Samsung might unveil new gear iconx earbuds in 2019

There's been plenty of talk around the Samsung Gear IconX; though they are definitely a solid pair of true wireless earbuds, they have one fatal flaw: the battery life.

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There's been plenty of talk around the Samsung Gear IconX; though they are definitely a solid pair of true wireless earbuds, they have one fatal flaw: the battery life.

As the tai nghe jack disappears from more & more devices, the push towards công nghệ bluetooth không dây headphones is a continually growing market. With that comes the push for more unique and futuristic designs that will make people happy about ditching cables, such as true wireless earbuds. There are plenty of options available ranging from small off-brand models you can find online, lớn some of the biggest companies in the world. Of course, there are options lượt thích the táo apple AirPods, but Samsung released an impressive pair of true wireless earbuds dubbed the Gear IconX. These have plenty of fanfare around them, và they have a lot of great features. Then again, those benefits come at a hefty cost, so should you suck it up & get a pair anyway?

Editor’s note: This đánh giá was updated on February 19th, 2019 to lớn reflect market changes as well as to lớn reflect changes in pricing. New and relevant information was also added throughout. 

Who are the Samsung Gear IconX for?

Android users (preferably Samsung). Though you can connect these to lớn an ios device without a problem, some of its best features like real-time coaching & ambient sound pass-through are only available via the game android app.The average gym go-er. If you’re a hardcore gym rat, these might not vị it for you because of their sub-par battery life. They simply won’t last as long as you might need them to. That said, the fit and sound chất lượng is good enough that if you only exercise for 45 minutes after work, the battery might be worth dealing with.

Where bởi they stand in 2019?

So while most of what is said in this đánh giá remain unchanged about the Samsung Gear Icon X, that’s not true of the true wireless market as a whole. There have been plenty of new releases since the release o this review. Not only are there other premium options lớn choose from now lượt thích the Master & Dynamic MW07 and Sennheiser Momentum True wireless earbuds, but there’s also a number of other picks that won’t even cost you more than $100.


Notably, even those picks have fared better in our battery testing than the Icon X which remain at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes lớn battery life testing. So if you’re not 100% sold on these but still want a pair of true wireless ‘buds definitely check out our list for some solid options. Of course, you won’t get a lot of the health features or the discreet kiến thiết that makes Samsung products so appealing, but they’re still worth checking out.

Furthermore, rumors are that Samsung is gearing up (pun intended) to announce a new pair of true wireless ‘buds tomorrow alongside the Galaxy S10. That means that the original Icon X will likely drop in price once there is a newer version making them an easier buy for most people. Of course, none of the cons in this reviews change just because the price has dropped, but it does make the issues a little more palatable.

Connecting khổng lồ the Gear IconX

Let’s start off with one of the more important aspects of true wireless headphones: connecting khổng lồ them. I was using the iPhone X và connecting was just as simple as connecting khổng lồ any other bluetooth device. There’s a small công nghệ bluetooth không dây pairing button on the back of the pill-shaped charging case that allows you khổng lồ connect lớn it pretty quickly. Obviously, it isn’t as fast and seamless as connecting to lớn the AirPods with an ios device, but the Gear IconX have a few other tricks up their sleeves that’s not available on iPhones so I guess we can gọi it even. I’ll explain some of these in the paragraphs lớn come, but here’s the full list via Samsung.


Once paired, the earbuds automatically turn on và connect to lớn your phone as soon as you take them out of the case, which is always something I expect with true wireless earbuds. Furthermore, Samsung decided to only put in the Samsung Scalable Codec, so unless you have a compatible game android phone, you’re going to lớn be downgraded khổng lồ the standard SBC codec. This is especially true with tiện ích ios devices as they only have AAC compatibility. We’ll get more into what this means for the sound unique later, but while we’re on the subject make sure to kiểm tra out the full codec explainer article khổng lồ understand why they’re so important.

As far as playback controls go, nothing is OS-specific. Whether you’re on game android or iOS: you’ll be able lớn pause or play music with a single tap, skip between songs with a double or triple tap, & adjust volume by swiping up or down. Double-tapping answers a phone call, and tapping once and holding rejects a call. You can also double tap & hold khổng lồ choose between playlists, because the Gear Icon X has 4GB of built-in storage. This means that you can exercise without your phone.

The charging capsule of the Gear IconX is pill-shaped, and though it’s well-built it’s awkward lớn carry in your pocket.
Of course, doing this requires the use of the apk app—sorry táo bị cắn users, you’re out of luck. You’ll have to transfer music the old-fashioned way—via your computer & the included USB cable. That isn’t the only feature you’ll miss out on if you’re rocking an quả táo device. You also don’t get some of the health tracking features lượt thích real-time coaching và you’ll also miss out on ambient noise passthrough, which lets you hear what’s going on around you through the headphones. However, that particular feature is so buried in the settings with no apparent shortcut on the earbuds that I don’t think too many people will miss it. Though it is useful if you’re going lớn be going for a run outside and want to lớn be aware of your surrounding. Playback was also fairly solid with only a few dropped connections in during my testing period. Though they did occur, I don’t think they were frequent enough to lớn be of any concern.

How’s the build quality?

Samsung has a good reputation when it comes lớn build quality, và the Samsung Gear IconX is no exception. The charging case is small & made of a smooth plastic; though, because of the pill shape, it’s a little awkward to carry around. I find it easier to lớn chuck it into a backpack instead of finding space in my pockets. Once you xuất hiện the case, you’ll get the earbuds which are IPX2 sweat-resistant, so you won’t have to lớn worry about damaging them during an intense workout.

