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Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Review

Convenient for Samsung users, but sound quality falls behind that of competitors
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Price:   $150 List | $149 at Amazon
Pros:  Good call quality, unique features for Samsung and Android users
Cons:  Medicore sound quality, athletic performance can be hit or miss depdnding on fit
Manufacturer:   Samsung
By Max Mutter and Michelle Powell  ⋅  Apr 30, 2020
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59
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 23
  • Sound Quality - 30% 4
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Athletic Performance - 20% 5
  • Battery Life - 15% 8
  • Portability - 10% 9
  • Ease of Use - 5% 7

Our Verdict

In our opinion the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are heavy on features but fairly light on sound quality. If you're a Samsung user you can do things like charge the buds using the battery on your phone and access spotify recommendations straight from the buds. Even non-Samsung users are treated to exceptional battery life. However, we were less than impressed with the overall sound quality of these buds. They don't sound bad, but they don't feel like any sort of step up in sound quality from the buds that likely came with your phone.

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Our Analysis and Test Results

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offer a unique set of features, especially to those that use Samsung phones or tablets. However, outside of those features we found the buds to be about average.

Analysis and Test Results



Sound Quality


This was the one area where we we most disappointed with the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. While they certainly do not sound bad, they don't sound much better than the standard earbuds that come included in the box with most smartphones — something we've come to expect when paying extra for specialty earbuds.


As we said, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ don't sound bad, but when compared to most of the other models we've tested they sound quite thin. This is mostly due to a lack of bass power. In our sound quality tests we found the bass to completely fade into the background with most songs, robbing them of a solid low-end. In bass-heavy songs the bass was able to come to the forefront a bit and get more noticeable, but it still lacked the power to really take over the music as is called for in such songs.

In our opinion  these buds sound acceptable but don't provide an elevated listening experience.
In our opinion, these buds sound acceptable but don't provide an elevated listening experience.

Higher ranges are expressed relatively well, but in crowded arrangements we often found that the sound of different instruments would often bleed into one another. On lower volumes we also often heard a faint but noticeable 'fuzz' in the background.

Bottom line: if you're not fussy about sound quality and are mostly looking at the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ for their added conveniences, the sound quality shouldn't be a dealbreaker. But if you're looking at new earbuds because you want a better listening experience, we would not recommend them.

Call Quality


We found the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ to be quite good for phone calls. Phone calls sound clear if only slightly hollow and quiet. The microphones make your voice sound bright and crisp to the person you're calling, and do a good job of not letting ambient noises like noisy streets leak into the phone call.

Comfort


Most of our testers found the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ to be comfortable in the short term, but uncomfortable for long periods of wear.


These buds come with three different sizes of earpieces as well as three different sizes of ear fins. The multiple configurations these options make possible allowed all of our testers to find a comfortable fit with just a bit of experimenting. However, the ear fins are a bit stiffer than most. While this can make things a bit more secure, most of our testers found that extra rigidity resulted in itchy spots after an hour or more of wear. While long term wear isn't unbearably uncomfortable, there are other models that we found to be more amenable to multiple hours of wear.

Some testers found a secure fit that allowed them to comfortably run while wearing the Samsung Galaxy Buds+  while others found them uncomfortable while working out.
Some testers found a secure fit that allowed them to comfortably run while wearing the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, while others found them uncomfortable while working out.

Athletic Performance


Though most of our testers were able to find a comfortable fit (at least in the short term) with the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, not all were able to find a secure fit, making their athletic performance a bit hit or miss.


For the most part, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ athletic performance boils down to whether or not the ear fins happen to fit in your ears well enough to create a secure fit. For our testers where this was the case there were no issues encountered when running or working out at the gym. Those that couldn't find a good fit, however, often found them falling out when doing jumping jacks or other higher-impact movements. As we recommend for all earbuds, make sure to buy these from somewhere that offers returns just in case they don't happen to fit correctly.

The carrying case is fairly slim and compact.
The carrying case is fairly slim and compact.

One thing to note is that these buds offer only IPX2 water resistance. To certify as IPX2 a device must be able to survive being hit with raindrops from a 15˚ angle. In theory this should be adequate for keeping sweat from damaging your earbuds. However, the vast majority of models on the market offer at least IPX4 water resistance, meaning they can survive splashes of water from any angle. While we don't think earbuds need to be completely waterproof to stand up to sweat, we personally feel much more comfortable sweating heavily while wearing IPX4 earbuds rather than IPX2 buds. That being said, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ had no sweat-induced issues in our testing.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offer different sizes of earbuds  but some testers found the rigid ear fins to be uncomfortable.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offer different sizes of earbuds, but some testers found the rigid ear fins to be uncomfortable.

Battery Life


This is one area where the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ shine. In our tests the buds themselves pumped out music for 10.5 hours on a single charge. The charging case itself holds another full charge in it, bringing the total effective battery life over 20 hours.


One thing to note is that most truly wireless earbuds have combined earbud/charging case battery lives of over 20 hours as well. The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ differentiate themselves because the buds themselves can last longer before being put back in the charging case (with most models the buds last around 6 hours but the charging case holds more like 2-4 extra charges instead of just 1). Therefore you'll only notice this extra battery life if you tend to wear your buds for extended periods without putting them back in the charging case.

The buds themselves last 10.5 hours before needing to be recharged in their case  longer than that the majority of models on the market.
The buds themselves last 10.5 hours before needing to be recharged in their case, longer than that the majority of models on the market.

Portability


The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ nestle into a small carrying/charging case that can easily slide into pretty much any pocket. Portability is certainly not an issue with these buds.


Ease of Use


The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offer some unique features for those that use a Samsung phone, but we found their touch sensitive controls to be a bit finicky.


Touch Sensitive Controls


The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ feature touch sensitive controls on each earbud. One tap serves as a play/pause button, double tapping skips tracks forward and a triple tap skips tracks back. A long press can be programmed to do different things, including summoning virtual assistants, launching music streaming services (if you have a Samsung mobile device), and more.

However, we found these touch sensitive controls to be a bit too sensitive. We often registered the wrong gesture when tapping them, or just hit them accidentally because they are sensitive to even a light touch.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ lasted an impressive 10.5 hours in our battery life testing.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ lasted an impressive 10.5 hours in our battery life testing.

Additional Features for Android and Samsung Users


If you use an Android phone or tablet you have the option of programming gestures that allow you to access Spotify recommendations right from the buds. If you use a Samsung phone that features QI wireless charging you can place the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ charging case on the phone and charge the buds using the phone's battery, a feature that Samsung calls PowerShare.

Value


The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are fairly economical in relation to other truly wireless earbuds. However, we weren't particularly impressed with their sound quality nor overall performance. While not a poor value, we think there are other similar models on the models that offer better bang for your buck.

Conclusion


The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are a compelling option for Samsung users looking for a convenient pair of truly wireless earbuds, but we don't find them particularly impressive in any aspect.

Max Mutter and Michelle Powell