Fantastic audio quality is hampered by a minuscule battery life, but man, do the Gear IconX earphones look cool and fit great.
Hey everyone, Jimmy with JimsReviewRoom.
Samsung has jumped on board with truly wireless in-ear earphones. And when I mean wireless, there is nothing dangling whatsoever. This might be the future of earphones as we know it, or at least an alternative to the wired options. But besides the audio performance, which I’ll test, several of these truly wireless earphones have had really short battery life. Because they’re so small, there’s only so much you can cram into each earphone, something I’ll reveal later in the video. And last, Samsung is claiming these to be a Fitness tracker as well, and we’ll see how that works in a minute. I personally paid extra and got these early, before their official release date off of Amazon for the price of $270. They do however retail for $199 by the time you see this review. I’ll put my affiliate links above, click on my links, and they’ll give you the most updated prices in real time.
These are hard plastic with three different sized eartips, and ear wings. Jumping right into comfort, they’re very lightweight and they stayed in the ear very well during runs and weight lifting. And purposely attempting to shake the earphones off, I was not able to do so. They sit inside the ear-canal, providing a good amount of passive noise isolation to block out your environment. But there’s a feature called Ambient Sound which I’ll detail later in the review.
While wearing, you can control your music with the following commands on your screen, and from my testing, the touch sensitivity is nearly spot on. With capacitive touch experiences, some devices takes several taps, or they have a hard time distinguishing one action from the other. With the Icon X, it’s very forgiving for the most part and very minimal user error. The controls are simply great.
LOCAL STORAGE & BLUETOOTH
There’s 4 gigs of storage, of which I checked, only 3.5 gigs are available to use, allowing you to store music right on the earphones, and by doing so, you can leave your phone behind, which some would really enjoy. And if you prefer, the Icon X can of course still be paired via Bluetooth. Regarding Bluetooth signal, I was able to get from one side of my house to about three quarters of the way until I heard some very minor crackling when paired with my Samsung S7. Not the best but I would still put this in the good category.
Also keep in mind, these are fitness focused, so getting caught in the rain or sweating during your runs shouldn’t be an issue. There’s a hydrophobic nano-coating making these Splash Resistant. With my testing, gently spraying water on these proved the IconX were still working after getting wet.
CHARGING CASE AND BATTERY LIFE
And last, before jumping into my discussion about audio performance and the fitness tracking aspect, we gotta look at the included in case. Whenever you drop your earphones in here for stowing and carrying, the case charges the earphones. The case is aluminum and has been sturdy. I don’t foresee the case being crushed or damaged, but if you do accidentally drop them on concrete, they do scratch up pretty easily. Regarding battery life, I barely found any info from Samsung however, with,with my testing, leaving these on at 50% volume, with Bluetooth connected to my phone the entire time, the Icon X is averaging an hour and 30 minutes for me, and even with a run, heart rate sensor on and music going, I’m getting around the same amount. And sadly, this is quite common with these truly wireless earphones, they only last for workouts, maybe the train ride into the city. But if you’re using these while at the desk or while working, for general enjoyment, they simply won’t last long at all.
I gotta say, these do sound very very good. A very balanced pair with an audio signature that is loud enough for most people. Bass response that is not over done, but it’s definitely a nice deep, rich tone that doesn’t come over into the mid-range. For pop, EMD, hiphop, simply perfect in my opinion. The mid-range is very distinct and clear, that’s not bright, but provides great resolution and detail, up to the upper midrange levels of instruments and voices. Going into the upper range, it can be sharp at times and noticing with snare drums, there is some detail lost and it gets slightly jumbled, but again, thats on the very high end of the frequency range and with volume at it’s upper limits. But one of the things that just absolutely shines and I love, the sound stage and audio separation is impeccable. Not a 100% apples to apples comparison, but switching to my $250 RHA T20’s, I preferred the Samsung’s over my RHA’s. It’s amazing to hear distinctly audio behind you, left side of drums, right side vocals, bass in the rear. Again, amazing.
HEALTH AND FITNESS
Regarding the health aspect, it’s very intuitive. Right before you start, gently hold the right side of your earbud, and you’ll hear a prompt that indicates you’re starting. The heart rate sensor will come on to track your heartrate, and at certain times and intervals, you’ll hear a prompt indicating your duration and distance, even if you don’t bring your phone with you. Regarding HR readings, sadly, after several runs, and testing this against my Polar H7 and a Under Armour chest strap, the results were not accurate. These were the two closest charts that I could achieve and you can see both times, the Icon X and the chest strap works for about a ¼ of a mile, and then overtime, just starts losing its consistency or accuracy with a chest strap. And oddly, using the same exact phone and pairing it with Strava, I would get readings like this, but if I used Samsung’s S-Health, the readings would be more accurate.
There’s no built in GPS, but the estimated distance has been fairly accurate since I film and run the same park in most of my videos, so I’m familiar with my distance. The only issue, for some reason my app and the earphones can only prompt me in kilometers and not miles.
AMBIENT SOUND & APPS
Another great option in theory for runners and cyclist, there’s an Ambient Sound feature where you can turn on the microphones on the earphones, and while running, you can hear your surrounding while still listening to music. While stationary, it works great, it nearly sounds like my hearing has been amplified and I hear things off in the distance pretty well. No worries about cars or someone in the bushes sneaking up on me. But, and a big but… while running or cycling… man, it sadly picks up so much wind noise, it eventually becomes a non-enjoyable listening experience. So, just a heads up on that. But last about the health aspect, this does natively sync with Samsung’s S-Health and Samsung has provided a decent health app over the years. And with the information collected from your run, it’s pretty good to get a gauge on your performance over time. But if you don’t want to use S Health, the data collected can be synced with RunKeeper, Strava, and MapMyRun to name a few popular apps out there.
So, In the end, the Icon X has amazing sound quality, I love it. I love how they feel, they stay in very secure, and the truly wireless look, just looks bad ass. And to reiterate, sadly, most of these Truly Wireless earphones, their battery life isn’t too great, so it’s really for commuting or working out. Even the heart rate sensor oddly was a bit off. At the end of the day, if you’re okay with the hour to hour-and-a-half long battery life, that’s great. If not, even with awesome audio performance, having these die during your weight lifting session would totally suck. Let me know in the comments section below, if you had the money, would these be practical for your lifestyle? I’m really curious. So, hopefully this review did help you in some way. Be sure to follow me on either my personally social media channels, that’s @JimmyLuongOfficial, or the website’s social media channel, @JimsReviewRoom. You guys take care, and I’ll see you on the next one.
[table id=3 hide_columns=”all” show_columns=”a,b,c,g,k”/] Specs from manufacturer. If incorrect, please contact us.