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Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Mar 15, 2018 at 06:54 pm
Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless Picture
7.3
Mixed Usage
7.0
Neutral Sound
7.8
Commute/Travel
8.2
Sports/Fitness
7.0
Office
5.6
Wireless Gaming
5.5
Wired Gaming
6.3
Phone Calls
These headphones were replaced by the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless
Type In-ear
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are versatile headphones that are great for sports. They're super portable and stable enough for running and working out. They have a decent sound quality and block enough noise to be suitable for most environments. They also barely leak, so they're a great choice for the office and commuting. Unfortunately, they have too much latency for watching movies and gaming.

Our Verdict

7.3 Mixed Usage

The Samsung Gear IconX are decent truly wireless in-ears for mixed usage. They're great for sports and commuting, thanks to their compact, stable design and surprisingly good passive isolation. They're also sufficiently comfortable for an in-ear and barely leak even at high volumes. Unfortunately, they have high latency for gaming and watching movies, and their touch-sensitive control scheme can be a bit of a hit or miss at times. They only have one additional charge in the case, which means they have a slightly shorter total battery life than other truly wireless designs.

Pros
  • Great design.
  • Good passive isolation.
  • Stable and breathable for sports.
Cons
  • High latency.
  • Sub-par microphone performance.
7.0 Neutral Sound

The Samsung Gear IconX are satisfactory for neutral sound. They have a well-balanced bass and mid-range but a relatively underemphasized treble reproduction. They also have a slight bump in the low-end that makes them sound a bit boomy, but it's not as noticeable as the treble spikes. Unfortunately, they have a poor soundstage and won't be the ideal headphones for more neutral listeners.

7.8 Commute/Travel

The Samsung Gear IconX are good for commuting. They're very compact and easy to carry around on your person. They also passively isolate better than some noise cancelling headphones. Their control scheme can be a bit tricky to use at times, but their comfortable design and decent battery life should be enough for most trips.

8.2 Sports/Fitness

The Samsung Gear IconX are great for sports. They're stable and compact truly wireless headphones with a decently comfortable in-ear fit. They're very portable and come with a charging case that's not too bulky. Unfortunately, their control scheme is somewhat unreliable, and they only come with three tip sizes and three stability fins which may not be ideal for all ear shapes and sizes.

7.0 Office

The Samsung Gear IconX are satisfactory for office use. They isolate well and barely leak even at high volumes, making them suitable to use in a lively or quiet office environment. Their battery life might not be ideal for long continuous listening sessions at the office but should be good enough for most use cases.

5.6 Wireless Gaming

The Samsung Gear IconX are sub-par for gaming, with a mediocre-at-best microphone and too much latency for gaming. Their companion app isn't as customizable as most gaming-oriented software.

5.5 Wired Gaming
6.3 Phone Calls
  • 7.3 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Neutral Sound
  • 7.8 Commute/Travel
  • 8.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 7.0 Office
  • 5.6 Wireless Gaming
  • 5.5 Wired Gaming
  • 6.3 Phone Calls
  1. Updated Mar 18, 2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.
  2. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  3. Updated Nov 21, 2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.
  4. Updated Mar 15, 2018: Review published.
  5. Updated Mar 13, 2018: Early access published.

Test Results

Design
Design
Style

The Samsung Gear IconX have a slick and compact truly wireless design. They don't stick out of your ears, and they're slightly angled to better fit the contours of your ears. Their small footprint and understated color scheme look great and should be good for most listeners. However, they won't be as immediately recognizable as some of the other truly wireless headphones already mentioned. They also come in a flashier pink or grey color scheme if you want your buds to be a bit more noticeable.

7.5
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0 lbs

The Samsung Gear IconX are comfortable truly wireless in-ears. They come with three tip sizes and three stability fin options to help you find a secure and stable fit. The earbuds are very lightweight, and since they're truly wireless, you barely notice them once they're in your ears. The buds are also slightly angled to better fit within the contours of your ears. However, like most in-ears, they put a bit of pressure within your ear canal which may not be as comfortable for all users.

6.3
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use Okay
Feedback Okay
Call/Music Control Yes
Volume Control Yes
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls Voice Assistant

The Samsung IconX have a mediocre touch-sensitive control scheme. They provide all the essential functions, call/music, track-skipping, and volume controls. Unfortunately, the small touch-sensitive surface doesn't register sliding gestures as well as taps, so turning up/down the volume can be a bit finicky at times. If you prefer a truly wireless design with physical controls, then you can check out the Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless or the TREBLAB X5 Truly Wireless.

