Hands-On with Samsung Galaxy Buds+

I received a free pair of Galaxy Buds+ wireless earbuds with my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. They are a significant improvement over the original.

I wrote about my early experiences with the original generation Galaxy Buds last August, noting that they support a useful ambient sound feature (on Android only) that provides passive noise-canceling functionality, a feature that I find particularly useful at the gym. But what I found over time was that the Buds, while useful at the gym, were useless out in the world because just the act of me walking—over terrain flat or rough—is enough to make the earbuds believe they’re getting loose. And when that happens, they chirp an audible alarm. Over and over and over again.

This happens when I walk into the gym—I put them on in the car—and sometimes when I walk between machines. But it never happens if I’m doing cardio on an elliptical machine, so I still use them there. I just bring different headphones when I walk outside.

Flash forward to this past month and Samsung was offering $200 in immediate credit to anyone who preordered a Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, as I did. I used that credit to acquire the recently-released Galaxy Buds+ and a case for the handset.

From what I can tell, the Buds+ have two major improvements over their predecessor: Better battery life—up to 11 hours on one charge vs. 6 for the original Buds, plus 22 hours overall including the case charge vs. 13 hours—and, in my experience, better in-ear detection. That is, I can take the Buds+ on a walk and they never trigger that chirpy alarm. That’s a big deal for me, especially now when gyms are closed because the Coronavirus and I’ll be walking outside more.

Beyond that, you won’t find much difference between the Buds and the Buds+. The basic design—of both the earbuds and their respective charging cases—is nearly identical.

Buds (left) and Buds+ (right)

There are some minor differences. The Buds+ case is glossy where the Buds version was matte. The inside of (white) case is white vs. light gray on the original. And the Buds+ case includes new “L” and “R” labeling for the buds inserts in case that wasn’t obvious somehow.

Like the original Buds, the Buds+ come with a variety of tips so you can find a size that fits well. And like the original Buds, you can use the Galaxy Wearable app to configure the Buds+. I usually just leave it set to a dynamic EQ, which seems to work well. But you can configure it for a bass boost, treble boost, soft, clear, or normal EQ as well.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ normally about $150.

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Conversation 10 comments

  • roykirk

    17 March, 2020 - 1:45 pm

    <p>Any improvements in sound quality?</p><p><br></p><p>Also, I've never had an issue with the original buds moving and threatening to fall out when walking outside, but with the ambient sound feature there is a constant noise of air moving over them in even the slightest breeze, making me have to turn off ambient sound when outside. Any enhancements in that regard?</p><p><br></p><p>With that exception, I really love my original Buds.</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      17 March, 2020 - 1:55 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#531829">In reply to roykirk:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah. I should have mentioned that the whoosh sound that sometimes used to happen with wind or movement is not as pronounced as well.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    17 March, 2020 - 1:49 pm

    <p>My free buds came in the post today… They are loading at the moment. </p><p>What I didn't like is that the headphones have too have access to your contacts, calendar, location, files and SMS. </p><p>That they need the phone and media is understandable, but my contacts, calendar and location?</p><p>also, with the large rubber buds, the case doesn't close properly. </p>

    • rickeveleigh

      Premium Member
      18 March, 2020 - 12:59 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#531830">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>well obviously they need access to your files because… er… well… </p><p>hmmmm</p><p>dictation into a file?</p>

  • bassoprofundo

    Premium Member
    17 March, 2020 - 2:47 pm

    <p>I'm on my 3rd set of the originals (both sets died after 4-5 months of very light usage… right bud went nearly inaudible) and have the new + set, too. The audio is definitely improved, although I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the originals given my preference for larger over-the-ear cans. One of the <em>biggest</em> improvements I'm seeing are the onboard mics, too. I took a call on them yesterday, and the person on the other end said I sounded crystal clear. With the originals, it's pretty rough.</p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    18 March, 2020 - 1:31 am

    <p>Tried them out last night and this morning, walking the dog. They sit fairly good and are relatively comfortable. The sound (audio books) is very good. Not really a lot more to say at the moment.</p><p>Edit: It only seems to charge if the case is open. I have the big ear rubbers on the end and the big rubber wings, supplied in the packaging. When the case closes, it doesn't close properly (2 – 3mm airgap at the front) and it seems to squish the headphones further down the case, where there is no contact…</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      18 March, 2020 - 8:07 am

      Interesting. Obviously, it’s not supposed to work that way. Perhaps the case is deformed slightly.

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        18 March, 2020 - 8:25 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#532058">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>The case was properly packed in the Samsung carton and that was in a large carton with air bags, so no damage and it looks 100% normal – and when the earbuds aren't in the case, it closes properly.</p><p>I'll try putting the mid-sized wings back on when I get home and see if that makes a difference (hopefully the mid-sized wings will be enough).</p>

        • wright_is

          Premium Member
          18 March, 2020 - 12:26 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#532059">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>DOH! User error. It was fairly dark and I hadn't noticed that there were left and right wings… Now closes properly and charges. </p>

  • Jeremy Turnley

    18 March, 2020 - 4:44 pm

    <p>There's one other handy improvement on them, the app now shows the charge level of the battery in the case as well as the buds, so you have a better idea of when you need to top everything off.</p>


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