Samsung Galaxy Buds are not the first attempt by the Korean manufacturer to create a worthy competitor to AirPods. Back in 2017, Gear IconX was presented at the IFA in Berlin, but it did not gain much popularity among users.
But it seems that this time the South Koreans managed to do everything right.
Options, appearance, and ergonomics of Samsung Galaxy Buds
Galaxy Buds appear in front of the buyer in a small box that shows the headphones themselves, as well as the inscription “BUDS”. The main features of the headphones are listed on the side of the box, and these are:
- 6 hours of music playback in + 7 more with a charging case;
- Clear sound during a call and playing music;
- Wireless charger;
- Convenient and ergonomic design.
Opening the box, you will find a case in which there are Galaxy Buds and another small box where the neatly folded USB Type-C wire lies, as well as a set of additional ear pads of different sizes. Instructions are still here, they lie in a separate small box with the inscription Samsung.
Set up and manage Samsung Galaxy Buds using apps
To set up Galaxy Buds wireless headphones, you need to download the special Galaxy Plugin utility, which is responsible for working with Samsung wireless headphones, in Samsung Apps or Google Play. After installing it, the connection of the smartphone with headphones will happen automatically.
The first time you launch Samsung Galaxy Buds, you may need a software update. It will happen automatically after clicking on the “Install” button. Once the software update is complete, Galaxy Buds will automatically reconnect to the smartphone.
Headphones can be controlled using the built-in Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. In it, you will find an equalizer that controls how the Galaxy Buds will sound: you can set lower sounds, soft, dynamic, clear or higher. The Notifications line shows which applications will receive notifications when you listen to music.
Even in the application, you can find out how much charge is left in each of the two headphones, reset the parameters and update the software, see legal information and tips on using Galaxy Buds.
Headphone Finder lets you find Galaxy Buds if you don’t remember exactly where they were placed. At the same time, the headphones will make a loud sound, so I highly recommend not experimenting with this function when the headphones are in your ears.
How do Samsung Galaxy Buds sound?
Finally, it’s time to talk about the musical component. After all, we are buying headphones just to listen to music, and not to consider the depth of the software settings.
Here, the Galaxy Buds are in full order. If you compare the headphones with AirPods, they sound about the same, I did not notice any big difference in the sound of the two earbuds. For example, the composition of the band The Prodigy – You Will Be Under My Wheels, where there are many electronic sounds, plays very well and quite cleanly. Everything is in order and with the bass: the composition of Queen We Will Rock You sounds powerful and very energetic. As for pop music and classics, the Galaxy Buds does a great job with these music genres.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have active noise canceling. By default, it is turned off; it can be configured in the Sound Environment menu of the Samsung Galaxy Wearable mobile application. There you can adjust the volume of the sound background and set the priority of the voice.
Noise reduction in Galaxy Buds works very well, it can be included in a separate menu and make voices heard. This is very convenient, for example, in the metro and airport: you definitely will not miss your station or important announcement.
How to control Samsung Galaxy Buds wireless headphones – adjust the sound, switch music, answer a call and so on
If the Touch Panel menu is activated, then you can stop or continue playing the song with a simple tap on the headphones. This is a very convenient feature, you do not need to go into the phone to pause the song. A double-tap on the headphone switches to the next song, and triple tap to the previous one. You can answer or end a call with a double-tap.
How to charge Samsung Galaxy Buds?
Headphones can be charged in two ways: by wire through the bundled USB Type C or by wireless charging directly from a smartphone – if you have, for example, the flagship of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series. Other wireless chargers are also supported.
To charge wirelessly, you need to swipe down the notification curtain and tap on Reverse charging. Then you need to turn your Galaxy S10 screen down and put a case with headphones on the back of the smartphone.
How are Samsung Galaxy Buds different from IconX?
When choosing between Galaxy Buds and Gear IconX, it’s important to remember the following: Galaxy Buds support wireless charging in all its forms, while Gear IconX does not. Also, the new Samsung wireless headphones differ in battery capacity: in the new headphones, it is only 58 mAh compared to 252 mAh in the old ones. At the same time, Galaxy Buds have become more compact compared to Gear IconX. Samsung has also improved speech recognition in noisy places.
Do Galaxy Buds fall out of my ears?
During testing, Galaxy Buds did not fall out of my ears even once, and in my opinion, they sit in my ears even too tightly. On the other hand, Samsung notes that the ears are designed for sports, and therefore such mount is justified.
