I have often remarked how impressed I was with the Samsung Galaxy Buds when I got to experience them last year. Clearly, Samsung had made an early jump, compared to a lot of its rivals, into the wireless earbuds space and done it well enough. It had the sound, it had the battery stamina, they were light and well, they just worked. At least if you were using them with an Android device. Which means hopes were high when the new Samsung Galaxy Buds+ landed on my desk. Do they still offer the sort of value that would have people lining up to buy these, even as there is now significant competition around? In a nutshell, they are even better than before.
The competition check for the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, which is priced at Rs 11,990 takes up to the Jabra Elite 75t (priced around Rs 14,999), the slightly older yet still excellent Jabra Elite 65t (priced around Rs 11,999) and of course the Apple AirPods (around Rs 14,000). Most certainly, this matches its very competent rivals spec for spec and in turns the overall experience as well. Whether it is a bundled and discounted deal with a new Samsung smartphone, or you are splurging the full ticket price, the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are definitely worth considering for anyone in the wireless earbuds space.
Design: More of the same is not a bad thing
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ look more or less like its predecessors, the Samsung Galaxy Buds. That is not a bad thing, because it means the compact size of the earbuds and the charging case is retained. Great then. In terms of volume, it seems quite similar to the case of the Jabra Elite 75t, but the design makes it seem a bit more compact. That has a positive impact on the overall weight as well—the case weighs just 39.6 grams. Each earbud weighs just 6.3 grams.
In fact, the charging case supports wireless charging as well—you simply drop this on a Qi standard wireless charger, and it’ll juice up the battery in the case as well as the earbuds. In fact, if you have a phone that supports reverse wireless charging—such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 series and the OnePlus 8 Pro, for instance—you can simply plonk this on the back of the phone for the desired charging effect. Quite convenient then, when you travel.
Right now, you can buy the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ in black, white and blue colour options. What I have for review is the black variant, which gets a glossy finish on the case. Keep it clean, and it looks gorgeous. Be rough with it, and it’ll catch scratches. Totally your call.
I quite like earbuds that sit flat in the charging case. It is just easier to pull these out of the case when you need to, particularly when you may be out and about. Anything that reduces the risk of the earbuds slipping out of your fingers and tumbling earthwards, is most welcome.
The thing with the Samsung Galaxy Buds and now the Galaxy Buds+ is that they are incredibly comfortable to wear. The buds very light and rest easily in the ear. With the medium eartip attachments, they sit snugly in the ear, and remain secure. So much so, I don’t need to deploy the silicon hooks to keep these in place. Comfort is great even if you wear these for a few hours at a stretch. That being said, you may notice the seal they create when sitting snugly and with no vent in place like the AirPods Pro, you might feel to urge to let your ears breathe every few hours.
There seems to be one troubling compromise though. While a lot of earbuds come with the slightly more secure IPX4 water and dust resistance, Samsung has given the Galaxy Buds+ the IPX2 protection. Getting caught in a sharp shower could be a bit of a headache.
Sound: It is all about neutral foundations and letting you choose
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ get a dual driver design, which means a dedicated tweeter and woofer in each ear. Remember, even more expensive earbuds often don't have dual drivers working in each earbud, and that in itself is a great foundation to build on. This audio hardware immediately offers the sort of music listening experience which a lot of other earbuds will struggle to match because of the now clear hardware limitations at their end. In my experience, the Galaxy Buds+ deliver pretty wide sound with a whole lot of detailing and well distinguished elements. The sound signature is decidedly neutral, which is a good foundation to build on from. There doesn’t seem to be any artificial boosting of either end of the audio spectrum. The Galaxy Buds+ are tuned by AKG, an audio brand that has roots in Austria and is owned by Samsung. In fact, you would have probably noticed the AKG branding on many Samsung smartphone packages and the earphones that are bundled with the phones.
As for the soundstage, what the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ deliver is extremely good. But having also heard the Jabra Elite 75t, those tend to have a bit more sparkle with the same music. But like I said, if you hear the Galaxy Buds+, you wouldn’t say anything is missing.
Out of the box, in the neutral setting, the Galaxy Buds+ still serve up a generous amount of bass. For most users, that would be adequate for a variety of content and usage scenarios. Head to the Galaxy Buds+ companion app (free for Android and iOS) and you get a choice of Bass Boost, Soft, Dynamic, Clear and Treble Boost EQ options as a rather intuitive dial.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ have a rather neat trump card up their sleeve—noise isolation. This isn’t active noise cancellation, but what this does with the help of two outer mics and one inner mic in each year is to subdue the background noises and disturbances so that your music sounds clean and your voice goes through on calls without any ruckus latching on. It does a fairly good job of blocking out considerable amount of noise around you, and a lot of that also has to do with the snug fit that the buds adopt in your ears. It would be wrong to compare this with the likes of the Apple AirPods Pro or the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds which have significantly more advanced noise cancellation, but also cost a lot more while at it. You can tweak the isolation settings in the Galaxy Buds+ app as well.
Battery: Last long. Really long
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ really march ahead of the rivals when it comes to battery life. The buds last around 11 hours on a single charge—that’s with an 85mAh battery in each earbud. Add the charging boost from the carry case, which has a 270mAh battery, and you get that to 22 hours. If you are running low on charge and have to step out immediately, a three-minute splash and dash with the USB-C port gives you an hour of listening time. The companion app is also very handy with giving you the status of the battery in each earbud and the charging case.
Controls: No complications
The simplicity of the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ touch controls comes as a relief, when a lot of earbuds tend to go a bit overboard with all the combinations and whatnot. You tap on the outer portion of the earbud to pause or play music, for instance. You can choose the response to the long-press—invoke the virtual assistant, alter the ambient sound mode and so on.
The Last Word: Everything Comes Together Perfectly
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ look a lot like their predecessor, the Galaxy Buds. But do not let that fool you, because the Galaxy Buds+ are all grown up. Balanced sound, compact footprint, superb battery life and a companion app that is actually useful—all things that come together to make the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ a must have if you are looking for good earbuds in this price range. It works equally well for Android, iOS and Windows users, which simply adds to the versatility. The only shortcoming is the lack of true water resistance, but if you are a bit careful with these in the rainy season, it really shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.