Expert review of the Samsung Gear IconX
- In short
- Out of the box
- Specifications highlighted: completely wireless
- Specifications highlighted: integrated MP3 player
- Specifications highlighted: fitness tracker
- Highlighted specifications: battery life
- Specifications highlighted: carrying comfort
- Specifications highlighted: compatibility
- You have all the freedom of movement because the earbuds are completely wireless.
- Thanks to the internal MP3 player, you don't have to use your phone to listen to music.
- The earbuds have an integrated fitness tracker.
- The earbuds are comfortable and don't fall out of your ears during exercise.
- With the included power bank, you can charge the earbuds at all times.
- The earbuds don't work optimally with Apple products.
- It takes time and effort to understand how the earbuds work.
- The earbuds have a limited battery life.
Out of the box
I was impressed by the Samsung Gear IconX earbuds when I removed them from the packaging. The design is sleek and minimalistic, exactly what I like. They feel smooth. I think that's the water-repellent nano layer. Use the power bank to charge the earbuds. At the same time, it can be used as a protective cover. Smart thinking. The box also included extra sizes of earbuds and ear hooks with which the earbuds must remain firmly in your ears. I wasn't too sure about the latter. I wanted to try them out and went running in the park.
Specifications highlighted: completely wireless
With the Samsung Gear IconX, you don't suffer from cables that get in the way. The loose earbuds stream music from your smartphone via Bluetooth. On the go, I could tie my laces without any tangling. I wondered how I could control the music since there's no remote in any cable present. You control it with the touch interface on the earbuds. One click is pausing, and by swiping, you change the volume. Setting Ambient Sound mode, in which ambient noise is audible, didn't immediately work.
Specifications highlighted: integrated MP3 player
In addition to streaming music via Bluetooth, the earbuds can play music themselves. They have an integrated MP3 player with 4GB storage. This is sufficient for about 1,000 songs. Thanks to the internal MP3 player, you no longer have to take your smartphone with you during your workout. Super convenient. Less convenient was the way you have to put music on the player. This wasn't immediately clear to me. You have to put the same music on both the left and the right earbud, unless you download the Gear IconX PC manager.
Specifications highlighted: fitness tracker
The nicest feature of the Gear IconX is the integrated fitness tracker. My heart rate, speed, distance, and the number of calories burned were measured via the sensors in the earbuds. While running, a Dutch voice gave me this information, so that I knew how I was doing. For an even more extensive training program, I connected the earbuds to the Samsung S Health app. The voice guided me through the exercise. This resulted in some funny moments when the voice told me to "go harder" and "you're doing well". I'll take a personal coach like that any day of the week.
Highlighted specifications: battery life
The battery lasted 1.5 hours when I streamed music via Bluetooth. I think this is quite limited. Fortunately, you can charge the earbuds on the road in the power bank. This way, they last for another hour. The disadvantage of this is that you can't use the earbuds when you're charging them. When I listened to music with the internal MP3 player, the battery lasted 3 hours. Naturally, the battery of your phone will also be saved. Although I never exercise for 3 hours without interruption, I do think it's annoying that you have to charge the earbuds fairly quickly.
Specifications highlighted: carrying comfort
Beforehand, I was afraid that the earbuds would fall out quickly. Fortunately, this wasn't the case. Thanks to the extra sizes of earbuds and the ear clips, the lightweight earbuds fit perfectly. I ran with them for half an hour and they never fell out. I was afraid that I would lose them soon. You can store the earbuds in the power bank, but Samsung doesn't have a tracking system that allows you to find them, unlike the wireless Motorola VerveOnes + earbuds.
Specifications highlighted: compatibility
The Samsung Gear IconX website states that the earbuds are suitable for smartphones with Android 4.4 or higher operating systems. Your device also needs at least 1.5GB of RAM. I own an iPhone, so I borrowed a Samsung smartphone to be able to write this review. Stubborn as always, I still wanted to try the earbuds with my iPhone. It did work some of the time, but the Bluetooth connection wasn't stable. It's therefore not recommended for Apple users.
The Samsung Gear IconX earbuds receive an 8. I'm happy with the freedom of movement, the sound, the internal MP3 player, the carrying comfort, and the integrated fitness tracker. I'm less happy with the battery life, user-friendliness, and compatibility. The IconX earbuds aren't meant for digital illiterates, because it takes effort to understand how everything works. Once you've mastered the controls, the earbuds are really nice. Hopefully, Samsung will launch an update or a new version, so Apple users can also enjoy these cool earbuds.