Galaxy Buds Plus the second generation of TWS-headphones has been introduced by Samsung Together with the new flagship Galaxy S20 and clamshell Galaxy Z Flip. The company did not follow the trends with active noise reduction, as is now accepted in the flagship true wireless headphones. But still added useful updates to the model. The device came out inexpensive by the standards of the market (half the price of Apple AirPods Pro and Sony WF-1000XM3 ), although without the main characteristics of the year, but with a flagship shine. Cool or past? We understand this review.
What is it?
The second-generation True Wireless model with voice control support, three microphones for high-quality voice transmission during a call and two speakers for low and high frequencies. The manufacturer claims up to 11 hours of battery life and up to 22 hours – with recharging from the case. At the start of sales, the model will cost $ 149. Compatible with iOS and Android.
How do Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus look?
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus looks difficult to confuse with the previous generation – the same tiny droplets (each weighs 6.3 g) with a pearl coating in the area of touch control. These are the most compact headphones that I have ever had in my hands and probably one of the most compacts on the market in principle. Moreover, they are quite loud and long-playing – magic in its purest form.
The headphone case consists of three blocks. Glossy touch panel with pearl shine, just glossy plastic and silicone removable nozzles (there are several different sizes in the kit). The pearl finish is a miracle of how good it is and sets this model apart from the countless crowds of other TWS headphones in this form factor.
But with silicone nozzles, there is an annoying nuance. This is the most easily soiled part of the case, their purity must be regularly monitored. And do not do it like me (especially if you have light headphones) – do not put it in your pocket without a “for a couple of minutes” case. They quickly get dirty. At the same time, the nozzle is very functional. It provides passive sound insulation (which is not found in any headphones of direct competitors among those that were in our review) and provides an ideal fit in the ear. Here, though, at least run with them. The only thing I fell out when I put on my shoes.
Also, from the experience of the previous model, I suspect that there is a risk that over time fine dust will clog into the seams between different materials and make joints visible. Again, with White, there will be more trouble. But at the same time, apparently, they are, in my opinion, much more interesting than other options. Speaking of options. Now the model is presented in white, blue and black. Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Buds Plus in red. Microphones are located in different parts of the case.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus case is compact and fits even in jeans pockets if they are not skinned. Supports wireless charging. Inside there is a charge indicator. Lights green if the battery is well charged, red. He is alone here. Accurate information on the status of the battery of each of the headphones is only in the application. The biggest differences in design touched just the case. In this model, it is glossy and lighter inside. Due to this, it looks more expensive from the inside, but I’m not sure about the appearance. I prefer a matte finish to my liking. Gloss is also likely to be less practical in life. On white, scratches and fingerprints are not visible, but on black, they are likely to be. The bright interior (which I’m talking about white headphones right now) is likely to be more of a mark in life. But for 10 days of using the headphones, I had no problems with this.
How to install headphones inside the case is not entirely obvious. But to close the lid, if the gadgets are not in their places, it will not work. Also in Galaxy Buds Plus, the case design has slightly changed. Previously, it opened until a click and the last step was given with little force. Now, this is not. I met criticism of this decision on the Internet, but I can’t say that users were deprived of something uniquely valuable. It was not a click in the spirit of expensive Vertu. Just a click.
How are they at work?
My main smartphone is Samsung. Therefore, we always test the brand’s wearable electronics with it. I don’t know how this happens with other smartphones, but the fact that pairing the gadgets of this brand of magic is like that cannot be taken away. It is worth turning on (in the case of headphones, open the case cover) the device, as the smartphone immediately finds it, launches the application and offers to connect. I recall how I was tormented with connecting Vivo TWS 1 even when paired with my own smartphone, or with the same Sony WF-1000XM3. Unfortunately, I don’t know how things are with the iPhone and AirPods, but the person who at least once before connected any wireless headphones to the smartphone (even with NFC) will most likely not want to use something else. The app is grateful for the purchase of a headset, and this is another small, pleasant premium nuance.
With the settings, everything is quite simple, although there are curious functions. Firstly, there is an equalizer with several presets (you cannot manually adjust it). In my opinion, everyone is good, there is no feeling of sound twisted to pain. Secondly, the gestures for controlling the headset are immediately configured. Some cannot be changed, but a long press can. You can select volume control, call voice control, or change the background sound. By the way, everything is very good with gestures, headphones allow you to do almost everything without getting a smartphone. They can even read messages. All that cannot be done with gestures is possible with the help of voice.