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In my opinion, one of the best features of these earbuds is the fit. They’re small, so they don’t stick out of your ears in the same ridiculous way others do, & the silicone ear tips keep each earbud firmly in place during exercise. I went trail running & didn’t feel the need to adjust them at all, even throughout the sloping hills & occasional trip-ups. Normally I’d have lớn swap out the ear tips for some Comply memory foam ones, but that wasn’t the case here. Of course, they vì come with some other options, so you can find which one works best for you. They come in black, white, or pink, so you can choose which one best matches your workout clothes (all-black everything in my case). Since there aren’t buttons on the earbuds, it maintains a minimal design.

Which brings me to lớn one of my biggest complaints about these earbuds: the playback controls. Rather than buttons, Samsung went with small, touch-sensitive pads on the earbuds. & they suck. Either the cảm ứng area is too small or my fingers are too big (unlikely), but I almost always kết thúc up pausing the music when I’m trying to skip to the next song… or skipping khổng lồ the next song when I’m trying lớn adjust the volume. I’m sure that memorizing the different combination of taps will help lớn some extent, but I think the controls are fundamentally flawed. Lớn the point where if someone came up lớn ask me something, I would just take the earbuds out of my ear rather than bother trying to lớn tap them.

And then there’s the battery life

If the Samsung Gear IconX has one fatal flaw, it’s the battery life. Whoever it was at Samsung that designed these earbuds & dipped them into the River Styx must have been holding them by the battery. Though Samsung claims about five hours of constant streaming, we barely managed to scrape 1.5 hours in each of our three thử nghiệm runs. The chart seen below is borrowed from our true wireless list và makes it clear how bad the battery life is. Something worth noting is that the chart below is automatically updated as we test new products và input the information. So even now in 2019, after having reviewed these headphones so long ago, they’re still at the bottom of the list. The battery is that bad.

We vì our testing by adjusting the volume to an đầu ra of 75dB. While this won’t damage your hearing, it’s about the maximum cấp độ you’d want lớn listen at if you want lớn avoid damage to lớn your stereocilia. Then we let them play until they died. On three separate occasions, they died well before the second hour. I also used these for our weekly team meeting on a group call và though the quality was fine, the right earbud died one hour into the meeting. On the bright side, these bởi vì have quick charging, so only 10 minutes in the charging case gives you another hour of juice. Speaking of which, the case charges via USB Type-C, which is especially good if you have a relatively new app android phone as they all pretty much charge via the same cable now.

Let’s talk sound

As we mentioned earlier the Samsung Gear IconX doesn’t have any high-quality codecs, so anything you listen to lớn is going lớn be streamed via SBC—the lowest common denominator in terms of data delivery. But despite the technical limitation, the IconX sound surprisingly good. We tested the frequency response and, as you can see in the chart below, they’re fairly flat.

It may have a few tasteful alterations, but this frequency response is the best of all tested. It’s also the easiest khổng lồ equalize.
This means that if you choose khổng lồ EQ your music via the Samsung Gear ứng dụng you can achieve some meaningful tweaks. I didn’t make any changes, so everything in this section was done with the sound the Samsung Gear IconX have fresh out of the box.

The higher notes were decently separated considering these are wireless earbuds. You can hear this about 2:34 minutes into the song American Teen by Khalid where the detail in the echoes và reverb of the random percussion elements and snaps can be distinctly heard over the vocals. This isn’t just limited khổng lồ the treble, though; the same can be said about the vocals in the song The Cave by Mumford và Sons.

Even when things get a little crowded about a minute & a half into the song, vocals, and the guitar are easy lớn make out. To be fair, the banjo gets lost, so the cấp độ of detail isn’t perfect or amazing in any way, just impressive considering the small form size here. I will say that my least favorite part of these might be the lower notes. In songs that rely on strong sub-bass, the IconX end up trying a little too hard lớn make it work resulting in what can only be described as faking it.

You can hear this in the tuy nhiên Take by Arin Ray, where the sub-bass that’s supposed lớn be weaving everything together in the background ends up sounding more up front like the main melody. Something that becomes even more apparent when the beat switches up at 2:44, and the bass is basically all you can make out.

The charging capsule of the Gear IconX is pill-shaped, & though it's well-built it's awkward to carry in your pocket.The Gear IconX have a great fit và never fell out of my ear during exercise.

One negative thing about the Gear IconX are the finicky touch-sensitive playback controls along the outside.
The earbuds are small and have a minimal design that won't make them stand out. The IconX have quick charging that gives you a claimed one hour of playback in ten minutes.
When you remove the earbuds from their case they automatically connect to lớn the last paired device.

Final thoughts

The Samsung Gear IconX are so close lớn being my favorite pair of true wireless earbuds. I can see why so many people lượt thích them. They sound just as good if not better than other earbuds on the market, they have a great sweat-proof build, helpful fitness features, as well as a minimal thiết kế that won’t make you look lượt thích a wannabe robot from the future. But there are some fatal flaws that I just can’t get behind. I might be able to dismiss the fact that plenty of key features are missing on tiện ích ios devices, because—as annoying as it is—that seems to lớn be the norm when it comes lớn rival tech companies. Then there are the playback controls which, in my experience, were inconsistent & basically useless. But the battery life is inexcusable.

I run at least twice a week, và I don’t even consider myself a runner. But these don’t even have enough juice lớn last until the end of my run. I can only imagine how annoying it would be for someone who is actually in great shape & needs headphones that will last as long as their workouts. If you exercise often but don’t usually spend more than two hours in the gym, then you might be able to lớn make these work especially now that the price is likely to lớn drop once a newer version is announced. Still, even then you’ll likely be better off with some other options that won’t die so quickly.

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