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Reviewed on Mar 15, 2018

Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.1
Mixed Usage
7.2
Critical Listening
7.4
Commute/Travel
8.2
Sports/Fitness
7.3
Office
5.5
TV
4.9
Gaming
These headphones were replaced by the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless

Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Truly Wireless
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

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.

Test Results
Design 7.8
Sound 7.1
Isolation 7.9
Microphone 5.7
Active Features 6.8
Connectivity 2.5
Pros
  • Great design.
  • Good passive isolation.
  • Stable and breathable for sports.
Cons
  • High latency.
  • Below-average microphone.

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7.8

Design

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.

Style

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.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
:
0 lbs

The Samsung Gear IconX 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, the Jabra Elite Sport, 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.

7.0 Controls
Ease of use : Okay
Feedback : Okay
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through
:
N/A
Additional Buttons : Voice enabled controls

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. If you prefer a truly wireless design with physical controls, then you can check out the Jabra Elite Active 65t or the TrebLab X5.

9.0 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1 C

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.

9.4 Portability
L : 1.5 "
W : 1.2 "
H : 0.7 "
Volume : 1.6 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

The Samsung Gear IconX 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.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 2.8 "
W : 1.5 "
H : 0.9 "
Volume : 4.5 Cu. Inches

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.

7.0 Build Quality

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. Unfortunately, they are not the most sweat resistant truly wireless option. The left earbud would often get clogged and lose a lot of its volume output. It can be cleaned but this may be a deal breaker for some if you do a lot of running and working out with your headphones.

8.0 Stability

Like the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, these 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.

Cable
Detachable : N/A
Length : N/A
Connection : N/A

The Samsung Gear IconX come with a USB charging cable, a USB-C, and a micro USB charging adapter.

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7.1

Sound

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.

8.3 Bass
Std. Err.
:
2.2 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
40.0 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-2.66 dB
Mid-Bass
:
0.07 dB
High-Bass
:
3.15 dB

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 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. High-bass, however, is overemphasized by more than 3dB, which adds boominess to the sound. If you want a bit more bass and like truly wireless headphones then check out the Skullcandy Push.

8.7 Mid
Std. Err.
:
1.67 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.83 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.12 dB
High-Mid
:
1.39 dB

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.

8.7 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.62 dB
Low-Treble
:
0.09 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-0.43 dB
High-Treble
:
-0.87 dB

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)

8.6 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.28 dB

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.

9.1 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.46
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
2.54

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.

1.1 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
2.9
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
0.5
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

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.

7.4 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
0.968
Weighted THD @ 100
:
5.185

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.

7.9

Isolation

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.

7.1 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-22.45 dB
Bass
:
-6.74 dB
Mid
:
-20.44 dB
Treble
:
-41.42 dB
Self-Noise
:
19.42 dB

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 (like the Sony WF-SP700N). 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.

9.6 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
23.96 dB

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.

5.7

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
No
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

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.

5.3 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
493.51 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.48 dB
HFE
:
3319.91 Hz
Weighted THD
:
5.721
Gain
:
40.58 dB

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.

6.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
11.32 dB

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.

6.8

Active Features

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.

6.7 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
4.6 hrs
Charge Time
:
1.1 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
Standby mode
Audio while charging
:
Yes
Passive Playback
:
No

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. For longer battery life and wireless Qi charging, take a look at the Samsung Galaxy Buds.

7.0 App Support
App Name : Samsung Gear
iOS : No
Android : Yes
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
Presets
ANC control
:
No
Mic Control : No
Room effects
:
No
Playback control
:
Yes
Button Mapping : No
Surround Sound : N/A

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.

2.5

Connectivity

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.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

The Samsung Gear IconX, 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.

0 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
N/A
Analog Audio
:
N/A
USB Audio
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A

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.

2.1 Base/Dock
Type
:
Charging Case
Optical Input
:
No
Line In
:
No
Line Out
:
No
USB Input
:
No
RCA Input
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
USB-C
Dock Charging
:
Yes

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.

7.4 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
33 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
89 ft

The Samsung Gear IconX 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.

0 Latency
Default Latency
:
280 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

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. Overall, they're one of the best true wireless earbuds we've tested. See our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds and the best wireless earbuds for iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless

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.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are a better truly wireless headset than the Jabra Elite 65t. The Samsung Gear IconX have a better, more comfortable design than the Jabra and are also a bit more stable for sports. The Samsung also have 4GB of onboard storage, a better, more polished charging case, and a slightly better default sound quality. On the upside, the Jabra Elite 65t have a slightly longer battery life overall. They also have a more stable Bluetooth 5.0 connection and better latency performance. They also benefit from a 5 band EQ that's more customizable than the preset EQ on the Samsung Gear IconX.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are a better truly wireless headset than the Bose SoundSport Free. The Gear IconX have more features that make them more suitable for sports than the Free. They have a customizable app with a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. They're also a lot more portable than the Bose and have 4GBs of onboard storage, which makes them a bit more suitable when running and working out, since you do not have to carry around your phone. On the other hand, the Bose have an earbud fit that most will find a bit more comfortable than the in-ear fit of the Gear IconX. The Bose also have better-balanced sound quality, a slightly sturdier design, and longer battery life.