Can I connect Samsung Galaxy Buds to an iPhone?
Yes. To do this, go to the Settings menu on the iPhone, select Bluetooth Galaxy Buds from the Bluetooth menu and click Connect. Unfortunately, the Galaxy Wereabale app for iOS is not available, so you will not be able to update the software on the headphones or, for example, adjust the equalizer.
Is there water protection in the Samsung Galaxy Buds?
Headphones are protected from accidental splashes and moisture: for example, sweat, but you should not swim in them.
Review of Samsung Galaxy Buds in one paragraph
The Galaxy Buds will be a great addition to the Samsung Galaxy S10 flagship line, but they are good enough to buy them separately and use it with other Android smartphones.
Specifications Samsung Galaxy Buds:
- Colors: Onyx, Cream, Citrus
- Dimensions: Headphones: 17.5 (W) × 19.2 (D) × 22.3 (H) mm / Case: 38.8 (W) × 70 (D) × 26.5 (H) mm
- Weight: Earphones: 5.6 g each earphone / Case: 39.6 g
- Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity Sensor, Hall, Touch Panel
- Battery capacity: Headphones: 58 mA? H / charging case: 252 mA? H
- USB: Type-C
- Speaker: 5.8 pi Dynamic Driver
- Compatibility: Android 5 and later, RAM 1.5 GB or more
- Audio: SBC, AAC, Scalable audio codecs (Samsung proprietary)
Samsung Galaxy Buds Wireless Headphones: A Complete Review
Samsung Galaxy Buds Wireless Headphone Design
Real wireless headphones are usually quite large, due to the need to use separate batteries and Bluetooth chips in each, as well as controls if any. Despite this, the Samsung Galaxy Buds are smaller and lighter than many of the latest wireless headphones we used. These inserts have plastic shells, with rods extending into the ears of the user, for fit into the canal and soundproof seals. On each earphone, there are microphones for voice calls and the inclusion of surround mode. We were comfortable wearing Samsung Galaxy Buds during the day.
Scope of delivery Samsung Galaxy Buds
The package includes Samsung Galaxy Buds, a charging cradle, a USB Type-C cable for charging the case, an instruction manual, and additional rubber inserts and wings. Although the wings can help you in a more secure fit, we personally chose to do without them, as it was, more comfortable. Samsung Galaxy Buds are compact and easy to use the wings can be useful while running, but in our experience, the liners were light enough to stay without them under most conditions of use.
Build Quality Headphone Samsung Galaxy Buds
Inside each earphone, there are two contact points, for charging and a proximity sensor, to determine when they have been removed and placed in your ears. Removing the earbuds from the ears also pauses the music, which is a good way to quickly stop playback when you need to listen to your surroundings or talk to someone. Samsung Galaxy Buds does not have a power switch and we just had to put the headphones back in the charging cradle to turn them off. At the same time, the stand will begin to recharge the batteries in each earphone, which was convenient.
Both Galaxy Buds have their own 58 mAh batteries, and the charging cradle has an additional 252 mAh to charge the headphones. Interestingly, you can also charge the stand wirelessly using compatible devices that support reverse wireless charging, or any conventional, wireless charger. We tested this feature with the Samsung Galaxy S10 + and it worked as advertised. Samsung Galaxy Buds worked for about five hours, fully charged and the stand can fully charge the headphones, two more times. So, if you start with fully charged headphones and a stand, you can get about 15 hours of use, without the need to connect, to a power source. However, this requires putting off the headphones for about 30-45 minutes, every five hours, in order to return them to full charge.
The external shell of the headphones is touch-sensitive and can be used to control certain functions while using Galaxy Buds. These include, but are not limited to, answering calls, playing and pausing music, skipping tracks, adjusting volume, and launching Bixby on a compatible device. For example, by long pressing, using the Galaxy Wearable app, you can adjust the volume, control the Bixby assistant or activate the surround mode, which lowers the music volume and activates microphones so you can hear the surroundings. These controls are quite intuitive and easy to learn and we quickly found that we use them constantly, and do not access our smartphone every few minutes.
The versatility of using Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds supports Bluetooth 5, with various profiles, including A2DP, AVRCP, and HFP, but does not support aptX codec. SBC and AAC are supported, providing an almost universal connection with most smartphones and computers, as well as the Samsung Scalable proprietary codec, which is said to be on par with AptX. When used with the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, Galaxy Buds, by default, used a scalable codec and we also tested them with this codec. However, there is no readily available information about which devices use this codec, and if you use Galaxy Buds with a device that does not support Scalable, you will rely on SBC or AAC. Bluetooth 5 provides a stable connection and we had no connection problems during the testing of the Galaxy Buds, with the Galaxy S10 +.
