With the Galaxy Buds, Samsung delivers a True Wireless in-ear solution for their army of smartphone users.
These headphones are available in four different colours, with quality processing and a pleasantly lightweight design. Included with the Galaxy Buds themselves is a compact case that doubles up as a battery pack, with charging status made visible via handy LEDs. There’s a USB-C charging port on offer here, but an alternative induction charger can be used if desired. The headphones themselves are fitted to the ear of the user via a choice of three earpiece inserts and so-called silicone stabilisers. Another noteworthy point is the presence of touch functionality on the exterior of the earphone housing.
You can look forward to high levels of wearing comfort with the feather-light Galaxy Buds, with each side weighing in at just 6 grams apiece. Insulation against outside noise is also impressive. The headphones themselves are automatically switched on when removed from the transport case. When it comes to powering down, each side is switched off individually when the device is removed from the ears. As such, you can use each earpiece individually and independent of the other. This is particularly handy when making calls.
Touch control functionality can be put into practice on the exterior of both in-ear components. A single touch starts and stops music playback, while double and triple taps allow you to skip through tracks in a playlist and answer/terminate telephone calls. Furthermore, a longer hold touch will initiate the voice assistant associated with your smartphone. In practice, this all worked well, even if there’s an occasional tendency to trigger the wrong function. This is only as you learn your footing with the device, however. All important volume levels are adjusted via smartphone control.
We carried out our test of the Galaxy Buds with an iPhone 8. Pairing proved hassle-free when carried out via the system settings. However, the Galaxy Buds only prove out their full functionality when combined with an Android device. Specifically, this full potential is realised when using the Wearable App.
With this app, you can glance things like charging status. You can also deactivate certain functions of the Galaxy Buds if you wish, in particular, the touch functions of the device. Partial configuration is also possible. An equaliser is also available via the app, while you can adjust more specific levels so that you’re listening is less shielded from outside noise. Finally, the app offers incredibly handy extra features, such as the ability to pinpoint misplaced earpieces by forcing them to trigger a signal tone.
Battery life is quoted as six hours per full charge, according to the manufacturer. In practice, the additional battery capacity offered by the charging case more or less doubles this operational runtime to 12 hours. However, the Galaxy Buds lose some points for an unreliable transmission range, which didn’t correspond to my expectations of a system utilising Bluetooth 5.0. Steady and reliable connections without interference were only possible over relatively short distances during our test.
The drivers on offer here are derived from a collaboration with AKG. The sound produced by them is pleasing to the ear and well-balanced while being loud enough for those needing to push the Galaxy Buds to higher levels. If you’re someone who does tend to amp up their volume levels, you can do so safe in the knowledge you won’t be inundating those sat next to you unwanted sound.
In the bass range, the Galaxy Buds prove quite full and powerful, without sounding superficial. Even flatter mixes are reproduced accordingly. Sound reproduction reaches down into the lower bass levels without booming, despite a tuning profile that falls on the warmer side. Tonality and dynamics are comprehensive in this frequency range, if a little lacking in precision. The mid-range is harmonious, sounding organised and tidy with good speech intelligibility and an appealing reproduction of acoustics. Dynamic aspects of an orchestral recording are also incredibly easy to discern, especially when you’re listening in quieter surroundings. Conversely, rock genre productions hit high notes with all the required fullness you’d want. However, the lower midrange does sound a little restrained, at least for my liking.
The Galaxy Buds deserve a big applause for what they deliver, especially when you compare it to other options within this price bracket. The construction of the housing and sound spec both rate highly, with the audio credentials particularly impressive with a fine resolution of detail that never sounds too exaggerated. There’s a wide stereo stage on show here, with distinct sound sources and a sense of motion to audio enjoyed through the Galaxy Buds. However, it’s worth remembering you won’t find something matching the level of more expensive, wired headphone solutions. These aren’t something the discerning audiophile will find all that exciting, but then again, the Galaxy Buds have been designed purely with everyday listening applications in mind.
The Galaxy Buds have been designed with smartphone use in mind. As such, call quality needs to hit high notes in order to impress. You’ll be glad to know that voice intelligibility during telephone calls is convincing, with clear communications received in both directions.
The Galaxy Buds prove an ideal partner to Android smartphone devices. These headphones are lightweight, practical and a solid candidate for daily mobile use requirements. The touch function is also a very user-friendly and welcome addition. Sound quality is relatively appealing for the level of application intended, but it won’t meet the more discerning demands of audiophiles. There are some drawbacks to the Galaxy Buds worth noting. Personally, I would have hoped for support for codecs like aptX, not to mention iOS support via app. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Buds prove that Samsung can hold its own against Apple in terms of price, quality and sound performance.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable12 g
What's in the box
- 3 ear tips & stabilizers
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, Scalable (Samsung)
- BT version: 5
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP