The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro only launched last week but they’ve just received their first big software update, adding performance improvements and a potentially very useful feature for those with partial hearing loss.
The update includes left/right sound balance adjustment, so you can raise and lower the volume of each earbud independently. This could help achieve a more balanced sound if your hearing is better in one ear than the other, as you can boost the bud in the weaker ear to compensate.
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Bixby voice wakeup responsiveness has also been improved, so Samsung’s voice assistant should be quicker to react to commands made through the Galaxy Buds Pro. Lastly, the update improves “system stability and reality”, which is a bit vague but likely means fewer hangs and crashes for the Samsung Wareable app.
While not intended specifically to act as basic hearing aids, the Galaxy Buds Pro already had a decent tool to help with hearing loss in their Ambient Sound mode, which uses the onboard microphones to amplify nearby sounds — including speech. This ability to adjust the volume on a per-earbud basis is an even more distinct step towards making them a good choice for anyone with mild or moderate hearing loss.
It’s also yet another feature added to a pair of earbuds that’s teeming with extra functions. The Galaxy Buds Pro already offer active noise cancellation (ANC), IPX7 waterproofing, a clever Voice Detect tool that can engage Ambient mode and/or lower music volume when the mics hear you speaking, and a 360 Audio surround sound mode — though this particular feature requires one of the latest Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones to work.
The Galaxy Buds Pro aren’t the first headphones to have this idea of splitting left and right volume controls. Their biggest wireless earbud rivals, the Apple AirPods Pro, have long offered the ability to shift the volume balance between left, right and center channels, achieving a similar effect.
Nonetheless, it’s a solid upgrade to a pair of headphones that are still very, very new, so hopefully there will be plenty more enhancements to come.
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James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.