Samsung is back with its line of headphones, but this time the new Galaxy Buds FE are the stars. These are headphones that seek to provide the best fit in your ears without compromising the quality of noise cancellation and touch functions.
At first glance, the Galaxy Buds FE seem like an excellent option in terms of quality/price ratio, especially for those looking for comfort above all things, without sacrificing audio quality or extra features.
Design and hardware
As expected, the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE have a design that is familiar to us in their charging box. We have a square design the same size as the Galaxy Buds 2 or the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
But that’s where the similarities end, because as soon as we open the box, we find the headphones, which introduce fins or holding tips that will seek to provide us with the greatest possible comfort when using them.
In addition, the box includes two pairs of silicone tips to exchange with the headphones (by default the headphones come with size M on), and a pair of silicone bands that we can put on the headphones if we do not find the tips comfortable. or holding fins.
We also have a USB-C to USB-C cable to charge the headphones. This is important, because the Galaxy Buds FE They do not have wireless charging. Of course, we can charge them with a phone using a USB-C cable if we connect one end to the phone and the other to the headphones.
The headphones weigh 5.6 grams, while the case weighs 40 grams. The weight never feels like too much, and we can spend several hours with the headphones on before we start to feel fatigue in our ears.
They are available in graphite and white colors, of course the headphone box is always white. What will change will only be the color of the headphones and the inside of the box.
The headphones don’t hold back much in terms of features, but a couple of things need not be noticed. First is that the headphones are designed specifically for Android usersbecause to get the most out of them we need the Galaxy Wearable application, which is available only in said operating system.
If we want to use them on Windows, there is the Galaxy Buds application that will also allow us to get the most out of them. We can link them to an iOS device, but we will not have access to customizing functions.
Once in the app, we find intuitive controls, we can activate or deactivate the touch controls of the headphones, as well as control the different audio modes: we have active noise cancellation and also ambient sound if what we want is to be attentive to our surroundings.
The main limitation of the Buds FE lies in the equalizer, and that is that we do not have the freedom to choose the values we want, but rather we have to choose between the 6 options that are given to us: normal, optimize bass, soft, dynamic, clear or optimize treble.
However, we have many customization options. We can configure the touch controls to choose what happens when we press the headphones once, two or three times, or how we want them to behave when we hold them down. Support for Bixby is also present.
Another interesting section is the ability to test the headphones. In this sense, the application will notify us if the pads and headphones are properly placed so that we can get the most out of them in terms of audio.
We will also be able to use the hearing aid locator (via the SmartThings app), and they have the Automatic Switch function, which does is automatically connect to the Galaxy device that we are using, whether it is a phone, tablet, TV or computer .
Finally, we have an option to reduce latency in games or to watch videos that does make a difference.
We do not have support for Google Fast Pair or multipoint connection, which seems to be one of its biggest disadvantages.
Sound and noise cancellation
Where we have great feelings is in the sound quality, and the Galaxy Buds FE have very good active noise cancellation. We can be in a very crowded environment or with loud noises around us, and the headphones perform great.
In case we want to know what is happening around us, then the ambient sound mode is also good news. The important thing is that we can trust that, in each situation, the hearing aids will perform well.
If we talk about codecs, then we find AAC, SBC and Samsung Scalable (SSC) support. This option is Samsung’s proprietary and dynamically scales from 88 kbps to 512 kbps. It is very similar to AptX Adaptive, but can also match the 24-bit, 96kHz quality of LDAC on Samsung phones and tablets running Android 7.0 or later. In addition, they have Bluetooth 5.2.
You see, I’m not an audiophile or someone who constantly tests headphones to compare quality. That is why, from my perspective as an ordinary user, I can say that the sound quality is very good, and is different from options in this price segment, especially when it comes to options.
I was able to test them head-to-head with Apple’s AirPods 2 and Anker’s Soundcore Liberty 4, and the Galaxy Buds FE are clearly the better option in terms of sound. Whether listening to progressive metal, British rock or simply giving the new Los Bunkers album a chance. The sound is good no matter what you are playing.
Another great news is active noise cancellation, and the Buds FE have a 3-integrated microphone design. This puts them on par with the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and, consequently, the performance is optimal if we take their price into consideration.
Another interesting section of the Buds FE has to do with its microphone. I was able to test them both in closed spaces and in open spaces. And no better than having the phone pressed to our ears to take calls, no one complained about the quality of the microphones.
You can see the comparison between the sound quality in open spaces and closed spaces in the review video below to give you an idea. Clearly, they are not designed to answer calls in the middle of the street when we are next to a truck. But in most cases, the behavior is more than good.
Samsung promises up to 6 hours of battery life on the Buds FE with active noise cancellation, or 8 hours without it on a single charge. Clearly, these metrics vary from user to user, depending on the volume at which we are listening to the music.
In my testing, I got just over 6 hours with active noise cancellation on a single charge. This is even more than what the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro achieve. If we turn off the noise cancellation, then we are talking about an hour more battery life.
When we want to charge them, the box gives us 2 full charges before we have to charge it. This is basically because the box is small and cannot integrate a very large battery. In any case, the 21 hours of battery life that Samsung promises are fulfilled.
You see, I have a problem with hearing aids. And I have never been able to use headphones like this. in-ear without having to worry about them falling out or coming out of my ears. I’ve tried many pairs, and it’s always the same.
This is why I wanted to give the Galaxy Buds FE a chance, and luckily for me, Samsung has given me very good results. I can be running and talking at the same time, or chewing gum while walking, and the headphones won’t fall out of my ears.
That is what I can highlight the most about these headphones, because if it were for sound, then I am aware that there are other alternatives that will provide better performance, such as the Galaxy Buds 2 themselves, or the Pro version, which have more customizable controls.
But having a pair of headphones that I know won’t fall out is certainly what I was looking for. The same with the touch controls, which this time are less sensitive than previous models, reducing the possibility of accidental touches. In my experience, only once did active noise cancellation activate instead of pausing a song, but never again.
Unfortunately, we do not have wireless charging, a factor that may be differentiating for many. But personally, I have no problems with charging them with a USB-C cable, especially if I know that they can be charged with a phone this way.
Samsung wants the Buds FE to be “your daily audio companion.” And in my experience, and from now on, yes they will be.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE are available in the Samsung store for CLP $99,990, but in its Mercado Libre store it is not strange to see them cheaper. Same case in retail.
What we liked
- Impeccable in-ear fit
- One of the best ANC for the price
- Many options in the app
- Clear and loud sound
- Good built-in microphones
- Seamless integration into the Samsung ecosystem
We didn’t like it so much
- They do not have wireless charging
- They only have IPX2 resistance
- Lack of 100% customizable equalizer