Technophile

Samsung’s IconX earbuds are for music and movement

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Oct 10, 2018
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Samsung got off the mark with the trend of totally wireless earbuds well over a year ago, when the company launched the Gear IconX. Now it’s time to move to the next version, which is exactly what they’ve done with a new generation of the earbuds for 2018.

The IconX earbuds are not tethered to each other by any wires and connect to the device via Bluetooth. You can actually use them with any Android phone and even an iPhone, but all the features work best with a Samsung phone and on downloading and using the companion app for all things Gear, the Gear Manager.

The earbuds sit in a tiny sarcophagus-like black metallic case that’s quite sturdy. You connect it via a USB Type-C cable to charge and it does so quickly enough as it supports quick charge.

The case and earbuds get charged and the case will give one more cycle of top-up when you run out of battery on the earbuds. But the battery life is one thing that those familiar with these earbuds are most happy about — it’s increased dramatically from last year and can keep going for up to six to seven hours depending on what you’re doing. Two lights on the case indicate that the earbuds are in place and the light colour shows charge completion. The earbuds are clumpy — as all such earbuds except the AirPods seem to be — and are meant to fit right into the ear canal. They do fit quite well but you have to twist them a bit and adjust until you have the right sealing. There are spare ear-tips given in the box. Jumping about didn’t make them fall out of my ears and I found them comfortable enough.

Samsung emphasises that the IconX earbuds are meant for people who are always on the go — or workout to music or guidance often enough and determinedly enough to buy them for this purpose. If you’re more a sit-in-one-place person, there are other options especially in the wired department because wired sounds better than Bluetooth.

The IconX maintain the Bluetooth range quite well, unless you meet a thick wall. Even then, the sound cracks up and tries hard to stay on for quite a while.

The controls on these earbuds are on the outer side of each bud. They’re very sensitive to touch and at the same time a little complicated and fiddly because the slight taps can be easily misunderstood as they work in different combinations.

Volume, track and playlist navigation, call receiving, play-pause, and virtual assistant are all triggered by tap combinations that can go wrong.

From the app you can adjust a few settings including auto detection of exercise. The earbuds have to be synced with the Pace Setter feature on the phone, it then coaches the user with in-ear voice prompts to speed up or slow down at predefined moments in the chosen program without needing the phone to be around.

The sound quality for music is even or balanced. Nothing stands out but it overall sounds fine.

There’s 4 GB of storage on the earbuds themselves. Using the app, the user can transfer music tracks (provided one has them, of course) either through Bluetooth (with which it’s slow) or cable. But once done, the user can go out for a spell without the phone.

Price: ₹13,990

Pros: Great battery life, balanced sound, good fit, sturdy case, has workout features

Cons : Complex controls, no heart rate detection to go with exercise features

Published on October 10, 2018

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