Update: 02/24/2020: Our original unit of the Samsung Galaxy Buds unfortunately broke, so we ordered and re-tested a replacement unit. There are a few differences in sound and isolation, but we cannot confirm whether they're due to actual changes in the new unit's performance, or simply a result of slight variations in the fit and seal when re-testing. Note however that while our unit gave us significant connection issues and audio cuts while testing, we had no such problems with our new unit on the latest firmware.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are well-rounded truly wireless headphones. They're comfortable, feel well-built, and are very portable Their balanced, neutral sound profile makes suitable for a wide variety of music genres and their battery lasts a fair while too. They isolate a decent amount of ambient noise and they barely leak, making them suitable for use at the office and while commuting. Unfortunately, their default control scheme is a limited and can't be changed if you don't have an Android device. On the upside, they have remarkably low latency when watching YouTube videos on both iOS and Android.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are decent for mixed usage. They have a versatile sound profile that lends itself well to all different kinds of music. Their in-ear design isolates a decent amount of ambient noise, which is good for commuting and use at the office. The buds are small and fit securely too, which makes them great for sports. While they have very low latency while watching YouTube videos on a smartphone, they aren't suitable for gaming.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are very good for neutral listening thanks to their remarkably well-balanced sound profile. Bass is deep and punchy without overpowering vocals, and instruments while treble is clear and bright without sounding harsh or sharp. You should be able to enjoy a wide range of music genres with these earbuds.
Good for commuting. While they don’t do a great job against low-frequency noises like engine rumbles, they are very comfortable and easy to carry around. Their battery life is also suitable for longer rides and flights, which is nice for truly wireless headphones.
Great for sports. Their small bud design fits nicely into the ears and shouldn’t pop out during physical activities. They don’t trap heat inside the ears so you shouldn’t sweat more than usual when wearing them, which is great. However, they might have a similar clogging problem to the Samsung Gear IconX, which we will monitor as we continue to use them. However, they don't have internal storage like the previous model, which was useful for those wanting to work out without having your phone on you.
Decent for the office. The Samsung Galaxy Buds do a good job at isolating against ambient chatter and high-frequency noises like A/C systems. They are also comfortable, but the in-ear fit might not be the most ideal for a long workday. On the upside, they barely leak, so you’ll be able to mask more ambient noise by raising your volume without disturbing surrounding colleagues. However, while their battery life is longer than most truly wireless headphones we’ve reviewed so far, it might still not be enough for a full workday and might need daily charging, especially if you plan on using them during your commute to work.
Poor for gaming. Their latency is way too high for gaming and if you’re playing online games, their microphone is mediocre. They won’t be as customizable as gaming headphones we’ve reviewed so far, and we don’t consider the in-ear fit to be very comfortable for long gaming sessions.
The Galaxy Buds are very small and don’t protrude much out of your ears. The bud design is sleek and feels high-end, and the back of the headphones are glossy and act as a touch-sensitive control scheme. They come in 3 monochromatic designs: black, white, and yellow.
The Galaxy Buds are very comfortable in-ears. They don’t enter your ear canal too deeply and don’t put pressure on your inner ear. They are very lightweight and you barely feel them. The stability sleeves help get a nice fit, but not everyone will find in-ears as comfortable and some might suffer from soreness after a while. On the upside, they come with 3 options for both tips and fin sleeves to help you find the best possible fit.
Update: 04/26/2019: A new firmware update for the Galaxy Buds now lets you toggle Ambient Mode with a long press. It also makes double and triple taps easier to use and now has an implementation for Bixby voice-enabled commands.
These earbuds have a decently easy-to-use, touch-sensitive surface on the back of the earbuds. You get access to common functionalities such as call and music management and track skipping. You can also map the press and hold command inside the mobile app, which is not available on iOS. You can choose between volume control, voice-enabled controls or ambient noise mode. However, mapping the volume controls automatically sets the right earbud to volume up and the left one to volume down. On the upside, if you prefer to change your listening volume on your device, you can set the voice-enabled controls and the ambient noise mode on separate buds. However, without the app, the default setup is the device voice assistant.
