People have always had a fascination with getting rid of cables. TVs originally had wired controllers attached to them. (Or so we’re told.. we’re to young to have been there) Then someone said, “nah lets get rid of that cable”. And since then people have been obsessed with making everything they touch wireless. We’ve had wireless headphones and earbuds for awhile now. But now companies are actively working on getting rid of the cable that connects the 2 ear buds together. And thats where the Samsung Gear IconX Earbud Wireless Headphones come in. The Iconx are Samsung’s new earbuds that do way more than just play music. After sifting through multiple stores and chasing down multiple sales reps, the GYMCADDY™ team managed to get a hold of a few pairs for testing. This is GYMCADDY’s review on the Samsung Gear IconX Earbud Wireless Headphones.
Apple and Samsung must be on the same wavelength or something. They both said “how do we make wireless headphones easier to lose?” and some genius said “lets get rid of the cable that connect the two buds together!”. When you first get a hold of the AirPods or IconX your first thought is going to be “I really hope I don't lose one of them”. And at $199.99 for the IconX, its a justified thought. The IconX are also $40 more expensive than the Apple AirPods, and on paper seem to out preform them. The IconX surly packs some extra tricks up its sleeve that the Apple’s AirPods cant match.
Just like other Samsung products, packaging on the IconX is straight forward. You get your earbuds, a charging case that looks like a miniature hard shell sunglasses case, cables, ear tips and some documentation. The earbuds and charging case are made of hard plastic, so be sure not to sit or step on them. The IconX does much more than just play music, they can also read your heart rate, store up to 4GB of music locally, count your calories burned, count steps, calculate speed and distance ran. They’re like fitbits that go in your ear minus the music, and we thought that was pretty cool! The charging case can recharge your earbuds back to 100% 3 times as well. The case itself will also notify you when it needs to be charged.
Just like the Samsung Gear Fit2, this product is best if you already have an Android or Samsung phone. They don't play nice if you're an iPhone user. These earbuds fit snugly in the ear canal, don't stick out too much and after some extensive interval training they still didn't fall out. There is a learning curve when it comes to using the IconX, you interact with it by tapping a touchpad on the side of the earbud. A single tap will pause and play your music, double tapping will answer or end a call or skip to the next song, swiping up or down will adjust the volume, and tap and holding on the touch pad will start a menu read out. Both earbuds have a touch pad, and you can easily assign your master earbud through the settings menu so you can use your dominate hand to interact with them. Options, we like that.
The touchpad interface on the IconX is pretty cool and feels like the feature. Its our understanding the Apple AirPods will also have something similar to them. Like we mentioned earlier, these earphones can read your heart rate, count calories burned, distance walked, and speed. It also gets all of that data for you and automatically inputs it into the S Health App. But what good do these features do for you if they aren't accurate. After testing the earbuds sensors against dedicated pedometers, other fitness trackers, treadmill heart rate monitors, and an EKG machine, results were lack luster. We found the heart monitoring capabilities to be accurate most of the time, but its step counter, distance, and speed calculator were pretty off. We also tested the battery life and the results we lack luster. Expect to get no more than an hour of play back from these headphones if you're streaming your music from your phone. You'll be able to squeeze out an extra half hour if you store your music locally to the earbuds. On multiple occasions we had to switch to a different pair of earphones mid workout cause the IconX ran out of juice. Finally, the sound quality is not the best. The Samsung Gear IconX Earbuds use a rather old technology to wirelessly communicate with your phone. On the bright side, these earbuds are splash resistant.
In conclusion, the Samsung Gear IconX Earbud Wireless Headphones is an amazing beta product from Samsung. Having truly wireless earbuds that can track your fitness is truly next level and we love where Samsung’s head is at. The earbud’s shape and ear tips make sure they stay in place when you workout. Unfortunately, the battery life is way too short and accuracy of the sensors are too inaccurate to be useful. GYMCADDY will have to pass on these earbuds but will actively look forward to the next iteration of the IconX. But if you consider yourself to be an early adopter and want to be on the cutting edge of technology, go ahead and pick yourself up a pair. Just make sure you're ok with the short battery life. You can certainly get away with using them if you do 30 minute high interval training workouts.