I’ve been a fan of Samsung’s earbuds since the company unveiled the first set a couple of years ago. The original version didn’t have active noise cancellation, but you got a good-enough seal with the silicon tips that it wasn’t really missed most of the time.
They had good sound quality, a few easy-to-master touch gestures and a decent (for the time) battery life. Then followed the Buds+ and the Buds Live, the latter changing the design to an open-fit kidney bean shape. All had something to like about them.
And so we come to the newest addition to the range: the Galaxy Buds Pro. Shiny, sleek and with another design change, the Buds Pro address some of the annoyances of the Buds Live, namely the active noise-cancelling that felt a little pointless at times.
Samsung’s newest buds tick all the right boxes. They have noise-cancelling, they have silicon tips that you can swap out to get a better fit, and they seal all the noise out in a way the Buds Live with their open fit didn’t.
But (and there is a but) I found it difficult to get a good fit with them. This isn’t necessarily an issue just with the Buds Pro. Any set of earbuds that are slightly larger than normal cause a problem. With the Buds Pro, it seems the shape just won’t sit comfortably, meaning they fell out while exercising, even with changing the silicon tips.
That is, as people say, a “me” problem. Anecdotally, most people who tried the Buds Pro didn’t have the same issue with accidentally losing an earbud mid-jog. So, putting that aside, how do Samsung’s new buds stack up?
Well, actually. The sound is again provided by AKG, so you know what you’re getting here: punchy sound that performs as well for music as it does for podcasts. Could you get better, more detailed audio from more expensive wireless earbuds? Possibly, but, for most people, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro will do the trick.
The active noise-cancelling on the Buds Pro works well. It filters out most of the background noise from a daily commute – when we can do those again – or traffic while you’re out walking. Samsung promises immersive sound, with custom-built two-way speakers; it felt like it delivered on that promise.
The Buds have a few advanced features too, such as intelligent ANC with Voice Detect that will recognise when you are having a conversation and switches to ambient sound so you can hear better. It will also turn down the volume of whatever audio you are listening to, and focus the microphone on the person speaking to you. To enable that, you’ll need access to the Galaxy Wearable app.
The earbuds also come with 360 audio, which is designed to put you at the centre of the sound wherever you are, using Dolby Head Tracking technology.
You don’t need a Samsung device to get the best out of the buds, but it certainly helps. There are some features that are reserved for Samsung devices, like the device switching, or the 3D Audio, which requires the One UI3.1, as seen on the Galaxy S21 devices.
The Good Samsung has produced a decent set of earbuds here. The AKG-tuned audio works well for the average listener, with crisp vocals and rich sound, plus some additional advanced technology that all adds up to a pleasant listening experience. The buds are also IPX7 rated, so they will take a lot of exposure to water before they become tiny, useless paperweights.
The not-so-good Getting a good fit is more difficult than with previous versions of the Galaxy Buds – for me at least. They protruded more than I liked and, on a couple of occasions, shook loose.
Annoyingly, the Buds Pro doesn’work with the Buds app on iOS, which means you can only connect them through bluetooth. That means some of the more advanced features are unavailable to you, such as Voice Detect, as they require the Galaxy Wearable app to activate the feature. It also means you can’t reassign touch commands, or turn them off completely, unless you are using a compatible Android phone.
The rest The battery life in these buds is average, at five hours of playback with active noise-cancelling enabled, and 18 hours in total when the case is brought into play. Switching off ANC brings it to eight for the buds and 28 in total.
The Buds Pro are available in three colours: violet, black and silver.
Verdict A great-value wireless earbud choice for Samsung users.
If you like listening to music while running, a pair of lightweight and durable wireless earbuds is a must-have. Since Galaxy Buds 2 is just released, with a lot of premium features and a good price, you may wonder if it is suitable for workout. Well, that depends, considering the improvements Galaxy Buds 2 have made and some features they still lack.
