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Samsung’s next Galaxy Buds are basically AirPods clones

Leaked images purportedly of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and Galazxy Buds 3 Pro.
Evan Blass

Well this is vaguely embarrassing. If a recently leaked render — purportedly of the as-yet-unreleased Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 3 Pro — is accurate, the company’s next wireless earbuds basically look like Apple’s AirPods Gen 3 and AirPods Pro with USB-C, except with trapezoidal stems instead of Apple’s iconic tubular ones. The image above comes to us courtesy of Evan Blass, via his Substack.

If it proves to be what we see when Samsung hosts its Unpacked event on July 10, it’s a bizarre and unexpected change of direction for a company that has steadfastly stuck to stemless designs for all of it wireless earbuds so far. Unexpected, but possibly part of a larger move toward a more Apple-esque design language if Blass’ additional leak of the next Samsung smart watch is also accurate.

Still, Samsung might simply be reacting to customer feedback — these new earbuds could offer big improvements in comfort for those who have traditionally found it hard get a good fit.

Blass’ leak follows two other leaked images from earlier in June.

A set of images for a silicone charging case sleeve made by Elago — apparently pulled from the website of Korean retailer Coupang by X (formerly Twitter) user @TEQHNIKACROSS, according to The Verge — appears to show an entirely new design for the Samsung Galaxy Buds 3, one that invites a lot of comparisons to Apple’s AirPods Pro. The product page is no longer on Coupang’s site, which lends credibility to the notion that the images are real.

Leaked images that may show the unreleased Samsung Galaxy Buds 3.
Coupang/X/@TEQHNIKACROSS

The pictured earbuds have a stem-based shape — which would be a first for Samsung — and feature venting and microphone covers with very similar placements to Apple’s flagship wireless earbuds. Even the charging case takes a clear inspiration from Apple’s design, though Samsung has apparently put its own spin on the concept by making the flip-top lid out of a transparent plastic.

Stem-based wireless earbuds, like the AirPods Pro, tend to offer a more comfortable fit than those that use a stemless design. The stem allows engineers to place critical components like batteries, touch controls, and microphones outside of the main body of the earbud, which can substantially reduce the amount of space taken up in the ear itself.

Leaked images that may show the unreleased Samsung Galaxy Buds 3.
Coupang/X/@TEQHNIKACROSS

We’ve reviewed virtually all of Samsung’s wireless earbuds, including the Samsung Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy Buds Pro, Galaxy Buds 2, Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and Galaxy Buds FE, and we found each design to be perfectly fine comfort-wise. However, not everyone agrees with those assessments. A quick look on Reddit reveals that many buyers have struggled to get a comfortable and secure fit with their Samsung Galaxy earbuds.

That’s not to say you won’t find disgruntled AirPods Pro owners too, but a stem-based design for the Samsung Galaxy 3 (if in fact that’s what Samsung is planning) will give its customers a choice that they have so far lacked. For those who prefer the fit of a stem-based earbud, Samsung might soon have a way to keep these buyers within the Galaxy family. Some of those buyers might actually own iPhones too.

Samsung’s Unpacked event is July 10, so we may not have long to wait before learning if these are in fact the company’s next wireless earbuds.

Simon Cohen
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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