One may not be overstating to say that Samsung is the king of Android gadgets most especially with the bold fronts in the Samsung Galaxy buds, true wireless earbud. The Samsung Galaxy Buds are significantly one of the earbuds models that sought to topple the Apple AirPods’ lead on the true wireless earbuds market.
So far samsung has launched the Samsung Galaxy Buds, Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, the two generations of the Gear IconX; these make up a wider portfolio of Samsung true wireless earbuds.
There is slightly few differences between the Samsung Galaxy Buds and its predecessor, the IconX, especially in their sound qualities.
However, the two models have no bragging right when compared to the latest Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus – a more premium model that doesn’t cost much more and uses a dual-driver design to offer better sound quality as well as a larger built-in battery that increases the total listening time to 11 hours per charge.
Currently, a new version of the Galaxy Buds is on the way. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live – the company’s next flagship earbud and AirPods-rivaling true wireless earbuds. According to SamMobile, it will be launched in third quarter of 2020.
Recently leaked images of the rumored Samsung Galaxy Buds Live show off a pretty bold design, with a bean-like shape and built-in microphones that hint at noise-cancelling tech within.
Rumors of the new Samsung Galaxy Buds have been ramping up in the lead up to the brand’s next Unpacked event, which is expected to take place in August. According to SamMobile, this is when the new Galaxy Buds Live will go on sale, alongside the Galaxy Watch 3 and the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Fold 2.
If the Company launches this latest Samsung galaxy buds Live, this will help you save up some money from the discount which will likely be on other generations of samsung true wireless earbuds.
The launching of the latest Buds has been reinforced by a leaked promo video for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live stressing on the noise-cancelling rumors, with the following tagline: “Keep the noise out. Let the sound in”.
Price and availability
The Samsung Galaxy Buds were released on March 8, 2019 for $149 / £139 / AU$249, making them slightly cheaper than Apple’s AirPods.
If you had pre-ordered a Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus, or Galaxy S10e, you might have also gotten a free pair of Galaxy Buds thrown in, but unfortunately this offer ended at launch.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy Buds look very attractive, with a slick all-white design comprising two earbuds and a charging case.
The earbuds themselves look sleek and compact, with subtle rubber wingtips for a secure fit. You get small, medium, and large wingtips and eartips in the box, so you should be able to find a combination that fits your ear snugly.
While the buds feel rather dainty when you first put them in, and at risk of falling out, they’re surprisingly stable and comfortable to use.
One cool design feature is the use of a pearlescent material on the outer housing of the buds, which reflects the light beautifully and has an almost holographic effect.
Aside from looking good, the housings act as touch controls, which can be used to play/pause your music, skip tracks, answer and end calls, and launch Samsung’s voice assistant Bixby on compatible devices.
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You can customize the long-press action for the Galaxy Buds via the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app (Android only), choose from volume (up on the right, down on the left) or launching Bixby (long press on either bud).
Since our initial review, a Samsung Galaxy Buds update includes hands-free Bixby voice control, plus improved touch controls, and the ability to keep the ambient sound feature on at all times.
The touch controls are convenient, but you have to be supremely precise with your taps, applying enough pressure on the flat part of the buds for them to register your action. On multiple occasions we missed the mark, or didn’t apply enough pressure, which lead us to having to try again (sometimes multiple times).
While this is a mere inconvenience when you’re sitting at a desk it becomes more of an issue when you’re on the move and your hand is less steady – like, say, when you’re at the gym or out on a run. The good news is that you’ll become better attuned to the system over time through use and will eventually get better – although we still don’t have a 100% success rate.
Features and performance
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10 Plus or Galaxy S10e, pairing the buds is a seamless experience, similar to how the Apple AirPods connect instantly to iPhones. Below are features of this Samsung buds.
Connectivity seems to vary between different users; this is from reports by the Whole Gadgets team who tested the buds, and while some experienced no connection dropouts, others experienced them regularly.
Luckily, most of the issues concerning connectivity have been resolved by the recent software updates sent out by Samsumg.
You may still experience slight connection dropout as also obtainable from other wireless buds but our team has not experience any dropout after the recent update.
Another great feature of this bud is the way it was designed. The lack of wires which helps to eliminate the pulling effect on them means they can stay in the ear for long under different amount of head turning or bobbing.
The Whole Gadgets team also observed that they were reasonably intact for many gym sessions and runs as well as a healthy amount of rocking out.
Samsung galaxy bud is really a true successor to Gear IconX, those of us who have tested both will understand that Samsung galaxy bud thrives where Gear IconX suffer set back especially in the areas of deep bass and noise cancelling effect.
That doesn’t come as a surprise, considering they have been tuned by audio experts AKG.
Variations and analysis of sound quality
We started off by listening to Radiohead’s ‘Daydreaming’ and we were impressed by the detail and clarity of the vocal parts, which were complemented by soft cascading piano arpeggios and smooth detuned synths.
Grainy chopped and screwed vocals layered with digital interference pan from left to right coherently, while violin and cellos sweep above and below the mix.
