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sowon

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ - Small Package, Big Performance

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Posted · Original PosterOP

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The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are Samsung’s newest Galaxy Buds truly-wireless Bluetooth earphones that retail for £100 as of this review. I bought mine as a next step towards the truly-wireless earbuds vibe, coming from my former Anker Soundcore Liberty Airs, which I have reviewed here.
I have used my Galaxy Buds for approximately a week and a half, and I haven’t charged them for at least 5 days, using them on-and-off during breaks at work, out on the streets taking leisurely walks, or even just at home unwinding in my room.

 

The Buds+ were an impulse buy when I was moving from my iPhone 8 Plus to my new Samsung S20, and thought to cash out on an entirely new everyday carry setup, now consisting of my Samsung S20, Samsung Watch Active, and of course my Samsung Galaxy Buds+. The Buds+ were pretty easy to get hold of being as ubiquitous as they are, I decided to grab my pair in the same baby blue that I got my Samsung S20 in. Their case was much smaller than I expected, as well as the Buds themselves, which was a welcome choice as I wanted wireless earbuds that didn’t stick out in public, such as the AirPods.

 

I’ve been using these for a week and I’ve gotten to learn the sound signature of it, and how it performs compared to my prized FiiO FH5 in-ear monitors, as well as my open-backed Sennheiser HD 580 headphones. I did not prioritise sound as a top feature when selecting new earbuds, as I generally don’t fully appreciate sound quality in truly wireless earbuds, given how I am usually walking around and want to hear my surroundings as much as possible, whilst still having some background music. The Buds were a perfect choice for me given their small form factor and generally unity to my Samsung S20.

 

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These are the cutest pair of earbuds I’ve ever used, they’re pretty round and fit flat into my ear, conforming similarly to that of a proper in-ear monitor such as my FH5s. I prefer these types of designs in truly-wireless earphones to the stick design as I find sticks to scream for attention.
 

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The fitment of the earbuds is also spectacular. I have extremely small ear canals, so I only need the smallest ear tip size possible. The shape of the Buds+ fit nicely and give an impossibly-tight seal to my ears, with equally as good noise isolation. I don’t really experience the pressure that some people get from airplanes for example, so I can’t comment on that, but I find the noise isolation of these earbuds fantastic and not fatiguing. In fact, I find it scarily good that I sometimes have to enable transparency mode in the Galaxy Wearable app in order to get at least some outside world noise to come in in fear for the lack of environmental noise.
 

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The case is super small and can fit in the small watch pocket that jeans have remarkably comfortably. The case is made of a glossy plastic that isn’t all that slippery. There is a flat side on the bottom in order to get these to comfortably sit on a table for example. Otherwise, they are a standard pill-shaped case, nice and minimal.
 

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The case also charges using USB-C as well as wireless, however I find charging with USB-C much faster, even if you are charging them for ten minutes, tops. The case also swings open nicely, it is kind of difficult one-handed, but the lip on the front of the case makes it easy to visualise where the opening of the clamshell is.

 

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As mentioned before, these use USB-C to charge, and also have the luxury of wireless charging with any Qi-enabled wireless charging, and even accept reverse-wireless charging from my S20 for extra quality of life, even if I still do find the reverse-wireless charging a little gimmicky.

 

Samsung claims 22 hours of battery life on their website, which I assume is both the Buds+ and the charging case as well. I have barely been able to get these below 40% on the case, and that’s with an hour or two per day with these on since I got them, so I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and believe them. These certainly will not die quick even with heavy use, given how I wanted them to die but they just refused to. It doesn’t help that they’re so easy to charge as well.

 

It’s safe to say, you’re never going to get caught with your pants down with these if the case is still topped up.

 

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The Galaxy Wearable app is paramount to the sound quality and usability of the Buds+, with features such as battery status, ambient sound modes, equaliser settings, as well as touch controls.
 

Spoiler

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The home screen of the Galaxy Wearable app has most of the features one would need for daily usage, in particular the equaliser and ambient sound modes.
As you can see, I personally prefer ambient sound to be off as I find it recesses the lows and highs far too much to be enjoyable to hear music with, no matter what volume. This is because the ambient sound modes simply use microphones on the rears of the buds and project those back into your ear, so all that sound that would typically be reserved for giving you the best listening experience, now has to also feed back the outside world, the staging just isn’t there enough to be able to differentiate outside from the inside.
 

 

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The equaliser might be a controversial topic, as I find all of the equaliser settings are equally garbage, and I've found software equalisers are generally subpar and detrimental to sound quality and signature. The normal equaliser (aka, stock listening experience) is overly muddy, with the lows being overbearingly stomping, the mids being recessed quite a bit, and the highs sounding quite sibilant and tinny.

