The unique Samsung Gear IconX was criticized for having lower than stellar battery life, regardless of being a reasonably respectable first try by Samsung. At IFA 2017 earlier this yr, Samsung unveiled the updated Gear IconX, boasting an improved battery life and higher integration along with your telephone.
This week we lastly acquired our arms on a evaluate unit (in neon pink, no much less) to see if Samsung actually was getting severe about competing on this house. It is already crowded because of merchandise equivalent to Apple AirPods, Sony WF-1000X and Beoplay E8.
Construct High quality & Design
- Case isn’t safe
Design-wise, not a lot has modified from the unique IconX. You get three colours to select from – black, gray, or pink, they usually are available a pill-shaped carry case that additionally doubles as a charger for the earphones once you’re out and about. The earphones match snugly into the case, however there’s no magnetic help to maintain them safe. So in the event you by accident drop the case (like we did a number of instances), then it’ll most certainly snap open, and your treasured earphones will come tumbling out.
On the entrance of the case are two LEDs which can change from purple to inexperienced when your earphones have been absolutely charged. On the again there’s a USB-C port for charging the case, in addition to a small button that activates Bluetooth pairing. Sure, you’ll have to have the case with you to pair these earphones with a tool, which is weird. The case is a bit cumbersome to jam into your pocket if you wish to hold your earphones charged on the go, however is ok to throw right into a backpack or purse.
Included within the field are numerous ear ideas and wings, which can enable you to get probably the most comfy match when inserting the earphones in your ears. The center fee monitor has been axed from the brand new IconX, which might be for the perfect because it wasn’t probably the most correct. The IconX will nonetheless measure distance and pace once you’re strolling or working through the use of the built-in accelerometer, however that’s about it.
What we completely do love in regards to the IconX is the flexibility to switch music on to the system, which suggests you may seize these for a run and depart your telephone at dwelling so that you don’t get disturbed. There’s 4GB of onboard storage to mess around with, and you may switch music for a PC or Mac, or wirelessly via Bluetooth. Or in the event you’ve acquired a Samsung telephone, you may immediately plug the IconX into it utilizing the equipped cable.
There’s additionally an Auto Monitoring mode that robotically begins monitoring your exercise when you’ve been strolling or working for greater than ten minutes. Personally, we simply want to inform it after we’re figuring out fairly than leaving it to likelihood.
Connectivity & Setup
- Requires carry case to pair
- Restricted iOS help
To pair the IconX along with your smartphone, you merely open the case and the system might be prepared for pairing. The IconX gives Android customers extra options than when paired with an iOS system, and as anticipated you’ll get the perfect utilization from pairing it with a Samsung telephone.
When pairing to an Android telephone, you’ll be prompted to put in the Samsung Gear app to handle the earphones, in addition to Samsung Well being to observe your health objectives. Nonetheless, with an iOS system, you have got a way more restricted set of features which is a little bit of a disappointment. Regardless that there’s a Samsung Well being app for iOS, it’s not at present suitable with the IconX.
As soon as paired, you may management your audio with a collection of gestures on the IconX. Faucet to play or pause a observe, double faucet to skip a music, or swipe up or down to regulate the quantity. Whereas the faucet controls labored advantageous, the quantity management was virtually not possible to drag off. Regardless of how slowly or rapidly we swiped, we simply couldn’t handle to regulate the quantity, and ended up unintentionally pausing the audio as a substitute.
Audio High quality
- No equalizer obtainable
- Ambient Sound mode not straightforward to set off
- Common voice recognition
Whereas the IconX are definitely clear sufficient for listening to music, we discovered that the general high quality of the audio was nonetheless a little bit underwhelming for our tastes. There’s no option to tweak the audio in any manner, so that you’ll must reside with regardless of the IconX can ship, which is strictly acceptable high quality.
Music sounds clear, however it lacks a selected feeling of depth, which we expect might have simply been completed if we had some kind of equalizer to play with. Bass is totally depending on how the earphones are positioned in your ear – in the event that they’re pointing immediately in the direction of your ear canal, you’ll get a deeper sound. In the event that they’re positioned even at a slight angle, you’ll lose out on any respectable bass ranges.
There’s an ‘Ambient Sound’ mode, which activates the microphones so that you could hear your environment along with your music. This can be a useful function for certain, however activating it entails digging into the app to allow it, or holding down both earphone for round eight seconds. After attempting this as soon as, we discovered it much more environment friendly to only yank the earphones out of our ears after we wanted to listen to what somebody was saying. The Beoplay E8 for instance, makes issues simpler with only a faucet on the left earphone – one thing that Samsung might have equally adopted within the IconX.
For the health buffs, the IconX will resist sweat or moisture, so that they’re a terrific gymnasium companion. As talked about earlier than, you may load your favourite music immediately onto the IconX so you may get a distraction-free exercise. You’ll be able to activate the onboard coach to information you thru some fundamental or intermediate working packages, however the voice output of the coach is cringeworthy at instances.
Utilizing the IconX throughout telephone calls was fairly good, with calls coming in fairly clearly and callers having no drawback in any respect listening to us. What was a little bit of a miss was voice recognition when attempting to talk to Google Assistant or Bigsby. Some phrases have been misunderstood or simply not detected, and we discovered we needed to increase our voices just a few ranges louder than regular simply to be heard accurately.
Lastly, the IconX shouldn’t be one thing you wish to put on for greater than an hour or two. They exert a slight but noticeable strain in your ears, and after extended use we needed to take them out. There are additionally some unlucky connectivity points resulting from Bluetooth’s’ limitations – often the left earphone would immediately drop out and again in once more, which made for a fairly disappointing listening expertise.
Battery life was the most important criticism of the unique IconX, and fortunately this has been addressed – to some extent. Samsung claims you may get round 5 hours of playback on a full cost, and we clocked a little bit over 4 hours of playback in our exams.
The carry case can present one other full cost, or as much as an hour of playback in simply ten minutes of charging. For all-day use these aren’t those for you, however for brief commutes or a few gymnasium classes, they’ll maintain out simply advantageous. What’s annoying is that the earphones don’t have an off swap, so at instances even after we had taken them out of our ears, they remained on and continued to empty their batteries till I put them again within the case.
The Samsung Gear IconX 2018 is an enchancment on battery life in comparison with what Samsung had launched beforehand, however nonetheless leaves a few issues that have to be checked out correctly. There’s the overly-sensitive contact controls, the overly comfortable match, and the lack to show them on or off with out carrying round that case. There’s not a lot love for iOS customers both, so total these aren’t probably the most competent wi-fi earphones that your cash can purchase.