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In the box
Samsung Gear IconX
The Samsung Gear IconX 2018 are versatile, truly wireless headphones that are great for sports. They're super portable and stable enough for running and working out. They have a decent sound quality and block enough noise to be suitable for most environments. They also barely leak, so they're a great choice for the office and commuting. Unfortunately, they have too much latency for watching movies and gaming.
These Headphones are currently our best Mid-Range Earbuds.
- Great design.
- Good passive isolation.
- Stable and breathable for sports.
- High latency.
- Below-average microphone.
The Samsung Gear IconX are well designed truly wireless headphones. They have a compact and durable build quality that won't stick out of your ears like the Bose SoundSport Free. They're also lightweight and stable sports headphones that will not fall out of your ears even during intense workout routines. They come with an excellent case that will easily fit into your pockets but unfortunately do not have as many tip options as some of the other truly wireless designs like the Jaybird Run. Their control scheme can also be a bit unreliable at times especially when trying to adjust the volume.
The Samsung IconX have a slick and compact truly wireless design. They do not stick out of your ears like the Apple AirPods or the Bose SoundSport Free and their slightly angled to better fit the contours of your ears. They look more high-end and better-built than the Jaybird Run and JBL Free but not quite on par with the E8's luxurious design. On the upside, their small footprint and understated color scheme looks great and should be good for most listeners. However, they won't be as immediately recognizable as some of the other truly wireless headphones already mentioned. They also come in a flashier pink or grey color scheme, if you want your buds to be a bit more noticeable.
They are comfortable truly wireless in-ears. They come with 3 tip sizes and 3 stability fin options to help you find a secure and stable fit. Unfortunately, the Samsung Gear IconX do not come with a memory foam comply tips like the BeoPlay E8 or the Jaybird Run. On the upside, the earbuds are very lightweight, and since they're truly wireless, you barely notice them once they're in your ears. The buds are also slightly angled to better fit within the contours of your ears. However, like most in-ears, they do put a bit of pressure within your ear canal which may not be as comfortable for all users.
The Samsung IconX have a decent touch sensitive control scheme. They provide all the essential functions, call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. Unfortunately, the small touch-sensitive surface doesn't register sliding gestures as well as taps so turning up/down the volume can be a bit finicky at times.
- 100% Avg.Temp.Difference
The IconX are very breathable headphones for sports and working out. They're compact, and like most truly wireless in-ears, they only trap a negligible amount of heat within the ear canal. This makes them suitable for more intense physical activities like running and exercising since they do not cover your ears and will not make you sweat more than usual.
These earbuds are very compact and easy to carry around on your person. Like most truly wireless designs, the earbuds easily fit into your pockets, and they're a bit more portable than Bose SoundSport Free. They also have a compact case that doesn't protrude or stick out of your pocket like some of the other truly wireless charging cases like the Jaybird Run or SoundSport Free.
The Samsung IconX come with a sturdy hard case that will shield the earbuds against impacts and drops. The case is very portable unlike some of the other truly wireless charging cases and feels incredibly well-made. It doesn't have the premium leather finish of the BeoPlay E8, but it's a bit smaller and feels dense and more durable.
These earbuds have a great build quality that feels and looks high-end. They have a dense and durable plastic design that's sturdy enough to withstand a couple of accidental drops. The case also feels very sturdy, and since it does not have a material coating like the E8's case, it should be a bit more resistant to wear and tear over time. Overall, their build quality may not feel as luxurious or as premium as the Apple AirPods, but it's easily one of the better designs and build quality for a truly wireless in-ear.
They are stable sports headphones. They have a lightweight in-ear fit and do not move much once you find the right combination of tips and stability fins for your ears. They stayed put during more intense workout routines and are more than stable enough for running. They do not come with as many tips as the Jaybird Run so they may not cater as well to all ear shapes and sizes but the provided accessories are good enough for most listeners.
The Samsung Gear IconX are average sounding closed-back in-ears. They have a punchy and consistent bass but it's a tad light on the rumble of sub-bass and sounds a bit boomy too. Their mid-range is quite well-balanced, but they sound a bit muddy and recessed on vocals. Their treble is also very good, but it's on the sibilant side, that is, they could sound a bit piercing on S and T sounds. Additionally, they have excellent imaging, but like most other in-ears, they don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.
