Samsung Gear IconX (2018) hands-on: a welcome battery boost


Last year's Samsung Gear IconX were awesome with their ability to add tunes to your workount without any wires getting in the way. But they were far from perfect. As we stated in our review, battery life was one of the earphones' weakest links.

The new Samsung Gear IconX (2018) addresses the issue by adding a larger battery in each earbud - one that is promised to deliver up to 5 hours of music listening over Bluetooth. The figure stands at 6 hours if you listen to music stored on the IconX's 4GB of built-in storage. As before, the provided carrying case doubles as a charger and battery bank, providing one full recharge. It has a USB Type-C connector now and supports rapid charging.

But while the new IconX scored a larger battery, the heart rate sensor is nowhere to be found. Intuition tells us that it could have been removed simply to make room for the bigger cell. Yet Samsung clarifies that they didn't want it to interfere with any heart-rate trackers the user might already have, such as the one on their Gear smartwatch or smartphone, hence its omission.

Despite the lack of a heart-rate sensor, the Gear IconX is still oriented towards sporty consumers, judging by the fact that it retains the built-in coaching features, accessed with a tap of the touch-sensitive side of the buds. Yes, volume and music playback are still controlled via tapping and swiping gestures. Access to Bixby is also on board.

Nothing in terms of a release date for the new Samsung Gear IconX (2018) has been announced. Pricing isn't known either, but since last year's model retailed for $200, it wouldn't be surprising if the successor costs about the same.

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