Samsung Gear IconX 2018

Samsung Gear IconX (2018) Review

You would’ve heard of Samsung latest IconX (2016) headphones which are the company’s best device yet we shall concern. Samsung Gear IconX 2018 earphones are no less than anything as they get a lot of things right. The FULLY WIRELESS EARBUDS are the comfortable music gadget that is not only designed to give ease to your ears but also music quality is far from perfect that will leave a soothing experience of all the time.

Here you’ll take the impeccable sound quality not what you have listened in a cheaper pair of wired headphones. Here the bass is exceptionally snug to ears without letting us feel too loud or pricking. Tracks will sometime sounds shallow and artificial, just like your music is being run through a few filters, But it won’t keep you from enjoying your favorite songs.

They have doubled up the battery life in 2018 version, which is a plus point compared to 2016 predecessors – a little more than 4 hours of battery life is fair enough to cut out some boredom in a day. Like last year, the IconX is yet discrete and restrained in appearance (unless you order them in neon pink) with a plain plastic covering and swappable silicone ear tips and wingtips. The wingtips support the head of the buds plugs into the upper part of your outer ear. The default tips fit fine in my ear, but depending on the structure of your ear’s antihelix (Use a dictionary for it), you may have to fall for the substitute wingtip’s sizes to achieve a solid fit.

You’ll see no buttons on the Samsung Gear IconX 2018 version, and This was somehow not expected to happen, Rather you’ll look at the earbuds have dinky touch-pads on the side Instead of buttons, and they’re fickle as heck. After using it for a week, it still needs two or three tries to swipe up or down to adjust the sound successfully. Eventually, I have developed the muscle memory which will take me to the next track ( tap it twice) and the previous track (tape it thrice), but I don’t presume I’ll ever triumphantly pull off more complicated gestures. It’s no awe to deserve a graduate certification in Morse code after using these.

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The valuable and most considerate gesture is Tap and Hold, which lets you navigate and cycle through the menu options: Ambient Sound, Voice Command, and Start a Workout. Voice Command takes help of Bixby or Google Assistant to furnish your answers, though the assistant’s voice often seems coming out in a muffled way.

An ambient Sound executes amplification of noise around us. As a result, you can still hear things at the time of wearing the buds. Similar to any other sung-fit earbuds, the IconX serve to hush the vibrations of say, incoming traffic. Test both things out, and enable this feature when you feel missing it.

The buds are unable to track heart rate just like last year’s model did, but they will monitor or show you a distance you traveled and steps you took during your activities. Samsung’s Bixby woman-like voice chats with you while you move or run. That’s encouraging you to boost up your pace and updating you on your reach. Would be better to bring along phone or Gear Sports watch during your workout in progress.

If there would be a breakdown to the fitness coaching feature, then it is that one of your earbuds will drain much faster than the other. Whichever choice you go with Samsung leaves up to you, except a half hour flow of one your buds.

The intricate gestures and 4-hours battery duration would be more excusable if the device had a power button. Frustratingly, you can’t power either earbud up or shut them off without taking help of a clamshell charging case. It’s roughly the size of a round, small pill bottle that pops open and snaps closed. The buds are turned off once they’re inside it, and on when they are removed out. That’s the only way to repair them with your cell phone via Bluetooth.

The case provides nearly two full charges prior to plug it into the wall and juice it up, which is fine. My hangup with this carried accessory is that it’s just a little too big to slip into a pocket with my usual accouterments. And it’s less of an assistant than a need. Buds didn’t endure so long outside of their capacity. It’s strange that despite the buds recognize when they’re out of one’s ears credit goes to a sensor, they aren’t smart enough to automatically shut off, too. They appear to keep receiving notifications, and if we start work and they’re within range, they pretend they’re our running jack, Shouldn’t they be smarter than that? Just resting on a coffee table, unused with a 75% charge, both tapped out in 4 hours or a little more than that.

