Both of these headphones offer a great experience, but it's obvious that Samsung has been doing its homework while readying the Galaxy Buds.
The Galaxy vs the Icon
When Samsung released the Gear Icon X (2018), everyone was expecting to see a (much) slimmer version of the original Gear Icon X, and that just wasn't the case. Samsung believed in keeping the onboard storage as an option to set it apart from the competition.
That was all fine and dandy, but as evidenced by the Galaxy Buds, that wasn't as important of a feature as the company may have once thought. At the time, the Icon X (2018) had some extra goodies thrown in, including the fact that you could get an hour of playback with just 10 minutes of charging, along with the ability for your headphones to automatically (or manually) track workouts.
Now with the Galaxy Buds, the onboard storage has been removed, and there is no way for them to track your workouts without using your smartphone. However, just about every other aspect of the Galaxy Buds has been improved to really make these the de-facto choice for Samsung lovers, and Android users alike.
|Samsung Galaxy Buds||Samsung Gear Icon X (2018)|
|Battery Playback||13 hours total||10 hours total|
|Battery Talk Time||11 hours total||8 hours total|
|Quick Charging||15 minutes = 1.7 hours||10 minutes = 1 hour|
|Microphone||One outer + one inner||Two outer|
|In-ear Sensor||IR + Accelerometer + Proximity||IR Sensor|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 4.2|
|Features||Ambient Sound, Touch UX||Ambient Sound, Touch UX|
|Charging Time||120 minutes||130 minutes|
|Samsung Health Integration||N/A||Manual & Automatic Workouts|
The biggest concern that folks may run into if they opt for the Galaxy Buds is the IPX2 water and dust resistance. This should be fine for some heavy workout sessions at the gym but may cause some issues if you tend to run in heavy rains. For that use-case, you may be better suited to opt for the Gear Icon X (2018) with its IP67 water and dust resistance.
What has many excited about the Galaxy Buds is the Bluetooth 5.0, wireless charging capabilities, and the fact that they are priced at just $129.99. This is a price cut of about $70 from the Gear Icon X (2018), which were released with a price of $199.99.
We would be remiss if we glanced over the wireless charging capabilities, as you can take advantage of PowerShare on your Galaxy S10 smartphone and charge your new Galaxy Buds. You don't need any extra cables or any additional adapters. Just place your S10 face down, set the Galaxy Buds on the rear casing, and watch them charge.
Another huge benefit of the Galaxy Buds comes from the weight of them, as these weigh in at 39.6g, compared to 55.8g on the Gear Icon X (2018). It's great to see Samsung really hit just about all of the marks here, and this has us excited to use these for an extended period of time without ear fatigue.
Hard to pass up
If you want the best features, along with great battery life, you need the Galaxy Buds.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds offer almost everything one could want from truly wireless earbuds. This includes the awesome PowerShare wireless charging functionality, along with Bluetooth 5.0 and much more.
Better for workouts
The Samsung Gear Icon X (2018) is great for those who work out regularly, but not great on battery life.
The Gear Icon X (2018) isn't a bad pair of headphones, just simply outdated. However, if you need headphones for your workout sessions, then the Gear Icon X are for you with the 4GB of storage and improved water resistance.
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