There are a lot of great earbuds out there, but there’s one pair among the most comfortable and most secure earbuds I’ve ever tried, and I’m not the only one who thought this. The design was so great that people continued to buy them, and honestly, I continue to recommend them even years after newer models came out. These were the famous Galaxy Buds Plus, but Samsung killed it until now. Finally, Samsung is bringing back that design, and interestingly, they’re doing this in their Samsung Galaxy Buds FE.
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE
Now, I had some time Hands-On with these earbuds, and I was really excited to see them, but I think you’ll want to hear about the two main compromises I noticed right away. But let’s kind of take a step back; these earbuds are part of the FE lineup, which means they’re more affordable. That’s really what Samsung does; it’s their budget lineup. But for the first time ever, I think it’s more fitting of the name here. This really is a fan Edition product because a lot of Samsung fans really liked the Galaxy Buds Plus and really wanted Samsung to bring it back.
Design and Comfort Features
But we have some huge improvements here, some really big ones. For one, we have active noise cancellation and transparency mode on these, which we didn’t see on the Buds Plus. We also have the longest battery life in the entire Galaxy Buds lineup, and I’ll talk more about that in a minute. So props to Samsung for actually doing that for the first time, not just making a cheaper model, but actually something that I think the Samsung fan base is really going to like.
Wingtip Design: Enhanced Comfort and Stability
As far as the price goes, it’s pretty much hitting exactly what you’d expect for classic budget earbuds like Pixel Buds A, for example. It’s selling for a hundred dollars in the US, which we’ll talk about if it’s worth that price in a minute, but that’s basically where the Galaxy Buds Plus left off before they got discontinued. But I’m kind of getting ahead of myself a little bit. Let’s zoom in on that wingtip and why it was significant because maybe you didn’t try the Galaxy Buds Plus; a lot of people didn’t. For me, I’ve really enjoyed them because of the wingtip.
Battery Life and Charging Capabilities
So the design of the earbud was kind of a little spherical on the outside, so there was a touchpad in the middle, but on the outside, you could still adjust it as you needed to. You can kind of grip around the touchpad, and you wouldn’t have accidental touch. So that’s great for adjusting it, and then the wingtip gives you a grip on the inside of your ear as well as a silicone tip, which is actually in your ear canal. So because you have those two things, and they’re both adjustable, you have three different ear tips, you have three different wingtips.
I assume they’re doing that; they might even send a fourth size. But at the very least, that’s giving you a permutation of nine different options for each ear. So everybody has weird ears, everybody’s going to be doing different things with the earbuds, and so you have a better probability of having earbuds that stay in your ears and stay in your ears when you’re doing more intense things as well if you’re running, doing burpees, like I don’t know, whatever you do with earbuds on, sleep with them maybe, for example. These should be fitting a lot better and a lot more secure, and I’m really happy to see that.
Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient Mode
And then the case is not the old design; they’re tying that in with the modern kind of square design that we have on the other earbuds in the Galaxy Buds lineup, and I think that’s a really nice touch to kind of tie the two together. Great design; it’s available in two colors, there’s graphite and white. Graphite looked cool, but the case was still white on the outside, which honestly made it like impossible for me to film. I did my best, but it was really hard to get these shots.
As I said, we have a capacitive touch sensor on the outside, and because of the geometry of these earbuds, they were able to fit in a larger battery here. So we’re getting six hours in the earbuds and 21 hours when you include the case, and that is with active noise cancellation on. But if you turn that off, you can get up to 30 hours when you include the case and eight and a half hours in the earbuds, which will probably last you like almost a week of listening.
Water Resistance Rating: IPX2 Explained
As I mentioned before, these do have active noise cancellation and they have ambient modes, which I mean, because it’s going to be such a nice seal with the silicone tip in your ear, we should have some pretty good passive noise blocking as we saw in the Buds Plus, but now with the ANC, I’m expecting some pretty good quality here. But of course, I haven’t actually, like Samsung let me go Hands-On, I could film, I could touch, I could do whatever with these, but I wasn’t allowed to put them in my ears; they said for sanitary reasons. I get it, sure, but like I really wanted to try them.
