Samsung isn’t the first firm to offer a pair of truly wireless earbuds, but the South Korean giant really knocked it out of the park with this one. We had a chance to try out the Gear IconX and came away seriously impressed with these sleek fitness-focused earbuds and all the powerful technology somehow squeezed into such a tiny device.
Right off the bat, the Gear IconX look pretty awesome. The earbuds are shaped to match the inside of your ear, giving them a unique design that also fits snugly when they’re being used. Samsung also added a small but clever tab that slips in between the folds of your inner ear, ensuring that the buds are secure at all times, even if you’re in the middle of a high-intensity workout. They’re also small enough to be almost invisible once you pop them in.
The Gear IconX comes packed to the gills with powerful hardware. On the outside, Samsung included a capacitive touchpad that you can swipe to control the volume or tap to pause, which works really well. There’s also a built-in heart rate monitor and an accelerometer that can tell as soon as you put in the earbuds so they switch on automatically.
The charging case they come with is a little bulky and putting the earbuds away can be awkward thanks to their unusual shape and the corresponding compartments. There’s also nothing keeping the earbuds secure in the holding case, and I found that they can fall out pretty easily if you’re not careful when opening it. That’s a small gripe, though, and I’m sure it’s something you get used to after a few hours or days at the most.
Based on my experience, the Gear IconX also sound great. The audio came in clear and crisp whether I was listening with both earbuds or just one. Samsung’s design also lets external sounds pass through the earbuds so I was aware of my surroundings and could even carry out a conversation without taking them out.
Samsung also included 4GB of storage space for saving up to 1000 songs. Using a mobile app I was able to easily add more tracks to the Icon X, and the company said it’s even easier when you connect directly to a computer. Of course, if you have your smartphone on hand, you can listen to your favorite streaming service instead but, if you feel like leaving your phone at home, you’ll still have plenty of music on-hand.
I wasn’t really able to test out the battery life during the 30 minutes of hands-on time I had with the Gear IconX. But Samsung says the 47mAh battery is calibrated to last an hour-and-a-half while tracking your activity, which should be long enough for most workouts. If you’re just listening to music they’ll last twice as long, and the case adds an extra 315mAh power pack which should be good for multiple charges.
Overall, I’m definitely impressed with the Gear IconX. They may not be perfect but they make an excellent first impression. We’ll be bringing you a more detailed look at Samsung’s earbuds when they launch later this summer for $199, so stay tuned for that.