 

For the reasons above, and because of my own taste in music, I prefer the ‘Treble boost’ equaliser, as this evens out the harsh lows, whilst also highlighting the mids a bit more. The highs and treble aren’t as punchy as the name of the equaliser might suggest, but due to the nature of the Buds+ being low-heavy, it’s not surprising.

 

There are other equaliser settings such as ‘Bass Boost’, which eradicate all highs from your music altogether, the soft preset which does the opposite and squishes lows like a bug, and dynamic for if you want your Buds+ to sound V-shaped. I don’t recommend any of the presets apart from ‘Treble boost’ as that is the one that I find closest to my reference IEMs, the FiiO FH5s, in sound signature. However, I do enjoy that options are there for anybody who is looking for some more punch and bounce in their music whilst listening to these buds.

 

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A forewarning, I will be using the ‘Treble boost’ preset for my sound review, since I really am not a fan of the ‘Normal’ preset, and would in fact not use these Buds if the preset could not be changed. £100 for the sound signature that ‘Normal’ gives was unacceptable to me and I refuse to use it. Sorry.

As a general umbrella comparison for the real, stock sound signature, take my findings for the sound, and put more emphasis on the lows, and blow out the mids a lot more.

 

Highs:
The highs, I personally find are the weakest point of the earbuds. They’re very recessed no matter what track I listen to, and are overshadowed by the lows and mids, especially in bassier tracks. Female vocals lack power and punch that I would typically expect out of a good pair of earbuds or headphones, which is a shame as female vocals make up a good chunk of my everyday music listening. The highs however make up for this with astounding clarity, even if such clarity lacks imaging.

 

Mids:
I find mids fairly strong with these earbuds, they are clear and crisp, but like the highs, are overshadowed slightly by the lows. In tracks that have a lot of synths, drums, and overall busy instrumentals, the mids are able to separate nicely and image well. The mids tend to muddle slightly when there is a lot of bass present, but otherwise, the mids are fairly competent and I have little complaints.

 

Lows:
The lows are easily the most prominent part of the earbuds, screaming for attention and have definitely overtaken both the mids and highs in a variety of tracks I have listened to. Bass is slightly veiled, and takes a front row seat to the mids and highs, and this is even with the Treble Boost equalise preset. Because of this, I find heavy metal and rock music lends itself nicely the Buds+ sound signature, even with Treble Boost on.
I am not a fan of lows as most of my music biases towards the highs and mids, so the sound signature of the Buds+ was slightly disappointing to myself, but as a casual pair of buds to take out when I’m out on the go, it’s not entirely a dealbreaker.

 

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These Buds are definitely my favorite pair of wireless earphones I have ever owned, with so much creature comforts, it’s hard to argue with the price of £100. USB-C charging, Qi wireless charging, the small form factor, it’s all a complete package that fits in your pocket nicely. The design is also super low-key as well, even if you opt for the other colors of the Buds+.

 

Which I guess is unfortunate given I can’t necessarily vouch for the sound signature, the sound is slightly veiled and doesn’t punch the highs enough for it to be enjoyable, at least to my taste in music. I would much prefer a drop-off in lows in exchange for some more vibrancy in the highs. I can’t dock it too much though, as these are truly-wireless earbuds and aren’t made to be listened to in an isolated studio. I do otherwise enjoy these as a simple grab-and-go option for when I want to listen to music on the go, whilst still maintaining auditory awareness of my surroundings.

 

As an entire unit, I do enjoy these earbuds, and I’m sure the average consumer would have no complaints with the sound signature, as these are an irresistibly convenient pair of earbuds for the price. As an impulse buy for my Samsung S20, these have been great, and I expect to hold onto these for a good few years, even if the sound signature and I don’t bond very well.


mechanical keyboard switches aficionado & hi-fi audio enthusiast

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3 minutes ago, sowon said:

-snip-

I don’t really experience the pressure that some people get from airplanes for example, so I can’t comment on that, but I find the noise isolation of these earbuds fantastic and not fatiguing. In fact, I find it scarily good that I sometimes have to enable transparency mode in the Galaxy Wearable app in order to get at least some outside world noise to come in in fear for the lack of environmental noise.

-snip-

 

I've used these for about 4 months now regularly on planes. I fly at least twice a month for work. I'm not sure what pressure on planes you're talking about besides the normal pressure differential. I've got smallish ear canals, use the middle size rubber. I've not had issues with pressure not wanting to release or excess pressure on airplanes. 

I also end up with transparency mode on. I've been impressed with what it does pick up and how it mixes it in with the audio. It almost seems like after a little while of white noise(jet engines) they kind of get "ignored" by the ear bud, but voices stay at the volume they were. 


