The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ are a pair of wireless Bluetooth earphones with a 2-way dynamic speaker and 11 hours of battery life.
If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earphones with good battery life and sound quality, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ (SM-R175) should be one of your top options to consider. The Buds+ earphones offer an impressive 11 hours of battery life, and this increases to 22 hours when you charge it from the case. You’ll also get a 2-way dynamic speaker in each earbud and 3 microphones for better voice quality when you’re making a phone call.
At present, you can get a free pair of the Galaxy Buds+ earphones (RRP £159) when you order a Galaxy S20+ on Vodafone. You can also get a £288 discount on Vodafone’s Unlimited Max plan. This gives you access to 5G coverage with the fastest available download speeds on Vodafone. It also includes access to VeryMe Rewards and Global Roaming Plus (with inclusive roaming in 81 destinations).
In this article, we’ll review the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ earphones in detail. We’ll start by looking at the design of the earbuds, the sound quality you can expect and the battery life available. We’ll also look at handset and device compatibility along with how the newer Galaxy Buds+ compare to last year’s original Galaxy Buds.
The Galaxy Buds+ have a lightweight and ergonomic design. Each earbud weighs just 6.3g and is designed to fit closely in your ear. You can use it for extended amounts of time and it shouldn’t fall out, even when you’re running or doing other exercise.
Within the box, Samsung provides three ear tips and three wing tips, each one of a different size. This allows you to test out different combinations to find the one that gives you the best fit and sound quality.
Integrated into the earbuds is also a touch sensitive panel. This allows you to control your music playback and phone calls directly from the earbuds, without the need to reach for your phone or to unlock it. The earbuds will respond to the following four gestures:
- A single-tap on the earbuds will play or pause your music.
- A double-tap on the earbuds will skip ahead to the next track. Alternatively, it will accept an incoming phone call or end the current call.
- A triple-tap on the earbuds will go back to the previous track.
- Long-pressing on the earbuds will activate your choice of functionality. This could be activating the virtual assistant of your choice (e.g. Samsung’s Bixby, the Google Assistant or Siri on an iPhone). On Android, it can also be used to start your music on Spotify.
In addition, the earbuds are intelligent enough to automatically detect when they’ve been taken out of your ears. If you remove both of your earbuds at the same time, your music playback will automatically pause.
The Galaxy Buds+ earphones are designed to be splash-resistant and have received IPX2 certification. They’re not waterproof so we wouldn’t bring them into a shower but the splash-proofing should provide you with a bit of protection in daily usage.
With the Galaxy Buds+, Samsung has re-engineered the sound system to give you a better speaker and a clearer microphone for making phone calls.
Each earbud has a new 2-way dynamic speaker system. This consists of a dedicated woofer for powerful bass notes and a separate tweeter that gives clearer higher-pitched notes. The buds are tuned for sound quality by AKG.
As part of the sound system, passive noise cancellation is built into the Galaxy Buds+. This removes some of the background noise to make your music and phone calls sound clearer. Within the app, you can change the “Ambient Sound” setting to adjust the amount of noise cancellation that is applied (there are low, medium, high and extra high settings). This is useful as there are situations where you’ll want to be more aware of your surroundings (e.g. when you’re using the earbuds in the office, crossing the road, etc).
For clearer phone calls, the Galaxy Buds+ have 3 built-in microphones in each earbud (two on the outside of the earbud and one on the inside). These are designed to clearly pick up your voice and to isolate it from the background noise for clearer phone calls.
In terms of audio codecs, the Galaxy Buds+ has support for Samsung’s proprietary Scalable codec. This is designed to give clear audio with minimal disruption and lag, and is compatible with Samsung devices starting from the Galaxy S6. If you’re using a device from another manufacturer, the Buds+ also support AAC and SBC codecs. The aptX codec is not supported on the Galaxy Buds+.
Battery & Charging
The battery life is one of the stand-out features of the Galaxy Buds+, especially when compared to other wireless earphones on the market.
