This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. OK
Review 105 Shares 24 comments

Samsung Gear IconX review: Burning ears

The Gear IconX is a new breed of Bluetooth wearable that combines two separate earphones which work entirely without wires. It's a product that tries to be a whole lot more than just a pair of earbuds but after spending more than two weeks with them, I've learned that Samsung trimmed away more than just cables with this gadget. Read on for our full Samsung Gear IconX review.



  • Attractive design
  • 3.5 GB of storage space for music
  • Includes a heart-rate monitor
  • Compatible with any smartphone


  • Can get hot enough to hurt your ears
  • Short battery life
  • Unstable Software
  • Lacks water-resistance
  • Poor audio quality for music
  • Erratic charging

Samsung Gear IconX release date and price

The Gear IconX are available now for $199, placing it $100 below The Dash, a similar device from Bragi. They come in three colors: blue, white and black. 

Samsung Gear IconX design and build quality

The Gear IconX have a sophisticated design that's immediately arresting. As soon as you remove them from their box, which also functions as a portable charger, you'll feel that this is a new breed of gadget. 

Each Gear IconX earbud measures 25.9 x 19.5 x 17.9 mm, making them slightly smaller than those of The Dash. Also, the weight of the individual buds is 6 grams – one whole gram lighter than those from Bragi.

Aside from the physical disparities, the IconX and The Dash are similar in design, but this is easily ascribed to the limiting factor that is the near-universal shape of the human ear. Extravagant design and a comfortable fit are rarely compatible in the world of earbuds.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7345
Adjusting to the size of the intra-ear, the Gear IconX can fit perfectly in your ear. / © AndroidPIT

Skirting the headphones is a rubber band or 'wingtip'. In addition to ensuring a secure fit in the ear, these also provide a space to touch the IconX without interacting with its touch-sensitive surface, thus avoiding accidental track skipping.

Each wireless headset has two microphones: one on top and one at the bottom, which deliver a strong audio experience during ongoing calls. On each IconX headphone there are also connectors for charging them, a sensor for heart-rate monitoring, and symbols distinguishing the left and right sides.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7404
Connectors for charging are inside the headphones IconX. / © AndroidPIT

Though they're not exactly fragile, you do need to be quite careful when handling the IconX. They're not fragile, just small. In fact, during these two weeks of testing, I dropped both of them countless times without them suffering any damage.

The headphone case is USB 2.0 compatible, providing access to the IconX's internal storage space (used for storing audio files, more on that later). The case dimensions are 30.3 x 92 x 35.3 mm and it weighs 52 grams, which makes it easy to carry in a purse, backpack or coat pocket.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7401
The case of IconX headphones is small and easy to carry. / © AndroidPIT

On the box's front, Samsung includes the button to open the case and two small LED panels that indicate the battery status of the headphones. In the back of the case, we have the micro-USB slot and another small LED display that indicates the battery level of the case itself.

When I compare Samsung's design with Bragi, there are few differences, but the impression I have is that the South Korean manufacturer has invested more time in polishing the appearance of its product; it's a well put together package.

Samsung Gear IconX special features

What really makes the Gear IconX a wireless headset stand out from thousands of other headphone products are its smart features. With this new Samsung headset, you can listen to music without the need to use any other gadget: not a smartphone, smartwatch, smartband, iPod or an MP3 Player. Better yet, you also receive real-time statistics and updates about your current activity. Let's take a deeper look at these features. 

Integrated MP3 player

The Gear IconX make use of touch-sensitive controls present on both earphones to manipulate their software.

  • Tap once to play or pause a song
  • Slide your finger on the touchpad up or down to control the volume
  • Double tap to switch to the next track or answer/end a call
  • Triple tap to go back to the previous track
  • Tap and hold to hear the settings spoken in English and change the sound environment

The IconX is not only a Bluetooth headset: it also functions as a standalone MP3 player. This wearable contains 4 GB (effective amount: 3.5 GB) of internal storage space which can be used to house MP3s.

There are two ways to transfer MP3s onto the IconX. The first method is to do it via a PC or Mac. When the IconX earbuds are in the charging cradle, this can be connected via USB cable to a computer. The other method is via your smartphone, but not just any smartphone: it has to be a Samsung smartphone with at least Android 4.4 with 1.5 GB of RAM. Anyone who doesn’t own a Samsung smartphone up to snuff will have to rely on the PC or Mac method.

During my tests, I used only the first method and the transfer process was always smooth. I also paired the IconX with my Xperia Z2, which was equally pain-free. 

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7388
Headphones, fitness tracker and MP3 player all in one. / © AndroidPIT

Fitness Tracking

As well as music playback, the Gear IconX can also provide real-time statistics on your sports activities with automatic monitoring of your heart rate. This can be used in conjunction with the Samsung Gear app and you don't need a Samsung device to install this.

samsung gear IconX exercises loading problems
Heart beat frequency data is monitored automatically (left); Charging the battery (right). / © AndroidPIT

What most caught my attention with the IconX is the fact that it can measure heart rate automatically even while you're listening to music. When I realized that it had been recording my heart beats without me ever having been aware of it, I was very impressed.

