Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Wireless Headphones Review

The water resistance rating isn’t great – but they shine in every other way

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They may look almost identical to the original Galaxy Buds, but the plus in the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ is well-earned thanks to improvements made to the sound and the battery life, which has been extended from six hours to 11. They are outstanding headphones on almost every front, in fact. However, their relatively low water resistance rating makes me question whether they’re a worthwhile purchase if you want to use them for regular exercise.

They’re rated IPX2, which means the buds are fine with dripping water but aren’t rated to withstand splashing or spraying water. I treat IPX4 as a minimum on sports headphones for peace of mind during sweaty workouts or when running in the rain.

While I’ve had no problems with the Galaxy Buds+ during workouts, including rainy runs and sweaty spinning sessions, I still consider them a riskier purchase if you intend to primarily use them while exercising, especially if you do sweat a lot.

You might deem it a risk worth taking though, because this quibble aside the Galaxy Buds+ are excellent. That starts with the 11-hour battery life – huge given the small size of the buds. It’s over twice as long as the Apple AirPods and even more than the nine hours of the much larger Beats Powerbeats Pro.

The case adds another 11 hours, which is pretty standard, but the bonus is the case is very small and pocket-friendly, while the quick charge function nets you three hours of playback from 10 minutes of charging.

I also found the fit superb, once you’ve figured out which wingtip is best suited to your ears. The wingtips come in three sizes, as do the silicone buds in the box. During runs, exercise bike workouts and strength sessions the headphones stayed comfortably in place and rarely needed adjusting.

That was handy, because I found that any attempt to adjust the fit almost always set off the touch-panel controls. You can turn off the touch controls, a feature you will welcome if, like me, you prefer to turn the controls off when exercising in case the headphones need adjusting if they do move around in your ear and would rather not accidentally pause or skip.

The controls are mostly the same on both sides – one tap to play/pause, two to skip forward, three to skip back. You can also set up a fourth control in the partner app, and even a fifth by making the fourth control on each side different. The extra control is activated by touching and holding the panel, and the functions available to choose are volume up/down, turn ambient sound on/off and activate voice assistant.

The ambient sound setting was the one I found most useful. There are three settings to choose from in the partner app, and even on the lowest setting the headphones will filter in a good amount of external noise so you can be more aware of your surroundings when running or cycling outside.

The app also offers the option to enable more controls, namely a double tap on the edge of each bud to turn the volume up (right bud) or down (left bud). This is labelled as a Samsung Lab experimental feature and it was far from perfect. Using the hold control to change volume on the buds is more reliable.

While there is no active noise cancellation on the Buds Plus+, the in-ear design does block out most external noise. These are some of the more comfortable in-ear buds I’ve tried too, and I didn’t get any soreness even if I wore them for a full day of work.

Samsung Galaxy Buds

(Image credit: Unknown)

The sound quality is certainly good enough to use them when you’re not exercising too. There are two drivers tuned by AKG and you can choose between six EQ presets in the partner app. The default normal setting is on the bass-y side – there is also a bass boost setting if you want to beef things up even further – but I prefered the dynamic and clear settings, which were better suited to the music I listen to most often.

The connectivity on the buds proved reliable, though on one run when I had my phone in a belt under several layers and the buds under a headband (it was -1°C) the connection was a little patchy for the first few minutes. It did settle down though, and I had no problems during any other workout .

While the £159 RRP of the Buds+ is fairly standard for high-end truly wireless buds, they’re usually available for much less, dropping below £100 regularly on Amazon.

If you can find them for under £100, there’s nothing better at that price, with that caveat of the IPX2 rating, which does rather hang over the Buds+. I’ve found them excellent sports headphones with a superb battery life, solid fit and great sound quality, but that will mean little if they prove unable to handle your regular sweatfests.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ - Black (Spanish Version)

(Image credit: Unknown)

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ - Black (Spanish Version)

Buy now

Buy from Samsung | £159 (currently reduced to £129)

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.