Going truly wireless is a tough feat for most smartphone junkies.
The pressing question to address is, which are the best overall wireless headphones that can shift effortlessly between office hours (to block out babbling colleagues) and gym hours to ensure a focused sweat-inducing workout?
Definitely not AirPods due to their super corporate looks and fit. What about the Jabras? Well, that’s one tough one to slice even for the IconX but don’t worry, these buds come with their own niche of seamlessly connecting with Samsung’s devices and offer great audio quality for the price.
The Samsung Gear IconX are almost similar looking to the previous year’s model but this time with a more snuggly fit. The ear canal-shaped earbuds are really comfortable to wear and this time the inner plastic is much softer on the skin.
Pausing and skipping tracks is quite simple due to touch-sensitive pads on both buds. So you ain’t limited to one side of the bud to control music this time. Don’t like a track? Double tap to skip music or just tap to pause/play music. You can adjust the touch sensitivity from the Samsung Gear app and swipe up or down on the bud to adjust the volume as well.
After you’re done with your listening session, the buds fit nicely inside the capsule shaped box that also charges the earbuds. It’s smaller than last year and fits perfectly in the pocket. This time the case has a USB Type-C fast charging port and holds plenty of juice (more on that later).
Software and features
One of the key reasons why you’d choose an IconX over the better sounding Jabras is because these buds will work in tandem across all your Samsung devices. Say you have a Note 9 and the Gear Sport smartwatch, the buds will work effortlessly between the two.
Even the connectivity over bluetooth is quite snappy from the second you remove the buds from its case. The Pace Setter feature that works with Samsung Health allows you to set workout presets which will coach you throughout the exercise. It’s basically cheering you on and in my opinion quite distracting when you’re pumping iron on Eye Of The Tiger.
You can even allow ambient sound to pour in from the surroundings while running. It can be adjusted from the app and you can even set it to focus on office chattering in the distance to consume all that gossip while pretending to mind your own business.
These teeny tiny earphones can get loud, really loud and that’s not necessarily great when listening to music. By default the audio quality is quite sharp with more emphasis on the vocals and mids.
In parts of the song you can hear the slight bit of trumpet playing in the background in Makeba by Jain. Though the emphasis on the bass is very slight. Even in the Dynamic preset that can be set from the app in the Equaliser. The IconX definitely favours highs and vocals over lows.
The cymbal splashes in Them Changes by Thundercat are not fully defined, through the soundstage is surprisingly vast for such headphones. We still feel its not clearly defined. Stephen Lee Bruner’s constant bass guitar plucks were missing the heft that you would’ve got from the more bass centric Jabra Elite 65t.
There’s a little bit of passive noise cancellation because of the snugly fit but it won’t complete shut off the rumbling noise of the airplane engine while travelling. We watched Netflix without any audio lag but while playing Alto’s Odyssey on the Samsung Note 9 there was a massive audio delay. There’s also a slight bit of connection dip around wireless hot zones like airports.
Battery and storage
Battery life is phenomenal. It will last you five hours easy when streaming music and will juice up in 10mins to give playback for an hour. The case itself doubles down as a power bank as well.
You can connect it to a PC and save your music on the 3.4GB storage space on the earphones. You can transfer songs from your phone as well using the app but if you’re using any paid music streaming services then tough luck. The Jabra Elite 65t on the other hand don’t have space to store music. In the age of music streaming services, it’s a task to manually transfer music files after downloading them. I much rather pay for a streaming service and have it work across all my devices, Samsung should’ve at least made the Google Play Music available to download tracks on the earphones. Tch.
Also, the Samsung Gear app isn’t on the iOS store (not surprising). The earphones work with an iPhone but their functionality is limited due to the lack of an app.
Samsung’s Gear IconX are a truly wireless set of earphones that can flit between your work and your post work life. It fits really well and works seamlessly with an Android device.
The audio quality and the functionality is really good for the price. We’re not impressed by how it handles bass but aside from pleasing audiophiles, these wireless buds will entice any and every fitness enthusiast.
There’s enough juice for it to last lengthy workout hours and Netflix binges.