Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review

Samsung Galaxy Buds

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus are the update the company’s true wireless earbuds (the original Samsung Galaxy Buds) desperately needed. They offer better battery life, improved call audio thanks to a third internal microphone, and a new dual-driver design. On top of that, there’s finally support for iOS through the new Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus app.

Not long after the Galaxy Buds Plus’ launch, Samsung released its first update. After some users reported hearing the strange sound of white noise while using the true wireless earbuds. According to TizenHelp, the firmware version R175XXUOATB5 is designed to fix this issue, as well as other problems including a “delay in pairing” and Bluetooth dropouts.

Price and availability

Samsung has launched its latest true wireless earbuds, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, at its Unpacked 2020 event in San Francisco. Where it announced that they’ll be available to buy online from February 14.

At $149.99 / £159 / AU$299, they’re about the same price as last year’s Samsung Galaxy Buds. They’re also significantly cheaper than the best true wireless earbuds of 2020, the Sony WF-1000XM3. Though these buds come with premium features like active noise cancellation.

Battery life and connectivity

The Galaxy Buds Plus boast a far longer battery life than the original Galaxy Buds. The earbuds themselves contain 11 hours of charge. While the charging case provides an additional 11 hours, bringing the total battery life to 22 hours.

That 11-hour battery life is pretty long for earbuds – but for the charging case, it’s not a huge amount of battery. It’s nice to see the Buds Plus with a larger internal battery, but a shame the charging case didn’t get something more substantial.

Final verdict

So where do the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus stand in the wide and deep echelon of true wireless earbuds? Well, somewhere in the middle. Thanks to its better battery life of around 11 hours (give or take) per charge, it’s a decent pick for people who hate charging their headphones at night. That said, it doesn’t feature a built-in virtual assistant nor does it have real water-resistance, it’s just IPX2.

Most egregious, however, is its lack of noise cancellation or even noise reduction, a feature that’s available on the similarly priced Amazon Echo Buds. Now sure, those may not sound as good as the Galaxy Buds Plus nor do they last as long. Those features lose their luster when you’re struggling to hear your music on a crowded subway train.

At the end of the day, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus present a good value for folks who just want true wireless earbuds they don’t need to charge everyday. They aren’t the best-sounding, but the dual-driver design is a big step up for Samsung.

Ultimately, you’d be better served by saving up for a pair of Apple AirPods Pro if you’re an iOS user or a pair of Sony  WF-1000XM3 if you use Android, both of which sound better and offer noise cancellation. They don’t last as long as the Galaxy Buds Plus do and cost twice as much, but they’re a better all-around pick in our opinion.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 – Launch Date

Samsung will launch its Galaxy Note 20 smartphone in August at an online-only event. Marking the first time a Note series flagship launch won’t be held in a real-world venue.

This is according to the Korea Herald, which cites industry sources as saying that the company has made the decision to go online-only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Samsung typically launches its Note series smartphones in New York City over the summer. Last year’s Note 10 and Note 10+ were launched on August 7, with thousands of people in attendance.

According to the outlet, the exact launch date for the Note 20 is still in flux. Given there’s no need to organize a venue, Samsung may move the date to the most opportune time.

Besides the Note 20, Samsung is also likely to launch a larger phone, the Note 20+ at the same event.

Recent rumors indicate that the Galaxy Note 20 will have a 108-megapixel camera, as well as a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset.

The news follows a report that Google will launch its Pixel 4a phone on July 13, also at an online-only event.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip Review

Review

There are two big things to address with folding phones: the screen and the hinge. These two parts are such a focus because they’re the things that aren’t yet solved problems in the phone world. It’s where the experimentation is happening, and it’s also where the biggest points of failure are found.

Samsung’s so-called “Ultra Thin Glass” is 30 microns thick, on the order of a very thin human hair. That has consequences. Chief among them: any ding or nick in the glass could be catastrophic.

Then there’s the crease in the middle of the screen. It is there, no getting around it. I can see it when I’m looking for it, but I don’t see it when I’m not. It also feels a little odd, but not so much to put me off like it did on the Razr. The screen is also surrounded by big, raised plastic bezels. I don’t love them, but I also understand their necessity and don’t find them especially annoying.

Third, there is a small gap when the phone is closed. That’s a little scary because, again, the screen is fairly fragile, and it’s a space where debris could get wedged in. (The Motorola Razr, for its many faults, managed to fold completely flat without any gaps.)

Fourth and lastly, Samsung has added brushes and caps to the hinge to better protect it from debris getting inside. That’s the issue that likely destroyed the screen on my very first Galaxy Fold review unit last April. Will these new brushes work? Who knows! They couldn’t stand up to a dust test from iFixit, but it was a very aggressive test. All I can say is that I have more faith in this hinge holding up than I did in the Razr’s or the original Fold’s.