9.0
Design
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference 1 ยฐC

The Samsung IconX are very breathable headphones for sports and working out. They're compact, and like most truly wireless in-ears, they only trap a negligible amount of heat within the ear canal. This makes them suitable for more intense physical activities like running and exercising since they don't cover your ears and will not make you sweat more than usual.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.5"
W 1.2"
H 0.7"
Volume 1.6 inยณ
Transmitter Required No

The Samsung Gear IconX are very compact and easy to carry around on your person. Like most truly wireless designs, the earbuds easily fit into your pockets, and they're a bit more portable than Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless. They also have a compact case that doesn't protrude or stick out of your pocket like other truly wireless charging cases like the Jaybird Run Truly Wireless.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2.8"
W 1.5"
H 0.9"
Volume 4.5 inยณ

The Samsung IconX come with a sturdy hard case that will shield the earbuds against impacts and drops. The case is very portable, unlike some other truly wireless charging cases, and feels incredibly well-made. It doesn't have the premium leather finish of the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Truly Wireless 2018, but it's a bit smaller and feels dense and more durable.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

These earbuds have a decent build quality. They have a dense and durable plastic design that's sturdy enough to withstand a couple of accidental drops. The case also feels very sturdy, and since it doesn't have a material coating like the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E8 Truly Wireless 2018's case, it should be more resistant to wear and tear over time. Overall, their build quality may not feel as luxurious or as premium as the Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless. The left earbud would often get clogged and lose a lot of its volume output. You can clean it, but this may be a deal-breaker for some if you do a lot of running and working out with your headphones.

8.0
Design
Stability

Like the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless, these are very stable sports headphones. They have a lightweight in-ear fit and don't move much once you find the right combination of tips and stability fins for your ears. They stay put during more intense workout routines and are more than stable enough for running. They don't come with as many tips as the Jaybird Run Truly Wireless, so they may not cater as well to all ear shapes and sizes, but the provided accessories are good enough for most listeners.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • Samsung Gear Icon X headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3 sizes)
  • Stability fins (x3 sizes)
  • Charging case
  • USB charging cable
  • USB-C charging adapter
  • USB Charging adapter

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-0.58 dB
Treble Amount
-2.11 dB
8.6
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.28 dB

They have an excellent frequency response consistency. If the user can achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, they should get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
8.3
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.27 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
46.21 Hz
Low-Bass
-3.43 dB
Mid-Bass
0.63 dB
High-Bass
2.7 dB

The Samsung Gear IconX have great bass accuracy. They have an underemphasized low-bass, which means that mixes lack thump and rumble. However, the mid-bass is quite even, and the high-bass is a bit overemphasized, so tracks have body and ample boom. That said, if you want more bass and like truly wireless headphones, check out the Skullcandy Push Truly Wireless.

8.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
1.46 dB
Low-Mid
1.01 dB
Mid-Mid
-1.85 dB
High-Mid
-0.05 dB

The Samsung Gear IconX have excellent mid accuracy. The response is even and well-balanced, but the small dip centered around 700Hz gives bass instruments more emphasis and nudges vocals and lead instruments to the back of the mix.

7.4
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.45 dB
Low-Treble
-2.14 dB
Mid-Treble
-2.37 dB
High-Treble
-5.32 dB

The Samsung IconX have decent treble accuracy. The range is mostly underemphasized, resulting in veiled vocals and lead instruments. Sibilants like S and T sounds are also dull and lispy.

8.0
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
1.19 dB
Dips
1.18 dB
9.1
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.1
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
0.46
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
1.23
Weighted Phase Mismatch
2.54

The imaging is outstanding. Their weighted group delay is 0.1, which is among the lowest we have measured. The GD graph also shows that the entire group delay response is below the audibility threshold, suggesting a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our unit were exceptionally matched, which is important for the accurate placement and localization of objects and instruments (like voices and footsteps) in the stereo image.

