This wireless earbuds guide explains everything you need to know about Samsung Galaxy Buds (and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus): box contents of the buds, the layout of the buds, how to use the buds, how to charge the buds, how to check the battery status, how to pair the buds with other devices, how to use touchpad commands to control the buds. A concise review of the Galaxy Buds was also included.
Of course, some questions you may have on Samsung Galaxy Buds and Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus were also answered. So, this guide covers both Samsung Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds Plus (Galaxy Buds+).
Please note, Samsung released Galaxy Buds Live with Galaxy Note 20. Because of the new active noise cancelling (ANC) feature and new design, you may check this page (coming soon) on how to use Galaxy Buds Live.
What is Samsung Galaxy Buds?
Samsung announced Galaxy Buds, a wireless earbud for Android phones, together with the Galaxy S10 in March 2019.
Prior to Galaxy Buds, Samsung already offered Gear IconX as a fitness (and wireless) earbud.
Galaxy Buds is smaller and lighter by removing the built-in storage and workout-tracking ability in IconX. If you need earbuds for a workout with a heart rate monitor, the best option is the Jabra Elite Sport.
In 2020, Samsung updated Galaxy Buds with Galaxy Buds+ (Galaxy Buds Plus) with longer battery life, better sound and audio quality as explained in this guide. The MSRP price is $149. In many regions, Samsung Galaxy Buds+ is bundled with Galaxy S20 as a free gift.
What devices are compatible with Galaxy Buds?
But this is for “quick” pairing.
In fact, you can use Samsung Galaxy Buds as a normal Bluetooth headset. Therefore, you can use the Samsung Galaxy Buds with most devices that support Bluetooth audio, for example, iPhone, Windows PCs, and laptops.
Unlike AirPods, Galaxy Buds does follow the Bluetooth standards. This means it is compatible with most devices that follow the Bluetooth standards.
In short, if your device can use other Bluetooth headphones, it can also use Galaxy Buds.
What is included in the Samsung Galaxy Buds box?
In most regions, you can find the following items in the Samsung Galaxy Buds box:
- Earbuds (L/R).
- Charging case (wireless charging dock).
- Wingtips (3 sizes, S/M/L, M is pre-installed).
- Ear tips (3 sizes, S/M/L, M is pre-installed).
- A USB cable (USB-A to USB-C).
- Quick Start Guide.
Please note, there is no charger (wall or wireless) inside the box.
Layout of Galaxy Buds and the charging case
To use Galaxy Buds effectively, you need to know the layout of both the buds and the charging case.
As illustrated below, there are mainly 11 parts you need to know:
- Battery (and charging) status light for the charging case.
- USB-C port for charging the charging case.
- Metal contacts for the buds. The buds will not be charged unless you place it correctly.
- Battery charging status of the buds. Solid red means charging normally. Sold green means fully charged. If it is flashing (pulsing) red, it means charging was blocked due to some problems mainly overheating.
- Microphone (outside).
- Touch panel (touchpad) for controlling the buds.
- Ear tip. You need to choose the size of the ear according to your ears AND whether it is comfortable when wearing them. Occasionally, some owners may have to choose a different ear tip size for each ear.
- Wingtip. The wingtip helps to secure the buds in your ears.
- Metal contacts for the charging case.
- Contact sensor. The sensor can detect whether the buds are in your ear or not.
- Microphone (inside).
Please note, the two buds (left and right) are identical. The illustration shows part of each.
How to charge Samsung Galaxy Buds?
Galaxy Buds can only be charged by the charging case (cradle). You have to put the buds into the charging case to charge it.
The charging case has a built-in 252mAh battery for Galaxy Buds and 270mAh for Galaxy Buds+.
You can charge the charging case with at least 3 different methods:
- Use the USB cable charging.
- Use Wireless charging.
- Use Galaxy S10, Note 10, or S20 (wireless PowerShare).
Please note, when charging the charging case, the buds will be charged automatically as well.
USB cable charging
To charge Galaxy Bud and the charging case (cradle) with a USB cable, you may follow these steps.
You can skip steps 1 and 2 if you charge the charging case without buds inside. For example, you are using the buds and just want to charge the case.
