Increases in price, improves microphone, and refined it’s audio. But is it worth it?
The Galaxy Buds were an amazing pair of earphones – with big parenthesis “for the price.” There’s tons of value at the time! With the new Galaxy Buds+, they gone up in price from $129 to $149 and one I’m hoping there’s some improvements, but better yet, are they still great value? You guys know I’ve been reviewing a bunch of Truly Wireless earphones… from expensive to even the budget ones.. Let’s see how these go. As always being transparent, I personally paid for these. I’ll be going over both pros and cons. I am very confident these will eventually go on sale, so click on my affiliate links above. Those links will give you the most updated prices in real-time. You never know when these things might go on sale.
Going over the physical features first. If you had the original Galaxy Buds, these are practically identical. One of the smallest if not, the thinnest truly wireless earphones I’ve tested on the channel. If you’re buying Truly Wireless Earphones, I personally prefer those that don’t stick out past your ears. Second, these are the lightest truly wireless earphones that I’ve tested feeling effortless and stable.
Because of those two build features, – being light and having a thin profile – there’s barely any bounce when working out. I’m personally using the medium eartips and I’ve never had the earphones feel loose… requiring me to press the earphones back in. The subtle earfins also help prevent the earphones from wiggling and jiggling. In general, these are comfortable and very functional for those who are a bit more active in their lifestyle.
GALAXY BUDS+ WATER RESISTANCE LEVEL
Speaking of being active, this is possibly my biggest let down on the earphones. Of course, this is subjective but many competitors are offering an IP4, maybe an Ip5 level of water resistance. With the Galaxy Buds Plus, they didn’t improve on this and it’s the same IP2 rating. This can only take drops of water upto a 15 degree angle. If you’re caught in the rain and you bend over, you might get screwed over, with some sort of water intrusion. I personally like the piece of mind of an IP4 rating or higher that protects from splashes of water from any angle. If you’re not sweating like a mofo or you’re conscious of the weather prior to a run, you honestly should be fine. Again, competitors are better in this case.
GALAXY BUDS+ BUTTONS AND FEATURES
When the first set of Galaxy buds were released, I loved the buttons. Touch sensitive and they’re super responsive. In the past year, more Truly Wireless Earphones have touch controls. Some love it, some hate it. It really depends. But I want to focus on what actions are available. Pause and play, skipping and going back on a song. Answering or declining a phone call. The last action is customizable, which is holding down either the left or right earphone. In the app, you can change it to either activate Google or Siri, turning on or off Ambient Sound, or volume up or down. I know, that’s alot… But the point to take away… You can only choose one action. If you choose volume adjustments, you can’t have Ambient Sound or Voice commands and vice-versa. Within the app, there’s the Samsung Labs which are features they’re testing, and Double Tap Earbud Edge is available. With my testing, only the right earbud works at increasing volume, but the left side, no matter how much tapping I’m doing, it’s not working. After this review, some viewers did comment that it worked for them, some indicated tapping in certain areas. Either or, this doesn’t sound intuitive across the board for everyone. I like my volume controls on my ears so I don’t have to whip out my phone, but damn, I want Audio-pass through too, and with the Experimental feature still in testing phase, I’m not too thrilled. Not the end of the world, buuttt, I just reviewed the Jabra 75t’s, the Sennheiser’s, even the Aukey T10’s which are budget earphones offers all the features without picking and choosing. I love Samsung, but “ggrrrrr.”
Let’s talk about the features. No Active Noise Cancelling on these, but passive noise isolation is really good. If you need audio-pass through, there are different levels offered from the low-end which offers some sound coming through. Medium for the most natural experience with a touch of amplification. And then high for super human levels of hearing. Rub your fingers together, and you can hear how course your fingers are. It sounds very similar to that. It’s awesome.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS+ BLUETOOTH PERFORMANCE
In regards to all things connections, Bluetooth 5.0 is offered. I tested this for distance and just for reference, I’m walking around my 1100sq ft apartment and was able to achieve 99% coverage. This is in the excellent category. Tested this on my Pixel 4 XL smartphone and had zero syncing delays with video on Youtube and Netflix. Perfect for video watchers. And one thing Samsung is promoting is super fast pairing. It’s phenomenal, it’s consistent, it’s at times 1 second to maximum three seconds with my phone. The Galaxy Buds Plus is one of the best in how fast it can pair.
Can this be paired to multiple devices at the same time? Yes, that works. When you press play on the latter device, does the source automatically switch over? Unfortunately not… But… meeting half way, if you go into your Bluetooth settings and tap connect, the signal jumps over without the need to disconnect the initial device first. So there is multi-pairing but not as simple as pressing play. I also confirmed, you can use one earbud or the other. There was auto-pause that works sometimes, but just press play again on your phone to resume your music in one earphone.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS+ BATTERY PERFORMANCE
Alright, last but not least before going into all things audio, the battery life. Hands down, this is the best I have experienced so far on the channel. Like, it blows everything out the water. Samsung claims upto 11hrs per use, which is insane. With my testing at 50% volume and the same playlist on every audio product I test, I achieved 12hrs and 28minutes worth of use. Again, this is record setting for me. If you know of a better product, write it in the comment section below. Aside from battery life, there’s only one additional charge from the case, giving you a total of 22 hours of use. The case itself is super slim and that alone can be a huge convenience factor for many while other competitors are mostly much bigger. USB-C is offered for charging. This might be a record as well, but Samsung is claiming a three minute charge gives you one hour worth of music playback. 10 minutes on the charger with a wired connection gives you upto 3hrs of playback time which is huge. And last, this has wireless charging. Drop this onto a Qi Charging and bam… power up.
