Samsung recently launched the Gear IconX which is a portable fitness device; earphones with activity tracking sensors. Samsung Gulf was kind enough to hand over one and I played around with it. The noise-reduction and its sensor performance just blew me away. I’d like to recommend this to everyone who exercise and below is a detailed review if you are a bit of geek and minute detail matters.

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Construction

This capsule-shaped case that you see in the picture above is not just a container for the wireless buds. It hides in itself a 315mAh battery which charges the earbuds when they are docked and the capsule is closed.

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If you look closely, you will notice a smooth surface enclosed by a shiny accent. This surface is touch-sensitive and its from where you can operate the earbud since the IconX buts has no buttons at all and yes you don’t need to reach out to your phone. On the other end of the earbud, you will notice golden contact points and this is where the capsule connects to the earbud once its docked. The design of the earbud, especially the flexible wingtips helps it fit in your ears while you are running.

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On one side of each earbud is a heart rate sensor built-in that doesn’t only track your heartbeat but also triggers the device when it senses that you have put them on. And yes, when you take them off, the IconX turns off.

The entire package is pretty portable and simple which is why I loved it. It can easily fit in your pocket or your bag.

Framework

So when you put the earbuds on, both of them makes a beep sound to synchronize with each other and pre-installed music starts playing (which to be honest I found pretty good while you are running). Connecting the devices to your phone is very easy too though; if you have a Samsung device, you just have to download Samsung Gear app and it will guide you how to establish a connection with the IconX. And even if your smartphone isn’t Samsung, you will find Gear IconX inside your bluetooth settings and you can pair with it.

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So there are two ways for you to listen to music on the wearable. You can either load the songs straight to each bud or you can just use your phone to stream music to the IconX via bluetooth. For the transfer of songs, you can use your phone and upload the music to both the left and right earpiece.

Performance

When you want to track your activity, lets say running for now, just tap on the shiny surface of either of the bud and then hold the surface until you hear a voice say, “Start your workout”. Release the finger and the heart sensor activates. Apart from the heart sensors, there are ambient sensors that has the capability to hear things happening around you. To activate that, once again tap the surface and hold until you hear “Activate ambient sound.” This makes you hear digitalized unnatural external sounds but its actually very cool.

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Something that I would like to criticize is that Samsung should have added a feature of deactivating the microphones when it senses that you are running/jogging. This is because if you are running in a windy area, the microphone picks up the windy sound and its a bit distracting of-course.

 

Sound Quality

The sound quality was nonetheless simply impressive. I couldn’t hear any noise and despite of its size, it has decent base especially when the music is streamed via Bluetooth.

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Battery Life

The good thing about having a small capacity is that it doesn’t take much time to charge. The capsule charges the buds twice for about 45 minutes and then you will need to dock them again. Each bud has a capacity of 47 mAh and thus they don’t last very long on streaming music via Bluetooth.

 

Decision Time

No cables, light weight, stylish design and good sound quality makes it an effective tool for your gym time. Another reason for its workout suitability is how you don’t need to carry your phone along for being in range and you can just upload songs straight to the buds.

I agree that its battery life needs lot of refinement but for such a small fellow, its still doing fine and these features makes it a good fit for my exercise time.

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Below are Samsung Gear IconX specs:

  • 4GB / up to 1,000 songs
  • Bluetooth v4.1
  • Accelerometer, HR, Capacitive Touch
  • Dynamic Driver
  • Microphone
  • Splash resistant
  • 47mAh battery (buds), 315mAh battery (case)
  • Charging case: 315mAh
  • Earbud: 18.9 (W) x 26.0 (D) / Case: 92.0 (W) x 35.3 (D)
  • Earbud: 6.3g per earbud / Case: 52g
  • Black, blue and white