From a single charge, you can get up to 11 hours of listening time on your Galaxy Buds+ (up to 7.5 hours if you’re using it for calling). This is more than double the 5 hours of usage you’ll get from Apple AirPods (or only 3 hours if you’re using the AirPods for calling). Samsung is able to achieve this on the Galaxy Buds+ with a 85mAh battery built into each earbud.
Alongside the two provided earbuds, you’ll also get a clever charging case that works with your earbuds. The charging case has its own built-in 270mAh battery which can be used to give your earbuds a top-up of power. According to Samsung, you can get a total of 22 hours battery life when considering the battery top-up provided by the case. A quick 3 minute charge should give you an additional hour of play time, making this a quick and convenient way of topping up the battery in your buds.
To make charging as convenient as possible, Samsung’s smartphone application for the Galaxy Buds+ will show you the current battery level of your earbuds and charging case. Your charging case can be topped up in one of two ways: either using a USB-C charger or using Qi wireless charging technology. Compatible wireless charging pads can already be found in places like McDonalds, Yo Sushi and Costa Coffee. Alternatively, you can use your own Qi wireless charging mat, or you can charge it from a Galaxy smartphone that supports Qi wireless PowerShare (Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Z Flip, Note10, Note10+, S10e, S10, S10+, S10 5G and Fold). Some other brands of smartphone may also support this.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ works best with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. For instance, you’ll currently get a free pair of the Galaxy Buds+ with a Samsung Galaxy S20+, along with £288 off on Vodafone’s Unlimited Max plan. It’s also compatible with older devices like the Galaxy S10 which is also currently discounted in price on Vodafone.
More broadly, once you have a pair of Galaxy Buds+, you can use it with any Android smartphone with at least 1.5GB of RAM and version 5.0 of Android or later. It also works the iPhone 7 and newer, providing your device is running on iOS 10 or later. The earphones can be set up and managed through the Galaxy Wearable app on Android and through the Galaxy Buds+ app on iPhone. You can also connect your Galaxy Buds+ to other Bluetooth-enabled devices like your Windows 10 computer or smart TV.
Once the Galaxy Buds+ have been paired with your device, they’ll automatically connect every time you open the charging case.
Galaxy Buds+ vs Galaxy Buds
The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ (SM-R175) are an updated version of last year’s original Galaxy Buds earphones (SM-R170). It keeps the same form factor and design as last year’s buds, but comes with an important upgrade in three areas:
- The Galaxy Buds+ offer better sound quality, with a 2-way dynamic speaker (with a separate woofer and tweeter). The original Galaxy Buds had only a 1-way dynamic speaker.
- The Galaxy Buds+ has three microphones in each earbud, versus 2 on the original Galaxy Buds. This greatly improves the voice quality when you’re speaking on a phone call.
- The Galaxy Buds+ has vastly improved battery life. You can get 11 hours of usage on one charge, versus 6 hours on the original Galaxy Buds.
The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the technical specifications for both devices:
|Price & Availability
|Release Date:||March 2020||March 2019|
|Special Offer:||Free Galaxy Buds+ with the Galaxy S20+ on Vodafone, plus £288 off (Unlimited Max plan)||–|
|Dimensions:||22.5 x 17.5 x 19.2 mm||22.5 x 17.5 x 19.2 mm|
39.6g (charging case)
40g (charging case)
|IP Rating:||IPX2 (splash resistant)||IPX2 (splash resistant)|
|Speakers:||2-Way Dynamic (Woofer + Tweeter)||1-Way Dynamic|
|Microphones:||3 microphones per earbud
(2 outer + 1 inner)
|2 microphones per earbud
(1 inner + 1 outer)
|Battery & Charging|
|Battery Life||11 hours (music)
7.5 hours (calling)
|6 hours (music)
5 hours (calling)
|Battery Life With Case:||22 hours||13 hours|
|Charging Methods:||USB-C & Qi wireless||USB-C & Qi wireless|
|Connectivity:||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Audio Codecs:||Samsung Scalable
|More Information:||Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Website||Samsung Galaxy Buds Website|
For more information about the Galaxy Buds+, please see Samsung’s official website. At the moment, you can claim a free pair of Galaxy Buds+ when you buy a Galaxy S20+ on Vodafone. You can also get £288 off the Unlimited Max plan.