However, the Galaxy Buds really shine when it comes to bass frequencies, which becomes even more apparent when you listen to bassy tracks like Billie Eilish’s ‘Bury A Friend’. On tracks like this, the use of air-displacing dynamic drivers means that you can almost feel the sub bass thumping in your chest – unusual for true wireless earbuds.
We also tested the true wireless buds on the soundtrack of indie puzzle-platformer game Fez, by composer Disasterpeace. When listening to ‘Puzzle’, we were impressed by the Galaxy Buds’ lively treatment of the sound, with distorted sine waves ebbing and flowing while shrieking synths pierced through the mix with clarity. Decaying organ-like arpeggios and bubbling chimes also felt vibrant within the generally warm soundstage.
As a result of that warm and bassy soundstage, mid frequencies can sound slightly recessed; it’s not the most natural sound treatment, so if you’re an audiophile, you may find yourself craving a little more attack in the treble frequencies for a more accurate replication of your music.
Saying that, if you like your music bassy you will probably like the way the Galaxy Buds sound. Of course, they won’t offer the same power or noise isolation as a pair of decent over-ear headphones, but for true wireless buds, the sound quality is very impressive.
- Comfortable, secure fit
- Stylish design
- Easy to pair and use
- Powerful bass
- Ambient sound can be irritating
- Touch controls not always accurate
Samsung Galaxy Buds charging case
Now onto the charging case; it’s extremely compact, and can easily slide into your pocket when you’re listening on the go.
If you’ve used the Samsung Gear IconX, you’ll notice that the whole package here is much smaller than the last-gen earphones. In fact, it’s 30% smaller and that’s sure to make a difference when you’re keeping these in your pocket.
The case generally feels quite sturdy, with a snap shut lid, and magnets that hold the earbuds in place when they’re not in use.
On the outside of the case you’ll find a small LED that indicates how much battery the case has, whereas an LED inside the case tells you how much charge your earbuds have left.
On the back of the case, there’s a USB-C charger port – the Galaxy Buds come with a USB cable so you can charge the case. The buds themselves have six hours battery life, while the charging case provides an additional seven – pretty good for true wireless buds.
The Samsung Galaxy Wearable app tells you how much battery the buds have left when you pull them out of the case, but it doesn’t tell you how much charge the case has, unlike the Apple AirPods – instead you have to rely on the LED on the outside of the case to tell you how much battery you have left.
One of the most interesting features here is the fact that you can wirelessly charge these headphones in their case. That means if you have a Qi compatible wireless charging pad – if you’ve got one for your phone, it’s probably exactly that – you can just place these on and they’ll charge up.
It’s especially useful considering the new Galaxy S10 range comes with two-way wireless charging.
That means you can set up the feature on your Galaxy S10 phone and place your headphones on the rear of the device to get them charged up as well. It’s smart, and we found it to work seamlessly in our brief testing time.
Samsung Galaxy Buds app
A few extra features can be found within the Galaxy Wearable app, including an equalizer, which allows you to switch between different presets, including ‘Bass Boost; we didn’t feel the different presets had a huge effect on the soundstage of these buds, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless.
Through the app you can also turn on ‘ambient sound’ feature, which mixes in background noise to the music using built-in microphones on the buds – a handy feature if you use want to the use the Galaxy Buds when running and need to hear some external noise for safety reasons.
It can also balance out noises like rumbling traffic, while boosting nearby voices, which allows you to stay alert to environmental noises without compromising the quality of your music.
While this is a useful feature, we did encounter problems with ambient sound in windy weather. In these weather conditions, the sound of the wind was amplified, creating an uncomfortably shrill whistling sound.
If you misplace your Galaxy Buds, you can also use the ‘Find My Earbuds’ feature to track them down. When you enable this feature, the Galaxy Buds play a constant tweeting noise so you can find them quickly.
It feels as though Samsung has finally got it right with the Galaxy Buds, and they represent serious competition for the Apple AirPods in terms of design, sound, and ease of use. We loved the pearlescent effect on the buds outer housing and the sleek design of the case, and we found they felt comfortable and secure.
The sound quality offered by these true wireless buds is also very good indeed, with deep bass, and a wide open soundstage; although, audiophiles may want to look elsewhere for a more natural sound treatment, as the Galaxy Buds do sound very warm.
The stated battery life of six hours for the buds and seven hours for the case seemed about right to us, and while there were connectivity issues before Samsung’s latest software update, these issues seem to have been largely rectified.
The downside here is that other features that are available on the app like ambient noise and the equalizer presets are useful to have, but didn’t always work as effectively as we hoped. These features are also pretty much out of bounds for iOS users, as you can only download the app on devices running Android 5.0 or later.
That said, if you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Buds are a fantastic pair of true wireless earbuds, with a few quality-of-life features that make them stand up confidently the competition. If not, you may miss out on these additional features but the high sound quality, comfortable fit, and attractive design means that these buds could be a smart purchase, even for the iOS crowd.
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