Samsung's entry-level Galaxy Buds are due for a refresh, and if previous trends are anything to go by, there's a good chance this could happen in 2023. We've reviewed various Galaxy Buds models through the years, but they tend to struggle sonically, with the best wireless earbuds from Sony, Apple and Bose stealing the spotlight in the audio department.
So what are we hoping for from the Galaxy Buds 3 from Samsung? Well, there haven't been a lot of rumours and leaks up to this point, so we've compiled a few predictions on pricing and launch date, and drawn up a list of features and improvements we're hoping to see to take these truly wireless earbuds up a notch (or two).
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 release date rumours
The first two Galaxy Buds saw a two-year gap between new models, with the Galaxy Buds 2 launching in August 2021, and the original Galaxy Buds making their debut in March 2019. This could point to 2023 being the year we see the Galaxy Buds 3.
They didn't launch as part of Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event back in February 2023, which makes us think Samsung's annual August Unpacked event (assuming it happens) is now likely to be the company's next opportunity to reveal the next-generation buds.
According to an April Twitter post by leaker @chunvn8888, the Galaxy Buds 3 are "coming soon."
Galaxy Buds 3 coming soon 👀April 16, 2023
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 potential price
The Galaxy Buds 3 will hopefully keep up Samsung's track record of offering affordable true wireless earbuds. The Galaxy Buds 2 and original Galaxy Buds both launched for £139 / $150 / €149 / AU$219, so fingers crossed that Samsung follows this trend for another generation.
How does this stack up against other wireless earbuds? Apple's closest-priced rival, the AirPods 3, launched at £169 / $179 / AU$279 in October 2021 – which may not seem like a huge difference at first, but when you take into consideration that the basic AirPods don't include active noise cancelling (ANC), the Galaxy Buds (which do offer ANC) have plenty going for it, on paper.
Samsung Galaxy Buds 3: features and performance wishlist
Starting off with what we like about the entry-level Galaxy Buds 2, we're fond of the lightweight design and build quality of the buds, whose compact form factor was improved without sacrificing useful features such as Qi wireless charging.
Samsung's last update made the Buds 2 more suitable for smaller ears too, and at just 5g per earbud, the less bulky design made for a more comfortable fit overall. We imagine the brand won't stray too far from this design, apart from perhaps new finishes. The only thing we'd like to change is for Samsung to ditch the glossy finish in favour of a matte outer coating, like the more sophisticated design of the Buds 2 Pro.
We also like the accessible price point, as mentioned before – the Buds 2 are very competitively priced for their feature set, and you can even find them now for around the £55 mark, which is a steal.
Now onto what we would like to see improved. The first and most important feature is sound quality. Across the board, the Galaxy Buds line has delivered fairly lacklustre sound performance, meaning they have been unable to score above a three-star in any of our Galaxy Buds reviews.
When you consider rivals such as the Sony WF-C500 producing a much higher quality sound for just over a third of the price, then that's a sign that Samsung needs to step up its game. Sony's flagship wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4, are also more commonly cropping up at around the £200 price mark, which isn't a huge step up in price for a pair of much better-sounding earbuds. We criticised the Buds 2 for their harsh trebles and lacking dynamics, so we can only hope Samsung addresses this all in the future Buds 3.
Building on sound performance, it would be nice to see some form of spatial audio, (or 360 audio, as Samsung calls it) on the Buds 3, in line with Apple's AirPods 3, which offers spatial audio on non-Pro level earbuds. We aren't expecting the 24-bit quality codec on these budget buds (that we imagine will remain with the flagship Galaxy Buds Pro line), but considering the rising popularity of 360 audio in products and in music streaming services, we're sure Samsung could find a way to make Buds 3 a more immersive pair of earbuds.
Another area with room for improvement from Samsung is battery life. Once again comparing the last generation Buds against the much cheaper Sonys, the Samsungs only manage about five hours off a single charge, whereas the Sony WF-C500s manage to double this at 10 hours on the earbuds alone. The one true weakness of all wireless earbuds is that they are completely unusable with a flat battery, and whipping out dead buds when you need them most is nothing short of soul-crushing.
Finally, a more customisable set of ANC features would be a welcome addition to the Buds 3, instead of the existing on or off options. This could include levels of noise cancelling and even a transparency mode. And as Samsung already includes customisation for the Buds via the Galaxy Wear mobile app, we figure that it could easily include a toggle there.
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Read our Galaxy Buds 2 review and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review
Here's our pick of the best wireless earbuds