As more and more smartphones eliminate the headphone jack from their features, wireless, as well as cable-free, earphones are becoming the norm. Samsung was one of the first companies to develop cable-free earbuds, with the Gear IconX being their premier model.
Unfortunately, the original Gear IconX had one vital flaw. That is the battery life was ridiculously short. The updated Samsung Gear IconX 2018 gave up the heart-rate sensor in favor of a larger battery. This change worked as battery life has been significantly increased in the newer model.
The increased battery life, along with a few other changes and upgrades, resulting in the IconX 2018 being a decent improvement over the previous model. Although a few minor flaws still remain. Read this in-depth review to find out if the Samsung IconX 2018 is a worthy buy.
There is a lot of good to be said for these earbuds. To begin with, they provide excellent sound quality and it includes ambient sound adjustment, so you can hear what is going on around you, as well as your music. In addition, you will enjoy a comfortable and secure fit and the IconX are infused with IPX2 sweat-proof technology. Furthermore, these earbuds come with the option for local music storage, eliminating the need to carry a device with you. Improved battery life over previous models is also a plus.
There are a few areas where the IconX could use a little improvement. For one, they lack streaming music integration and there is a slight glitch in the connectivity. Also, the workout tracking is not accurate and the built-in heart-rate sensor has been eliminated. The only other problem is that the touch controls are a bit difficult to master.
Perfect For Active Lifestyles
If you are a health conscious consumer who regularly visits the gym either after or before work, you might find these earbuds handy, especially with some of the fitness apps they offer. These earbuds are especially a good fit for Android users. Although you can connect these to iOS devices, some of the features, such as ambient sound pass and real-time coaching, can only be accessed with Android. Any Android device will work, however, a Samsung Galaxy device is best.
The Samsung IconX 2018 looks very similar to the previous model. In fact, there are just two noticeable differences. For one, the heart-rate sensor has been removed, and so has the gold trim that was displayed around the outside. The earbud tips, wingtips, and teardrop shape remain intact.
As far as the wingtips are concerned, the IconX 2018s provide some pretty stellar ones. The fit is top-of-the-line. They glide firmly inside your ears, holding the buds in place without any problems. They are available in a various array of sizes so finding a good fit for your ears should not be hard.
The earbud tips are standard and quite comfortable to wear. They provide a tight seal when you place them in your ears. Additionally, each earbud is equipped with two mics. One of the mics is on the top, and the other is on the bottom. On the sides of the earbuds is a touchpad with gesture control. A sensor located inside the earbuds senses your touch on the pads.
These earbuds come with a convenient pill-shaped charging case. The case is durable and sturdy, yet lightweight. There are two charging indicators on the front for the earbuds. In the back is an additional charge indicator, for the case. There is also a Type-C charging port on the back and a manual Bluetooth button. The IconX 2018 is available in three colors including black, gray and pink.
Superior Battery Life
The previous IconX model's biggest flaw was extremely short battery life. It was only good for about an hour and a half of use before it needed to be recharged. Luckily, the new model has resolved that issue, although it did have to remove the heart-rate sensor to do it. The loss was not in vain, battery life was significantly increased with up to 5 hours of playback with Bluetooth streaming or 7 hours of local playback.
A Comfortable and Secure Fit
The primary concern with cable-free earbuds is the fear that they will fall out while you are using them, particularly if you are engaging in any rigorous exercise or activity. In this regard, the IconX has you covered. The fit is snug and these earphones stay firmly in place, even during the most strenuous activities and conditions.
The silicone grip around the middle of the buds and the rounded shape is partially responsible for the superior fit. However, the main reason is the tiny sports fin on each bud, which snuggles inside the ridge of your ear. It slides in smoothly, helping to keep the earbuds in place.
The fins do not cause any discomfort. Nevertheless, the trade-off for a snug fit is discomfort after prolonged use. The IconX provide up to two hours of comfortable wear, after that you may need to take a break from them.
Samsung IconX allows you to adjust the sound profile to your taste. Although it does not have a 9-band equalizer, it does offer a variety of presets to choose from. The presets include clear, dynamic, treble, bass and soft.
One of the IconX's most pleasurable and useful features is the ambient sound option. When ambient sound is enabled, and voice focus is activated, you can hear your music, and what is happening around you at the same time. If you turn this feature up all the way, all the sounds around you will become amplified and crystal clear. This is a really good safety feature if you live in the city and often run near busy roads and intersections.
The IconX can hold 1000 MP3s, which means you do not need to be connected to any device while listening to your music. If you happen to own a Galaxy device, uploading tunes to your earbuds is easier than ever. This is because of the new option to wirelessly transfer songs from a Galaxy device using Bluetooth.
You also have the option of using the provided USB connector to connect your earbuds to any Android device to easily upload your songs. If you do not have any MP3s on your phone, you can download and install the Gear IconX PC Manager to your Windows computer.
If your computer is a Mac, it is a little harder to transfer your music, but it can be done. First, plug your earphones directly into your Mac. A Gear IconX folder will appear on your desktop. Simply transfer songs from your iTunes folder to the IconX folder.
If you do not have any MP3s period, you can always make a few playlists on streaming music services. Afterward, download and save the files offline in MP3 format. From there you can upload your tunes using the methods described earlier for getting tunes off your Windows or Mac computers. Regrettably, the IconX does not offer direct integration with streaming music services.
A common issue with wireless earphones is connectivity quality. It should be noted that the IconX stays connected to the source better than most. You will not endure lengthy pauses in your music or any other issues such as that. However, there is still one slight issue.
It is not so much a full-on connectivity issue as it is a hiccup. Every once in a while, the playback stops for the briefest of moments. This hiccup remains no matter what connection type or source the music is played from. It was tested while streaming over wifi, and playing back downloaded playlist. In each incident, the hiccup remained.
Samsung Gear IconX App
Most of the software features are accessed through the Gear app. The app is easy to use and includes some handy features. On the app, you will find an indication of the battery level for each earbud. It will also tell you which earbud is used to collect workout information. You will also find an equalizer, ambient sound controls, and volume control.
Another part of the app displays music you have stored on the IconX earbuds and provides you with control over that music. From here you also have the option of selecting your play source. If you want to use the proximity sensors or accelerometer you will first need to install the Samsung Health app.
When it comes to cable-free, wireless earbuds, the Samsung Gear IconX 2018 are perfectly matched with Galaxy devices. If you do not own a Galaxy phone, that is okay as these earbuds work extremely well with other Android devices also. They will also work with iPhone well enough, although you will not have access to all the features. The IconX 2018s have excellent sound and significant battery life.
The new and improved Gear IconX is a quality set of cable-free, wireless gym earphones. These earphones provide a secure and tight fit with a good seal. Not only do they sound really good, but a full battery will last for several workouts. The thorough integration with Galaxy smartphone is a plus for those who own Galaxy phones.
Obviously, the IconX provides beautiful sound while sporting several useful features. For this reason, the IconX 2018 are one of the most adaptable cable-free, wireless earbuds available.
Even so, they are not without their flaws. There are a few hiccups in the connection, resulting in a few blemishes in the listening experience.
Furthermore, the heart-rate monitor has been eliminated, which significantly reduces the fitness-tracking capabilities. However, given the ability to store tunes directly on the earbuds themselves, the Samsung Health app, the great fit and all of the other conveniences that come along with the IconX 2018, these earbuds are definitely a good bet for the money.