Two other features worth mentioning. One, you can hear your Notifications in the earphones which is customizable within the Samsung app. And last – not every brand offers this – but you can make use of Find my Earbuds and a light chirp goes off so you can find it within the proximity. I wished in combination of this – like the Jaybird Vistas or Jabras – there was also a last known GPS location. Either or, the audio alert is still good enough and better than nothing.
PHONE CALL TEST
Alright, let’s get into the phone call test. Samsung hyped this so much last time, and during my testing, holy cow was it a cluster fuck. Here’s what the old one sounded like. So the new model has two microphones on the outside with one inside the earphone itself to help block out surrounding sounds while you’re on a call. That’s what they claim but let’s see. Before doing so, please feel free to find me on my personal Instagram and twitter accounts on your screen. For every follow, this helps me get closer to Donnie Yen following me back. We’ll see, it might be awhile. Any Fire Emojis the comment section below helps support my work too! Alright folks, here we go. =)
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS+ AUDIO PERFORMANCE
Alright. Welcome back. Let’s see if this seals the deal. Samsung is claiming quote “satisfying studio quality sound that’s pure and natural.” From my experience, it’s a very clean experience. Overall, this sounds very balanced. I think the key thing to take away, when you’re testing Studio like audio signatures, they’re very neutral across the board. It’s unaltered, not much has been enhanced, it’s what the song may sound without being boosted in any area. When I tested the Samsung Level Pro headphones several years ago, this was the case, same with some of the Audio Technica headphones in the past too. The audio signature is good. But I’m confident for those looking for a bit more color, you want to hear me out.
Bass is indeed neutral… It’s not heavy in bass, actually far from it. These hit to supplement the experience… rather than the bass giving you the experience. Those listening to heavier bass focused genres of music might find these light but those listening to pop and EDM might be ok with these. I could use a bit more to help emphasize those drums, the drops, the thump that modern and mainstream music have today. Within the app, there is a Bass Boost feature which is very subtle. – Actually, all the settings within the app are very subtle. – but this didn’t help my bass experience. If you’re leaning towards non-bass heavy earphones, these are great. As for the average consumer, which is a huge portion of my viewers, I think would be absolutely ok… with having more.
MID-RANGE FREQUENCIES – VOCAL AND INSTRUMENT IDENTIFICATION
Going into the mid-range, I think this is where the Galaxy Buds Plus shines. For the price range, vocal work is clean once again, very much identifiable, instruments are seperated. It’s great for songs heavy on the singer’s voices. If you’re into podcasts and audiobooks, they’re perfect. The mid-range of frequencies in general are not recessed and definitely not pushed forward or bright either. Again, we’re getting this neutral performance. The depth, and audio direction was ok. The soundstage was very much lacking in my experience. It didn’t sound wide, expansive, and open. Using the App Equalizer and switching it over to Dynamic slightly helps but again, very subtle.
HIGH FREQUENCY NEUTRAL
The high frequencies were the same as well. Very neutral and not hitting that crisp high before being tingy, but not underwhelming where there’s too much roll-off for enjoyment. Samsung – like most of the audio range – is played safe with keeping everything balanced. Comparing the Plus to the previous Galaxy Buds, there is an improvement… I noticed the S’s and upper high frequencies sounds more refined and less distorted. In my opinion, if you liked the old model, you’ll enjoy the new ones for sure.
But now comparing to the market, the key word is experience, and I believe you’re getting clean audio, but not a characteristic that makes these stand out so much, that they become memorable. I know, I don’t mean to be a downer, but here’s goes my analogy. When you drive a Domestic versus a European car, they have distinct characteristics. When you’re driving a Toyota or Honda, it feels well built and quality made, but compared to the others that may have more torque, maybe 50/50 weight, maybe rear-wheel drive, maybe stiffer suspension… that’s the difference. Samsung isn’t bad, but the Galaxy buds Plus feels like the Honda or Toyota of cars. Personally I drive a Honda and had a Toyota so no hate there. I love my Civic.
When the previous generation priced at $129 with the technology offered at the time, the Galaxy Buds were mint. Now with a retail price increase of about 15% and competitors on the market, the Samsung needs to be scrutinized a bit more before making a purchase decision. That battery life is amazing, the fit is good, the connection is great, and those alone might seal the deal. but the physical touch, the water proofing, and if your focus is on audio, my review on the Aukey T10’s and the Jabra 75t’s are possibly the two best alternatives to consider at the moment. Alright folks, find my on the Insta. Tweet me on my Twitter.
Take care, bye! – Jimmy Luong