On the one hand, Galaxy Buds 2 is smaller and more lightweight compared with Galaxy Buds+ and Galaxy Buds Pro so that you’ll find it easier to insert them into your ear canals. Since the ear tip is a key factor when consideing whether the earbuds fit your ears, the Galaxy Buds 2 this time come with ear tips in small, medium, and large size. You can have a fit test on the Galaxy Wearable app to see how well the earbuds fit your ears and make adjustment accordingly.
On the other hand, Galaxy Buds 2 is rated IPX2, which means they can resist water hitting at an angle less than 15 degrees. In other words, you can wear them for regular workout, but in the cases when you sweat a lot or go to the pool, the sweat or water will probably cause damage to your earbuds. Another feature worth mentioning is that Galaxy Buds 2 don’t have fins or stabilizers that can help them hook inside your ears, so you may have to look elsewhere if you aim for heavy workouts.
For professional earbuds for workout, here’re some recommendations: Jaybird Vista 2, Beats Powerbeats (2020), and Bose Sports Earbuds. People have different ear size and shape, so there’re no one-size-fit-all earbuds, and it’s best to get ones with ear hooks to prevent them from falling out. Compared with buying online, you’re more likely to find a pair that fit your ear shape and ear size perfectly in the earbuds’ store, as you could try the earbuds on personally.
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|Package Dimensions||5.28 x 3.03 x 0.39 inches (13.4 x 7.7 x 1 cm)|
|Item Weight||0.176 ounces (4.99 grams)|
|Item model number||B089WCF75D|
Wiki valley 12pcs Galaxy Buds Plus SM-R175 Eartips Set Anti Slip Earhooks Kit Replacement,Silicone Earbuds Wingtips for Samsung Galaxy Buds 2019 SM-R170-Black
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Samsung Galaxy Buds review
The Samsung Galaxy Buds is still an excellent pair of true wireless earbuds to accompany the popular Samsung Galaxy smartphone line. Whether you’re a casual listener or a true wireless fanboy, the Galaxy Buds are an excellent choice with a few forgivable foibles.
Editor’s note: this Samsung Galaxy Buds review was updated on June 23, 2021, to address an FAQ.
Who are the Samsung Galaxy Buds for?
The earbuds are compact and discreet.
Seeing as the Galaxy Buds were a freebie for those who pre-ordered the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+, they are explicitly for Samsung Galaxy S10 owners. However, that doesn’t preclude the earbuds from being used with other Android devices or iPhones. As a matter of fact, these true wireless earbuds are compatible with the AAC Bluetooth codec, minimizing perceptible lag when used with iPhones.
What are the Samsung Galaxy Buds like?
The Samsung Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, and Galaxy S10+ are able to wirelessly charge the Galaxy Buds.
Much like the Jaybird Vista, the Galaxy Buds sport an all-plastic design. The edgeless shape of the earbuds creates a whimsical look and rounded triangular touch panels grant enough real estate to make commands without frequent mistakes. A marked difference between the Galaxy Buds and the Gear IconX is the lack of onboard storage.
Related: Samsung Galaxy Buds vs. Apple AirPods (2019)
Samsung integrated a dual-microphone array, which operates by alternating between the microphones to attenuate background noise and clearly relay your voice. In practice, this worked well. Unfortunately, the earbuds still struggle outside if there are high winds but can combat background chatter if you’re in a coffee shop.
The dual-microphone array adapts to your surroundings, effectively lessening background noise.
The charging case is a plain, oblong plastic piece that opens hamburger style. Its interior has just enough room to house the necessary inlets for charging the earbuds. On the outside is a single LED indicator, which glows red, green, or yellow to notify listeners of its battery level while the back houses a USB-C input for charging. However, if you misplace the cable or don’t feel like using, you can place it atop your Samsung Galaxy S10 variant just make sure the Wireless PowerShare option is activated from the notification tray beforehand.
You should use the Galaxy Wearable app
The compact charging case provides an additional seven hours of playback.
Touch panels facilitate call and playback controls, virtual assistant access, and Ambient Sound mode activation. Just like the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Galaxy Buds let you hear your surroundings, keeping you safe. By using the Galaxy Wearable app, you can customize the left and right ear panels’ playback controls. For instance, our review unit is set up so holding the left earbud initiates Ambient Sound mode and holding the right earbud accesses Google Assistant, not Bixby.
