideband calls tool that allows Galaxy Buds 3 to transmit voice up to 16kHz. Samsung says previous earbuds only utilize up to the 8kHz band, but the Pixel Buds Pro supports Super Wideband too. Of course, the company also employs machine-learning models to battle background noise when you're speaking.

The Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are available for pre-order now for $180 and $250 respectively. Both models come in silver and white color options, and if you buy them from the company's website before July 23, Samsung will throw in a free protective "clip case."

Catch up on all the news from Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked 2024 here!