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.
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.