Samsung Gear IconX software

The Gear IconX don't need to be paired with a phone to work but to get the most out of them they can be used in conjunction with the Samsung Gear companion app. 

Sometimes it's difficult to keep the smartphone and headphones connected, especially when the battery is very low but I would say that the feature most lacking in the application is the ability to equalize the audio output. The Gear IconX volume is low compared to more traditional wired or Bluetooth headphones and I would have liked to change the tonality.

Samsung Gear Install on Google Play
AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7363
The IconX can be paired with smartphones running Android 4.4 or higher. / © AndroidPIT

Samsung Gear IconX performance

The Gear IconX's 47 mAh batteries don't last very long. In some cases, I was only able to use the earphones for about an hour before they needed to be recharged.

What's worse – significantly worse – is the fact that the Gear IconX can become too hot while in your ear, making the gadget almost impossible to use. In this sense, that one-hour battery life can act as an unsophisticated security measure. 

The microphones in the IconX perform well and deliver a good experience for those on the other side of the call. Listening to music is less enjoyable because, as mentioned above, the Gear IconX are quiet and in open environments like parks or on the street, the metallic sound is unclear.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7396
Heat produced by the IconX can cause discomfort. / © AndroidPIT

The Gear IconX are well designed from a structural perspective and include all the features that most wireless headsets have but the overall sound quality and user experience is poor. Keeping them comfortably in the ears becomes increasingly difficult as the temperature increases. I get the feeling that instead of the IconX being a premium headphone product, they're nothing more than an expensive prototype.

Last but not least, the IconX's Bluetooth range is problematic. To give you an idea, my apartment is approximately 60 square meters but I couldn't go from the living room to the bedroom without a connection failure. Using other headsets I can walk around the house without any such problems. 

Samsung Gear IconX audio

As stated above, the performance of the gear IconX in terms of call quality is strong. On the other hand, the audio quality for music isn't great. 

When playing music stored on the IconX, for example, you only receive mono sound. Yes, only one of the headphones will produce audio output under these circumstances. It's only when using combined with a smartphone that both sides operate well.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7354
The IconX have many functions, but pure audio quality isn't one of their strengths. / © AndroidPIT

But even when playing back stereo sound, the quality is quite unimpressive and sounds too tinny. There also isn't a way to balance the bass or treble in the Samsung Gear app.

Samsung Gear IconX battery

In each of the two buds is a 47 mAh battery. Samsung claims a maximum of three hours use. The battery case has a capacity of 315 mAh, which theoretically could charge the IconX up to 100 percent five times over. In day to day use, listening to music during exercises where the health data is collected, battery life usually lasts around three hours.

AndroidPIT Samsung Gear IconX 7375
Charging the headphones is slow. / © AndroidPIT

Furthermore, there is a great tendency for there to be a disparity between the right and left earphone charge levels. On several occasions, the right side charge level was at 100 percent, while the left sat at zero.

The reason seems to be due to moisture; it's important to keep the connectors dry and clean or problems can occur. As a gadget designed for sports, it's disappointing that there isn't some kind of water-resistance, but at least it encourages users to take care of them.

Final verdict

The Gear IconX are earphones that look good and have useful features for sports but crucial details like battery life, water-resistance and overheating have ruined the experience.

After more than two weeks of use, I've realized that the Gear IconX is a good idea that's not worth $200 price tag – even with little direct competition in this market.

If you already use a wearable device, like a smartwatch or smartband, a conventional Bluetooth headset would be a better purchase for your sporting activities. And make no mistake, the Gear IconX is not an alternative to your music headphones: poor audio quality and short battery life guarantee that.

What is your favorite Bluetooth accessory for sports? Let us know in the comments. 


Write new comment:
  • Just got these today, the left ear bud goes green and the left one stays red :( what should I even do

  • so do i buy em or not i yet didnot buy em and i donot want to spend my money on a on nothing so its good or not

  • They do not heat i my case, but...
    How long is it taking to get fully charged with USB cable?
    Mine are not charging properly- I guess. I charge via USB cable first, then use it for 1,5 hour then have to charge it again: I can use the battery from the case just once before I have to connect it to the USB again... that means, I use the earbuds only 2 times between connecting the case to the USB cable, so I am just thinking that it is losing the battery.

  • Btw they are not mono when you copy music on to them. You have to install the Gear IconX manager and sync the head phones. The music will be copied on both headphones and it works fine.

    The issue I do have that the update was unable to solve was the erratic charging. Sometimes only one bud is green and the other red.

  • l0gan5 1 month ago Link to comment

    Since receiving my set yesterday it has managed to last on a single charge 1 hour 50 minutes before switching off. This is using a Galaxy S7 Edge and streaming Spotify and the volume set to about 60%.

