As we are mere days away from the February 11 Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, it’s fair to say that Samsung’s official announcement will likely not contain much in the way of surprises, at least as far as the company’s next true wireless earbuds — the Galaxy Buds+ — are concerned.
Thanks to an endless supply of leaks, here’s what we’re predicting with a high degree of confidence:
- The price will be $ 149
- Battery life will be a very generous 11 hours per charge
- As before, the case will only carry about one full recharge, for 22 hours of total playtime
- Three minutes of fast charging will get you an extra 60 minutes
- Audio performance should be improved thanks to a dual-driver design
- Multiple Bluetooth connections will be supported
- There will be an iOS and an Android app at launch
- They’ll be available in black and white
- They’ll be offered as a freebie for those who pre-order the company’s new flagship smartphones.
Evan Blass, who goes by the Twitter handle @evleaks, has been the source of the most recent leaks and they look like the real deal.
On February 4, Blass posted an image containing a side-by-side comparison chart between the Galaxy Buds and the Galaxy Buds+. This not only revealed the specs listed above, but it also seems to confirm a suspicion of ours: That Samsung may continue selling the original Galaxy Buds alongside the new Buds+.
Apple itself accidentally confirmed the iOS compatibility portion of the leak when it posted the details of the Samsung Galaxy app that will support the new buds — before quickly removing it again from the App Store.
In January, Blass posted another image that is purportedly part of Samsung’s upcoming marketing material for the Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, in which the two handsets sit side by side with the Galaxy Buds+, which look virtually identical to the Galaxy Buds.
The pricing and features listed in Blass’ tweet look like a good match — for $ 20 more than the original Galaxy Buds, buyers will be getting a decent upgrade in a lot of the areas that matter, but let’s quickly take a look at the state of the wireless earbud landscape to see how these specs compare to the best of the best.
Better battery life
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Battery life in true wireless earbuds has been improving steadily and, in some cases — like the recently released Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus (there’s that naming convention again) — that improvement has been radical. The MW07 Plus deliver a staggering 10 hours between charges. With 11 hours of battery life, the Galaxy Buds+ will become the reigning champ, exceeding the MW07 Plus and more than doubling what you can expect from Apple’s AirPods Pro.
We’ve said before that the Galaxy Buds are decent performers when it comes to audio quality, so any improvement to this will be gravy. Using a dual set of dynamic drivers instead of just one, should definitely help the Galaxy Buds+ achieve that upgrade. Will they sound as good as the MW07 Plus, Sony WF-1000XM3, or AirPods Pro? We’ll have to wait and see. But given their very low price, they may not have to.
More juice in the charging case
The standard these days is at least three or four full recharges, and the gold standard is closer to six. The Galaxy Buds+ appears to ignore this state of affairs, and keeps the single charge ratio of its predecessor. 22 hours of total charge time isn’t bad, but it’s strange to see Samsung make no progress in this area at all.
This is something of a surprise: The Galaxy Buds+ will not have active noise cancellation. Given that since the debut of the Galaxy Buds, we’ve seen the appearance of the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Echo Buds, the AirPods Pro, and the MW07 Plus — all of which have this feature — you’d think Samsung would want to compete here too. However, the Echo Buds are the only earbuds to offer this feature for less than $ 150, and perhaps Samsung reasons that few people will expect a $ 150 set of earbuds to have it.
Given that the Jabra Elite 75t and Elite Active 75t don’t have ANC either and cost even more than the Galaxy Buds+, perhaps Samsung’s decision is the right one.
Better dust and water resistance
Another surprise. The Galaxy Buds are IPX2-rated — the very lowest amount of water protection that has an official rating attached to it — and it’s the same rating on the Galaxy Buds+. What’s really odd about this is that IPX4 has effectively become the new baseline for water-resistance. It’s not uncommon to find $ 50 wireless earbuds on Amazon that offer this level of protection (or better). Why has Samsung stuck to its guns on this front, and will buyers react poorly to the decision? We shall see.
When will the Galaxy Buds+ arrive?
We are fully expecting that Samsung will debut its next flagship smartphone — the Galaxy S20 — on February 11, ahead of Mobile World Congress. If history is any indicator, this will also be the moment that Samsung introduces the Galaxy Buds+. They will likely be available for purchase within days of the announcement.