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Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+ finally debut, and they have a killer battery life

After months of leaks, we now have definitive confirmation: Samsung has just debuted the Galaxy Buds+ at its Galaxy Unpacked event. The true wireless earbuds will go on sale on February 14 for $150 through Samsung.com. Those who pre-order a Galaxy S20+ or Galaxy S20 Ultra, which were also unveiled at the event, will get Samsung credits of up to $200 that can be used toward the purchase of the Galaxy Buds+.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on held in hand
John Velasco / Digital Trends

It looks like the leaked info was dead-on in terms of accuracy. The Galaxy Buds+ are in some ways just a modest $20 upgrade over the previous $129 Galaxy Buds, but the big news this time is battery life. At a record-breaking 11 hours of playing  time between recharges, the Galaxy Buds+ have established a new high-water mark for longevity, handily beating rivals like the Powerbeats Pro and the Master and Dynamic MW07 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on cases
John Velasco / Digital Trends

As expected, Samsung has kept the capacity of its charging case at the same level as it is for the Galaxy Buds, offering just a single charge. That pushes the total time before you need to plug in is 22 hours. One pleasant surprise is the fast-charging feature, which is claimed to deliver an extra hour of playing time after just 3 minutes in the case.

Sound quality should also get a bump up from the Galaxy Buds, as well. Not that they were bad — in fact, we thought they were excellent for the price — but Samsung clearly thinks it can do better this time. The Galaxy Buds+ get a dual driver design that’s tuned by AKG, which should offer a marked improvement over their predecessors. Samsung says the drivers are 40% larger than before.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ hands-on earbuds on table
John Velasco / Digital Trends

Considering their $150 price tag, it would have been highly unlikely for the Galaxy Buds+ to also sport active noise cancellation (ANC), and sure enough, that isn’t one of the model’s features. To date, the only true wireless earbuds that offer this feature for less than $200 are the Amazon Echo Buds (though they offer only reduction, not full cancellation).

Samsung says it has further improved its Ambient mode, though, which lets you bring outside sounds in via the microphones.

An interesting first as far as we know is the addition of one-tap access to Spotify, which lets you fire up the streaming music service without touching your phone.

We were also expecting an improvement in water-resistance, but Samsung has held steady at IPX2, the lowest level of protection from water you can get. In terms of fit, the Galaxy Buds+ come with additional wing and ear tips to help more people find a comfortable match for their ear type.

In the past, we’ve said that the Galaxy Buds were awesome for Android users, but perhaps less useful if you’re an iPhone user. That’s because Samsung never released an iOS app for the Galaxy Buds. Clearly, Samsung now sees that decision as a missed opportunity to grab market share from Apple’s hugely popular AirPods, as the Galaxy Buds+ will have full iOS support with their own app.

If that app offers the same customization options as Android users have gotten in the past, the Galaxy Buds+ will be especially attractive to would-be AirPods buyers. For the same price as Apple’s base model (with no wireless charging case), you’ll get 11 hours of battery, IPX2 protection, wireless charging, and arguably way better sound quality. The only thing missing will be hands-free support for Siri.

Finally, you’ll be able to pair the Galaxy Buds+ to more than one device, switching the connection easily within your phone’s app.

We’ve already published our first impressions of the Galaxy Buds+, but we’ll be back with a full review, so check back with us soon.

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