Best Samsung Earbuds Android Central 2020
Samsung may not be the first company that comes to mind when you think of audio gear, but in recent years, the company has been growing its line of earbud offerings so that it has quality first-party accessories to go along with its smartphones. The Galaxy Buds+ stand out as the best Samsung earbuds you can buy right now, but if those aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of other options worth considering. Let's check them out!
- Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
- Best Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Buds
- Best Workout Buds: Samsung Gear IconX
- Best for Tight Budgets: Samsung Type-C Headphones
- Best Neckbuds: Samsung U Flex Wireless
- Best Middle Ground: AKG Y100
Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Buds+
As of right now, the best Samsung earbuds you can buy in 2020 are the Galaxy Buds+. These are the latest true wireless earbuds from Samsung, and they offer meaningful improvements over the original Buds in a few meaningful ways.
For starters, battery life is substantially better. Samsung promises up to 11 hours of continuous use with the Galaxy Buds+, and that's just for the actual earbuds. The charging case has enough juice for one full recharge, offering total endurance of around 22 hours. In other words, if you want to take the Buds+ with you on a long-haul flight or long road trip, the battery will be up to the challenge. When it does come time to charge up, you can refuel the Buds+ in one of two ways — wired USB-C charging or via Qi wireless charging.
Another highlight of the Galaxy Buds+ is sound quality. These aren't the best-sounding true wireless earbuds on the market, but they're still very good. The audio profile is pretty neutral out of the box, but using the excellent companion app for the Buds+, you can customize the EQ settings and create a soundstage that sounds better to your ears.
What are the downsides? The lack of active noise cancellation is a bummer, as is the ability to automatically pause/play music when you take the earbuds out of your ears. However, even with those ommissions in mind, there's no denying that these are the best earbuds Samsung has ever created.
- Great sound quality
- Charges via USB-C and Qi wireless
- Up to 11 hours of continuous use
- Sleek and compact charging case
- Companion app makes things even better
- Glossy finish for the case
- Lacks ANC and auto-pause/play
Thanks to the long-lasting battery life, great sound quality, and more, the Galaxy Buds+ earn our top recommendation.
Best Alternative: Samsung Galaxy Buds
If you like what Samsung's offering with the Galaxy Buds+ but can't justify the asking price, a perfect alternative comes in the form of the original Galaxy Buds. While not as technically impressive, you're getting about 80% of the experience for considerably less money.
The design of the Galaxy Buds is mostly identical, save for the fact that the charging case has a matte finish instead of a glossy one. We actually prefer this design, as the matte plastic hardly picks up fingerprints whereas the Buds+ charging case can quickly turn into a fingerprint magnet.
Sound quality is mostly the same, albeit slightly less impressive to those with trained ears. The biggest downgrade is batter life, with the Galaxy Buds only offering up to six hours of continuous use and a total battery package of 13 hours when you factor in the charging case. That's almost 50% less battery life compared to the Buds+, and definitely the biggest roadblock with the Galaxy Buds.
Even with that being the case, these still earn a solid recommendation. The Galaxy Buds are substantially cheaper compared to the Buds+, so if money is a big factor for you, this could be a much better purchase.
- Compact and lightweight design
- Matte finish for the charging case
- Very good sound quality
- USB-C and Qi wireless charging
- Excellent price
- Much shorter battery life
- Disappointing call quality
Mostly the same, but cheaper
If you're OK with shorter battery life and slightly lesser sound quality, the original Galaxy Buds are a great pickup.
Best Workout Buds: Samsung Gear IconX
Fitness buffs should look no further than the Gear IconX. Just like the Galaxy Buds and Buds+, the IconX are truly wireless earbuds. They offer the standard IPX2 water resistance rating, which means these are only suitable for working out in ideal conditions like at the gym or if it's sunny out.
The Gear IconX offer up to five hours of battery life when streaming audio and four hours when on the phone. If you're paired with an Android phone, you can download the Samsung Health app and the Gear IconX will be able to track speed, distance, and calories of your workouts. It's like a fitness tracker and earbud in one package!
In terms of sound quality, the Gear IconX are solid. The bass doesn't get low, but that is to be expected from a pair of any true wireless earbuds. The mid-range is even and neutral, and the treble is, for the most part, neutral with a slight boost in the mid- and upper treble, which gives it an overall brighter sound.