Step 1: Open the charging case
If you want to charge the buds together with the charging case, you should open the case to put the buds inside the case.
If the buds are inside the case, you’d better check the buds as well.
Of course, you can use your buds while charging the charging case. In this case, you can skip this step and the next step.
Step 2: Check the buds are positioned properly
As shown below, you need to make sure the buds are inserted into their corresponding slots.
You should also check the direction of each bud and positioning.
Step 3: Close the charging case
If the earbuds are placed and positioned properly, or after you take out the buds, you can now close the case.
Step 4: Connect to a USB charger
The Galaxy Buds charging case uses a USB-C port. Therefore you have to:
- Use a USB-A to USB-C cable (which is included in the box), if your USB charger has a USB-A port, or you charge the case through normal USB ports on your PC/laptop.
- Or, use a USB-C to USB-C cable if your charge has a USB-C port, or you charge the charging case through a USB-C port on your PC/laptop.
Anyway, the USB-C port on the charging case only accepts a USB-C connector.
Step 5: Power on the USB charger
You can plug the charger into an electric socket to power on the USB charger.
Step 6: Wait till fully charged
It should take less than 2 hours to charge Galaxy Buds and the charging case from 0% to 100%.
The LED light in the charging case should turn from solid red (charging) to solid green (fully charged) once it is fully charged.
Step 7: Disconnect charging case from the charger
Once it is fully charged, you can unplug the USB cable from the charging case and then unplug the charger from the electric socket.
You can charge the Galaxy Buds and the charging case with a Qi Wireless charger.
You only need to put the charging case on the wireless charging pad to start to charge, as shown below. Tha’s all.
Please check this page if you want to learn more about wireless charging on Samsung devices.
Samsung introduced wireless PowerShare on Galaxy S10 and Note 10.
You can enable the wireless PowerShare on Samsung Galaxy S10 or Note 10, then put Galaxy Buds on the back of the phone to charge it, as shown below.
You may check this guide on how to enable and use wireless PowerShare to charge other devices with Galaxy S10 and Note 10.
How to check the battery status of the Galaxy Buds?
You can open the Galaxy Wearable app to find the battery level of the Galaxy Buds.
Of course, in this case, the buds must be paired with the phone.
How to check the battery status of the charging case?
You can check the battery status of the charging case with the battery (and charging) status light on the front panel of the charging case.
The LED color will tell you about the battery charging status of the charging case:
- Solid red. The charging case is being charged.
- Solid green. The charging case is fully charged.
- Fast flashing (pulsing) red. Something wrong with charging.
- Slow flashing (pulsing) red. The battery level is low.
If the charging case is not connected to a charger, when you close the case, the LED will light up for a few seconds:
- Red. It means the battery is less than 30% left.
- Yellow. It means the battery level of the charging case is between 30-60%.
- Green. The battery level of the charging case is more than 60%.
How to pair Samsung Galaxy Buds with your phone?
The quick pairing between Galaxy Buds and your phone requires the Galaxy Wearable app.
If you did not install the Galaxy Wearable app, or you are trying to pair the buds with your laptop of PC, you have to pair them as a standard Bluetooth headset.
With Galaxy Wearable app
If you have installed the Galaxy Wearable app on the phone, the phone will be able to detect Galaxy Buds automatically when you open the charging case.
You just need to follow the pop-ups and agree to pair.
Without Galaxy Wearable app
You can pair the buds with the device as a normal Bluetooth headset.
Why my phone does not recognize Galaxy Buds although I installed the Galaxy Wearable app?
Galaxy Buds can remember the last paired device. By default, it will not try to pair with other devices.airPod
To pair the buds to a new device, you can use one of the following methods:
- Tap and hold both touchpads while the earbuds are in your ears for 5-7 seconds until you hear the pairing sounds.
- Unpair with the old device. You can do this in the Galaxy Wearable app on the old device. You can also use “forget this device” in the Bluetooth settings of that device.
- You can also reset Galaxy Buds so that all settings will be erased.
How to use touch gestures (touchpad commands) on Samsung Galaxy Buds?
You can use the touchpad on each bud to control Galaxy Buds.