From the app, you may set your preferred EQ option: bass boost, soft, dynamic, clear, or treble boost. Below that is a menu where you can choose which notifications are read aloud to you from the earbuds. Then there’s Ambient Sound mode. Rather than temporarily activating it from the earbuds, you can permanently activate it from the app. It lets you adjust how much amplification external noise receives and whether or not voices should be amplified.
- While you can choose your favorite EQ setting, you can also choose to disable it completely.
- You can designate the left and right earbuds to control different commands.
- You’re not limited to Bixby and can select Google Assistant.
Then there are the usual features, like “Find my earbuds” and the option to check for and install software updates. It’s a comprehensive app that I actually found myself using. Granted, it was mainly to toggle Ambient Sound on for running, which is now streamlined with the April 27, 2020, update. Users can benefit from automatic Ambient Sound mode, direct access to Spotify, and Microsoft Swift for quick switching between Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices.
Are the Galaxy Buds good for working out?
Speaking of running, these are a fine pair of earbuds for general athletes. While it’s disappointing that they received just an IPX2 certification, it should be enough to sustain arduous workouts. Just keep them out of the water. I really enjoyed using these in the gym; the provided wing tips worked wonders. I only wish that volume controls were also included like with the RHA TrueConnect 2.
Does Samsung include accessories?
Listeners receive the IPX2 water-resistant earbuds, three pairs of silicone ear and wing tips, a 252mAh charging case, and a USB-C charging cable. The included wing tips allow for a secure fit while the malleable silicone remains comfortable for all-day listening. What’s more, the various ear tips are equally as comfortable but may not fit every listener’s ear. If you’re unable to get a good seal with the included options, try looking at third-party tips.
How good is the battery life?
One of the biggest improvements made to the Samsung Galaxy Buds from the Gear IconX is the improved battery life. Our objective testing yielded 6.53 hours of playback on a single charge from the 58mAh earbuds. The 252mAh charging case provides an additional seven hours of playback and 15 minutes in the case affords up to 1.7 hours of playback according to Samsung. Once the case and earbuds are both depleted, charging the devices is easy via the included USB-C cable.
Do the earbuds stay connected?
Compatible Samsung devices with Android 7.0 or later can use the Scalable Codec with the Galaxy Buds.
Unlike many true wireless earbuds, these maintain a stable connection thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 firmware, but they lack aptX support which is a bummer for non-Samsung Android users. On the flip side, AAC is supported to the main benefit of iPhone users.
After using these for a few weeks (software version: R170XXU0ASC4), it’s apparent that connection stability still has a ways to go with the Galaxy Buds. While it remains reliable in closed environments, taking the earbuds outside welcomes a host of stutters and hiccups. There have been a handful of times when I’ve completely unpaired and repaired the Samsung Galaxy Buds with my galaxy S10e because the issue persisted spanning the length of a few songs.
Learn more: Ultimate headphone buying guide
Samsung does, however, implement its proprietary Scalable Codec. This is compatible with limited Samsung devices operating on Android 7.0 or later. Much like aptX Adaptive, this codec is constantly optimizing bitrate to negotiate between stable connectivity and sound quality.
What do the Galaxy Buds sound like?
- Bass notes are amplified and will sound louder than any other notes during music playback.
- Passive isolation is fine and expected from standard in-ears.
The dynamic drivers are tuned by AKG and reproduce a consumer-friendly frequency response that amplifies bass notes above all else. This is good for listeners who listen to a lot of hip-hop and pop, but may not be preferred by those who have eclectic music libraries. Bass notes sound almost twice as loud as mids, which could lead to noticeable auditory masking during percussion sections of your favorite tunes. Isolation performance is above par as these are able to passively insulate the listener from her surroundings if the right ear tips are used.
Editor’s note: media playback for the following section was through the Samsung Galaxy S10e, which is compatible with Samsung’s Scalable Codec.