- Built-in fitness tracking
- IPX2 water resistance rating
- Good sound quality
- Lightweight and comfortable design
- Lackluster battery life compared to the Galaxy Buds and Buds+
Best Workout Buds
Fitness tracking buds
The aging Gear IconX continue to be a compelling option, largely due to the built-in fitness tracking features.
Best for Tight Budgets: Samsung Type-C Earbuds
Creating and sticking to a tight budget is a highly commendable thing, but what's a person to do if they're trying to cut down on excess spending but still need earbuds? Enter the Samsung Type-C Earbuds. These aren't the flashiest or most exciting buds we've ever seen, but for the price Samsung is asking, they're pretty darn good.
These are wired earbuds, and they connect to your phone using USB-C. According to Samsung, the USB-C connection allows for separate left and right channels that are 10x better than traditional 3.5mm jack connections. Add that together with the high-quality DAC, and you end up with sound quality that's much better than what you'd expect for earbuds this cheap.
Samsung's braided cable design ensures the earbuds are durable and lightweight, and the in-line playback controls make it easy to adjust your volume or pause a song without having to dig out your phone.
- Fantastic price for tight budgets
- Connects via USB-C
- Good sound for the price
- In-line controls
- Not as convenient as wireless earbuds
Best for Tight Budgets
How low can you go?
For shoppers that need to spend as little money as possible, the Samsung Type-C Earbuds are a perfect solution.
Best Neckbuds: Samsung U Flex Wireless
In addition to true wireless buds and regular wired earbuds, there's another form factor Samsung likes to dabble with — neckbuds. As far as neckbuds go, the ones we think deserve a spot on your shortlist are the Samsung U Flex Wireless.
As with all neckbuds, the U Flex Wireless rest comfortably around your neck with the earbuds coming out of the ends to bring soothing music into your ears. When you need to take the U Flex Wireless off and stow them away, the folding design allows them to be wonderfully portable.
Battery life is decent for an in-ear wireless headphone, offering up to eight and a half hours on a single charge. You also get a bunch of ear tips to customize your fit, the option to use the U Flex Wireless via Bluetooth or with a 3.5mm wired connection, and there's a splash/sweat-resistance rating to keep the buds safe during workouts.
- Convenient design
- Can be folded up for extra portability
- Wireless and 3.5mm wired options
- Splash and sweat-resistant
- Audio quality is solid
- Earbuds are a bit large
Tried and true design
At its price, the U Flex Wireless are an absolute steal. Decent battery life and sound, and super comfortable to use long term.
Best Middle Ground: AKG Y100
While the Y100 earbuds aren't Samsung branded, AKG is an audio brand that Samsung owns and often appears on Samsung's own earbuds. As such, we think they can make the list.
Outside of the naming, the AKG Y100 are solid, all-around wireless earbuds at a great price. They have a simple, durable design available in multiple colors, good sound quality, and get up to eight hours of battery life. A 15-minute charge offers enough juice for one full hour of use.
There is an especially cool feature of the AKG Y100, which is their ability to be paired with two Bluetooth devices and intelligently switch between them based on what you're using. This is something a lot of earbuds don't come with, so we're thrilled it's included on the Y100.
- Available in a few fun colors
- Design is comfortable and durable
- Can be paired with two devices at once
- Up to eight hours of battery life
- Fast charging speeds
- Charges via Micro-USB
Best Middle Ground
Nice balance of features and price
Falling right in the middle of everything are the AKG Y100, offering solid features and design for not too much money.
As evident by the list, Samsung's growing collection of earbuds is rather impressive. There really is something for everyone, but if we had to pick only one as our top choice, it would be the Samsung Galaxy Buds+.
The original Galaxy Buds got the company on the right track, and with the Buds+, Samsung kept what worked and fixed what was broken. Sound quality is improved, the battery life is outstanding, and call quality is much better. The design is mostly unchanged, but that's fine by us. Wearing the Galaxy Buds+ is a joy, offering a comfy and lightweight fit that just about anyone can appreciate.
We do wish Samsung had included noise canceling at this price, but even without it, there's no denying just how good the Buds+ are. If you can afford them, you won't be disappointed.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's News Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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