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Samsung Galaxy Buds Review - The new wireless earphones standard

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Samsung has finally released true wireless earbuds that compete with the Apple AirPods and it can be had for only PHP 6,990! Is it any good though?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds!

The Samsung Galaxy Buds features a smaller overall form factor over the previous IconX 2018 with a 5.8pi Dynamic driver that connects via Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C.

It features an accelerometer, proximity sensors, IR sensors and a touch pad, with 58mAh battery on each bud and an extra 252 mAh battery in the charging case. This effectively gives each buds 6 hours of run time that is extended by another 7 hours from the charging case.

It comes in three colors of white, black and yellow and is now available nationwide for PHP 6,990! 

How good is it though? Is it better than the original Apple AirPods? Let's find out!

Unboxing/Accessories

Inside the white box!

We received the white copy of the Galaxy Buds that came in the white box. We will confirm if the black and yellow colored ones comes in the same packaging.

Inside is the charging cradle with the two ear pieces, USB Type-A to USB-C cable, two pairs of silicone ear cups and two pairs of rubber rings.

Build Quality/Design

Touchpads

The Galaxy Buds and the Charging cradle are mostly made of high quality polycarbonate that feel solid but are extremely light weight. It looks and feels better than the previous IconX 2018s.

Both the buds and the charging cradle have matte textured areas and have polished areas. The matte textures add a grippy surface in strategically placed areas where the Buds and the cradle are most likely to be held by your hand/fingers.

The buds are IP56 rated which means it can withstand some sweaty workout sessions but won't be able to survive full submersion in bodies of water.

The included rubber rings and silicone ear cups come in small, medium and large. Out of the box, the medium cups and rings are already attached to the buds. They feel and look well made.
CPU contacts with left or right indicators!

On one side is the outer microphone and polished glass like touch pad while on the other are the CPU contacts (for charging), IR and proximity sensors, the L or R indicator, and the ear cups.

On the charging cradle's front is the recessed area so you can open the flap easier and an LED indicator light. At the bottom of the cradle is the printed regulatory information. At the back is flap hinge and the USB Type-C port. Lastly, on top is the Samsung logo.
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Inside the cradle are the two nests for the two Buds. Inside it are the CPU contacts that connect and charge the Buds. In between the nests is a single LED indicator light.

Comfort/Isolation

How it looks like when worn

The silicon ear cups are malleable enough to form to the shape of your outer ear canal that forms a decent seal and is comfortable even for extended periods. The outer rubber rings have protrusions that locks the Buds against the ridges of your outer ear that are weird at first but you get use to them after a few minutes of wearing them.

The seal formed produces a decent isolation wherein you can still hear the loudest of the ambient noise. (like motor engine sounds or motorbikes zipping through) For example, when playing music at 60 percent volume, most of the ambient sound is barely audible.

Battery

This is the Connect to Buds prompt that also tells you how much charge is left upon connection

Each Bud carries a 58mAh that lasts for 6 hours on a single charge while the charging cradle carries a 252mAh that lasts up to 7 hours on top of the Bud's 6 hours. This gives a total of 13 hours of continuous listening with one full charge of the Buds and the Charging Cradle. This is an improvement over the previous IconX 2018's 4 to 5 hours of battery life.

Great battery performance

In our experience we were getting 12 hours straight playback from both Buds. This was with multiple sound trip sessions in between our commute to and from work, meal breaks and free time that spanned multiple days that added up to 12 hours. This was with the Ambient sound mode turned off.

We noticed that the Buds that we used the touchpad more often had its battery drained faster. It was more noticeable when using the Ambient sound mode. Simple play back or call answering didn't affect the battery too much. (around 1 to 2 percent difference)

It takes under 40 minutes to fully charge the buds and the cradle from 0 to 10 percent.

After about 1 hour the red LED on the top of the left controller will extinguish. It cannot play audio while charging though.

Features

Can be charged via USB-C or wireless charging

The Samsung Galaxy Buds can be charged via USB Type-C or via wireless charging. This means you can use the Samsung Galaxy S10's Power Share feature to charge the buds and the charging cradle.
Wearables app

When setting-up the Galaxy Buds for the first time, you will be prompted to run the Samsung Wearables app. The app usually updates itself and then will update the firmware of the buds.

In the app you can customise the equalizer, the touchpad controls and the ambient sound volume.
Ambient sound volume options and find my buds controls

In the touchpad customizations menu you will find a set of graphical tutorials that depict all the tap commands you can perform to interact with the Buds like: one tap plays or pauses the current track, two taps plays the next track or answers/ends the current call while the three taps plays the previous track. Lastly, if you press and hold the touchpad, you can either decline a call or perform a set command. The set commands can be either launch the voice assistant, turn on the ambient sound, volume up or volume down.

In the ambient sounds menu, you can choose to turn on the Ambient Sound mode which allows you to listen to the ambient sound through the Buds' microphones. You also have the option to focus on voices which Samsung says makes voices clearer. In our experience, it also focuses on other sounds with the similar frequencies so it isn't perfect.

There is also a feature that allows you to find the buds if you misplaced them. The app basically sends a command to the buds to play a sound. The sound made isn't that audible when not wearing the buds so I found this feature almost useless.

When playing videos while using the buds, there is no noticeable lag between the visual footage and the audio. This means that the lips and voice of the actors are in-sync. 

Each bud has a set of sensors that it uses to know whether it is attached or not to your ear. 

The other bud continues to play audio even if you take off the other bud.

Sound Quality

Audio profile is on the warmer side which means it emphasizes bass and vocals to appeal a lot of people. This is without the equalizer on.

Respectable wireless audio

Overall, the sound quality is pretty good for a wireless earphones for the PHP 6,990. It is not audiophile grade but the clarity, sound stage, separation is decent enough for most people. Audio is far from muddy unlike other wireless buds. Highs are respectable as well.

What we felt it lacked is in the power department which is understandable given the price range.

Maximum volume can get relatively loud with some minor distortion and loss of quality. Personally we were always at the 70 percent volume level because of the perfect balance of volume and sound quality.

Overall, this wireless earphones is a good all rounder for music, movies, and even games for most people that are not audiophiles. Yes, it sounds better than Apple's AirPods at a more affordable price.

Pros - Great design, good comfort, 13 hour battery life, fast charging speed, decent audio quality, compact size
Cons - Auto detect and connect prompt only works on the Galaxy S10 series phones, You need to download the Samsung Wearables App for full customization

Samsung Galaxy Buds Specs

Driver: 5.8pi dynamic
Battery: Earbud: 58mAh, charging case: 252mAh
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Sensors: IR sensor, accelerometer, proximity sensor
Others: USB-C, Colors: white, black, yellow
Dimensions: Earbud: 17.5 x 19.2 x 22.3 mm, Case: 38.8 x 70 x 26.5 mm
Weight: Earbud: 5.6 g, Case: 39.6 g
Price: PHP 6,990

Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy Buds is one of the best true wireless earphones in the market at its PHP 6,990 price point.

No other wireless earphones has all the following features in one package: good audio quality, Bluetooth 5.0, wireless charging capable, USB-C and seamless connection to Galaxy S10 devices are available in the market today.

We highly recommend it to Samsung Galaxy smartphone users and as well as with people looking for a true wireless earbuds that offers great value for its price!

Build/Design - 4.25
Comfort/Isolation - 4
Battery Life - 4.25
Features - 4.5
Sound - 4.25
Average - 4.25/5
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