Lows, mids, and highs
The Punch Brothers’ twangy ballad Jumbo, sounds excellent through the Samsung Galaxy Buds. I was nonplussed by the excellent instrumental reproduction of the mandolin, banjo, and cello. The song begins with each band member playing his respective part: violin, guitar, bass, mandolin, and banjo. Five seconds in, the first guitar slide occurs simultaneously with a banjo strum. At this moment, both sounds remain audible without any egregious masking.
Though the Samsung Galaxy Buds have a consumer-friendly response, they don't fall victim to too much auditory masking.
During one of the choruses at 2:37, Chris Thile sings, “Here comes Jumbo, American as gumbo,” which is heavily underscored by aggressive bass picking and strumming of the guitar and banjo. It’s this moment that the song is most at risk of turning into an unclear din, but the Samsung Galaxy Buds handle this moment well, too. Granted, there is some frequency distortion that occurs, mainly to the bass: its harmonic resonance is nearly unidentifiable.
Is the microphone any good?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds microphone effectively transmits the human voice thanks to its dual-microphone array.
Since the point of the integrated microphone arrangement is to record the human voice and clearly relay it, rather than record music, we decided to narrow down the microphone frequency response chart to the bounds of the human voice. This one performs well but can’t combat problem sounds. For instance, plosives and fricatives [f, s, th, sh, z, sh] will come through a little louder than other consonants and vowels. In all fairness, this is something that nearly all microphones struggle with even professional ones.
Samsung Galaxy Buds microphone demo:
How do the Samsung Galaxy Buds compare to other true wireless earbuds?
The Master & Dynamic MW07 Go earphones make for a great everyday and workout companion.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have seen significant price cuts since their release, making them just $129, and as of December 3, 2020, they’re on sale on Amazon for just $79. If you want a premium pair of true wireless earbuds for less than the competition, the Galaxy Buds are the earphones to get. However, if you want to save even more money, there are other fantastic choices like the Creative Outlier Gold. We’re quick to recommend these earbuds because they’re feature-packed and perform consistently well by every measure. Battery life is superb for cheap total wireless earbuds (7.78 hours) as is sound quality, contingent on you enjoying bass-heavy sound.
Related: Best AirPods alternatives
If you want something with a more polished aesthetic, consider the Master & Dynamic MW07 Go. These fashionable earbuds are small and pack a mighty accurate sound signature, boding well for every genre of music. Plus, battery life is remarkable and supplies just over nine hours of playtime on a single charge. Alternatively, a similarly priced smart headset are the Amazon Echo Buds. These earbuds retail for $130 and feature Alexa integration; they’re great for listeners already heavily invested in Amazon’s smart home ecosystem. You don’t, however, get to enjoy sound quality that’s as good as the Galaxy Buds.
Which is better, the Samsung Galaxy Buds or Apple AirPods Pro?
Apple includes wireless charging capabilities by default with its AirPods Pro noise canceling true wireless earbuds.
Due to the fact that they can isolate you from the outside world, have better battery life, and better audio quality: the Samsung Galaxy Buds are absolutely better for most than the Apple AirPods (2019). However, the advent of the Apple AirPods Pro makes the Samsung Galaxy Buds a harder sell.
Related: Apple AirPods Pro vs. Sony WF-1000XM3
The AirPods Pro noise cancelling true wireless earbuds feature a completely rethought design that includes dedicated nozzles for proper isolation. Apple also uses an advanced DSP to automatically adjust the sound based on live measurements of external noise and noise within the ear canal, allowing for optimal audio reproduction. What’s more, the included Apple wireless charging case is compatible with Qi wireless charging mats. The Apple AirPods Pro are hands-down the better earphones for iPhone users, but they’re also more than twice as expensive than the Samsung Galaxy Buds. Listeners who want a smooth Apple-like experience on their Android smartphones should consider the Google Pixel Buds.
Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are the perfect companion to the Samsung Galaxy S10 phones.
