REVIEW: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
Together with the launch of the brand new Galaxy S20 line of smartphones, Samsung also launched their upgraded Galaxy Buds+. The improved wireless Bluetooth earbuds arrive a year after the first generation of Buds with quite a few noticeable improvements. We spent the last two weeks with the latest Buds and here’s our impressions.
When we look at the hardware improvements to these new buds, Samsung has create a dual speaker set up for each bud with a subwoofer and tweeter packed inside each one. With the inclusion of this dual speaker set up, these new buds definitely sound less ‘woolly’ than with the first buds but overall, sound quality hasn’t improved drastically. That’s not a negative though as the overall sound quality of last year’s buds was impressive to begin with.
Bass is well rounded but not too overpowering and highs are handled with just enough finesse to let them really shine without becoming distorted. Tracks such as Beyonce’s ‘Partition’ are respectfully handled although when it comes to its extremely deep bassline, they can obviously never compete with larger, over the ear headphones for overall bass levels. Given their size though, we were impressed by how much kick these earbuds were able to produce.
When it comes to call quality, Samsung has also added an additional microphone so call quality has also received a healthy improvement with users on the other end stating we were coming through loud and clear, even in busy city centre areas.
For general ease of use and a streamlined set up process, the Galaxy Buds+ really are some of the better earbuds out there. Pairing them with a Huawei P30 Pro was very straight forward and they earbuds would pair extremely quick, from opening the case to putting them in my ears, the buds were ready to go right away.
Connection strength was also pretty flawless which again, is impressive given just how petite these earbuds are.
For even greater functionality and features, users can download the Galaxy Wearable app, which is now also available for iOS users, and you can tweak audio settings, update the buds and even use the clever ‘Find My Earbuds’ feature which will allow you to play a chirping sound from either of the earbuds if you happen to misplace them down the side of the couch or buried in your handbag. This feature was first introduced on last year’s Galaxy Buds and makes a welcome return this year. You can see it in action in the below video.
Also in the app, you’ll find the Labs section which allows you to switch on experimental settings such as an even higher passthrough level for ambient noise and the ability to raise and lower the volume by tapping the outer edge of each earbud. When trying out this particular feature, we found the earbuds were picking up a few too many false touches, either off my ear or from the fact it was bitterly cold when I was testing it and the low temperature was causing the hiccups.
Either way, it’s definitely something you should check to see how it fairs for you as we did like the ability to control the audio volume via the buds.
Unfortunately, the new Galaxy Buds+ don’t come with Active Noise Cancellation so they can never really compete with the likes of Sony’s WF-1000XM3’s ANC capabilities but they do offer impressive noise isolation thanks to their compact size and additional silicon wing tips.
For these new earbuds, you’re also able to connect to two devices at once but both devices need to support Bluetooth 5.0 for this to work. The do pair incredibly fast though so it’s not too much of a pain having to jump from my phone to my Windows laptop when I need to listen to some audio. I simply select the earbuds in the Bluetooth settings and, because they’ve been paired with the device already, they connect almost instantly.
Thankfully, for this year’s Galaxy Buds, Samsung has included a little battery notification LED on the front of the charging case so you can tell just how much battery is left. Also, and more importantly, they’ve increased the battery life for the earbuds themselves quite drastically and now you can get 11 hours of playback from a single charge which is very impressive. The case then will supply an additional 11 hours of battery life and, if you find yourself with a dead pair of earbuds, popping them into the charging case for just 3 minutes, you’ll be able to use them for another hour which is a great benefit of Samsung’s updated Quick Charge credentials.
Like last year’s Buds, you can also wirelessly charge these earbuds via the charging case, either on a dedicated wireless charging pad or off the back of a reverse-wireless charging capable device such as the Galaxy S10, Note10, S20 or Huawei’s P30 Pro or Mate 30 Pro.
We really enjoyed our time testing the new Galaxy Buds+ out. The battery life is up their with the best of them, their size is unobtrusive and we’re big fans of the wireless charging capabilities of the charging case. Yes, we do wish there was ANC and maybe even AptX support but, when you take everything into consideration, these €179 Galaxy Buds+ are some of the best available right now.
Samsung are also running a pre-order promotion for people looking to pick up either the new Galaxy S20+ or S20 Ultra. They’ll throw in a free pair of the new Galaxy Buds+ if you pre-order either handset before March 8th.