Samsung accidentally leaks its new Galaxy Buds ahead of launch

Next week’s Galaxy Unpacked 2019 event, which will be hosted by Samsung in San Francisco on February 20, is likely going to have very little new information left to tell consumers. Last week, we got a sneak peek at what the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Buds will look like in their white dress uniform, plus a hint that the charging case will itself be wireless charging-enabled. Earlier this week, SamMobile let us see the earbuds in black, and gave us just a few more specs to consider, and now it appears Samsung itself has leaked the full lineup itself. SamCentralTech caught the mistake, which showed up in an early update of the Android Galaxy Wearable app.

samsung-galaxy-buds-leak
Courtesy of SamCentral

If there were still any lingering questions about the approaching launch of Samsung’s answer to Apple’s AirPods, we think those doubts can now be laid to rest. In addition to the graphic above, we also have this snapshot of the Galaxy Buds alone, in white:

samsung galaxy buds leak2

The SamMobile leak let us see the earbuds in much more detail. Charging contacts are visible, but perhaps the most notable feature is something they don’t have: They lack the silicone ear hooks that came with the IconX. Are they simply not shown in these images, or have they been removed entirely? We’re not completely sure. One very exciting new spec, if accurate, is that the Galaxy Buds will be water resistant. Not very resistant — only IPX2 — which covers a small amount of dripping water, making these buds sweatproof, but not much else.

Courtesy of Winfuture WinFuture

In the previously leaked photo from Winfuture, we saw two white earbuds inside a clamshell-like charging case. The headphones look much like many other true wireless headphones on the market, with what appear to be silicone ear tips nestled inside the case. What’s remarkable about this photo is that it shows the charging case sitting atop the back of what is believed to be the new Galaxy S10 smartphone. It’s not a stretch to suggest that this implies you will be able to recharge the Galaxy Buds’ charging case wirelessly from the phone itself. Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro lets you boost other wireless-charging devices from its own battery via its “reverse-charging” feature, so it seems likely Samsung has decided to add this feature as well. Whether it will charge any Qi-compatible device or only Samsung devices remains to be seen.

They are still confirmed to use Bluetooth 5.0, though which Bluetooth codecs they will support is unknown. If we’re lucky, the new buds will use the latest Qualcomm chipset for an improvement in battery life as well as support for aptX technologies. If the earbuds are not equipped with battery-saving tech, battery life may be a disappointment: The latest details suggest that the Galaxy Buds get a 58 mAh battery — much smaller than the latest IconX, which have 82 mAh batteries. The charging case gets a 252 mAh battery, which is almost 100mAh less than the IconX’s case. In all likelihood, it will deliver the same one-charge top-up.

Reportedly, the Galaxy Buds will pack 8GB of onboard memory for audio storage, which doubles the space on the Gear IconX.

Previous indications that the Galaxy Buds are on their way:

  • Certification by the Federal Communications Commission of a product made by Samsung, simply known as “SMR170L”
  • Matches closely with a previously discovered Bluetooth SIG product listing. In that document, a Samsung Smart Wearable device with a very similar model number (SM-R170), goes by the design name “Galaxy-Buds.”

The February 20 event, where it’s widely expected that we will be introduced to the Galaxy S10, is now clearly going introduce a new smartwatch, and a fitness wearable too. It would make sense for the company to add true wireless headphones to that product lineup. The report from SamMobile suggests the Galaxy Buds may even be bundled for free with the purchase of an S10 in some markets.

Updated on February 15, 2019: Added new leaked photos from Samsung.

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