Yes, these true wireless earbuds are still an excellent choice for Android users, specifically for Samsung Galaxy S10 owners. The earbuds are remarkably comfortable to wear for hours at a time even with glasses. While the lack of aptX support is a glaring oversight, it makes sense from a Samsung perspective as the company likely aims to push its proprietary Scalable Codec, which works wonders with a Galaxy S10 device.
If you happened to be an early bird, who snagged a pair of free Samsung Galaxy Buds with your purchase, congrats on your excellent true wireless earbuds. Perhaps you’re someone who’s debating the earbuds with a non-Samsung device, though; if that’s the case, the earbuds are still a good deal with solid battery life.
For better battery life and microphone quality, get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus
The Samsung scalable codec functions similarly to aptX adaptive, and constantly balances connection and audio quality.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus boast better standalone battery life (11.73 hours on a single charge), and improved call quality thanks to the new microphone array. Although the earbuds are nearly indistinguishable from the first-gen Galaxy Buds, the Buds Plus have neat features like Spotify integration for Android users, which is now available on both generations of the Galaxy Buds headsets. Sound quality has also changed a bit in the update: the Buds Plus place more emphasis on the low-end, making for a more consumer-friendly sound. That being said, if you don’t need the huge battery life improvement or microphone quality, the Galaxy Buds are at an all-time low while offering much of what the new model brings to the table.
For noise cancelling, get the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Google Pixel Buds (2020) are both great sets of true wireless earbuds, specifically for Android handsets.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro feature active noise cancelling, which is much more effective than that found in the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. Samsung ditched the bean design and reverted back to a more traditional earbud approach. The Galaxy Buds Pro, much like earlier Galaxy Buds earphones, use ear tips that seal to the ear canal. This improves passive isolation and optimizes ANC performance.
Sound quality is very good, and you can choose from the same set of EQ profiles in the Galaxy Wearable app. Most all of the software features are the same, but with the Galaxy Buds Pro you have the option to toggle noise cancelling too. If you want a single pair of earbuds to go with you Samsung Galaxy smartphone, and interact seamlessly with all of your Samsung devices, get these.
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How to Set up and Use Galaxy Buds
What to Know
- Place your Galaxy Buds in the charging case and close it, then open the case to put the earbuds in pairing mode.
- If the battery indicator doesn't flash when you close the case, your Galaxy Buds need to be charged for at least ten minutes.
- For older devices, download both the SmartThings app and the Galaxy Wearables app to complete the pairing process.
This article explains how to use Galaxy Buds wireless headphones with compatible Android devices and iOS devices.
How to Pair Galaxy Buds to a Samsung Phone
Galaxy Buds are designed for simple and fast pairing. Here's how to connect them to your Android device. These instructions apply to Android 7.1.1 and later.
Insert the Galaxy Buds into their charging case in the proper position. Close the case and the battery indicator should flash, indicating they're ready to pair.
If the battery indicator does not flash, it means it needs to be charged. Let them charge for at least ten minutes before pairing them with your Android device.
Open the charging case. The Galaxy Buds will automatically enter Pairing Mode.
Your device will automatically recognize the Galaxy Buds and ask if you would like to pair with them. Select Connect.
If any further steps are needed, your device will guide you through the process.
How to Pair Galaxy Buds 2
How to Use Galaxy Buds With Non-Galaxy Phones and Older Versions of Android
If you have an older Android device or a non-Galaxy device, you need to follow a few extra steps before you can use your new Galaxy Buds.
For older Android devices or non-Samsung products, you need to download both the SmartThings app and the Galaxy Wearables app from the Google Play Store. Once those are successfully installed, you will run through the same process as above, but you will need to use the Galaxy Wearables app to complete the pairing process.
How to Connect Galaxy Buds to iOS Devices
On iOS devices, follow the same steps as above, but navigate to Settings > Bluetooth once you've opened the charging case, then select your Galaxy Buds from the list of discoverable devices.
How to Get Galaxy Buds to Fit in Your Ear
The Galaxy Buds should fit correctly in your ear. You want them to be comfortable and secure, so try them on with the different wingtip extensions until you get the most comfortable fit.