The Samsung Gear IconX have a very good bass. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 40Hz, which is good, but combined with low-bass of -2.6dB, indicates that the earuds 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. High-bass, however, is overemphasized by more than 3dB, which adds boominess to the sound.
The Samsung Gear IconX have a great mid-range. The response is even and well-balanced, but the wide 5dB recess centered around 700Hz gives bass instruments more emphasis and nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix. This could make mixes sound a bit muddy and cluttered.
The Samsung IconX have a great treble. Low-treble is flat and within 0.09dB of our neutral reference. The narrow 5dB dip around 5KHz will have a subtle but negative effect on the detail and presence of vocals and lead instruments. The 7dB peak around 10KHz makes the treble of these headphones a bit sibilant (sharp and piercing on S and T sounds)
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 imaging is excellent. Their weighted group delay is 0.1, which is among the lowest we have measured. 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.
Like most other in-ears, the soundstage of the Samsung Gear IconX is poor. This is because in-ears bypass the pinna (outer ear), and don't interact with it, while 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 harmonic distortion performance is decent. In the bass range, they show very little THD, which is great. It also doesn't change considerably as the volume is increased. This suggests that their bass could take a good amount of EQ boost before distorting. In the treble range, they also show little distortion, but there is a rise in THD under heavier loads, meaning they could sound a bit fatiguing in the treble at higher volumes.
The Samsung Gear IconX block more noise with their passive in-ear fit than some active noise canceling headphones. If you can get a good seal with the provided tips, they will prevent an above-average level of ambient noise from seeping into your audio. This makes them a decent option for commuting or to block the office chatter of a lively work environment. They may struggle a bit with more low-frequency noise, like the rumbling sounds of an engine but since they barely leak, you can mask some of the noise by listening to your music at higher volumes and not distract the people around you.
The Samsung IconX have an above-average isolation. In the bass range, occupied by the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they reduce the noise by about 7dB, which is below average. However, this is rather impressive for an in-ear, and more than what most active noise cancelling headphones can achieve. In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they get 20dB of isolation which is very good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they achieved more than 41dB of isolation, which is excellent.
The leakage performance is excellent. These in-ears do not leak in the bass and mid ranges, and the entire leakage is concentrated in the treble range. The overall level of leakage is also very quiet, making the leakage of these headphones practically non-existent.
The Samsung Gear IconX's integrated microphone has a sub-par performance. In quiet environments, speech recorded or transmitted with this mic will sound quite thin and muffled, but it will still be decently understandable. In noisy situations, they will struggle to separate speech from ambient noise, even in moderately loud environments like a busy street.
The recording quality of the mic is poor. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 494Hz, resulting in a speech that is noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extensnion) of 3.3KHz, indicates that speech recorded/transmitted with this microphone will sound muffled and lacking in detail. However, it would still be decently intelligible, since speech comprehensibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4KHz range.
- 100% SpNR
The integrated microphone is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, suggesting that they are best suited for quiet environments and may struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderate and loud environments.
The Samsung IconX have a decent battery life and a health tracking app that has a lot of options and features. The earbuds last about 4.6 hours on average, and the case provides an additional charge for a total of 9.2 to 10 hours of battery life. They also last a bit longer if you use the onboard storage instead of the Bluetooth wireless connection but their total battery life is slightly shorter than other truly wireless designs, although the buds do last fairly long.
These headphones have a decent battery life with a good set of power saving features. They lasted about 4.6 hours and have an additional charge in the case for a total of 9.2 hours. You can squeeze out a bit more if you use the onboard storage instead of a wireless connection. They should last up to 7 hours in this mode and benefit from the quick charge feature that gives you 1 hour of playback from a 10-minute charge. You can also use each bud individually while the other is charging in the case. They have a standby mode that will put the headphones in sleep after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity, and will resume the wireless connection with your phone as soon as you pick them up.
The Samsung Gear App has a decent amount of features, especially for health tracking, but does not have a lot of customization options for your audio. There's an exercise coach feature when running, you also can switch between onboard music and the Bluetooth mode. You can find the last known location of your earbuds, and you get all your tracking data via the Samsung health extension in the app. It's a decently versatile software for sports but isn't optimized for audio and also isn't available on iOS.
Firmware Update 04/05/2018: The Samsung Gear app now has a customizable preset Equalizer when paired with the Gear IconX. Its a good addition that offers a bit more options but a it's not as customizable as the Jaybird Mysound app when paired to the Jaybird Run. The App Support score has been updated accordingly.