Jaybird Run Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are much better, truly wireless headphones than the Jaybird Run. The Gear IconX have 4GB of onboard storage and a more health-focused app that includes a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. They are more compact and easier to carry around than the Jaybird Run, and thanks to all the additional features, they are slightly better for sports. On the upside, the Run have a more customizable sound thanks to the 5-band EQ provided by the Jaybird MySound app. The Run also have slightly less latency than the Gear IconX, although neither would be ideal for watching a lot of video content.

JBL Free Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are a better headset overall when compared to the JBL Free. The IconX have a lot more features including 4GB of onboard storage and a somewhat customizable sound profile. They're also easier to carry around, are a bit more comfortable and stable for the gym, and come with a much better-charging case. On the upside, the JBL have a slightly better default sound. They also have a longer battery life and are a bit easier to use, but do not provide any volume controls compared to the IconX.

Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are a much better headphone than the Sony WF-1000X. The Gear IconX isolate better in noisy environments despite not having ANC like the Sonys. They also have more features that make them better for sports than the WF-1000X. They're also more portable than the Sonys and have a better latency performance. The Sonys, on the other hand, have a better more premium-looking build quality. Their noise cancellation also does a bit better in the bass range than the IconX, and their app is slightly more customizable than that of the IconX.

Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017

The Samsung Gear IconX are a much better truly wireless headset than the Apple AirPods. The Gear IconX have an in-ear fit that isolates better in noisy conditions and produces more bass than the AirPods thanks to the better seal they create in your ear. They also have a dedicated app which gives them access to a preset equalizer, sports data, and a built-in coach to keep track of your progress, whereas the AirPods feel lacking in features. The IconX also have 4GB of onboard storage. On the upside, the AirPods are better integrated into the iOS platforms, which gives them a few advantages over the Samsung if you have a lot of Apple devices already. They also have a much longer 25hr battery life than the Gear Icon X, and a more stable and reliable connection with less latency, especially on iOS devices.

Skullcandy Push Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX are better headphones than the Skullcandy Push. They have 4GB of onboard storage and a more health-focused app that includes a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. Their sound quality is also superior and more accurate than the bass-heavy Push. On the other hand, the Skullcandys have more battery life on a single charge and have an excellent wireless range. Overall, the IconX are one of the best truly wireless earbuds we’ve tested so far.

JBL FreeX Truly Wireless

The JBL Free X and the Samsung Gear IconX are both decent truly wireless in-ears. They’re both well-designed and have similar isolation and microphone performance. The Free X sound slightly better out-of-the-box, but the IconX can be customized via EQ presets in the Samsung Gear app. The IconX also have a better battery, a more stable fit, and volume control. They’re both decent choices for most use cases, but the IconX may be more advantageous for those who prefer more feature-packed headphones.

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Conclusion

7.1 Mixed Usage
The Samsung Gear IconX are above-average truly wireless in-ears for mixed usage. They're great for sports and commuting thanks to their compact, stable design and surprisingly good passive isolation. They're also sufficiently comfortable for an in-ear and barely leak even at high volumes. Unfortunately, they have much latency for gaming and watching movies, and their touch-sensitive control scheme can be a bit of a hit or miss at times. They also only have one additional charge in the case which means they have a slightly shorter total battery life than other truly wireless designs.
7.2 Critical Listening
Decent for critical listening. The Samsung Gear IconX have a well-balanced bass and mid-range but a relatively sharp treble reproduction. They also have a slight bump in the low-end that makes them sound a bit boomy, but it's not as noticeable as the treble spikes. Unfortunately, due to their closed in-ear design, they have a poor soundstage and won't be the ideal headphones for more critical listeners.
7.4 Commute/Travel
Good for commuting. The Samsung IconX are very compact and easy to carry around on your person. They also passively isolate better than some noise canceling headphones. Their control scheme can be a bit tricky to use at times, but their comfortable design and decent battery life should be enough for most trips.
8.2 Sports/Fitness
Great for sports. They're stable and compact truly wireless headphones with a decently comfortable in-ear fit. They're very portable and come with a charging case that's not too bulky. Unfortunately, their control scheme is somewhat unreliable and they only come with 3 tip sizes and 3 stability fins which may not be ideal for all ear shapes and sizes.
7.3 Office
Above-average for office use. The Samsung Gear IconX isolate well and barely leak even at high volumes. This makes them suitable to use in a lively or quiet office environment. Their battery life might not be ideal for long continuous listening sessions at the office but should be good enough for most use cases.
5.5 TV
Below-average for home theater. The Samsung IconX have too much latency for watching a lot of video content. Also, their in-ear design, though decently comfortable, won't be ideal for watching long videos and they have no other connection option except Bluetooth.
4.9 Gaming
Below-average for gaming. The Samsung Icon X have a mediocre-at-best microphone and too much latency for gaming. Their companion app is also not as customizable as most gaming-oriented software.

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