Big sound, small earbuds
Galaxy users are going to love Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. The wireless earbuds were made to pair with your Note, Galaxy phone, or the new Galaxy Tab S5e tablet, and they’re packed with features that work best with your Samsung device.
Launched with the Samsung Galaxy S10, the Galaxy Buds pair ridiculously easy, they sound fantastic, and they last a long time thanks to a good battery life–up to six hours–and the fact that their case can charge them up with an additional seven hours of use.
When you open the small, rounded pod that the earbuds come in, if you have a recent Samsung Galaxy phone on nearby, with Bluetooth enabled, pairing happens almost instantaneously. You can then set them up, the earbuds may go through an update process, and then they’re ready to go.
The connection is quick, but then I’d also recommend going through the steps to set them up for your preferences. For me, that included setting the equalizer to go full-bass, and then choosing the action you want assigned when you long-press the earbuds.
Tuned by AKG, the sound quality on the Galaxy Buds is very good. The bass could be a little deeper, as I had to set them at the top of the bass tuning to get the sound I wanted, but they offered far better sound than many of the alternatives.
I also liked that the Buds include an option to better hear ambient sound, with Enhanced Ambient Sound, but I think the software could use some tuning to be a bit more effective. As it stands, sounds can be a little pitchy when the ambient sound feature is enabled.
For adjusting the sound and features on the Galaxy Buds, the Galaxy Wearable app handles everything, and it’s a great app companion for the earbuds. The app is what makes the Buds some of the best for Galaxy phones, especially if you already use the app for a device like the Galaxy Watch.
From the app, you can see battery life remaining, adjust the equalizer (a simple dial that goes from treble to bass), and adjust what the touchpad does when you long-press either side.
Controls are very simple, and pretty standard for touch sensitive devices. The outside edge of the Buds is a touch-sensitive pad, and pressing it once pauses or resumes play of your music, a double-tap skips to the next track or answers/ends a call, and a triple-tap plays the previous track.
Long-pressing the Buds can be customized to one of four actions, with one action per earbud. So you can set your left earbud, when long-pressed, to launch voice commands, and your right can enable ambient sound mode. Or, you can use them to turn volume up or down, but this setup forces the left earbud to control volume down, and the right to control volume up.
The app can also help you find your Buds, if you happen to misplace them, which is obviously an important feature if you’re at all forgetful like me.
Using the Galaxy Buds for calls, the audio is quite good, and they work very well overall.
The only issue I had with sound came when I moved my phone to a different pocket in my jeans or bag. After moving my phone, the audio started dropped-out for less than two seconds, and then the sound was perfect again, and I didn’t have another issue.
For anyone who needs a quick charge on the Buds, plugging them in for just 15 minutes offers a pretty impressive charge that lasts more than 90 minutes. With the Galaxy S10 you can also use wireless charging from the phone to add some juice to the Galaxy Buds, which is exactly why that feature is so handy.
With the latest update, you can also use Bixby voice controls now with the Buds, which is one of the best uses of Bixby I’ve seen to date. It’s pretty easy to dictate a simple text message using Bixby, set a timer, add something to your calendar, or control a smart device that’s been setup on your phone.
The Galaxy buds come in three colours: black, white, or a really eye-popping yellow. I’m hoping they eventually release a rich blue colour as well, but I have to admit that the yellow Buds are pretty sharp. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy them, as they’re not the colour I’d normally pick, but I love how much they stand out, and how easy it is to find them on my desk too.
Overall, I love Samsung’s Galaxy Buds, and I’ve been using them for about three weeks now. If you’re a Galaxy user, Buds are a great option, with lasting power, good sound, and a lot of features that work well with your phone.