Samsung’s has traditionally prioritised the premium segment of the wireless earbuds market with the likes of their Galaxy Buds2 Pro, Buds2 and other earbuds though they’re now prioritising the budget side of the market with their Galaxy Buds FE earbuds that have just been released alongside the Galaxy S23 FE.
We managed to get a sample for field testing and put it through its paces in the last several weeks. Here’s our Galaxy Buds FE review where we see if their budget earbuds are able to beat the competition
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review – Build and Design
Table of Contents
As their inaugural budget wireless earbud design, the Galaxy Buds FE culls quite a bit of technology as well as the proven design of the higher end Galaxy Buds2 and Buds2 Pro series, especially in the design of their charging case.
@hitechcentury We unbox the new Samsung Galaxy Buds FE budget ear buds that come with a free Minions protective case for a limited time in Malaysia. Super cute case and the earbuds come with active noise cancellation too. #techtok #racuntiktok #hitechcentury #fyp #tech #samsung #asmrvideo #unboxing #unboxingvideo #minions #minion #malaysia #galaxybudsfe ♬ France Accordion Swing – MIZUSATO Masaki
The squarish form factor of the charging case has identical dimensions with tthat used in the higher end Buds2 and Buds2 Pro which allows the Buds FE’s charging case to be compatible with Samsung’s vast line-up of existing protective case covers in the market. If you’re fast on the draw, Samsung is throwing in a Minions protective case for free that’s worth RM169 from now until 31st October 2023 when you buy the Galaxy Buds FE in Malaysia.
My Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review sample came in an all-white paint job with a pearlescent white finish across the charging case and the earbuds which lends it a nice, clean look. If that doesn’t quite float your boat, it also comes in an alternative colourway with black hued earbuds with the inner parts of the charging case finished in black .
The hinge mechanism is smooth enough to allow for one-handed opening and the case itself is small and flat enough to make it quite pocketable though the addition of the free Minions case adds quite a bit of bulk to the case itself.
Unlike the higher end Galaxy Buds2 and Buds2 Pro, our Galaxy Buds FE review unit solely relies on wired charging via the USB-C port on the rear of the case for the 479mAh battery. The design itself lacks wireless charging support, presumably to keep costs down.
The earbuds each house a single 6.5mm driver, three microphones with one facing inwards and two facing outwards as well as a 60mAh battery in a bulbous housing that terminates in a silicone ear tip. For added traction, the earbuds also have a set of wing tips that help it stick securely in your outer ear canal. Controlling the earbuds is primarily via a series of taps on a clickable control surface.
Unfortunately, another modest concession to cost here is that the earbuds only have IPX2 water resistance which means they are splashproof to beads of sweat or maybe the odd drop of water or two but can’t survive usage in a shower or immersion in water. The charging case itself does not have dust or water resistance.
For accessories, Samsung has bundled the usual basics that include a USB-C cable for charging, smaller and larger ear tips as well as a larger set of wing tips that fit on the outer portion of the earbuds to offer a better fit.
In terms of build quality, the charging case for my Galaxy Buds FE review sample looks every bit like its more premium siblings save for the lack of wireless charging. Bar the slightly different design of the earbuds which eschew the rounded bead shape of its higher-end siblings for a flatter, more practical clickable control surface, the average user would be hard-pressed to differentiate the Galaxy Buds2 FE at a glance.
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE Review – Specifications
Here’s how the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review unit stacks up on paper…
Drivers 6.5mm single
Codecs AAC, SBC, Samsung Scalable Codec (SSC)
Connectivity Bluetooth v5.2 w/ A2DP, AVRCP, HFP
Battery 60mAh [earbud], 479mAh [case] / 6 hours [ANC on, quoted], 21 hours [ANC on, quoted]
Size/ Weight 19.2 x 17.1 x 22.2 mm [earbuds] 50.0 x 50.0 x 27.7 mm [case] / 5.6g [earbud], 40g [case]
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE Review – Setup and Performance
Getting my Galaxy Buds FE review sample up and running was a relatively simple task. The default medium pair of ear tips and wingtips fit like a glove. Much like the other products in their expansive ecosystem, the earbuds were easily recognised by my Galaxy S23 FE the moment I flipped the lid open with Bluetooth activated. Pairing took a few seconds with the phone downloading the necessary drivers for it to interact on the Galaxy Wearable app.
Once all the formalities are sorted, the app allows you to conduct an earbud fit test by playing a series of noises to ensure that it has a proper seal.
It also lets you download updates, selected from one of six predefined equaliser sound settings and also toggle between having active noise cancellation on or having ambient mode on. Having the former integrated into the Galaxy Buds FE is a pleasant surprise, more so for the fact that ANC is a rarity in lower end earbuds.
Unfortunately, there’s not much official information on just what level of noise cancellation that the earbuds offer. The provided Ambient mode allows a modicum of sound to pass through which is helpful in scenarios where you have to brave traffic or listen to announcements. Alternatively, you can leave both modes off.
In terms of controls, my Galaxy Buds FE review unit relies on a proven control scheme that revolves around a series of taps. The controls are mirrored across both earbuds with a single tap to play and pause tracks, a double tap plays the next track and to answer or end a call while a triple tap plays the previous track.
Unfortunately these controls are hardwired into the earbuds though users can tweak the touch and hold control to either access Spotify or to reduce or increase volume via the left and right earbuds.
When put to the test, the Galaxy Buds FE offers exceptional active noise cancellation performance that is better than what its price point would indicate.
While no official specifications are listed, the earbuds are able to comfortably mute out the background noise in a bustling coffee shop to a muted buzz and smash out the irksome announcements on the KTM tannoy to a tolerable background murmur.
Each earbud contains a 6.5mm driver which proved to be surprisingly capable with a good amount of detail and detailed highs for most mainstream tracks while being able to be played at loud volumes without distortion.
Bass isn’t stellar even with bass prioritised settings enabled due to the modest size of the drivers but it’s more than sufficient for casual listening. Call quality on both sides was excellent and voices were loud and clear with a modest amount of wind noise muted out of conversations.
In terms of comfort, the Galaxy Buds FE were adequate for three to four hour stretches of use before I needed to remove it and reinsert it to relieve built-up pressure. The silicone ear tips and wing tips both helped to keep the earbuds secure and they managed to stay in place even after an impromptu sprint for the train.
On paper, the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE is officially rated for six hours of battery life with noise cancellation on and about 21 hours of endurance including the charging case which is on par with most other competing earbuds.
If you keep noise cancellation off, you can eke out far more endurance to the tune of a collective 30 hours or so of use. This is more than sufficient for general use as a companion on the daily commute and during work hours.
Should you buy Samsung Galaxy Buds FE?
The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE makes for a great value-oriented pair of wireless earbuds that combine a good price to performance ratio with excellent noise cancellation capabilities. While it isn’t fully water resistant nor does it have wireless charging support, the Galaxy Buds FE is an otherwise excellent general purpose design for daily use made more so by its agreeable price point.
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review sample courtesy of Samsung Malaysia. For more details and to purchase please visit https://www.samsung.com/my/audio-sound/galaxy-buds/galaxy-buds-fe-graphite-sm-r400nzaaxme/
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE
Samsung Galaxy Buds FE
The Samsung Galaxy Buds FE offers good sound quality and with competently executed noise cancellation support beyond what its price would indicate. Galaxy series smartphone owners looking for a solid pair of budget earbuds that can seamlessly mesh with the Samsung ecosystem will appreciate what this has to offer.
Good price to performance ratio
Has active noise cancellation
Charging case accepts wide variety of protective covers
Only splash resistant
No wireless charging support