The sound background is the most mysterious function for me. It works just thanks to three microphones. As you remember, there is no active noise reduction in headphones. I must say that despite the good passive protection, they still miss the sounds of the environment. This can not be compared with the same Huawei FreeBuds, which, although not vacuum plugs, but with noise reduction. That is, the likelihood that a car will sneak up to you quietly on the street or that you will not hear that someone is turning to you next to you is almost there. At the same time, at the maximum setting of the sound background, the headphones twist to the maximum all environmental sounds in the immediate vicinity of the user or in the creation of which he takes part. Whether it is typing on a keyboard, opening a door, steps along the corridor in heels. At the minimum settings for the sound background, this effect is also there,
It seems to me that this function can be useful in an office where you need to drown out the surrounding noise, but at the same time hear if someone came up to talk directly to you.
Headphones instantly start when you take them out of the case and put them in your ear. They pause – if you get one, if two – start again, albeit in your hands. They stop playing in the case. Galaxy Buds Plus supports voice control using Google Assistant or Bixby. One of them needs to be selected at the first start-up (then it can be changed). Bixby does not yet speak Russian and Ukrainian. The assistant says. To request, you need to click on the earphone each time.
Is the sound good?
The Galaxy Buds Plus uses two dynamic emitters – for bass and for the upper and middle frequencies (in the previous version there was one). The headset supports SBC, Samsung Scalable Codec and AAC codecs. The last two are proprietary solutions from Samsung and Apple. In simple language, this means that with the devices of these manufacturers the musical potential of the headset will be maximized. There is no support for AptX and its variations. I have on my smartphone most of the tracks in MP3 format with a bitrate of 320 Kb / s, there is Flac, there is very little – in the worst quality MP3. I did not notice the difference in sound between them. In general, I will say this, the sound in Galaxy Buds Plus is typical for a mid-level TWS-headset. This is not a Sony WF-1000XM3, definitely. Those are twice as expensive and much larger / heavier, Sony physically had more space to deploy. FreeBuds 3 also sounds a bit more interesting. This is definitely not a device for music lovers. I understand that we write this in every review of TWS headsets. And only because it is. The headphones are very comfortable, autonomous, beautiful, etc., but the sound, in this case, is only one of the components.
What about the battery and charging?
The manufacturer claims up to 11 hours of battery life without recharging. For me, in vivo and Huawei TWS headphones, their autonomy without a case was a problem, albeit a small one. For example, on shopping, which can last for hours, headphones that got hooked in the process upset. Sony had 6 hours, and there to put “ears” in one sitting was a difficult task, except for a long trip by car or train.
Here is space in general. I honestly never managed to hold out until the headset was completely turned off. I used Galaxy Buds Plus as the main ones, but I had my OPPO Enco Q1 on hand to replace, they work in general for about 8 hours. I only charged the headphones over the past week, both pairs after friend. Usually, I listen to music on the road, when I walk, go shopping, in training. In general, about 22-25 hours per week run.
The only thing is, Galaxy Buds Plus discharge faster when there is not much battery capacity left. After 15%, the charge melts before our eyes. But they can be quickly recharged before leaving. The manufacturer claims an hour of work in three minutes. Moreover, this can be done even from a smartphone that supports reverse wireless charging.
What are the alternatives
It is likely that these headphones will interest primarily owners of Samsung smartphones – it is with this brand that their capabilities will be revealed most of all. Therefore, it is obvious that the closest competitor is last year’s Buds. With a price difference of about $ 40, this model turned out to be more interesting in terms of autonomy, sound characteristics were also improved, and wireless charging was added. But if the sound in TWS-headsets of such a plan is rather a homeopathy, then the battery, in my opinion, is worth the price difference.
If you choose a compact headset for an Android smartphone without reference to the brand of the manufacturer, then you should first look at the budget. For those who are willing to pay for the full stuffing and still want a maximum of sound, even from a TWS device, the Sony WF-1000XM3 is the best choice. Although they are not without flaws. In particular, this is a giant case size, the lack of wireless charging and the large size and weight of the headset itself
Huawei FreeBuds 3 is made in a different form factor, but they are slightly better in terms of isolation from the outside world, slightly worse in terms of autonomy and use active noise reduction. Despite the different form factors in ergonomics, they are comparable.
In the dry residue:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus is, of course, not the most TWS headset on the market for all the money in the world, but it is a good mid-range solution for those who have low expectations from devices of this form factor. The weakest part of the device is musicality, but this is the scourge of most such headsets. In my opinion, headphones should be chosen for the brand, for ergonomics and battery life. Moreover, the brand here will still be a key factor.
5 reasons to buy Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus:
excellent autonomy without refueling;
support for wireless charging;
design with pearl inserts;
you have a Samsung smartphone.
2 reasons not to buy Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus:
you want more in terms of sound and sound insulation and are willing to pay extra for this;
for you, the form factor is not as important as the sound.