Like most in-ears, the Galaxy Buds are very small and don’t trap a lot of heat inside the ears, which makes them a good option for sports as you shouldn’t sweat more than usual when wearing them. The temperature difference is negligible, and most won’t notice it.
These truly wireless earbuds are very compact and can easily fit in pockets or a bag. They are easy to carry around, and their hard case also fits inside a pocket.
The Galaxy Buds’ case is solid and compact enough to carry around on you at all times. It protects the headphones from physical damage from falls and scratches. However, since it’s a charging case, you shouldn’t expose it to water. Unfortunately, the case only holds about 1 additional charge, which is slightly disappointing when compared to other similar truly wireless earbuds. On the upside, the case supports wireless Qi charging.
These earbuds are well-built and feel solid, but aren’t quite on par with the nice and dense build of the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless or the unique design of the AirPods 2 2019. Nevertheless, the Galaxy Buds should survive a few accidental drops without too much damage, and their case protects them well. We will keep using the headphones and see if the Galaxy Buds have the same clogging problem as the similarly designed Samsung Gear IconX when working out with them, especially since they are also rated IPX2, which is slightly disappointing.
The Galaxy Buds are stable headphones and you should be able to jog with these without them popping out. Their stability fins aren’t as big as the Gear IconX, but they feel as secure and you should still be able to be active with them. They stay in place during workout routines and their wireless design gets rid of a cable that could yank the headphones out of your ears. Also, they come with different tip and fin sizes, so you should be able to mix and match to find the most secure and comfortable fit for you.
They have an excellent frequency response consistency. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have a very good bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 27Hz, which is good, but combined with low-bass of -3dB, indicates that the earbuds are a bit light on sub-bass. Mid-bass, where the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums sit, is quite well-balanced but underemphasized by 2.5dB. High-bass, however, is flat but there is a slight bump before 250Hz, which adds a bit of boominess to the sound.
The mid-range performance of the Galaxy Buds is flat and even, but it is slightly overemphasized. Vocals and lead instruments will be accurately reproduced, but they might sound a bit forward in the mix, with high projection and intensity. The 2dB bump in low-mid might also make vocals and leads a bit thick and cluttered.
The treble of the Galaxy Buds is great. The response throughout the range is very well-balanced, but slightly over our target curve. This results in sibilants (S and T sounds) to feel overly bright and piercing, especially around 10KHz. However, not everyone will hear them as sibilant.
The imaging is excellent. Their weighted group delay is 0.13, which is very low. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Additionally, the L/R drivers of our test unit were exceptionally matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects and instruments (like voices and footsteps) in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our unit and yours may perform differently.
Like most other in-ears, the soundstage of the Samsung Galaxy Buds is poor. This is because in-ears bypass the pinna (outer ear), and don't interact with it. Activating the resonances of the pinna is one of the key factors in creating a speaker-like and out-of-head soundstage. Also, because of their closed-back design, their soundstage tends to be less open than that of open-back headphones.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have an okay isolation performance. In the bass range, occupied by the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they reduce the noise by about 4dB, which won't be as good as noise cancelling headphones. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they get 21dB of isolation, which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds and A/C system noise, they achieved more than 44dB of isolation, which is excellent. For truly wireless in-ears with better passive noise isolation, take a look at the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 or the JBL Reflect Flow.
The leakage performance is excellent. These in-ears do not leak in the bass and mid ranges, and the entire leakage is concentrated in a narrow band in the treble range meaning it will consist of sharp sounds like S and Ts. The overall level of the leakage is not very loud, either. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away will average around 25dB SPL, but peaks at 47dB SPL, which is just under the noise floor of most offices.
The recording quality of the Galaxy Buds’ microphone is okay. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 302Hz, which is sub-par. This results in a recorded/transmitted speech that's relatively thin-sounding. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.4KHz means that speech will sound noticeably muffled and lacking in detail. This HFE performance is a limitation of the Bluetooth protocol and is a common shortcoming between almost all Bluetooth headphones. However, it will still be relatively easy to comprehend, since speech intelligibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
The microphone is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, the mic achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, indicating that it is best suited for quiet environments. However, in moderate and loud environments, the mic will have difficulty fully separating speech from ambient noise.