The best advice I can offer you to conserve battery is to store up the 4 GB of onboard memory on the IconX with MP3s over streaming music and at the same time turn off all notification. That’ll add some more hours to your device, according to Samsung. These buds worked like a charm with a Galaxy S8 smartphone. But Trying with an another Android phone, they often showed the weak connection. iPhone users can leverage these earphones, but the fewer features will be available to access.

At $200 or INR 13034.56, the Gear IconX (2018) are $40 more than Apple’s presently-famous AirPods but overall aren’t avidly expensive, given their faculties. They offer some solid fitness features and 4+ hours of battery life per charge. I just wish I didn’t observe the need to carry the bulky clamshell with me every time I use them.

What we like

Small and light enough to make you feel not wearing them at all. Crispy sound quality and thoroughly wireless. Battery life up to 4 hours while streaming which is phenomenal. Two additional charges. Includes motivational voice coach monitor and fitness tracker.

What we don't like

Touch control seems to be a too touchy. Charging case is a little bit bulky on the go. $200 is reasonably too much to spend on earbuds, wireless or not.

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LG Tone Active+ Review – is it value for money?

Highlights

  • The Tone Active+ sports aptX HD and is sweat-resistant
  • Has built-in speakers
  • The Tone Active+ carries a price tag of Rs. 12,000 ($186)
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Well, LG is best known for every type of Gadgets, Many do like its gadgets From Television to Mobiles. However, this time LG has a better chance to prove its legacy to the Sony, which is typically best known for creating expert Music Gadgets. In this Review, we have thrown light on various parts as for LG Tone Bluetooth headsets.

LG’s Tone Bluetooth headsets have predominance itself over the years, and with every launch, we’ve seen a slight change. This current version called Tone Active+ was announced last year During IFA 2016 and Recently been launched in India at a hefty price of Rs. 12,000.

The Tone Active+ owns external stereo speakers, dual microphones as its unique feature and fitness monitoring. Now see if this headset passes out the test.

LG Tone Active+ design and features

The design is same as it uses the neckband with retractable earbuds, which is yet convenient on the go. The device is expected to be available in black or silver, and you get to see blue here even though the box listed black. The whole neckband is made from plastic, and the fit and finish encompassing the joints are good as well as the buttons and switches also seem solid.

The rear segment of the LG Tone Active+ uses a thick rubber lining, so it flexes easily at the time of put on or takes it off your neck. The headset is very comfy to bear and this all credit goes to horseshoe design and lightness of 60 grams.

There’s a speaker installed on either side of the unit, and they face upwards, to your ears. You can toggle between the speakers and the earbuds with a small switch located on the outer cover of the neckband, on the right. The power switch is located on the left-hand side inward of the neckband along with a LED light. On the Left, You also get dedicated buttons for regulating the volume and responding to an incoming call, whereas on the right, you’ll get controls for fast forward/ rewind and a play/ pause button. We enjoy the summation of separate buttons for each function, rather than piling up all the functionality into a few buttons.

To use the earbuds, just pull them out to the desired distance, after which they lock in position. Do note that the wire they are affixed to seem quite fragile but after putting on the headset, we can feel they are pretty reliable. In the box, LG offers additional gel ear caps ranging in different sizes.

Regarding specifications, the Tone Active+ sports Bluetooth 4.2, Qualcomm’s aptX and aptX HD profiles to support high-resolution audio playback(up to 24-bit). The device is also IPx4 certified to protect against sweat and light plops of water. The drivers in the earbuds highlight what LG names Quad-Layer Speaker Technology, which was included some years ago in the Tone series. There are more two MEMS microphones installed on the top and side of the neckband, beside the ‘call answer’ button.

