Samsung Galaxy Buds+ review: Runner-Up

Samsung Galaxy Buds+
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds+
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds+
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Plentiful battery life

Cons

  • No noise-cancellation
  • Haptic controls

Bottom Line

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ aren’t earbuds that you’re likely to be disappointed by but I’m not exactly recommending you rush out and buy them either.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 299.00 (AUD)

Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ true wireless earbuds?

The new Galaxy Buds+ are slightly smaller and glossier than their predecessors but don’t that size deceive you. In terms of their primary purpose, the new earbuds represent a nifty upgrade. They’re not better in every way but they are when it comes to what matters most.

If you bought a set of these alongside the new Galaxy S20 Ultra, they’re a worthy companion piece that competes with the category’s best efforts - even if it doesn’t quite eclipse any of them. 

I’m not ready to call Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ the kind of true wireless earphones that you should rush out and buy but, at the same time, I can’t imagine anyone being particularly disappointed by them. 

Price when reviewed

In Australia, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are priced at a recommended retail price of AU$299.

You can buy them through:

Design & Build

The new Galaxy Buds+ are smaller and glossier than their predecessors but they aren’t all that different. These are clean, professional-looking earbuds that feel light on your ears and a natural complement for both office and gym-settings. There’s nothing radical about them.

If you liked what the Samsung IconX or the original Galaxy Buds offered in terms of looks, you won’t be surprised here. In terms of the internal hardware,  the new earbuds feature AKG-tuned sound that combines the potential of a both dedicated tweeter and a woofer. 

The Galaxy Buds+ also tout no less than three microphones: one on the inside plus two on the outside.

Credit: Samsung

While the Galaxy Buds+ do see Samsung make strides on some fronts, they’ve little to close the gap between themselves and rivals when it comes to durability. Like previous Samsung earbuds, the new Galaxy buds+ come with IPX2 water resistance - which isn’t as comprehensive as some of the alternatives. 

Another area that I was particularly disappointed to see Samsung make no real progress towards was solving the user interface problems that still plague most true wireless earbuds. 

The new Galaxy Buds+ utilise a more-or-less identical haptics-based control system to predecessors. I would have preferred to see more innovation here. This method of control is functional but it’s also often imprecise, unreliable and unpredictable. 

Features & Sound Quality

True to the words on their spec sheet, the new Galaxy Buds+ sound a lot better than their namesake. As someone who still owns a set of first and second-gen IconX buds, they easily cemented themselves as the best set of Samsung-branded true wireless earbuds yet. 

Of course, when we’re talking about Samsung, anything less would be disastrous. 

Although their lack of noise-cancellation tech makes for a stark contrast with Apple’s own AirPods Pro, the dual dynamic drivers inside the Galaxy Buds+ still managed to serve up a surprisingly high-fidelity audio experience.

I found that Watksy’s “Border In My Heart” channeled anthemic charm while Billie Eilish’s “No Time To Die” carried a more sombre appeal. In quiet situations, such as working from home, they provided plenty of musical goodness. 

Credit: Samsung

Ultimately, even if the lack of proper noise-cancelling meant that a little too much outside noise made it into the mix, I found that the Galaxy Buds+ sounded just short of the upper crust of the category. They don’t sound like the best set of true wireless headphones I’ve ever used but they do more than just sound good enough. 

In addition to sounding better, Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds+ also look to close the gap on connectivity. To that end, Samsung has enabled fast-pairing between the Galaxxy Buds+ and Samsung smartphones and tablets. 

What’s more, once paired with a Galaxy smartphone, Galaxy Buds+ will be automatically available on all other devices tethered to the same Samsung account. You'll be able to change which device they're connected through the media menu on your phone - rather than fumbling around with Bluetooth settings. 

Battery Life

The Galaxy Buds+ feature eleven hours of playback per charge, with another eleven hours packed into the charger case for a total of twenty-two hours. This is a huge improvement on the previous Galaxy Buds and IconX earbuds. 

Honestly, where battery life used to be the make-or-break factor for me, the average level of performance found in the Galaxy Buds+ and (this latest generation of true wireless earbuds) is genuinely high enough that I basically never had to worry about them running out in the middle of a session. 

Credit: Samsung

Of course, if they do run out of juice, you can charge the Galaxy Buds+ using Samsung’s wireless powershare or fast-charge them via USB Type-C.

The Bottom Line

Even if it was only a temporary promotion, Samsung’s move to bundle together the Galaxy Buds+ with the new Galaxy S20 Ultra makes it hard not to see how close we’re getting to a world where good Bluetooth headphones are considered the standard. 

In that world, the Galaxy Buds+ swing above their weight. However, in this one, don’t compare as favorably to the category’s finest. If the difference between these earbuds and those with proper noise-cancellation is only $100, then that difference is worth paying. 

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ aren’t earbuds that you’re likely to be disappointed by but I’m not exactly recommending you rush out and buy them either.

In the grand scheme of things, they sit second place to Apple's AirPods Pro and, while second-place ain't bad, that sentiment really says it all.

Credit: Samsung

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