The supported gestures (touchpad commands) include:
- Single tap (tap once).
- Double-tap (tap twice quickly).
- Triple-tap (tap 3 times quickly).
- Tap and hold (long tap).
- Tap and hold (long tap) both touchpads.
Single tap (tap once)
When you are playing music or videos, you can tap the touch panel once to pause.
You do not need to tap on both buds. You only need to tap on any of the buds (left or right). In other words, the single tap work on both buds.
Double-tap (tap twice quickly)
When you are playing music or videos, you can tap the touchpad twice quickly to play the next track.
If there is an incoming call (i.e., the phone rings), you can tap the touchpad twice to accept (pick up) the call.
If you are engaged in a call, the double-tap gesture will end the call.
If you are in a multi-party call (conference call), the double-tap gesture can be used to switch lines.
Triple-tap (tap 3 times quickly)
When you are playing music or videos, you can tap the touchpad three times quickly to play the previous track.
Tap and hold (long tap)
Functions for the tap and hold (long tap) gesture of Samsung Galaxy Buds can be customizable for:
- Google Assistant.
- Bixby Voice Assistant.
- Quick ambient sound.
- Ambient sound.
- Record a voice memo (for Galaxy Buds only)
- Volume up and down.
- Spotify (for Galaxy Buds+ only)
The first 5 functions can be assigned to either of the buds. But the volume control will use both touchpads on Galaxy Buds. Galaxy Buds+ allows you to assign volume down or volume up individually.
For calls, the long tap gesture will (not customizable):
- Reject incoming calls when it rings.
- Mute the microphone during the call.
- End the call.
- Retrieve a held call (after ending the current call)
Tap and hold (long tap) both touchpads
You can hold both touchpads to force the Galaxy Buds to enter Bluetooth pairing mode manually.
In this way, you can pair your buds with new devices without unpairing from old devices.
Can I use only left or only right bud while the other charges in the charging case?
Yes, you can use only left or right bud. The audio will automatically change to mono when you use only one bud.
Samsung Galaxy Buds differs from most other wireless earbuds by not forcing a master-slave mode for the two buds. So, you can use one bud while charging the other.
How to wear Samsung Galaxy Buds properly?
When wearing the buds, you should insert the wing tips into ears, then adjust accordingly, as shown in l the left side of the picture below.
A review of Samsung Galaxy Buds
Based on our usage and testing, we would recommend the buds for:
- Design. The size of the buds and the charging case are just “right”. It is comfortable to wear for an extended period without causing pain for the ears. The case is small enough to carry around.
- Build quality.
- Wireless charging case. You can use most wireless chargers or even Galaxy S10, Note 10, or S20 to charge it.
- Price. Price. Price. We should not complain about the $129 price tag. Comparable wireless earbuds will cost you around $200 or more. Only Echo Buds can match this price with similar quality.
- Up to 6-hour battery life for one charge (for Galaxy Buds) and 11+ hours for Galaxy Buds+.
- Acceptable, although not great, sound quality.
- Touchpad commands.
- Extended functions/features through the Galaxy Wearable app. For Galaxy Buds+, there is an iOS app now as explained in this guide.
Of course, we also have some disappointments for the Galaxy Buds, mainly:
- Confusing touchpad commands. Update: It is getting slightly better with Galaxy Buds+.
- If you use the touchpad to control the volume, both touchpads will be used and therefore you cannot use tap and hold (long tap) gesture for voice assistant or ambient sound. Update: this restriction was fully removed on Galaxy Buds+.
- The charging case only offers an additional 7-hour battery life. Update: For Galaxy Buds+, the case can offer additional 11-hour battery life.
- The microphone is not good. Call quality can be hit-or-miss. Update: Galaxy Buds+ now uses 3 mic-array, which improves call quality significantly.
- No active noise canceling (ANC) as in AirPods Pro.
Do you have any questions on Samsung Galaxy Buds?
If you have any questions or encounter any problems with the Galaxy Buds, you may let us know in the comment box below.
The community will help you.
You may check Headphone 101 for detailed explanations of headphone technologies and terms.
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Active noise-canceling headphone guides can be found in the Noise-canceling headphones section.