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Samsung just unveiled its new Galaxy Buds 3. Here are the features I'm most excited about

Samsung's newest premium flagship earbuds have a new design and a list of supercharged AI features. These are the best ones.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro and Buds 3

Galaxy Buds 3 (left) and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro (right) in White.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

During Samsung's summer installment of its biannual Unpacked event, the company announced the latest generation of its flagship earbuds: the Galaxy Buds 3 and the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro

Minor differences exist between the base model third-generation Galaxy Buds and the upgraded Pro model, with the biggest being their intended uses. Samsung says the base model Galaxy Buds sport an open design for those who plan on wearing them in environments with varying noise levels. In contrast, the Pro model sports a canal design for total audio immersion.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked July 2024: Galaxy Z Fold 6, Watch Ultra, Smart Ring, more

Both earbuds have standout software features like Interpreter Mode and Voice Command, debuting with a new bud-and-stem form factor. The upgraded Pro model also has elevated audio features and internal components. Both earbuds bring promising upgrades, but let's discuss the best ones.

Interpreter mode

Interpreter mode is a new software feature in both of the Galaxy Buds 3 series earbuds. It translates a foreign language directly into your ears. This feature is powered by Galaxy AI, Samsung's on-device and cloud-based AI suite.

Also: Samsung just copied the Apple AirPods' best design feature, and I'm glad it did

According to Samsung, if you're a student, for example, you can listen to a lecture in a foreign language, and the earbuds will automatically translate the lecture to your preferred language. This feature is only available when the Galaxy Buds 3 or the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are connected to a Galaxy Z Fold 6 or a Galaxy Z Flip 6.

This means that Samsung has excluded its flagship Samsung Galaxy S24 from the fun. It's unclear if other Samsung smartphones compatible with Galaxy AI will receive Interpreter mode in the future.

Voice Command

Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro and Buds 3

Here are the Galaxy Buds 3 (left) and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro (right) in Silver.

Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Voice Command gives you more hands-free control of your phone and the Galaxy Buds 3 or the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. According to Samsung, you can complete commands like play, pause, or skip tracks without touching your earbuds or smartphone.

Also: Samsung Galaxy Ring's best feature would be to not lock my data behind a paywall

I will follow up on this specific feature when I test the Galaxy Buds 3 later this month. I'm curious how it compares to Apple's upcoming hands-free command software for its flagship premium earbuds, the AirPods Pro 2.

Galaxy Buds 3 Pro upgraded audio features

Samsung engineered the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro with high-quality audio fanatics in mind. These premium earbuds will be released with enhanced two-way speakers and planar magnetic tweeters. The two-way speakers allow one speaker to handle lower-frequency sounds, while the other is responsible for higher-frequency sounds. Thus, the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro's two-way speaker system should reproduce more precise, detailed sound than the second-generation Galaxy Buds and the base model Galaxy Buds 3.

Also: Save up to $1,500 on new Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 phones - here's how

Additionally, higher-frequency sounds travel through the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro's planar magnetic tweeters, which use a thin diaphragm that sits between two magnets. Due to their thin design, the planar magnetic tweeters should deliver easy-to-hear audio separation and instrumental distinction.

According to Samsung, you can listen to high-quality audio, up to 24-bit/96kHz, over Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this high audio quality is reserved for compatible devices only: the Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S24, Galaxy Z Fold 6, Galaxy Z Flip 6, Galaxy Z Fold 5, Galaxy Z Flip 5, and Galaxy Tab S9.

Honorable mentions

  • The Galaxy Buds 3 Pro are supposed to offer one extra hour of battery life compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
  • The Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro sport an IP57 waterproof rating, compared to the second generation's IPX7 rating.
  • The Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro support Bluetooth 5.4, compared to Bluetooth 5.3 on the second generation.
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