edited on 12th of Dec 2020 to expand on sound quality section
Looking almost the same as last year’s Galaxy Buds, but receiving a slew of upgrades over the original Buds under the hood - enter the Galaxy Buds Plus. Released into the market back in March, alongside the S20 lineup as an added bonus for S20 pre-orders. Its high time we take a look at the wildly popular Buds Plus.
One of the biggest upgrade that the Buds Plus received is the 2-way speaker tuned by AKG to deliver a wider dynamic range of sound than a conventional single driver setup. This should in essence deliver richer treble and bass than its predecessor. The sound quality of the Buds+ is amazing in its own right, for one it sounds better than the Samsung-AKG wired headphones included in newer Galaxy phones. It is holding itself pretty well up against other wired earphones considering that a wired 3.5mm jack usually delivers better audio signals compared to wireless Bluetooth ones.
On the microphone side of things, the Buds Plus do come with the same number of mics as the Buds Live but without the fancy bone conduction Voice Pickup Unit on the inward facing mic. The Buds Plus still offers decent voice quality where people over the line mentioned that the voice picked up still sounds similar to a hands-on call.
Comparing this to the Apple Air Pods, both of them are pretty even across the board in the sound quality department with no noticeable stands out. But the Air Pods does sound a tad louder in the same volume settings, and sometimes higher frequency sounds feel like they were accentuated into uncomfortable levels. The Buds Plus just sounds comfortably better all around when both are in the same volume.
The other pair headphones that I have on hand are the Bose AE 2 wireless headphones which I took on for a quick comparison between the two. Keep in mind that the AE 2 is a full fledged over the ear headphones which retailed for well over RM900 a couple of years ago, so you better prepare your salt dispenser before proceeding.
Listening to songs like Martin Garrix 'Animals', the Buds Plus lacks depth and fullness to the basses due to the obvious differences in size of the drivers. However the Buds Plus didn't let me down with the decent sounding vocals from songs where vocals form the backbone of the audio track like Taylor Swift's 'Exile' or Ed Sheeran's recent tracks. While the Buds Plus doesn't win over the Bose AE2 in sound quality, holding its own ground while being so small is very impressive.
The biggest difference of the Buds+ over the Buds Live is the Ambient Sound reproduction feature which can be toggled from soft, medium to high in the Galaxy Wearable app. The Ambient Sound on the Buds+ is pretty neat as it filters out background noises and reproduces desired sounds in a clearer manner if you happen to miss conversations happening around you. The Buds+ is similar to other earbuds that sit in the ear canal, with the rubber insulation forming a proper seal around the ear canal to passively block external noise, a different approach from the Buds Live.
Of the many wireless earbuds that I have tried, the Buds+ possibly has the longest battery life in a single charge in all of them. With a rated up to 11 hours of uninterrupted listening time on the Buds+, this could easily last the entire day of use and still retain enough juice for home use. For comparison’s sake the Apple AirPods lasts a little over 5 hours on a single charge. The Buds+ is rated to give up to an hour’s worth of extra listening time just from 3 minutes of fast charging in the charging cradle.
The touch controls on the Buds+ seems far more consistent than the ones found on the Buds Live, possibly because of the bigger surface area on the Buds Live making it slightly harder to immediately touch the button. It has the same interactions like single tap to play/pause, double tap to play next track or answer/end calls, triple tap to play previous track.
Some extra features lies in the Galaxy Wearable app like the Ambient Sound toggle and profile settings. The touch and hold gesture can be remapped to a variety of functions, launching Spotify or Google Assistant is one of them. Optionally you can try the edge control functions hidden in the Labs sections of the settings for volume control.
There’s the profile options of having boosted bass, boosted treble and some other pre-set profiles in the Equalizer section of the Galaxy Wearable App. Oftentimes I find myself sticking with the Normal pre-set or the Soft pre-set when in a quiet room as I feel like the other profiles just sound too artificially boosted to be a pleasure to listen to.
All of these settings make the interactions a lot more user friendly considering you can do a whole lot of music playback control without touching your smartphone. One small pet peeve that I do find is that when you occasionally touch the Buds Plus to readjust the fit in your ears it pauses the music from the tap.
Great pair of earbuds considering the price, super long battery life and portability. Great sound quality and extra features in Galaxy Wearable an added plus. New red colorway released for upcoming Christmas theme gifts. Get your pair of Buds Plus here today. Nearing the Christmas holiday, the red pair of Buds Plus could serve as a feisty addition to your fashion wardrobe on Christmas.