    I've had no problems with drop-out and the audio quality is excellent, especially when listening to music stored directly on it.

    I've found the equaliser in sound settings best left at normal and to not use any other other bass/sound boosting apps - these just made it a lot worse.

  • Mine don't heat up but they never stay connected to each other which is obviously annoying. I've updated the software and unpaired Bluetooth and had no luck

    • I had the same issue an realize that the head phones are activate when the sensor is directly on skin. So I adjusted them so the sensor is consistently touching the inside of my ear. Issue resolved.

  • My experience is really BAd and worse.

    1. If you take them out and wanted to pair with other phone, its not possible unless you have the little ear bug holder unit. I got out for a walk and figured out that phone doesnt detect at all. I had to come home, put the ear buds in the box once and while removing them out it got detected on phone. If they would have given an option in the hold and press menu ..something like "enable bluetooth pairing" that could have solved the issue.

    2. Transfering songs to its a pain..why do want to connect it to little unit, when you can transfer songs on bluetooth? You could have transferred songs from samsung gear like you transfer photos from your phone to your samsung gear s2 watch..

    3. Windows Gear iconx pc software says "Once side of your Gear IconX is connected. Check the both sides of your Gear IconX is inserted." There is no other option on screen. Both the ear buds are properly inserted and both the led lights glow red. It just doesnt work..

    Could have been more user friendly. This is a consumer product and even a layman should be able to use with no much expertise ..


  • you used them for 2 weeks and never used the Gear IconX computer software for standalone music?

    "When playing music stored on the IconX, for example, you only receive mono sound. Yes, only one of the headphones will produce audio output under these circumstances. "

    Yes you do get audio output in Both headphones if used properly.
    maybe you needed a little more research while using them.

    Putting music on the headphones storage will get you like 3 hours. Plenty of time for any run or workout.

  • Dabears 1 month ago Link to comment

    Sounds like user error. First of all the 1.5 hour battery life is good enough for 1 workout session, unless of course you're a meat head. And second, please make sure you know exactly how use a device first before giving a review. I have had an earin cordless headphone and I thought that was the coolest thing and this icon x just put that device to shame. Maybe restore your pair you bought and keeps it away from heating up. That's just hard to believed why yours heats up that way.

  • I bought these on launch day as an accessory to my Galaxy Note 7 and have been using them daily. I have never felt any time of burning in my ears. This device is absolutely amazing. the 1.5 to 2.0 hrs of batter life works well for me and I can charge it on the go via my USB charge port in my car just in case. These truly are remarkable I don't agree with this assessment, and recommend to anybody who enjoys the freedom of pure wireless ear buds with Great Quality sound.

    • Phillips I did the same. I bought these headphones as an accessory to my Note 7 which regardless of the recall I love. Did you return yours yet? I turned it off and popped sim in another phone I have but have not returned yet. The exchange policy is just absurd. I know this is conversation for another thread, but I am curious what other users of the Note 7 are doing.

  • Mines don't warm up in the ears neither. I really like what they've come up with. They're perfect if you're only using them for exercising. But not for what I need them for. I wanted them for work. You only get a hour or less talk time and maybe three hours music time. I work ten hours a day. And it wouldn't be so bad if they didn't take hours to recharge. Other this that they're awesome.

  • Hi
    Mine doesn't warm up at all and I think you got a dud pair. The battery life isn't great but long enough for me to finish my gym routine. One thing that does bother me, not sure if anybody else has this but quite often the left side seems louder than the right side, pause the music an it gets centered again but 3minutes later its back again. Would appreciate any feedback regarding thit problem as I'm not sure returning them will solve the problem.

    • Donny 1 month ago Link to comment

      From Samsung Gear app I've seen the new IconX firmware is available. I think the new firmware would be helpful.

  • I've had these for a couple weeks, using them everyday, and I have not had the heating up problem you mention.

  • Brian 1 month ago Link to comment

    For mono sound problem when you play any music stored on the IconX, you had better check if the same music files are transfered to the both (Left/Right) of earphones. If you copy a music file to only one side of earphone you will hear the mono sound only, so you have to make sure that the left and right side of IconX have same music files to enjoy the stereo sound.
    I recommend to install and use the "IconX manager for PC", it will automatically transfer the music files to both side of IconX, this is totally handy.

    • Can you provide a link to the IconX manager for PC? I'm having a terrible time putting music on my new IconX and getting it to actually work.

      • Brian 1 month ago Link to comment

        You can find the installer file inside your IconX. Firstly, connect the iconX to your PC (by USB), then the Windows (or Mac) will detect your IconX as the name of ICONX_R or ICONX_L.
        Secondly, browse any of them, and will find the installer inside of the /TOOL directory there.

      • Of course! Thank you! (I had been looking on the Samsung website for support, and hadn't checked out the Tools folder.) I finally have everything working and can take these for a spin (run) later. Thanks again for your help!

Show all comments

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. More info

Got it!