These are all-round wireless earbuds that offer good bang for your money. With solid audio delivery and voice-call quality, smooth Wearable app connection with very comfortable and hardware, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are a safe option when you want a reliable companion. They don’t push the boundary in features, but execute within range. It’s sure to please users seeking less intrusive earbud designs that you can wear all day long.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offers healthy battery life to run high mileage throughout most of the day, and represents very attractive wireless audio experience at a compelling price. For more advanced features like active noise cancellation, better sound reproduction and just a little more oomph, the Galaxy Buds Pro may be closer to home. But anyway, let’s dive into the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.
SAMSUNG GALAXY BUDS PLUS
FORMFACTOR WIRELESS EARBUDS BRAND SAMSUNG MODEL GALAXY BUDS+ RELEASED MARCH, 2020 DIMENSIONS (CM) 3.9 x 7.9 x 2.6 (CASE) BATTERY LIFE UP TO 11 HOURS PER CHARGE WEIGHT EARBUD (6.3g), CASE (39.6g) FEATURES TOUCH CONTROLS, WEARABLE APP, QI-WIRELESS, USB-C ACCESSORIES USB-C CABLE, 3 EARTIPS PRICE RRP ($149), AVERAGE $99 PURCHASEAMAZON
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inside the box
Samsung thankfully kept the package compact to the hardware, including a few extra goodies to get the Galaxy Buds+ going. You’ll find the charging case with the pair of buds inside, a small booklet with the usual material, USB-A to USB-C cable and two additional eartip sizes to the ones attached to the Buds+. Everything are colour matched to each other, depending on whether you pick up the white, black or blue.
The charging case and Buds+ are glossy plastic, which look and feel great and aren’t likely to leave or show oily fingerprints. That makes putting these inside your bag or pocket a little more bearable although I’d still suggest a case or keeping it safe if you want to retain the slick polished finish.
They’re both fairly light and compact to carry or wear inside your ear, with the charging case weighing 39.6g and the buds+ weighing 6.3g. The Buds+ weigh enough to feel present and the charging case profile is small enough to be pocketable, far better than other heavier, bulkier charging cases.
The Samsung Wearable app is a must for any of Samsung’s wearable device and that includes the Buds series. It’s not made clear you need to download the app- even if I have a Samsung phone – so if you tend to gloss over the instructions, here’s the heads up you need. There’s no hardware controls on the Buds+ but instead a touch area on the rear for various tap and hold controls.
Besides that, Bluetooth pairing is straightforward and smooth in the Wearable app, requiring app permissions for it to function. The omission of NFC for me is noticeable as I’ve found it super fluid to make new pairing or force connect. Once things were setup, connecting between my registered devices work well, and feels like it knows when I’m trying to connect one device over another. The Wearable app is the default to find info on the Buds+ including battery life for each bud and charging shell, ambient sound levels, equaliser, touch controls, reset and more. It seamlessly pairs with the Earbuds when taking earbuds out of the case. It doesn’t have the kind of fine tune control in sound more enthusiasts would want, but I like the battery information to know exactly how much runtime I have left including the charging case.
Sound through Samsung’s audio range are powered by AKG, tuned to give more emphasis on richness, clarity and acoustics over heavy, deep bass. Audio quality is generally clean throughout the volume range, and while it doesn’t quite reach greater volumes than what I’ve experienced with other wireless earbuds, provide satisfactory sound pleasant to the ear. The earbud sealant decently blocks out external noise, while the select equaliser presets in the Wearable app offers decent selection to suit your sound preference. Sadly there’s no equaliser adjustment which I’d like to see to give more flexibility for purists wanting greater control.
Sound has a nice richness to it, though lacks the depths and punchiness in bass-heavy songs which populate more of my playlist. For users seeking high quality audio and immersion, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ offer a decent but less than stellar showing, lacking the kind of atmosphere and immersion one would hope, but is serviceable enough that you’d still enjoy listening.