LG Tone Active+ battery life and performance 

After installing Tone & Talk app on an Android device, the functionality of the headset can be extended. Neckband button’s serve dual purposes, and symbols for those functions are marked in on them. You can simply check the battery status when there no media playing, change the mode of the vibration function on or off, play your previous messages or record a voice memo. By this app, you can also enable vibration alerts for incoming calls, notifications from any installed app and also enable voice notifications (reads out the name of the sender and the app that has produced the notifications). Furthermore, the voice prompt can also say over the contents of the text messages for you. This was indeed a useful feature for when our hands were involved in other activities.

iPhone user cannot use the voice assistant features, though you’ll find the app in the iOS App Store but its functionality is limited, Pressing the voice memo shortcut button just reads out the current time. For activity tracking, LG suggests the Tone & Health app, which allows you monitor your progress, set goals, and syncs with Apple’s fitness kit.

Like we mentioned earlier, the LG Tone+ also has inbuilt stereo speakers. Unfortunately, media playback is not as loud as it was expected to be, the sound comes pretty doggo and is barely reaches to ear when you’re outdoors with lots of ambient noise. The Sound even seems weak indoors in a quiet room. Things are better while making phone calls. MEMS microphones are a game changer when it comes to picking up your voice, and even when we are driving or walking by public transport, The voice will reach clear from both caller and attender’s side.

The LG Tone Active+ has a step counter comes built in, it means you can track your steps easily by holding down the navigation buttons simultaneously for a few seconds. And you can record your activity using the Tone & Talk app, or you can make use of the LG Health app to follow your steps and count calories burnt. However, we didn’t find the numbers to be very accurate, because when the headset moves, recorded as a step, even though you’re sitting or not walking.

The earphones are impressively comfortable to wear, and your ears won’t get sore even you don’t put it off for hours. The gel ear caps applied into our ear canals very easefully blocking most ambient noise, making ears covered entirely from outer noise. As a result, there was no sound leakage either, even when the volume is high, which is a good sign. Initially, we noticed the controls a bit uncomfortable to reach, and this comes to a head when you wear the neckband as they are a bit too far back.

We tested the Tone Active+ with a class of devices, but firstly used with a OnePlus 5 to check the sound quality as it supports the aptX HD Audio Profile. The device automatically pairs up once you switch it on, without any unnecessary delay. After running some latest songs of 2017 in 360 kbps quality, the Tone Active+ delivered tight and punchy bass with excellent clarity.
You can also hear the vocals of backup singers in the chorus without focusing too much. Separation of Chorus, Instruments and the frequencies across the range are just phenomenal. The listener must feel the completeness of its beats.

When Volume raised high, it sounded sharp and crisp without any rupture. You can really push the volume level up as much as your smartphone ordinary supports. However, these earphones don’t sound too open, we did observe somewhat fatigued after long testing concourses.

The Tone Active+ performs even better with regular quality tracks, To say 180 kbps or less, however, the voice quality may vary with the smartphone you’re connecting to a headset. The FLAC files still sounded well using the standard SBC codec, though there was a noticeable shift in dynamics and quality. The Too colored sound is not okay, and this headset luckily has not this quality which is a good sign, since the high-quality audio files have the possibility to shine.

Battery life is seemingly good. We managed to run nine hours per charge on average rather than the rated 12 hours. Using the speakers instead of earphones exhausted the battery in about five hours. Charging is impartially quick if you use any regular smartphone charger.

Verdict

The LG Tone Active+ is a very reliable and decent Bluetooth headset if you have the budget for it. You can actually buy this a little under Rs. 10,000 from a local street (if available), The Price is fairly good considering the quality of audio and the support you get for high-resolution audio. The moment you put it on you feels convenient till you put off after prolonged use, as the neckband is sweat-resistant. On the other hand, The built-in step counter and the speakers feel gimmicky, and you don’t get the full spectrum of functionality with an iPhone.

 

  • High-resolution audio sounds decent
  • comfy and portable 
  • Companion app is beneficial on Android
  • Good battery life
  • Speakers aren’t very good outdoors
  • Health tracking isn’t accurate

Ratings (Out of 5)

 
  • Performance: 4.5
  • Value for money: 4.2
  • Design: 3.8
  • Overall: 4