Feb 15, 2020
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Samsung Gear IconX (2018): not just headphones

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Not just wireless headsets, but complete devices for listening to music and monitoring physical activity: here’s Samsung Gear IconX 2018.

Not just wireless headsets, but a smart and complete device, which, despite its extremely small footprint, provides features suitable for monitoring physical activity and listening to music. The new Samsung Gear IconX (2018) make it superfluous to take your smartphone with you during a walk or a running session, accurately measuring performance and interacting with the user through a voice guide.

Samsung Gear IconX (2018): all the details

Design

The design of the earphones is designed to adapt comfortably to the ear, thanks to the possibility to choose caps and fins of various sizes (supplied in the packaging). It is thus possible to devote oneself to the training or fitness session without any worries. Both units remain firmly anchored to the pavilion all the time, even when running, jumping or performing exercises. Nothing has been left to chance even in terms of look: you can choose between the colors Black, White and Air Superiority Blue.

Samsung

The dimensions are extremely small: 18.9 × 26.4 × 26.0 mm, with a weight of only 6.3 grams (for each headset). Thanks to the P2i Nano Coating coating, the device guarantees protection against splashes and sweat.

Specifications

Just take a look at the data sheet to understand that Gear IconX (2018) is not just a pair of wireless headsets. In the few millimeters of the casing there is an internal 4 GB memory (3.5 GB available to the user) useful for saving the songs to be listened during physical activity. In other words, it is a small music player: guaranteed full compatibility with MP3, M4A, AAC, WAV and WMA formats. There are also two microphones for each unit, an accelerometer and the HR sensor useful for detecting the heart rate. Other measured parameters are distance traveled, speed, duration and calories burned.

Each of the two earphones includes a 47 mAh battery and ensures up to 3.8 hours of music playback, 3.4 hours if you listen to the tracks during a training session, 1.6 hours with Bluetooth active and 1, 5 hours if wireless streaming is performed. The case has a capacity of 315 mAh, sufficient to carry out two complete charging cycles.

Functionality

The Gear IconX edition 2018 is compatible with all Android smartphones with version 4.4 KitKat (or later) of the operating system. To make the most of the features offered, however, you need a phone from the Samsung range. All the data collected during the training session can then be synchronized with the S Health mobile application and entered into a history to track progress.

Particularly interesting and useful is the environment mode, which if activated allows you to hear the noises of the surrounding environment: in this way you can listen to the music stored in the storage, but never lose contact with the outside world.

Connectivity is guaranteed both by the presence of a USB 2.0 port and the included Bluetooth 4.2 module. The management can also be done via computer, thanks to the Gear IconX PC Manager software.

Touch controls

The surface of the earphones is actually an interface for touch controls, useful for managing the playback of music without interrupting what you are doing: a single touch to pause or resume playback, two touches to go to the next song or answer an incoming call, three taps to go back to the previous song, swipe up or down respectively to raise or lower the volume and a long touch for access to the main menu from which to select the Training mode or that environment.

Price and availability

Samsung’s Icon Icon (2018) debut on the market is set for November 24, 2017. The price set for the launch is € 229.00. Inside the package are included, in addition to the earphones, the case for charging, the bearings in sizes S, M and L, the quick guide, a USB connector, the USB cable and three tabs (S, M and L).

Review
Let’s start with a consideration, without which we could not face an objective analysis of the product: Samsung Gear IconX is not a simple pair of headphones or earphones in-ear, although this is what is suggested by the design. The wearable device label best describes the nature of the product, which despite the form factor integrates a complex and complex set of technologies and functionalities.

They are wireless headsets, but also fitness trackers and music players. We had the opportunity to try them for a couple of weeks and it became clear that their main strength is their ability to function completely independently of their smartphone. What does it mean? That it is not necessary to take the phone with you during a training session, a run or a walk. The detection of parameters such as the distance traveled has proved to be reliable in principle, but it must be said that if you want to get accurate information there are no alternatives to bring with you a smartphone or a smartwatch with GPS module.

The level of customization is high and, through the official app made available by Samsung, you can manage options such as those related to the virtual coach. In Gear IconX there is in fact a personal trainer who offers advice on how to improve performance through voice messages: for example, calculates the time needed to complete the warm up before starting an exercise, suggests when it is time to increase the pace, communicates constantly feedback on performance in real time and so on.

The earphones also perform as a stand-alone music player: inside there is a 4 GB memory that can accommodate about a thousand tracks, to be transferred wirelessly from the smartphone or by relying on a special software in free download for PC. In this regard, the quality of the audio played did not seem excellent (medium frequencies too much in evidence, low lows), even by manually acting on equalization during streaming via Bluetooth.

Rather comfortable interaction with the touchpad for managing songs, even if the swipe used to raise and lower the volume sometimes, in motion, inevitably ends up becoming a tap. In relation to the commands, it would be useful in terms of autonomy a way to completely turn off the earphones without having to force them to put things in the case.

The presence of caps and fins of different sizes inside the packaging makes them adaptable to almost any ear and the possibility of using the case as a portable battery for recharging is certainly an added value. As said at the opening, the new Gear IconX are intended more as a wearable device or fitness tracker that as wireless headsets, with the latter label that would end up diminishing the features offered. A purchase therefore recommended to those who make fitness and performance measurement a priority. The data collected during the workouts can then be synchronized with the Samsung S Health app, so as to keep track of the progress made over time.

The autonomy is good, far superior to the previous model and in line with the declared one: it actually exceeds three and a half hours listening to music in the internal storage. Support for interaction with the Bixby virtual assistant, on Samsung smartphones, should be considered another added value.

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