Make sure you're also wearing the Galaxy Buds properly. Insert the earbud in your ear and twist to rotate the wingtip so that it sits within your ear canal. Galaxy Buds aretouch-sensitive; they will make a noise once they recognize they're inserted securely in your ear.
Make sure you're attaching left wingtips to the left earbud and right wingtips to the right earbud. If you mix and match, the buds may not fit correctly in your ears or the charging case.
How to Connect Samsung Earbuds to a Laptop
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Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review: better sound, even better stamina
Samsung’s original Galaxy Buds were decent true wireless earbuds: they offered impressive battery life, wireless charging, and a lightweight, comfortable fit. But sound quality was merely okay, and their built-in mics were awful when it came to voice calls. If you got the $129 Galaxy Buds as a phone preorder bonus or on sale at a discount, there was reason to be happy. But paying full price for them wasn’t as easy to justify.
For 2020, Samsung is back with the Galaxy Buds Plus. They look mostly identical to the originals, but they contain several key improvements. Battery life has been extended to a class-leading 11 hours; sound quality has been ramped up, thanks to a new dual-driver design; and they’re finally a good option for making calls. Samsung has hiked the price by $20 to $149, but the new Galaxy Buds Plus are more well-rounded than their predecessors in pretty much every way.
Not much has changed on the outside. The case is glossier than before with raised indicators for the left and right earbud cradles, and Samsung has added a second outer microphone to the earbuds. Those are really the only subtle tells that you’re dealing with the newer Galaxy Buds. The Galaxy Buds Plus come in black, white, and blue, and as with the previous model, the white buds give off a nice pearlescent effect.
Like other companies, Samsung packs in three sizes of ear tips and also gives you a choice of silicone ear hooks to help the Galaxy Buds Plus latch securely into your ear. Comfort was never a problem for the old Galaxy Buds, and these retain the same excellent fit — provided the included tips work for you. They’re lightweight to the point of being unnoticeable, and the subtle design doesn’t draw attention to your ears. If you’re someone who doesn’t like the feel of in-ear earbuds and the seal they create, these won’t do anything to change your mind. They lack the vent system of Apple’s AirPods Pro that can help alleviate ear pressure. But at $149, it makes more sense to compare the Galaxy Buds Plus to the regular AirPods and other competitors like the Amazon Echo Buds and Jabra’s Elite 75t earbuds.
I mention that because the main thing you sacrifice compared to pricier options is active noise cancellation. The Galaxy Buds Plus can achieve satisfactory passive noise isolation — certainly better than the open-design AirPods — but they are unable to mute your surroundings quite to the level of Sony’s 1000XM3 earbuds or the AirPods Pro. Even Amazon’s Echo Buds pack in Bose’s noise reduction technology, which helps silence the outside world. Still, I found myself able to wear the Galaxy Buds Plus for hours at the coffee shop or office without getting distracted or annoyed by outside noise.
Samsung’s approach to controlling the earbuds hasn’t changed. You’ll still be tapping the touch-sensitive outer portion of the Galaxy Buds Plus to play and pause music, skip tracks, or answer calls. The long-press action is customizable, letting you choose between voice assistants (Bixby, Google Assistant, Siri), ambient sound mode, or volume controls. I always favor having direct volume controls without having to whip out my phone, so that’s what I tend to pick.
If you’ve got an Android phone, there’s another long-press option: Spotify. When this option is selected, Spotify will open and immediately start playing something it thinks you’ll like. It could be a playlist like a Daily Mix or Release Radar, or just a song that the Spotify algorithm serves up for you. I wish there were a way to set this to do one particular thing every time, but as far as I can tell, there’s always a randomness factor.
The Galaxy Wearable app (or Galaxy Buds Plus app if you’re on iOS) has another neat, experimental feature. If you go into the labs section, you can enable an alternate way of controlling volume that lets you double tap the outside of the earbuds — not the touchpad but the top of the buds themselves — to increase or lower the volume. This seems to use the accelerometer built into the earbuds, and it worked surprisingly well in my tests. It also frees up the touch and hold gesture for one of the other features outlined above.
