Tech review: Samsung Galaxy Buds offers great battery life and easy pairing

Available in white (version tested), black and yellow, the Galaxy Buds looks like last year's Gear IconX, but smaller and lighter.
Available in white (version tested), black and yellow, the Galaxy Buds looks like last year's Gear IconX, but smaller and lighter.PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Launched alongside the Samsung S10 smartphones and priced in the same ballpark as the Apple AirPods, the Galaxy Buds makes a natural comparison with Apple's popular true wireless in-ear headphones.

It is also supposed to work better with Android and Samsung smartphones compared with the AirPods, making it an enticing prospect for those in the non-Apple camp.

Available in white (version tested), black and yellow, the Galaxy Buds looks like last year's Gear IconX, but smaller and lighter.

The earbuds have a minimalist design with a triangular touchpad on their exterior.

The Buds does away with built-in storage and workout-tracking ability of the IconX, making it more AirPod-like in terms of function.

But unlike the AirPods, it comes with three pairs of earbud tips and three pairs of wing tips in small, medium and large sizes.

The medium-sized tips work best for me - I can shake my head vigorously, but the earbuds do not fall out.

The Buds is accompanied by a matching-coloured pillbox-shaped case that doubles as the charger.

  • FOR

    •Easy pairing

    •Lightweight and comfortable

    •Great overall audio quality and battery life

    AGAINST

    •Iffy touchpad gestures

    •Intermittent Bluetooth connection drops

    SPECS

    PRICE: $238

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth 5.0

    WEIGHT: 5.6g (each earbud), 39.6g (charging case)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

This case is smaller than the charging case of the IconX (2018), but has the same rear USB-C charging port. However, it now supports wireless charging, so you can place it with the latest S10 phones to charge via their Wireless PowerShare feature.

For this review, the Buds - updated with the latest firmware - waspaired with a Samsung Galaxy Note9.

Pairing is a cinch.

First, download the Android-only Galaxy Wearable app. Then start the Bluetooth pairing by opening the lid of the charging case. Tap on Connect from the pop-up window that appears. Follow the on-screen instructionsto complete the pairing process.

The app also allows you to turn on the equaliser - you would want to do that as the audio sounds pretty flat without it.

I also recommend switching the equaliser to its Dynamic mode, as it provides a good balance of bass, mids and highs. Overall, the Buds delivers a decent sound quality that matches up well with other wireless in-ear headphones.

The app also lets you customise the touchpad gestures. By default, a single tap on the touchpad plays or pauses the music. A double-tap plays the next song, while a triple-tap plays the previous song.

But this can get iffy. My attempts at triple-tapping are sometimes foiled because the next song would start to play before I could hit the third tap. At times, my triple-tapping attempts would end up pausing the song.

Another downside is the intermittent Bluetooth connection drops This seems to happen more often when I am in the office, which has plenty of Bluetooth connections such as those between keyboards and laptops.

I am impressed with the Buds' battery life. Rated at six hours and lasting around five hours during my tests with the volume mostly on the high side, it easily beats its competition which typically last between two and three hours.

With its convenient pairing, great battery life and good audio quality, the Galaxy Buds is highly recommended especially if you are using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.