Application for using Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds can be used with the Galaxy Wearable app, which is available on Android. The application shows the battery level for the headphones, and also has an equalizer option that allows you to choose between presets for bass amplification, soft, dynamic, clear and amplified. You can also set up notifications from your phone that will be read on Galaxy Buds, set up touch gestures and sound signals of the headphones in case you cannot find them and update their firmware. You can use Galaxy Buds on iOS devices as standard Bluetooth headphones, but you won’t be able to take advantage of the application if you don’t use Android.
Battery life and charging process of Samsung Galaxy Buds
An interesting understanding for us, the battery level, was that the battery in the left earphone discharged a little faster than in the right one and the difference was 10-15 percent, during one full use. We realized that this was because we preferred the left earbud for touch control, and also removed the left earphone more often than the right one when we needed to stop to talk with someone. Since each earphone has a small 58 mAh battery, this difference is not too surprising or significant, in a wider scheme. The application does not display information about the battery of the charger and you only have to rely on its LED indicator. When it is fully charged, it blinks red, and when the battery is low, the indicator constantly lights up in red when charging and turns green when the battery is fully charged.
Charging Case Design
It takes about 90 minutes to fully charge the stand using a network adapter or USB port from a computer. The case itself, for charging, is a simple plastic box in the form of a tablet that looks not very beautiful. However, he does his job by charging and protecting the headphones when not in use.
Main competitors of Samsung Galaxy Buds
Samsung Galaxy Buds compete directly with Apple AirPods, but for $ 145, the Samsung variant is a bit more affordable and sold at the same price as the recently released headphones – Nokia True Wireless. We tested Samsung Galaxy Buds, mainly with the OnePlus 6T, but also listened to them a bit, with the Samsung Galaxy S10 +, to test Samsung’s scalable codec. For testing, we used our own Apple Music and Spotify reference audio files, and also tried Galaxy Buds for voice calls. The soundstage of Galaxy Buds is focused on popular genres and really highlights the best in them. Due to the difference in codecs, the track on the OnePlus 6T didn’t sound as good as on the Samsung Galaxy S10 +. The scalable codec led to a clear improvement, and in our opinion, the reproduced track sounded more open and detailed. When using the more affordable SBC codec, we could barely notice a difference in quality between high-resolution audio tracks and compressed or streaming formats. However, the sound quality was decent, even when using the streaming services that we used, with great excitement and drive, from Samsung Galaxy Buds. While high frequencies, sometimes, sounded piercing, in general, the sound was decent for a wireless pair of headphones. Galaxy Buds can be very loud, but it’s best to use them at moderate volumes.
Testing with Apple Music and Spotify
Using Apple Music and Spotify, we found that the sound, in different genres, was decent. Samsung Galaxy Buds have a fairly wide soundstage and decent sound separation, with low and medium frequencies. However, we again heard that Buds are losing some quality at the upper end of the frequency range. Decreasing the volume by about 50 percent compensates for the flaws in the controlled heights, but also removes the characteristic sharpness of the headphones. Finally, we used the Samsung Galaxy Buds for voice calls. Voice quality was good on both sides of the line. We could well hear the interlocutor on call, and also, ourselves were clearly heard. The microphones are located at the base of the Galaxy Buds and are quite far away from the user’s lips, but proper setup ensures that they can receive voices and transmit them accordingly.
Samsung Galaxy Buds – impressive wireless headphones, at the stated price. This product has a lot of interesting things, including good design, decent sound quality, comfort, and convenient touch controls. Although the best codec support and wireless reverse charging can only be used with compatible devices (such as the Samsung Galaxy S10 +), most of the functions work with almost any modern Android smartphone. The sound quality is not without flaws. Maxima, not always, can keep up with the rest of the frequency range, and the lack of support for aptX means that the best sound quality also depends on the availability of a compatible Samsung smartphone as a source. However, the Galaxy Buds are some of the most affordable, truly wireless options from a reputable brand, and Samsung used some AKG knowledge to set it up correctly. If you plan to purchase one of the new Samsung Galaxy phones, the S10 series, then you should buy Galaxy Buds, especially at a price, with a discount of about $ 40.