360 Audio is Samsung’s take on the 3D audio effect that provides a surround sound (360-degree) experience on supported headphones, but which of its earbuds support the feature? Samsung sells its earbuds under the Galaxy Buds name which made its debut in 2019. Prior to the launch of the Galaxy Buds, Samsung sold its wireless earbuds under the Gear brand, the same one it used for its other wearable products including smartwatches and fitness trackers.
Different manufacturers have their own version of the 3D audio surround sound effect. For Apple, it is called Spatial Audio and it’s available on select AirPods and Beats earbuds, as well as the HomePod. Microsoft calls it Spatial Sound and it is available on Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices, while Sony calls its solution 360 Reality Audio. It is also called 3D Audio on the PlayStation 5.
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The first Samsung earbuds to come with 360 Audio were the Galaxy Buds Pro which were announced in early 2021. At the moment, they are also the only Galaxy earbuds that support the feature. Thankfully, that is expected to change soon as Samsung has confirmed that 360 Audio is coming to the Galaxy Buds 2. The feature will also be available on the bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live. According to Samsung, 360 Audio will be arrive on both sets of earbuds via a software update through the Galaxy Wearable app starting on March 30, 2022.
Older Samsung Models Are Not Supported
Unfortunately, older earbuds, such as the Galaxy Buds and the Galaxy Buds+, do not support 360 Audio. As a matter of fact, Samsung no longer sells either of these earbuds, so if 360 Audio is an important feature, it is best to get the Galaxy Buds Pro, Buds 2, or Buds Live earbuds. When 360 Audio is activated, the sound will move in the direction the user moves their head in, thanks to Dolby Head Tracking which makes use of the accelerometers inside the earbuds.
Having earbuds that support 360 Audio is not the only requirement, as they will also need to be connected to a Samsung Galaxy smartphone or tablet running One UI 3.1 or later. This means that even if a user has a pair of Galaxy Buds with 360 Audio support, they won’t be able to experience the benefits if they are using a non-Samsung device, or a Samsung device that’s running older software. There is also the issue of app support. 360 Audio does work when using a number of popular apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, providing the content being watched is available in Dolby Atmos. For reference, Samsung is rumored to be launching two new earbuds this year, in the form of the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Galaxy Live Buds 2. It is expected that these earbuds will arrive with 360 Audio support out of the box, just like the Galaxy Buds Pro.