- 10% Bluetooth
- 32% Wired
- 10% Base/Dock
- 22% Wireless Range
- 25% Latency
The Samsung Gear IconX have an average Bluetooth connection with no NFC support or multi-device pairing. They have an above-average wireless range but no other connection options so, unfortunately, there is no way to reduce the high latency when watching videos. This means they will not be the ideal headphones for home theater use or for gaming.
- 79% Multi-Device Pairing
- 20% NFC
- 0% PS4 Compatible
- 0% Xbox One Compatible
These earbuds, like most truly wireless headphones, only connect to other devices via Bluetooth. They do not have simultaneous multi-device pairing and do not support NFC. On the upside, they are very easy to pair thanks to the Bluetooth pair button on the case.
- 13% Analog
- 9% USB
- 26% PS4 Compatible
- 26% Xbox One Compatible
- 26% PC Compatible
These headphones do not have an audio cable or a wired connection. If you want a decent sounding and stable in-ear with a wired connection, we would suggest the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear.
- 4% Optical Input
- 22% Line In
- 4% Line Out
- 22% USB Input
- 4% RCA Input
- 9% PS4 Compatible
- 9% Xbox One Compatible
- 9% PC Compatible
- 2% Power Supply
- 13% Dock Charging
They come with a charging case that provides an additional charge but has no inputs. On the upside, the case makes pairing easier than some of the other truly wireless headphones that pair with the earbuds instead of the case. However, this also means you won't be able to pair to new devices without the case.
They have a decent wireless range of 33ft when the Bluetooth source is obstructed by walls and up to 89ft in direct line-of-sight. They won't be the ideal headphones to use in a large office. However, they have a stable connection and should be good enough, especially if you keep your paired device on you.
These headphones have way too much latency for gaming and watching videos. They should be fine for listening to music and streaming podcast but will not be suitable for video content.
In the box
- Samsung Gear Icon X Headphones
- Earbud tips (x3 sizes)
- Stability fins (x3 sizes)
- Charging case
- USB charging cable
- USB-C charging adapter
- USB Charging adapter
Compared to other Headphones
The Gear IconX are compact truly wireless in-ears with a durable design and an above-average sound quality. They're decently comfortable and block a lot of noise passively which make them a decent option for commuting. They also come with an excellent charging case that's very portable but only has one additional charge. Unfortunately, they have quite a bit of latency and since they have no other connection options, they won't be a suitable choice for movies or gaming.
The Sony WF-1000X are great looking and well-built truly wireless headphones. They're one of the only truly wireless design with active noise cancellation, which makes them a decent option for commuters, although the passive design of the Samsung Gear IconX blocks a bit more ambient noise. They have a slightly more premium design but a bulkier case. They also have EQ presets to change their sound profile if needed but the Samsung does not. If you want the more premium look and feel of the Sony's, then they're a decent alternative to the Samsung but the IconX are a bit better overall and more optimized for sports.
The Jaybird Run are good truly wireless sports headphones. They support the MySound app from Jaybird which gives better customization features than the Samsung Gear App, although it does not have any tracking features for your workouts like the IconX. They're decently comfortable, compact and isolate well enough for most environments. However, the Jaybird Run do not look quite as well-built and come with a much bulkier case. The Jaybirds are the cheaper option but the better tracking features and overall build quality of the Samsung Gear Icon X may be worth the price difference.
The Apple AirPods are well-built premium-looking truly wireless headphones with a decent sound and a good set of active features. They have a better latency performance, which makes them somewhat okay for watching videos, especially on iOS devices. However, they lack a bit of bass due to their open fit, they're also not as stable and they're more optimized for iOS so they won't be as good as the IconX for Android users. If you do not mind the one-size-fits-all design of the AirPods then they're a cheaper alternative to the IconX especially for iOS users since the Samsung are a bit limited on iOS.
The Bose SoundSport Free are the first truly wireless headphones from Bose. They have the best sound out of all the truly wireless headsets that we've tested so far and they're sturdy and durable. However, they're not as portable. They have a bulky case and slightly unreliable wireless connection. They also have a lot of latency, which is not ideal for watching videos. If you want the best sounding truly wireless headset, go for the Bose but if you want a more compact design for sports, then the IconX are a better, mixed-usage alternative.
Questions & Answers
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