The app is where you’ll configure ambient sound mode and decide how loudly you want to amplify external noise when it’s activated. Samsung has done a better job with ambient mode this time around, and the effect feels less robotic and unpleasantly digital than before. You can also adjust EQ settings in the earbuds’ companion app, and while I’ve seen some people praise the “dynamic” option, I still greatly prefer the default, out-of-box sound profile.
And that brings us to sound quality. Samsung has redesigned the Galaxy Buds Plus with a dual-driver design (with a dedicated tweeter and woofer in each earbud), and this upgrade makes a considerable difference compared to the previous model. In short, they sound far better — for $150 earbuds, that is. Instruments and vocals have distinct separation, and Samsung seems to be going for a neutral listening experience. Nothing gets too pushed too much, and the treble and mids have a nice balance. For codecs, Samsung supports SBC, AAC, and its own Scalable codec, which can transmit at higher bitrates if you’re also using a Samsung phone.
Bass from the Galaxy Buds Plus lacks the same level of oomph that you get with the latest Jabras, but it’s still enough to make for a pleasing low end. My main critique is the soundstage: everything can sound a little mushed together, and you don’t get the same expansive spread and immersion as you’d find from something like the 1000XM3s. But again, you’ve got to factor in price.
The best thing about the Galaxy Buds Plus is how long you can listen to them uninterrupted. Samsung has managed to squeeze 11 hours of continuous battery life out of the earbuds, which now puts them at the top of the mountain. That’s even better than the Powerbeats Pro, which, until now, had been the longevity champion. Eleven hours will cover your entire workday or a long-haul flight with ease.
And in my experience, Samsung’s estimate is right on point. This raises the bar for true wireless earbuds, which is especially important since your Galaxy Buds Plus will hold less of a charge in a year or two. Even then, they should still last a good while. The charging case nets you another 11 hours for a total of 22 before everything needs recharging. If you find yourself in a pinch with depleted earbuds, Samsung says you can plug them in over USB-C for three minutes to get an hour of listening time. As before, the case supports wireless charging and can be juiced up when resting on Samsung’s recent phones.
The microphones on the Galaxy Buds Plus are also a big improvement. These earbuds are now much better suited for voice calls, whereas the older ones were a disaster that produced garbled, unintelligible audio. Adding the secondary outer mic has resolved those issues, and I’m now confident when placing calls or joining work video chats with the Galaxy Buds Plus — instead of the embarrassment that came before.
So far, I’ve given these earbuds a heap of praise, but there are downsides. The Galaxy Buds Plus can’t connect to two devices simultaneously. Samsung says they’ll automatically be linked up with devices using your Samsung ID — the company is trying to replicate some AirPods convenience there — but you lose out on seamlessly switching between, say, your laptop and phone. Water and sweat resistance is also a weakness. Samsung has stuck with an IPX2 rating when other companies are offering IPX4 or better. If you’re a heavy sweater or you run in the rain often, this compromise might come back to bite you down the line.
And while Samsung has tried to lure in iPhone owners with its new app, I’d still recommend these solely to the Android crowd. I noticed more disconnects and dropped audio than usual on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, and these problems didn’t surface when using a Pixel 4 XL or Galaxy S10.
If you are on Android, it’s a tough choice between these and the Jabra Elite 75t earbuds. The Jabras definitely edge out Samsung on audio, with livelier and more bass-heavy sound output and better water resistance. But I have a much easier time recommending the Galaxy Buds Plus than I ever did Samsung’s first true wireless earbuds. Their stamina alone will be the big selling factor for some people, I’m sure.
Samsung has improved upon those original Galaxy Buds to an impressive degree, and the “Plus” name here is well deserved. The reengineered insides make for better sound quality, they’ve now got the longest-lasting battery life around, and the voice call woes are history. Yes, $200 earbuds still outperform them — as they should — and Samsung’s exclusion of noise cancellation might disappoint some. But if the company adds that to the mix for an eventual third-generation version, the next Galaxy Buds will be tough to beat.
Photography by Chris Welch / The Verge
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