The Samsung Galaxy Buds take a bit of a departure from their predecessor, the 2018 Samsung Gear IconX, boasting enhanced Bluetooth capabilities, better sound quality, longer battery power, and a wireless charging case. The only thing users really lose with this newer iteration is the ability to download songs directly to the buds to listen to without connecting to a phone or other device. However, with a range of music streaming services available, you won’t really miss this feature all too much with the Galaxy Buds.
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In terms of how the Galaxy Buds stack up against the Apple AirPods, the competition is pretty stiff. The only differences you’ll notice—besides their stark difference in appearance—are minor and boil down to their hardware and function.
For example, the AirPods seem to have better automatic ear detection—though both devices support this functionality. AirPods also allow you the option to customize which ear you play or record sound—one thing the Galaxy Buds don’t have. However, the Galaxy Buds have longer battery life and better sound quality overall.
So, are Samsung Galaxy Buds truly out of this world? Read on to learn more about these wireless Bluetooth buds and the pros and cons you should consider before you reach for your wallet.
Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy Buds come with a USB to USB-C charging cord, a charging case, three pairs of silicone eartips and wings, and a user guide.
There’s a lot to love about the Samsung Galaxy Buds, but here are a few features we appreciated the most:
The Galaxy Buds come with three sets of different ear and wing tips, making them compatible with a range of ear sizes. They also fit very comfortably and don’t fall out during high bouts of activity, like running. (However, it is worth noting that—for those with smaller ears—after wearing the Buds for around an hour or more, there was some slight discomfort.)
Speaking of activity, the Galaxy Buds were pretty locked in the ears during exercise. From weight-lifting to aerobics, they stayed in place the entire time, due to the snug fit the wings (AKA sport fins) provide in the ear.
Another plus: moisture and sweat didn’t seem to affect the sound quality or the function of the Buds at all. Although the Galaxy Buds aren’t as resistant to water as their predecessor, they can at least handle a little moisture without fail.
Cleaning the devices after use is also very minimal and simple to do. All you need is a cotton swab to remove any form of debris or moisture. Using solutions like rubbing alcohol is discouraged, so keep that in mind.
As far as sound goes, a winning feature of the Galaxy Buds is using the accompanying app to adjust your sound preferences to get the best quality. Experiment and turn up the bass or treble, or choose from the default soft, dynamic, or clear sound settings. Regardless of the settings you choose, you can really hear the difference with the Buds, which is more than what we can say for similar products.
Another great feature of the Galaxy Buds is their wireless charging capability, so if you own a Samsung Galaxy S10 or later models, you get the added benefit of being able to charge your Buds on the back of your device. Just enable the Power Sharing feature, and you’re good to go! And, the Galaxy Bud case (cradle) also comes with a USB-C-to-USB charger, so you can just as easily charge your devices with any other power source.
On a full charge, the Galaxy Buds can last up to 6 hours, depending on your use. Meanwhile, the cradle can provide an additional 7 hours of power; although this is not nearly as much power as competitor charging cases can offer, the fact that you can use your phone as an additional source of power for charging makes up for that.
Of course, by comparing the Galaxy Buds to similar products from competitors, we found there are a few things they still miss the mark on:
The Galaxy Buds definitely don’t meet Samsung’s set expectation of being able to block out background noise—at least for callers.
During phone calls, callers could still hear background sounds, and at a very loud and distracting volume: A running faucet would sound like a waterfall, and whisking eggs would sound like rocks being thrown at a wall.
Also, although there is an Ambient Sound setting available that can help callers pay attention to their surroundings—which almost amplifies background noise to the person on the other end, it doesn’t necessarily make a significant difference when toggled on or off.
On occasion, there would be difficulty connecting the Galaxy Buds to a device (a Samsung phone, in particular) during a call. Ideally, the user would just have to open up their Galaxy Bud case and place one of the Buds in the ear to automatically connect, but for us, we had to open and close the case itself (sometimes putting the Buds back) before the Buds would finally sync.
When it comes to general connectivity, while the Buds were good about automatically syncing to new devices, we had to go through a couple of extra steps to switch between them–for example from a smartphone to a laptop. This involved turning off the Bluetooth on the smartphone (effectively disconnecting all Bluetooth devices connected to it, like a smartwatch), and then having the Buds connect to the laptop.
Having to reconnect other Bluetooth devices to the phone was a bit of a hassle, although it didn’t take much time to do. However, if we wanted to use the Buds with the phone again, we had to follow a similar process, which was sometimes frustrating to do.
A final downside we found when using the Galaxy Buds is that the touch controls are extremely sensitive. If you’re not precise with how you tap the Buds, you can easily end a call midway instead of lowering the volume, or skip a song instead of pausing.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have a lot to offer; not only do they fit comfortably and stay in your ears for long periods—even with vigorous exercise—but they’re also easy to maintain, have great sound quality, and have a long-lasting battery. Compared to more costly options currently on the market, you really don’t miss out on a whole lot, and the things you do miss you can easily learn to look past.