The Galaxy Buds advertised 6 hours of continuous playback, but we measured more than 7 hours, which is great. This is one of the longest lasting battery lives on a single charge for truly wireless headphones we've tested so far. Unfortunately, their case only holds about 1 additional charge, which is noticeably less than most similar headphones, but at 14 total hours, it should long enough for most users. On the upside, they last about 20 hours in their standby mode according to Samsung’s specs sheet, and you can also use one bud while the other one is charging in the case, which is convenient. If you're often on the move and need something that offers more additional charges, check out the Amazon Echo Buds. You may also want to check out the upgraded Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, which have a much longer single-charge battery life.
The Galaxy Buds are compatible with the Samsung Wearable app which offers a few information details and equalizer presets. You can map the touch-sensitive buttons of the earbuds inside the app to volume controls, voice commands, or ambient noise mode. You also have access to the battery data and you can enable a read-notification function. You can also make your earbuds beep loudly if you’ve lost them and are looking for them. The Galaxy Buds Manager is also available on Mac OS and Windows, but we would always get an error message when trying to run the app.
These are Bluetooth-only headphones and support version 5.0. However, they can only be connected to one device at a time and don’t support NFC. Also, the connection stability of our unit was finicky, and we would get some drops in audio, even after installing the latest firmware update (which stated this issue was fixed in the patch notes).
Their latency is very high, and you will notice a delay when watching video content or gaming. Some apps and devices seem to offer some sort of compensation, but the delay will most likely still be very noticeable.
These truly wireless headphones can’t be used with a wired connection, as expected.
The Galaxy Buds’ hard charging case offers an extra 6 to 7 hours of playback time, according to the specs sheet, but it doesn’t have any audio outputs, like most truly wireless cases. On the upside, it also supports wireless Qi charging.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are decent truly wireless headphones that set themselves apart thanks to their wireless Qi charging case and their versatility for everyday casual use. However, they have very high latency and we had a few connection stability issues with our unit. We suggest taking a look at our recommendations for the best truly wireless earbuds, the best wireless earbuds, and the best noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are slightly better than the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless for mixed usage. The Galaxy Buds feel more stable in the ear, have a better case, a better-balanced sound profile, and isolate noise better. On the other hand, the Elite 75t have longer overall battery life, a better app, feel better built, and support multi-device pairing.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Samsung Galaxy Buds are two great truly wireless headphones and perform quite similarly. The Galaxy Buds are slightly more comfortable due to their small size and it’s easier to get a nice fit with them. Both headphones sound very similar, but the Sonys have a better EQ inside their companion app. The WF-1000XM3 also have better bass-range isolation, which will be better for commuting.
If sound is the thing you care about the most, then the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless are a better option than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless. Their frequency response is more neutral with a good amount of bass, which is great for their semi-open design. However, this also means they don’t isolate against ambient noise as well as the closed-back Samsung. You also get more battery life from a single charge from the Samsung headphones and get slight customization options.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are a decent improvement over the previous generation Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless. Both truly wireless headphones are very small, lightweight, and comfortable, and they look identical. They both have an extremely well-balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, and access to five different EQ presets. The Buds+ have a much longer 13.5-hour battery life, which is quite impressive for a pair of truly wireless headphones, and you still get an additional full charge from the case. iPhone users can also access the customization options now, as Samsung has made a version of the companion app available for iOS devices, which is great.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are noticeably better than the JBL Tune 120 Truly Wireless. They're smaller and more comfortable, better-built, and more stable thanks to their fins. They also sound very neutral, and you can slightly customize their sound profile inside the Android app. The Galaxy Buds also have a great single charge battery life, although the case only offers one additional charge, rather than three like the JBL Tune 120.