In just a span of 2 years, the true wireless ear buds market has exploded, with so many options flooding the market almost every single day. In this heavy traffic, it’s easy to get confused and that’s why a big brand name like Samsung gains significance. And unlike other brands, Samsung has stuck to producing only a single line of true wireless earbuds, which make it much easier to choose or suggest. They call it the Samsung Galaxy Buds. After a year of feedback, the upgraded solution has arrived with a PLUS added to its name. How big of an upgrade is it? Has Samsung managed to address the growing requirements in sound quality and battery life? The short answer to the second question is, yes. It is indeed a PLUS worth having, but is the upgrade big enough for Buds users and what are these PLUSes that come as part of the upgrade? Let’s find out in the review.
Out of the box, if you’ve seen the Galaxy Buds before, you will immediately notice the new glossy shine of the case. Apart from this, nothing has changed in terms of appearance. There is a status LED at the front, the case retains the nice pebble-like shape with a flat bottom. The back of the case is where you will find the USB Type C port. It’s also interesting these days to note where this product is made, the Galaxy Buds+ is Made in Vietnam. You can find this in the bottom of the case.
You can also find the ratings of the buds and the “cradle” as Samsung likes to call the case. The cradle is rated at 600mA and the buds are rated at 160mA. The battery life is rated at 11 hours music playback just for the buds and 22 hours with the case. This is a huge upgrade from 6 hours in the buds and 13 hours with the case. Having used the original buds, I can testify that the both the numbers measure up. More on that later.
The other important upgrades relate to sound quality, both input and output. There are a grand total of 3 mics on the Buds+ leading to much better noise cancellation and improved clarity during voice calls. There is also a new 2-way speaker system with a tweeter paired with bigger bass-boosted drivers. Before I deep dive into these upgrades, let’s focus on the Buds Plus+ wearability, because after all, if you can’t wear it for longer then any of these specs won’t matter.
At around 6 grams, the Galaxy Buds+ are just as comfortable as the original version. In my opinion, Samsung had nailed it before, so they didn’t have to do much this time around. I have worn the Galaxy Buds+ for long music sessions, sometimes hour-long call sessions and podcast sessions that go into many hours. At a stretch, I would be comfortable with at least 3-4 hours of wear. The unique design of the buds makes this possible. Of course, I have never worn it for 11 long hours to test the longevity of the buds and I suggest you don’t do the same but it is possible, that much you can be assured of.
The cradle is also a lightweight case that is easy to carry in your pockets. I thought the glossy plastic was going to attract a lot of fingerprints or scratches, but to my surprise, there were not many scratches. Not many fingerprints stick to it either! Alas, the only thing the upgraded design still attracts is the dangerous slip. I mistakenly dropped it once, the case opened and one of the earbuds fell out. Thankfully, it was inside my home, so I was able to find it, however I think it’s going to ask for a lot of care when you are outside. With enough care, you can save your buds but if you, like me, have slippery hands, the Buds+ is hard to handle. Maybe Samsung should release a rubber case for the case. That should fix it.
So, let’s come to the audio quality now. This is a BIG upgrade. The speakers are much closer to wired solutions now, a much-needed step in the right direction. The separation of sound can be clearly experienced this time on the Buds+ all thanks to the dedicated tweeter for high frequency sounds and the woofer for rich and powerful bass. I’d say, if the original buds were rated at 6.5 for sound quality, I’d rate the new Buds+ at 8.5. It’s that much better and it’s a much-needed upgrade for music lovers like me. The overall sound is crispier, punchier and thankfully, a lot more dynamic. But indeed, it’s nowhere near a professional audio solution, let alone competing wired headsets or even neckbands or over the ear solutions. AKG has done their best to tune the experience which brings it very close to wired headsets but there is still a long way to go. Since the true wireless solutions are not meant for audiophiles, it’s not a compromise here.
When it comes to voice calls too, there is a big upgrade thanks to all the new mics, three on each of the buds. I faced no problems when engaged in long calls. Unfortunately, due to this pandemic, I wasn’t able to test the mics is noisy conditions to see how my callers reacted but I’m sure it will work well in these situations. I can say this with confidence because of the ambient mode performance, which, when enabled, lets you hear the outside world while engaged in a call or when listening to content. This can be turned on only inside the Galaxy Wear application where you can even change the level of ambient sound, apart from setting the equalizer (I suggest the Dynamic setting for best audio performance).
Now, coming to battery life, this is another upgrade that Samsung has hit out of the park. Although I was very much satisfied with the original Galaxy Buds battery life, the upgrade takes the Buds+ to the top of the charts for one of the best performing in the True Wireless category. If you’re a light user, it will last you multiple days, if you’re a heavy user, it will last you at least two days on one charge. In today’s world, these are great numbers.