Obviously, I absolutely plan on trying these, so as soon as I have a pair in the studio, I will be writing another article, a full in-depth review with active noise cancellation testing microphone testing, and sound quality analysis. And if you want to see any of that or all of that, make sure you go down and click that subscribe button so you don’t miss that article. I’m so excited to make it, and I think you’ll probably want to see how those tests actually perform because I am a little skeptical about how good the ANC is actually going to be on a $99 pair of earbuds. But that kind of brings me to the topic of compromises.
Of course, these are just $99, which is half the price of most other flagship earbuds and honestly, a quarter of the price of some of the best earbuds out there. So there’s going to be some compromises. The compromise is always so interesting to me, we see this on mid-range phones and budget phones, but on earbuds, like you never know what you’re gonna get. Some of them have great sound but they’re giant and bulky, some of them are very comfortable but have bad sound.
The first compromise that we can clearly tell from these is the water resistance rating. These are IPX2, while most other earbuds are IPX4. For anyone who doesn’t just memorize IP ratings, really what that means is you can have vertical water drops or plus or minus 15 degrees for up to 10 minutes. So if you’re walking outside and it’s raining for 10 minutes at a 15-degree angle, which like most rains probably not coming much more than that, you’ll be good. But any more than 10 minutes, then you’re not good.
No, I don’t plan on standing in the rain for more than 10 minutes with earbuds in, but it makes me wonder how they’re going to perform if you sweat a lot and what if you’re sweating and you’re at different angles or I don’t know. I’m gonna have to test this out and really see how good that water resistance rating is. I know other earbuds in the past have had IPX2, and for the most part, they’ve been fine, but it’s something we’ll have to test and actually figure out. As far as compatibility goes with these, I’m happy to say that they will be working on all Android devices, not just on Galaxy devices like some watch features.
Also, they work on PC, so PC and Android, as long as you can get the Galaxy Buds app, you can use these. And on Samsung TVs, of course, anything newer than 2022, they’ll also work there. And for any other device out there, whether that is like a projector or a different Smart TV or an iPhone, a MacBook, whatever, you can still connect. It’s just going to be Bluetooth, and that means you won’t be able to get any kind of software updates or things like that or really go in and customize the settings. But it still works, so if you have a MacBook and a Galaxy phone, sure, you’ll be able to use them.
Compatibility with Various Devices
Now as far as multi-point connectivity goes, just like all the other Galaxy Buds, they’re trying to do their ecosystem things, so it’ll switch seamlessly between your Galaxy devices but it won’t switch between your MacBook and your Galaxy phone seamlessly. I wish Samsung would just open the gates on that and let that happen, but again, they have their ecosystem, and I get it, that’s what they’re trying to do. But it’s still nice that that exists on a budget pair of earbuds to be able to switch seamlessly.
That’s pretty nice, and I’m sure we’re going to see some other features in the app once I actually get these earbuds. I think there are going to be some other cool things, maybe some Labs features, for example, like maybe the flick, maybe that’ll be cool too, but we’ll see once we actually get them.
Missing Feature: Wireless Charging
As for wireless charging, that’s our second major compromise here; these don’t have wireless charging. It seems like I mean the case is so familiar I’m a little surprised Samsung didn’t just add it in. I think big companies like this make a great product but rather than trying to capitalize and capture the entire market, they’re a little worried that it’s going to cannibalize their more expensive earbuds sales. So I think that’s a differentiating feature they want you to spend more money on the Buds 2 Pro to get wireless charging. I think that’s a miss. I think wireless charging would be great here, but regardless, the long battery life means you’re probably not going to charge it all that often anyway.
Voice Assistant Integration
And then of course these do have three microphones on the outside; we’ll test that in the next article, and they have Voice Wake Up and voice assistant, so if you need to talk to like Google Assistant, you can, or if you’re a Bixby user, you could do that too on these earbuds.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
So those are my first impressions of the Galaxy Buds FE. I’m super excited to test these out. I love that the wingtips are coming back. They’re checking all the boxes for the Galaxy Buds that we really expect to see. But IPX2, it’s a little bit of a drawback, and the a lack of wireless charging. But let me know what you think about these.