0.7
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
2.5
Acoustic Space Excitation
0.6

Like most other in-ears, the soundstage of the Samsung Gear IconX is bad. This is because in-ears bypass the pinna (outer ear) and don't interact with it. Activating the resonances of the pinna is one of the key factors in creating a speaker-like and out-of-head soundstage. Also, because of their closed-back design, their soundstage tends to be less open than open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No
7.9
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.213
WHD @ 100
0.117
Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Unknown
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Off
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Silicone (small)
Microphone
Integrated
Isolation
7.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-22.45 dB
Bass
-6.74 dB
Mid
-20.44 dB
Treble
-41.42 dB

The Samsung IconX have an good noise isolation performance. In the bass range, occupied by the rumble of airplane and bus engines, they reduce the noise by about 7dB, which is poor However, this is rather impressive for in-ears and more than what most active noise cancelling headphones can achieve (like the Sony WF-SP700N Truly Wireless). In the mid-range, important for blocking speech, they get 20dB of isolation which is outstanding. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they achieved more than 41dB of isolation, which is fantastic.

9.5
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
23.96 dB

The leakage performance is incredible. These in-ears don't leak in the bass and mid-ranges, and the entire leakage is concentrated in the treble range. The overall level of leakage is also very quiet, making the leakage of these headphones practically non-existent.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No
5.7
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
493.51 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
3.48 dB
HFE
3,319.91 Hz
Weighted THD
5.721
Gain
40.58 dB

The recording quality of the mic is sub-par. The LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 494Hz, resulting in noticeably thin speech. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.3KHz, indicates that speech recorded/transmitted with this microphone will sound muffled and lacking in detail. However, it would still be decently understandable since speech comprehensibility is mostly dependent on the 500Hz-4kHz range.

6.0
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
11.32 dB

The integrated microphone is mediocre at noise handling. In our SpNR test, they achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of 11dB, suggesting that they're best suited for quiet environments and may struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderate and loud environments.

Active Features
6.3
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
4.6 hrs
Additional Charges
1.0
Total Battery Life
9.2 hrs
Charge Time
1.1 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

These headphones have a mediocre battery life with a good set of power-saving features. They last about 4.6 hours and have an additional charge in the case for a total of 9.2 hours. You can squeeze out a bit more if you use the onboard storage instead of a wireless connection. They should last up to 7 hours in this mode and benefit from the quick charge feature that gives you one hour of playback from a 10-minute charge. You can also use each bud individually while the other is charging in the case. They have a standby mode that will put the headphones in sleep after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity and will resume the wireless connection with your phone as soon as you pick them up. For longer battery life and wireless Qi charging, look at the Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless.

7.0
Active Features
App Support
App Name Samsung Gear
iOS No
Android Yes
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
Presets
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
Yes
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

The Samsung Gear App has a decent amount of features, especially for health tracking, but does not have a lot of customization options for your audio. There's an exercise coach feature when running. You can also switch between onboard music and the Bluetooth mode. You can find the last known location of your earbuds, and you get all your tracking data via the Samsung health extension in the app. There's also a customizable preset Equalizer when paired with the Gear IconX. It's a good addition that offers a bit more options but it's not as customizable as the Jaybird Mysound app when paired to the Jaybird Run Truly Wireless. The app also isn't available on iOS, which some users may find disappointing.

Connectivity
6.6
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
4.2
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
89 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
280 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
71 ms
Android Latency
139 ms

The Samsung Gear IconX can connect to other devices via Bluetooth. They don't have simultaneous multi-device pairing and don't support NFC. On the upside, they're very easy to pair, thanks to the Bluetooth pair button on the case. These headphones have way too much latency for gaming and watching videos. They should be fine for listening to music and streaming podcasts but will not be suitable for video content.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A
0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These headphones don't have an audio cable or a wired connection. If you want a decent sounding and stable in-ear with a wired connection, look at the 1More Triple Driver.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No
Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No
2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

They come with a charging case that provides an additional charge but has no inputs. On the upside, the case makes pairing easier than other truly wireless headphones that pair with the earbuds instead of the case. However, this also means you won't be able to pair to new devices without the case.

Compared To Other Headphones

Comparison picture

The Samsung Gear IconX are compact truly wireless in-ears with a durable design and a balanced sound profile. They're decently comfortable and block a lot of noise passively, making them a decent option for commuting. They also come with an excellent charging case that's very portable but only has one additional charge. Unfortunately, they have quite a bit of latency, and since they have no other connection options, they won't be a suitable choice for movies or gaming.