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are slightly better truly wireless in-ears than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. The Samsung are more comfortable, feel more stable, have a slightly more accurate sound profile, and last longer off a single charge. On the other hand, the Anker have better controls, isolate more noise, and have longer overall battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Raycon E50 Truly Wireless. They are more comfortable, better-built and have a noticeably better sound quality. Their fit blocks more ambient noise and their battery life is superior as well. The Galaxy Buds even have a companion app available on Android that allows for some small sound customization options. There's no real reason to get the Raycon E50 over the Samsung Galaxy Buds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are slightly better truly wireless headphones than the Jabra Elite 65t. They are more comfortable and their wireless Qi charging case is nice. Their sound quality is also superior thanks to less bass roll-off. On the other hand, the Jabra Elite 65t are better-suited for isolation low-frequency noises and are a better option for commuting. Also, they have a graphic preset that the Galaxy Buds lack. They can be connected to two devices, which you can’t do with these Samsung headphones. The Galaxy Buds have a touch-sensitive control scheme while the Jabra have physical buttons that offer volume controls without the need of an app.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. They have a noticeably smaller design, which sits more comfortably inside the ear without applying any pressure. They are very stable for sports and their sound profile is more detailed and accurate. They also have more than twice the battery life on a single charge than the Momentum True Wireless. On the other hand, you’ll need to map volume control inside the Samsung app, which is only available on Android. The Momentum True Wireless also support the aptX-LL codec for lower latency and generally have a more premium feel than the Galaxy Buds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are slightly better than the JBL Reflect Flow True Wireless. They're much more comfortable to wear due to their light weight, but their noise isolation isn't as good, especially in the bass range. The Galaxy Buds also sound very different, with a fairly light bass, overemphasized mids and a sharp treble. Fortunately, Samsung has a mobile companion app that lets you tune the sound, albeit the options are limited to a few presets.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are similarly performing earbuds to the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless. Their sound profile is very similar, though they are much more consistent among different users. The Samsung offer Android users a lot of customization options, including EQ presets, while the Apple have very minimal customization overall. The Samsung's battery life is also significantly better. The Apple, on the other hand, offer ANC which gives you much better noise isolation. They also provide seamless pairing for Apple users thanks to their H1 chip.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the JLab Audio JBuds Air Truly Wireless. They are more comfortable, have better sound quality, noticeably better battery life, and are have a good companion app that offers customization options and controls. You can also get volume controls if you have the app, or else you won’t have it by default like on the JBuds Air. Their case is also compatible with wireless Qi chargers. On the other hand, if you don’t need an app and like to listen to bass-heavy music, the JBuds Air might offer better value and can be a better choice.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are better truly wireless headphones than the Skullcandy Indy. The Galaxy Buds are very small earbuds that fit nicely inside the ear and are more comfortable than the Indy. They also have a more neutral and better-balanced sound profile that can also be EQ’ed in their companion app. The Galaxy Buds also have noticeably better battery life and take less time to charge. However, they lack volume control by default, but you can set it in their app, while the Indy have that feature by default.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. The Samsung are more comfortable, have a more balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, block out more background noise, have a better microphone, and have a longer continuous battery life. On the other hand, the Anker have a longer overall battery life, and a better app that provides a graphic EQ.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are much better truly wireless in-ears than the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless; they're much more comfortable, feel more premium, have a much better-balanced sound profile, block more background noise, and have a dedicated companion app. On the other hand, the Hammerhead have lower latency with gaming mode enabled.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are significantly better than the Raycon E25 True Wireless. They have a better build quality and stable fit, due to the stability fins provided in the box. Contrary to the E25, they have a fairly light bass, but they're much more accurate and can be customized through Samsung's mobile companion app, even though the choices are limited to presets. While the Galaxy Buds have a longer continuous battery life, the charging case can only hold one extra charge.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are overall better headphones than the Raycon E55 Truly Wireless. They sound more neutral, although you have EQ presets in their app, they are more comfortable, better-built, and have an overall better sound quality. They also block more ambient noise and have a better battery performance. If you're not on a tight budget, there's no reason to get the E55 over the Galaxy Buds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are slightly better truly wireless headphones than the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Truly Wireless if comfort and sound quality are the most important criteria for you. They don’t lack detail in the treble range as the Cambridge do, and their small bud design fits nicely into the ear and is very comfortable. They don’t have volume control by default, but you can easily set the commands in their app on the Android app. They also offer a bit more battery life than the Cambridge. On the other hand, the Cambridge have better noise isolation performance thanks to their fit and support the aptX codec.