Honestly speaking, we have reviewed quite a number of true wireless earbuds here at Nasi Lemak Tech. We’re no connoisseurs, but we’re seasoned, to say the least. When the Galaxy Buds was first announced during the keynote for the global launching of the Galaxy S10 series, we were shocked to see the relatively affordable price RM499. Compared to the previous IconX, this is affordable.
With the Galaxy Buds on our hands and in our ears, we are here to tell you exactly how it feels and how it sounds, alongside with the handful of features that are integrated into the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
The packaging design is actually quite a big departure from what we’ve seen in the past. The packaging design itself does ring a bell in my mind but I can’t pinpoint where I’ve seen it before. Its design vibe feels somewhat bold, if that makes sense.
The overall unboxing experience is rather simple – you get the Galaxy Buds and also an accessories box. You get a simple USB-C cable alongside with two more different sizes for both the eartips and the wing tips.
Its familiar design
I’ve seen many people comparing the new Samsung Galaxy Buds with the IconX. They’re both very similar, and it makes sense to compare them both. The IconX has a larger cradle with a larger battery, but the Galaxy Buds took a different path.
The new smaller cradle means smaller battery capacity – which we will talk about it later – and I do think that Samsung overengineered the cradle a little. To open the hinge, you need a bit more force to overcome the magnets. Once opened, the hinge can be opened all the way up to a 90° with a satisfying click. This click is so satisfying that I found myself playing it like a fidget toy.
Comparing once again with the IconX, the Galaxy Buds have the same earbud design. However, the wing tips itself have a simpler design and possibly better since it does not have a hole in the wing tip.
The amount of features
Oh boi, the Galaxy Buds does come with a lot of features. You’ll need the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. However, this app is only available for all Android phones on the Google Play Store. Once that’s installed, the Galaxy Buds can be paired easily via the app. It takes a few button presses but once that is done, everything is ready to go.
At first glance, the app gives you the battery level of each individual earbud. Something to take note here is that the battery levels displayed here are rounded off to the nearest 5.
The Galaxy buds themselves also have a touchpad on each earbud. These touchpads have gestures built into them, as listed below:
- Single tap – play/pause
- Double tap – next track
- Triple tap – previous track
- Touch and hold – customizable
The last one here is the only gesture that can be customized. There are a few different options for you to choose from. My favorite one here is to toggle ambient sound.
Ambient sound is a feature that allows the user to hear the surrounding. How? By utilizing the microphones on the Galaxy Buds itself to capture the surrounding noise and let the user listen to the environment. This is especially useful for pedestrians who are crossing the streets and whatnot. You can even enhance the volume of spoken words to hear better without taking off the Galaxy Buds – but that makes you look like a jerk than being cool, though.
The ambient sound feature here doesn’t sound the best when compared to others but at least it’s there and it works. Once again, I’m not trying to talk with the Galaxy Buds on my ears.
There is also a proximity sensor on each earbud to detect if the user is wearing the Buds or not. I find it to be quite unnecessary since it’s either on my ears or in the cradle anyway, so why have the sensor to play/pause for me in the first place?
Also, firmware updates for the Galaxy Buds are pushed through the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app. Yes, even earphones get firmware upgrades now.
Then comes the equalizer. By itself, the Samsung Galaxy Wearable app has a few presets that you can select from, and that’s pretty much it. There is no custom EQ in this app itself. But if your Android phone has custom EQ in its settings – like the Galaxy S10+ (review) that we are using here, then you can have custom EQ with Dolby Atmos working in tandem!
Specifically for Samsung users, you can do these to further boost your audio quality. The above shows my personal favorite settings, making it a truly personalized audio experience. The “adapt sound” feature learns your ear’s hearing range and adapts to that.
For non-Samsung Android users, you can download 3rd party EQ apps and tune the sound from there.
Ah yes, the one thing that everyone is concerned about. The Galaxy Buds in itself, when you first get it and paired to your phone, sounds really uneventful. It is surprisingly clear in both bass and treble, but lacks the oomph that many users are looking for. In other words, it sounds really flat. But – and a big but – is that the flat sound here is like taking a RAW image picture. There are lots of customization options available for you to fiddle around.
Turning on the built-in equalizer to Dynamic increases the fidelity and richness of the sound. That makes it sound much better, but I want to push the limits and see how far Samsung allows the users to customize the sound… and this is where things get a little weird.
I have been using a Galaxy S10+ for quite some time now and I mainly use the Galaxy Buds with that S10+. That gave me something like a home advantage as I can enable the built-in EQ in the Samsung One UI (beautiful UI by the way) and also Dolby Atmos. Turning on Dolby Atmos to either music or movie mode makes the Galaxy Buds sound so much more enjoyable.
If you are willing to venture into more advanced features, then you can set your own EQ to fine-tune the sound that comes out of it. Surprisingly, the Galaxy Buds can handle all of it nicely without any distortion.
Another great big concern that comes to users is battery life. When the specs of the Galaxy Buds first leaked, everyone was concerned about its battery life. I discovered that under comfortable listening volumes and ambient sound turned off, the Galaxy Buds can last for just a little shy of 7 hours. Of course, everyone listens to their music at different volumes – so I can’t speak for everyone here.
When the battery level starts hitting about 15%, it will beep. As the battery percentage goes lower, it beeps at a different tone.
For Samsung Galaxy S10 series users only, you can enable Wireless PowerShare and charger the Galaxy Buds too. Though, I wouldn’t see why you want to do this since there is a USB-C port at the back of the Galaxy Buds. Plugging it into a power bank will charge faster and more efficiently than wireless charging.
By the way, it can be charged with any wireless charging pads.
Wrapping up the Samsung Galaxy Buds review
When I first wore and tried out the Galaxy Buds, I didn’t like it. When I started fiddling with the settings, I discovered that the Galaxy Buds is pretty much made to be customized. Its ability to handle whatever EQ you want is impeccable. For Samsung smartphone users, you have the option to enable Dolby Atmos and create your own personal sound profile.
For the price of RM499, the Samsung Galaxy Buds definitely need some tweaking to unleash its full potential. It requires fiddling around with more settings, but it ultimately becomes customized to fit your ears – both physically and in the sound it produces.