See our recommendations for the best true wireless earbuds, the best noise cancelling earbuds, and the best wireless earbuds for iPhone.

Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Truly Wireless and the Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are very similar headphones. They perform almost the same way and have practically the same audio reproduction. The Gear IconX have 4GB internal storage, which is very useful to load music on them and work out without your phone. On the other hand, the newer Galaxy Buds now support wireless Qi charging and have a noticeably better microphone. They also have a longer battery life, but latency is worse on the Galaxy Buds than the Gear IconX.

Jaybird Run Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are much better, truly wireless headphones than the Jaybird Run Truly Wireless. The Samsung have 4GB of onboard storage and a more health-focused app that includes a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. They're more compact and easier to carry around than the Jaybird, and thanks to all the additional features, they're slightly better for sports. On the upside, the Jaybird have a more customizable sound thanks to the 5-band EQ provided by the Jaybird MySound app. The Jaybird also have slightly less latency than the Samsung, although neither would be ideal for watching a lot of video content.

Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are a better truly wireless headset than the Bose SoundSport Free Truly Wireless. The Samsung have more features that make them more suitable for sports than the Bose. They have a customizable app with a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. The Samsung are also a lot more portable than the Bose and have 4GBs of onboard storage, which makes them a bit more suitable when running and working out, since you do not have to carry around your phone. On the other hand, the Bose have an earbud fit that most will find a bit more comfortable than the in-ear fit of the Samsung. The Bose also have better-balanced sound quality, a slightly sturdier design, and longer battery life.

JBL Free Truly Wireless 2018

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are a better headset overall when compared to the JBL Free Truly Wireless 2018. The Samsung have a lot more features including 4GB of onboard storage and a somewhat customizable sound profile. They're also easier to carry around, are a bit more comfortable and stable for the gym, and come with a much better charging case. On the upside, the JBL have a slightly better default sound. They also have longer battery life and are a bit easier to use, but do not provide any volume controls compared to the Samsung.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are slightly better truly wireless headphones than the Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless. The Samsung have a better, more comfortable design than the Jabra and are also a bit more stable for sports. The Samsung also have 4GB of onboard storage, and a better, more polished charging case. On the upside, the Jabra have a slightly longer battery life overall. They also have a more stable Bluetooth 5.0 connection and better latency performance. They also benefit from a 5-band EQ that's more customizable than the preset EQs on the Samsung.

Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are a much better truly wireless headset than the Apple AirPods (1st generation) Truly Wireless. The Samsung have an in-ear fit that isolates better in noisy conditions and produces more bass than the Apple thanks to the better seal they create in your ear. The Samsung also have a dedicated app that gives them access to a preset equalizer, sports data, and a built-in coach to keep track of your progress, whereas the Apple feel lacking in features. The Samsung also have 4GB of onboard storage. On the upside, the Apple are better integrated into the iOS platforms, which gives them a few advantages over the Samsung if you have a lot of Apple devices already. They also have a much longer 25 hour battery life than the Samsung, and a more stable and reliable connection with less latency, especially on iOS devices.

JBL FreeX Truly Wireless

The JBL Free X Truly Wireless and the Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are both decent truly wireless in-ears. They’re both well-designed and have similar isolation and microphone performance. The JBL sound slightly better out-of-the-box, but the Samsung can be customized via EQ presets in the Samsung Gear app. The Samsung also have a better battery, a more stable fit, and volume control. They’re both decent choices for most use cases, but the Samsung may be more advantageous for those who prefer more feature-packed headphones.

Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are much better headphones than the Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless. The Samsung isolate better in noisy environments despite not having ANC like the Sonys. They also have more features that make them better for sports than the Sony. They're also more portable and have a better latency performance. The Sony, on the other hand, have a better more premium-looking build quality. Their noise cancellation also does a bit better in the bass range than the Samsung, and their app is slightly more customizable.

Skullcandy Push Truly Wireless

The Samsung Gear IconX Truly Wireless are better headphones than the Skullcandy Push Truly Wireless. The Samsung have 4GB of onboard storage and a more health-focused app that includes a built-in coach to keep track of your workout progress. Their sound quality is also superior and more accurate than the bass-heavy Skullcandy. On the other hand, the Skullcandy have more battery life on a single charge and have an excellent wireless range. 

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