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better and more versatile truly wireless headphones than the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. The Samsung are closed-back earbuds, and their fit blocks more noise than the open-back Apple. The Samsung are slightly less comfortable if the design of the Apple suits you. Sound-wise, the Samsung sound more neutral and have more bass than the open-back Apple. They also have a long single-charge battery life, which is nice. On the other hand, the Apple feel slightly better made and have a smaller and more portable charging case. The Apple also have noticeably less latency than the Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better true wireless headphones than the Creative Outlier Air Truly Wireless. They are very small and fit nicely into the ears, which is more comfortable than the bulky design of the Creative. The Samsung also have a slightly more balanced sound profile and offer better isolation performance, on top of having customization options thanks to a companion app. On the other hand, the Creative have volume controls by default, but it's a pain to use efficiently. The Samsung don’t have that feature by default, but you can set it up inside their app.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Skullcandy Sesh Truly Wireless. They are more comfortable in-ear headphones that have a more stable fit for most people. Their sound profile is much more neutral than the Sesh and is better-suited for a wider range of genres. They also have a significantly longer 7.5-hour battery life, and offer preset EQ options through a companion app, which the Sesh doesn't have.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Sabbat E12 True Wireless. They are more comfortable, more stable, and offer a better overall sound quality, on top of having a decent app where you can customize their sound a bit and have access to mappable controls, including volume controls. Their fit also isolates better against ambient noise and they have a noticeably longer battery life.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds and the Samsung Gear IconX are very similar headphones. They perform almost the same way and have practically the same audio reproduction. The Gear IconX have 4GB internal storage, which is very useful to load music on them and work out without your phone. On the other hand, the newer Galaxy Buds now support wireless Qi charging and have a noticeably better microphone. They also have a longer battery life, but latency is worse on the Galaxy Buds than the Gear IconX.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are way better truly wireless headphones than the EarFun Free Truly Wireless. They're more comfortable, better-built, more stable, and offer a more neutral sound quality, which you can easily EQ in their Android app. The Samsung fit also has a better isolation performance and they offer more battery life on a single charge, though the case only offers one additional charge. Other than price, there's no real reason to get the EarFun over the Samsung.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds have a smaller bud design which feels more comfortable in the ears than the bulky Elite Active 65t. They also fit more securely, which is better for sports and working out. Both headphones sound similar, but you might get more bass with the Samsungs. On the other hand, the design of the Jabra Elite Active 65t blocks more ambient noise and will be better at blocking out bus engine rumbles when you are commuting. You’ll get more customizable options on the Jabras, but won’t have the great 7.5 hours of continuous playback the Galaxy Buds has.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are more versatile headphones than the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017 thanks to their closed-back design. The Samsung isolate more noise than the Apple, and its audio reproduction is more accurate and versatile. Also, the Samsung's single charge battery life is longer, but the Apple case holds more additional charges for a longer total battery life. If you have an Android device, you can download the Samsung Wear app and get access to customization presets, which you don’t get with the Apple.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are better truly wireless headphones than the Google Pixel Buds 2020 Truly Wireless. The Galaxy Buds have a much more accurate and better-balanced sound profile and isolate much more background noise. Their companion app also gives access to EQ presets to change the way they sound, though unfortunately, it's not available for iOS. On the other hand, the Pixel Buds pair to Android devices almost instantly, and have a much easier-to-use control scheme. Their companion app is also compatible with both Android and iOS, though it doesn't offer much in terms of customization options.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless are similar to the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless for mixed usage. The Samsung are more comfortable, have a more accurate sound profile, and last longer off a single charge. On the other hand, the Amazon have ANC, better controls, and more than double the total battery life, they also charge much quicker.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds are better headphones than the Raycon E100, especially if you have an Android phone, giving you access to their app. The Galaxy Buds are noticeably smaller and more comfortable, on top of having a better audio reproduction. They have a touch-sensitive control scheme, rather than physical buttons like the E100. They also have a better battery performance. On the other hand, the E100 have a better isolating fit which is good for blocking out noise and they come with more tip options.