DNA Review: Iconic earbuds that are music to one’s ears
By Chong Jinn Xiung December 21, 2017
- Second time may be the charm for Samsung’s Gear IconX wireless earbuds
- Longer battery life, built-in coaching and built-in storage make it a great workout tool
SAMSUNG’S second iteration of the Gear IconX is more of an update rather than a complete reinvention. While Samsung may not be known for producing high quality audio gear like certain brands, kudos to them for listening to feedback on their first version and making improvements on the IconX.
Not only did they address the weaknesses of the first generation by extending the battery life and offering more reliable wireless performance but they have included a host of new features that add more value to the overall product.
If white earbuds aren’t your style, then you would be pleased to know that the IconX comes in three colours: black, grey and pink.
Out of the box you find a little pill-shaped carrying case that stores the earbuds so you don’t lose them. The case also acts as the charging station for the earbuds, which are charged via USB Type-C, the same as the Galaxy S8 and Note 8. It is rather plain and simple with only a single button on the back to initiate Bluetooth pairing.
Looking at the earbuds themselves, the IconX looks like your typical in-ear wireless earbuds with a triangular shape touch sensitive panel on the side that you can use to control music and even bring up the voice assistant like Samsung’s own Bixby Voice or Google Assistant.
In my experience using the IconX, the earbuds felt comfortable thanks to the little outer wing tip that helps lodge in your ear canal. Don’t worry if the default pair don’t fit your ears perfectly, the IconX comes with different sizes so you can pick and choose the one that suits you.
Now what we can say in terms of the fit, is that they have a low profile so are actually not very noticeable when you have them on. On top of that they feel comfortable and pleasant to wear over long listening sessions considering that they are in-ear.
The first version of the IconX was criticised for its short battery life, so Samsung has outfitted the second iteration with a larger 82mAh battery that is said to last about seven to eight hours on average. That stamina which realistically tops at around six or so hours, puts it at a respectable range that is very much in line with other similar earbuds.
Even if you do engage in several hours of music listening, and suddenly find the earbuds out of power, the carrying case has a built-in 340mAh battery and should be able to fully charge the earbuds even when you are out and about.
With just 10 minutes of charging you can get as much as one and a half hours of playback so you can get back on the road.
Another interesting feature of the IconX that is sure to be a favourite for runners is the ability to store songs in the earbuds themselves. This would allow you to run and listen to music without needing to carry your phone with you.
By connecting the earbuds to your PC via the USB Type-C port, you can build your own custom workout playlist. Select your very best though as you only have 4GB of storage. Not massive by any means but more than enough to cover an hour-long workout.
Speaking of working out, Samsung is tapping on the fitness market with these earbuds as they come with a built-in “coach” to help spur you on when you are exercising. You don’t need to activate them when you go for a run as it will automatically detect that you have begun an activity and it syncs it back to the Samsung Health app to track the stats of your run or walks, the duration and distance travelled.
It all may seem a little cheesy and gimmicky but if you are a running enthusiast, why not have some added features since you will be bringing these earbuds out with you.
In terms of sound quality, the IconX has a wide spectrum of sounds be it in the bass, mid or high ranges. Let’s be realistic here when I say that the audio quality is not going to compare well against sound experts like Bose’s new wireless earbuds, but for the casual music listener, the IconX sounds better than most others and that is fine by me.
Coming to a conclusion, Samsung’s IconX wireless earbuds certainly offer the freedom of listening to music without wires but they are rather expensive with a price tag of US$171 (RM699).
But so far, they are going to please you rather than disappoint. Given the wealth of improvements made to this version, it will be a great pair of earbuds to use during workouts especially for runners.