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Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Review - TWS headset with great battery life

Audio buddy. Although the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ don't have active noise cancellation, they stand out in the test with a clean sound, a wide range of features and, above all, very long battery life.
Daniel Schmidt, 👁 Daniel Schmidt (translated by Stephanie Chamberlain),

Compared to the Galaxy Buds (SM-R170), the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus (SM-R175) have received a battery upgrade and are supposed to have been optimized in terms of sound quality. In addition, the TWS headphones support wireless charging.

The Buds+ were originally launched with an MSRP of 169 Euros (~$192) but are now available for under 120 Euros (~$136). 

Specifications

Headphone type In-Ear
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.0 LE
Audio codecs SBC, AAC
Battery capacity (earbuds) 85 mAh
Battery capacity (charging case) 270 mAh
Charging connection USB Type-C
Wireless charging Supported
Weight (per earbud) 6.3 g
Weight (charging case) 39.6 g
Sensors Accelerometer, proximity sensor and Hall sensor
Microphones 2 x 3
In the box Earbuds, charging case, ear wings for stability (S, M, L), silicon ear tips (S, M, L), documentation
Price (MSRP) 169,- EUR

Case and ergonomics - Buds+ sit tightly in the ear

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are available directly from the manufacturer in black, white and blue. A red version is also available in stores. 

Despite being made of plastic, the workmanship is very high quality and gives no cause for criticism. We find it to be a pity that the predecessor's matte surface has been replaced by a high-gloss finish. But that is a matter of taste. 

Thanks to the additional ear wings, the fit of the Galaxy Buds can be optimally adapted to your own ear shape so that they have a sufficiently firm hold and don't fall out even during sports activities. In general, we find wearing the Buds to be very comfortable. 

However, the headphones don't offer any special protection against water ingress. 

Connectivity and handling - TWS with penetrable sound

Setting up the Galaxy Buds+ is very easy for both Android smartphones and iPhones if the Galaxy Wearable app (iOS: Samsung Galaxy Buds+) has been installed beforehand. In this case, as soon as the charging case is opened, a new headset is recognized and connected to the mobile phone without any complications. Some features can be adjusted exclusively in the app, and the headphones can also be configured and provided with updates.

Although the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus do not have active noise cancellation, the in-ear headphones passively shield their wearer from ambient noise. If you still need to be able to hear something from your surroundings when you're on the move, whether it's to talk to someone, to listen to an announcement or to get a better sense of the traffic, you can configure the app so that the external microphones deliver the ambient noise in varying intensities to the loudspeakers. This works very well in everyday life and can optionally be controlled via the sensor surfaces. However, we noticed a much louder background noise on iOS.

Furthermore, a search of the Galaxy Buds can be initiated in the app, which then beep increasingly louder. This is not possible when using the headphones since the sensors detect when you are wearing them. In such a case, a message appears on the smartphone's display. 

In addition to the predefined actions that are triggered when the sensor surfaces are touched, it's also possible to store separate options for each side of the earbuds when the corresponding surface is tapped and long pressed. Either the voice assistant can be launched, the playback volume can be turned up or down, the ambient noise can be faded in or out, or the last played song can be started on Spotify. Unfortunately, the latter is limited to this provider and can't be replaced by alternative music services.

Voice quality and noise cancelling - Buds Plus with weak noise reduction

If you want to use the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ to make phone calls, you should do so in quiet environments since ambient noise cancelling was virtually nonexistent during the test. On the contrary, people standing next to the Buds user were in some places better understood than the Buds user himself. A loud ambient noise and also strong wind can even drown out the voice completely.

It's also a pity that the penetrable sound can't be switched on or off anymore as soon as a phone call is made. In quiet environments, the call quality is satisfactory, but the user of the Buds sounds quite dull and distant.

Sound - Galaxy Buds with sound by AKG

As with the Galaxy Buds, AKG is also responsible for the sound of the TWS headphones in the Plus version. Several equalizers can be used to adjust the output to your own requirements. The bass boost amplifies the low frequencies a bit, but then they sound as if they were packed in cotton wool. 

Overall, the Samsung headset offers a good sound, which is, however, quite treble-prone in the default settings. On the positive side, not only can the Galaxy Buds+ get very loud at up to 90 dB, but they don't even distort either. At high levels, the low frequencies are also clearly identifiable. The harmonic distortions and the signal-to-noise ratio are also at a very respectable level within this device class.

When playing movies or playing games, the sound is synchronous, and no prolonged latencies are noticeable.

Pink Noise measurements
Harmonic distortions and noise
Right and left channel levels

Runtime - Extra battery life

Samsung has provided the Galaxy Buds+ with generous 85 mAh batteries, which have, therefore, improved considerably compared to the predecessor (58 mAh).

This also has an extremely positive effect on battery life, since the Buds last over 13 hours in our test with the volume adjusted. 

The charging case contains another one and a half battery charges, so that even frequent listeners will have enough power for at least two days. The headphones are charged in the case, which can be supplied with power via USB-C or wirelessly (Qi).

Runtime (@ 65 dB) 13 h 19 min

Verdict - Powerful audio buddy with long battery life

In review: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Review device provided by Samsung Germany.
In review: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus. Review device provided by Samsung Germany.

With the Galaxy Buds+, Samsung has a strong true-wireless headset in its product range, which impresses with good sound, many features and, above all, extremely long battery life. Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and an IP certification are missing from the list of features, at most. They are also very comfortable to wear, making them suitable for athletes too.

The Galaxy Buds+ convince in the test with good sound and long battery life.

The headphones' biggest weakness is the call quality since it quickly reaches its limits, especially in noisy environments.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus Review - TWS headset with great battery life
Daniel Schmidt, 2020-06-11 (Update: 2020-06-11)
Daniel Schmidt
Editor of the original article: Daniel Schmidt - Managing Editor Mobile - @Tellheim
Already as a little dwarf I was fascinated by my Commodore 16 and ignited my enthusiasm for computers. With my first modem I surfed the Btx and later also the World Wide Web. The latest technology trends have always fascinated me and this is especially true for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. For Notebookcheck, I have been on the ball since 2013 and I am looking forward to the innovations that are still to come and that we will put to the acid test for you.