Samsung Galaxy Buds Live features a future-forward design that’s meant to be ergonomic and comfortable. But they didn’t necessarily start out that way. In fact, they went through more than 320 mockups to arrive at the final build. Now, Samsung has set aside time to go in-depth about the new wearable with its chief designers. Including designers Mingyeong Jang, Youngsang Jang, Sangok Sohn, Tommy Choi, Yongseok Bang, and Joonha Kim.
Integral to finding the right shape and fit, according to designer Tommy Choi, was understanding what it meant to build the first Galaxy-branded open-type true wireless buds. In effect, the team had been assigned the task of avoiding designs that slot into the ear canal. And that meant rethinking how the buds were shaped to avoid becoming uncomfortable. Especially since they’d be sitting behind the “earflap” which is going to vary from user to user.
But the design also needed to differentiate from existing open-type earbuds and, according to designer Youngsang Jang, that wasn’t an easy task. The team prepared around 80 Rapid Prototypes, setting aside more minor changes made in final development. That included, as pictured below, changes in size, shape, and specifications.
The key, the designer notes, was finding a design that was optimally built to suit the widest range of users. Because Samsung says, it doesn’t matter how good the performance of earbuds is, users won’t use uncomfortable earbuds.
Shape and size weren’t all that Samsung considered for Galaxy Buds Live
Now, to test shape and size, Samsung tested the earbuds with a “broad range of users,” in a bid to ensure they were comfortable “regardless of the shape and size of their ears.”
The company also meticulously tested the buds for both short and long-period use. But it wasn’t just a few wearers who trialed the buds. In fact, the design experimentation for Samsung Galaxy Buds Live involved around 2000 test subjects. And if only 8-out-of-10 found the design comfortable, modifications were made to ensure no wearer said they were uncomfortable.
Color, materials, and finish were explored extensively as well. The company says it was able to use 20-percent recycled post-consumer materials in the design. And the colors were selected to tie the device to the current run of Samsung Galaxy devices. So that left a range of options but, ultimately, designer Mingyeong Jang settled on Mystic Bronze, Mystic White, and Mystic Black. That’s in line specifically with the new Samsung Galaxy Note 20 flagship series.
It wasn’t just the buds that went through multiple redesigns
Finishing out the design, conversely, the team needed to settle on a carry and charging case. Initial designs, highlighted in images, explored the gamut of possibility. That includes at least a few designs that had the earbuds placed in the carry case vertically, similar to AirPods. There were also designs that replicated the shape of the buds themselves.
In the end, the team decided on a design that laid the buds flat in a jewelry box-like case. That was a glossy design, which ended up being added to the buds themselves too.