When it comes to voice-call I’ve tried facebook calls inside my place and at a cafe, with ambient sounds, background music and general chatter surrounding me. I’m happy with the sending quality and return feedback considering the mics are placed on the outside rear, it picks up my voice well, has good focus without any send of distance or drift that earbuds of this form factor tend to possess, and makes calls viable for an extended period of time. My best friend didn’t find my voice drowned within the background music playing, so for voice-call quality, it won’t blow you away, but it fares better than others to make calling actually usable.
ambient noise, touch controls
The Galaxy Buds+ lack any kind of ANC, present in the Buds Live and Buds Pro. It does have ambient sound software function in the Galaxy Wearable app, with 3 levels and a further 4th in the lab. The results are mixed, as the first two levels aren’t as noticeable, but slightly opens up the high frequencies to hear the person next to you if you are having a chat. The 3rd level is where the ambient sound opens up more external noise with some slight mic monitoring feedback of your voice when speaking. This mode works best in hearing sounds around you, though isn’t as effective if music is high. The 4th stage is where things really open up, but has a robotic, digital feel to it that amplifies sounds and voice feedback.
It certain cranks up the external sound to be aware of your surroundings but the overall sound isn’t what you’d walk around with – you’re better off just taking off the earbuds for more natural spatial awareness. Overall, the feature is more provided with the app than the earbuds, it’s serviceable but the lack of being able to switch this on the fly and means digging into the app, which you’ll most likely do without. Touch controls on the Buds+ is great. It keeps controls simplified with several taps on either earbud controlling volume up /down, track control, play/pause and activating voice assistant Google Now on my phone. Touch is very responsive, even with double tap on the edge of the earbud to adjust volume. Sometimes it’s a little too responsive though as accidental touches when handling the earbud occurred more frequently than I would liked.
Even my long, slim fingers handling the somewhat circular Buds+ caused songs to play and pause when I didn’t want to. For the price range, it’s not surprising there’s no auto detect feature but the only other option is to block touches in the Wearable app wihch is too much of a sacrifice for the useful functionality it provides. When settled, these never happened which is good, but certainly when handling it in the charging case, taking them out or putting them in my ears, these happened a little too much for my liking.
battery life is a highlight feature of the Galaxy Buds+. If you want an all-day wireless earbud that relies on less charge cycles in the charging case, then these are an excellent choice. I definitely favour continuous running of playtime per charge with my wireless earbuds for long commute, work stints or general convenience, and these stacked up to the 11 hour run time on 50% volume. Get a little more with lower volume towards 14 hours and fewer on higher volume around 7 hours, but in terms of endurance these are an everyday reliable companion, which is ok in my books.
The charging case has enough for one full charge cycle, which is less than other wireless earbuds due to the fairly small capacity, but can juice 1 hour of playback within 5-10 minutes which is very convenient. Qi-wireless charging for some is fairly niche and gimmicky, but for wireless earbuds, they can make charging much more convenient whether that’s from your phone or wireless charging stations. I like the feature a lot and greatly appreciate it within this price bracket, which is a feature that gets cut-out in this range or below.
worth the price?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ can be commonly found around $99, the Buds Live are a little more at $120 while the Buds Pro are a more expensive $169. The Buds+ and Live though similarly priced offer different experiences, with the Buds+ a familiar but modern design, which for some is subtle and suited to their preference, while the Buds Live has a distinct ‘kidney bean’ style which has better comfort endurance and stands out a little more. The Buds+ has double the battery life of the Buds Live when Active-Noise cancellation is on, although the feature isn’t as compelling as it sounds, so with it off gets closer to Buds battery but falls a little short.
By design, you’ll get a better seal in your ears with the Buds for a more immersive sound and less leakage, while the Buds Live isn’t as good due to the horizontal design. That being said, with more mics in the Buds Live to isolate noise, a larger 12mm driver to pump louder sound and depth, the Live is a slightly more refined version of the Buds+ albeit in a different hardware package.
For the price difference, the marginal quality gain is dependent on your preference. The Buds+ is familiar, offers better sound sealant daily and is comfortable enough to use for long periods. It’s solid voice call quality, decent ambient noise effect through the app and touch controls make wearing these convenient, though at the same time, persistent accidental touches on the Buds+ may warrant considering the Live. But with all-round satisfaction with the Galaxy Buds+, it’s wholly worth the price for a slick experience with solid sound, consistent long battery life and responsive touch controls that are effortless to use.
A solid all-round wireless earbud with little thrills but delivers sound, call quality and operation to a high level. All-day battery life is one of the hero features while providing pleasant sound for the price.