Buds get a boost in performance and sound quality

The Galaxy Buds+ were launched along with the new Galaxy S20 line from Samsung but only now have I been able to get around to testing them in full.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ available in black, white or blue colours
Samsung Galaxy Buds+ available in black, white or blue colours

The Plus model is the second generation of truly wireless earphones and Samsung has managed to fix most of the minor flaws in the original Galaxy Buds.

Some of the things I love about the Buds+ is the size and comfortable fit in-ear. They also feel light in my ears.

One of the major improvements is in battery performance which is excellent. You get up to 11 hours of use from a single charge and an extra 11 more hours when you use the case before you’ll have to plug it in again.

If you own a phone like the S10 or S20, you can top-up the case using the PowerShare feature which uses the phone’s battery to charge the case.

This comes in really handy in a pinch, but for fast charging, you’re better off charging via the USB-C port on the case or even a good wireless charger.

Samsung kept the same design as the original buds, which isn’t a bad thing.

The newer case has a shiny finish while the original is matte. Both sets are interchangeable, as in you can charge the Buds+ in the old case and visa versa.

Other refinements include vastly improved mics and the audio is still tuned by Samsung-owned AKG. Voice calls were a particular area of weakness in the original buds, which sounded muffled to the listener on the other side.

There are now three mics in each earbud, two external and one on the inside facing your ear canal. The new mics have made a massive difference to overall call quality, which now sounds louder and clearer.

You can set the Buds+ to automatically turn on ambient sound for calls so that you can hear yourself talk.

In terms of sound quality, the Buds+ is greatly improved with a distinct boost in bass performance. By comparison, even after installing the latest update to the Galaxy Buds, which brings improvements to sound quality and adds features that were originally exclusive to the Plus model, the sound is average at best and tiny sounding at worst.

The difference is night and day with the Buds+ offering a vast improvement in bass and in particular the highs which were tiny sounding before. The Buds+ come with a dual-driver setup with dedicated bass and treble speakers that reproduce a more pleasing, fuller sound.

The sound isn’t perfect though as it can struggle to retain fine details in the mid-range. Overall, the sound improvements are reason enough to upgrade.

The Galaxy Wearable app allows you to see how much charge is in each earbud as well as having an equalizer and options to change the touchpad controls on each earbud.

You can tap for volume up or down, turn on ambient sound, or call on your virtual assistant. The Galaxy Wearable app is now also available for iOS, so iPhone users can now take full advantage of the new Buds+.

Spotify integration was exclusive to Galaxy Buds+ but is now on Galaxy Buds via the latest firewire update. You have to set up a tap and hold gesture for the Spotify feature to work in the Galaxy Wearable app.

Once it’s configured, this gesture will automatically launch Spotify and resume playback from where you left off. Unfortunately, this will only work with Spotify, so if you use a difference music streaming service then you’re out of luck.

Strangely, the Galaxy Buds+ doesn’t support aptX like a lot of competing truly wireless earphones. You do get Bluetooth 5 and they’re also IPX2 rated, so using them in the gym or running the rain shouldn’t be an issue. They’re also a really secure fit so I didn’t have any fear of them falling out.

- Galaxy Buds+ €179 shop.samsung.com/ie

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