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Samsung Galaxy Buds review: the thinking man's AirPods

Samsung Galaxy Buds review: the thinking man's AirPods

These days, there are a lot of true-wireless headphones and in-ear Bluetooth buds on the market. The Galaxy Buds from Samsung are not necessarily the cheapest, but they also have a lot to offer. In our review, we tell you why the Galaxy Buds are better than Apple's AirPods.

Rating

Good

  • Comfortable fit
  • Great sound
  • Wireless charging
  • Good battery life

Bad

  • Poor voice quality when making phone calls
  • Battery in case could be bigger

The Samsung Galaxy Buds aren't really cheap.

Samsung offers the Galaxy Buds at a price of £139.00 in the UK and $149 in the US. The price thus remains below what Apple demands for its AirPods. If you have pre-ordered a Galaxy S10, you can even get a free pair of Galaxy Buds if you have registered in time - the stocks are obviously sold out at the moment - and the offer is limited to certain regions, so check with your local dealer.

 

Comfortable headphones with great sound

Samsung remains true to the design tropes and  the Galaxy Buds look very similar to the Gear Icon X. But that doesn't matter because the small in-ear buds are designed without frills and are quite simple. Samsung offers the Galaxy Buds in black, white and yellow, the two bright variants are optically quite striking - but they are still more discreet than the AirPods, which protrude further out of the ear.

While the pure look is still a matter of taste, the Galaxy Buds beat the Apple AirPods by far in comfort when worn for one simple reason: they can be adapted to virtually any ear with the different silicone parts. As the AirPods are made of hard plastic - if they don't fit, you are out of luck. At 23 grams per earphone, they are also as light as a feather. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Buds not only sat comfortably, but also securely in my ear. They did not fall out of my ears once during the two weeks or so I was using them. That not the case with all true wireless headphones.

AndroidPIT samsung galaxy buds earpiece
The little things can really pack a punch! / © AndroidPIT

The Galaxy Buds are operated in two ways: via the corresponding app or via touch controls on the sides of the in-ears. The touch operation is practical, but the slight delay between tapping and response is noticeable with all Bluetooth headphones, and it's the same here. In the app you can adjust the sound with five different modes, set apps for notifications, perform software updates - I've already gotten two so far - among other things. The application is handy to use with the Galaxy Buds but its also mandatory.

The sound of the Galaxy Buds is excellent

The sound of the Samsung Galaxy Buds convinced me all the way through my test. Whether music in all its facets, radio play or podcasts, the small headphones deliver in all situations. The volume is more than sufficient - if it were even louder, you would harm your ears. The quality of the Bluetooth connection depends on several factors, but usually works well. If the signal weakens for a short time, you will notice a slight echo, which usually disappears after one or two seconds.

While the sound is excellent when listening to music, I don't really like it when was on the phone. The other person often didn't understand me, and they didn't sound particularly natural to me either. So if you want to use your headphones to make calls, you should keep looking - most similar Bluetooth in-ears are no better, though.

samsung galaxy wearable app
Samsung's Wearable app offers lots of features / © AndroidPIT

The Samsung Galaxy Buds suppress ambient noise very reliably and shield the wearer well. This is pleasant in the office or on the train, but can be dangerous in road traffic. If you want to hear more, activate the ambient noise forwarding in the app. You can still adjust whether voices should be let through preferentially and how loud the ambient noise should be. That's very convenient.

The Galaxy Buds charge wirelessly

Samsung promises a battery life of six hours with the Galaxy Buds, and that's realistic. When the power runs out, pop the headphones back in the case and they are powered up again. If you leave them there for half an hour, you will have enough juice for a few hours of listening to music.

samsung galaxy buds charging
The Galaxy Buds charge wirelessly. / © Samsung

The case of the Galaxy Buds can be charged wirelessly via Qi. It may take a little longer, but it's quite convenient. If you use a Galaxy S10 or Huawei Mate 20 Pro, you can even charge the headphones on the back of your smartphone - this is, of course, an eye-catcher for everyone involved.

The Galaxy Buds are worth every penny

After two weeks, I don't want to give up the Galaxy Buds. The Bluetooth in-ear headphones are worth every penny of their price if you are looking for such headphones. Large headphones are hardly suitable for sports, especially running or cycling, where "true wireless" fits much better. I can easily do without the pulse measurement in the ear though, and ambitious athletes probably use a pulse watch, a chest strap or a fitness tracker on their wrist anyway.

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5 comments

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  • i don't know if my problem with gear icon x is still exist in this new galaxy buds.

    but one thing for sure, my gear icon x is NOT A SPORT EARPHONE. it can't withstand sweat. while i use gear icon x when running, after a while, the sounds gradually decreasing until disappeared.


  • storm 9 months ago Link to comment

    Damning with faint praise ...

    You have to really hate cords, love compressive codecs, like short battery life, compromise on phone use, deal with signal fluctuation, charge the device and the case. And pay extra for the privilege.

    But you look so cool doing it.

    Deactivated Account


    • Thomas 9 months ago Link to comment

      I do really hate cords that hook me to my phone, they are very inconvenient when you are actually moving or doing anything really.


    • 99% can't tell the difference in sound or they just don't care. Convenience is more important.


    •   16
      Deactivated Account 8 months ago Link to comment

      most people are streaming compressed music, so it doesn't really affect their experience.

      plus, it does look really cool. :)

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