CPU I9-9900k, Motherboard GIGABYTE Z390 I AORUS PRO WIFI, RAM CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 32GB 3000mhz (2x16), GPU ASUS ROG STRIX GeForce RTX 2070 8GB, Case Geeek A60 Plus, Storage CORSAIR Force Series MP510 1920GB NVMe, CORSAIR FORCE Series MP510 960GB NVMe, PSU CORSAIR RM650x, Cooling Asus ROG RYUO 240, Displays LG 34UC98-W 34-Inch, 32 inch curved that I can't find the model number for right now, Keyboard Corsair K95, Mouse Corsair Nightblade, Sound AT2020+ USB Mic and Headphones

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hi-fi audio enthusiast

Well written article.

I want to buy this thing for a long time, but not sure spending $100+ on an earphone (if it's not good).

I tested airpods (1), and i don't like it, the sound just not that good, compared to a cheap $20 apple earphone.

The sound is just not popping out.

At home i have a Vmoda M100, which is not the best, but decent.

But this is 2020, should i expect more from the latest TWS eaphones?


Ryzen 2600 @ 4ghz | Radeon RX580 | 32gb HyperX 3200mhz | 500gb Samsung PM981a | 5 TB HDD | Corsair CX450

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6 minutes ago, SupaKomputa said:

But this is 2020, should i expect more from the latest TWS eaphones?

Maybe? But to be honest from what I've seen TWS is the definition of chinese off brand copies. If you're looking for cheap TaoTronics are actually pretty decent. But when speaking of wirelees earphones you do have to spend more money to get great sound quality.

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21 minutes ago, sowon said:

A forewarning, I will be using the ‘Treble boost’ preset for my sound review, since I really am not a fan of the ‘Normal’ preset,

I'm not actually surprised, the mid and especially the high treble for these earbuds are quite low at some points, which could explain you preffer the Treble boost profile. At least the rest of the frequency response is pretty decent. The graph below is with the buds runnig out of the box, on the normal setting.

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1 minute ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

Maybe? But to be honest from what I've seen TWS is the definition of chinese off brand copies. If you're looking for cheap TaoTronics are actually pretty decent. But when speaking of wirelees earphones you do have to spend more money to get great sound quality.

I thought TWS is the lingo for wireless eadbuds.
I don't mind spending more if it's really good. At least on par with a decent earphones.


Ryzen 2600 @ 4ghz | Radeon RX580 | 32gb HyperX 3200mhz | 500gb Samsung PM981a | 5 TB HDD | Corsair CX450

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1 minute ago, SupaKomputa said:

I thought TWS is the lingo for wireless eadbuds.
I don't mind spending more if it's really good. At least on par with a decent earphones.

I thought TWS was a chinese brand that makes off brand copies of airpods, since you always see on the box TWS.

i12 TWS Earphones -White

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4 minutes ago, AndreiArgeanu said:

I thought TWS was a chinese brand that makes off brand copies of airpods, since you always see on the box TWS.

TWS (True Wireless Stereo), not a brand.

That box looks cheap. They make copies of this from $5 to $80 (which they claimed came from the real apple third party factory).


Ryzen 2600 @ 4ghz | Radeon RX580 | 32gb HyperX 3200mhz | 500gb Samsung PM981a | 5 TB HDD | Corsair CX450

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Posted · Original PosterOP
On 9/28/2020 at 5:45 PM, Voluspa said:

I also end up with transparency mode on. I've been impressed with what it does pick up and how it mixes it in with the audio.

While impressive that it does pick up outside noise with decent clarity, I find it muddles with the music/audio you're listening to, not sure if I'm overly sensitive though.

 

On 9/28/2020 at 5:47 PM, SupaKomputa said:

I want to buy this thing for a long time, but not sure spending $100+ on an earphone (if it's not good).

I tested airpods (1), and i don't like it, the sound just not that good, compared to a cheap $20 apple earphone.

The sound is just not popping out.

Never tried any form of AirPods, so I'm unable to comment on how these sound in comparison to Apple's offerings, but I would give these a shot for $100 as long as you already have a capable Android device already, ideally Samsung, as the Samsung Wearable app is crucial to the operation of the Buds+.

 

On 9/28/2020 at 6:04 PM, AndreiArgeanu said:

I'm not actually surprised, the mid and especially the high treble for these earbuds are quite low at some points, which could explain you preffer the Treble boost profile. At least the rest of the frequency response is pretty decent. The graph below is with the buds runnig out of the box, on the normal setting.

Admittedly that was the first time I had seen a frequency graph for the Buds+, definitely not surprising, the highs are so recessed. Treble boost doesn't completely solve it, but definitely lend it a hand from the stock experience, which sucks ass.


mechanical keyboard switches aficionado & hi-fi audio enthusiast

switch reviews  how i lube mx-style keyboard switches

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