Wires are on their way out as a growing list of brands squeeze out the 3.5mm headphone jack, pushing us to go wireless. But Samsung hasn’t given up on the headphone jack; at least not yet. Samsung’s trio of S10 flagship devices clung on to the fast disappearing 3.5mm socket even as the brand made the strongest case for True Wireless Earbuds at a compelling price point. But do they tick enough boxes to deserve your attention or share of wallet?
The first win for the Galaxy Buds is form. They are truly weightless and you will barely feel them sitting in your ears. The Buds were my primary headphones for two weeks that included daily trips to the gym. You don’t have to worry about them falling off your ears, even through your most intensive runs or gym drills. Samsung bundles extra sets of silicone ear tips and fins because as the AirPods have taught us, one size doesn’t always fit all. The charging case is tiny too; this one will slip into your tightest jeans. This compact form factor lends the Galaxy Buds a big advantage over some of its rivals.
Just like how Apple’s AirPods sync effortlessly with iPhones, syncing is a breeze if you own a Samsung Galaxy device. A companion app allows you to pair Android devices without a fuss and with a little effort you can hook them up with your iPhone too.
Sound quality is decent; don’t expect the same thump or details as Bose’s SoundSport Free or the even more pricier Sennheiser Buds. The Buds do a decent job of shutting out external sounds like wailing infants on flights or outdated music at the gym. It’s not quite in the same league as Sony’s WF-1000X buds that come with powerful noise cancellation. The equaliser settings on the App allow you to tweak things a bit. Call quality (especially for callers on the other end) is average too.
Battery life is acceptable. You should manage about 5 hours for each charge (plus an additional 6 -7 hours of juice from the carrying case). This dropped to about 3-4 hours in our testing when we used the Buds primarily for calls instead of music. We like the Type-C charging socket but the killer feature is wireless charging. The second generation AirPods have added this feature but you have to buy an additional accessory. You can use compatible wireless chargers or even better, turn your S10 over and take advantage of Samsung’s mighty cool Wireless Power Share. This allows you to charge your Buds even as you power up your phone.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds may not boast of the best sound quality in the segment but they score with a host of ‘feel good’ features including a featherlight form and wireless charging. If you own an iPhone, I’d still recommend the AirPods. Samsung has certainly nailed the price point (Rs 9,999 or Rs 4,999 if you buy them bundled with an S10 device) and almost does enough to tempt you to take the wireless leap.
(Ashwin Rajagopalan writes extensively on Gadgets & Trends, Travel & Lifestyle and Food & Drink. He owns and manages Brand Stories, a creative Content outfit and www.bytesize.in, a premier lifestyle blog with a focus on short-format content. Instagram: ‘ashwinpowers’)