Finally Samsung has brought the Galaxy Buds into the FE family after launching the first edition more than 4 years ago. It is priced very competitively, making it the cheapest Galaxy Buds at launch so it is just natural that Samsung has to reduce some features. Let's find out whether the Galaxy Buds FE is worth the price or you are better off spending more for the flagship models.
What I loved the most about the Galaxy Buds FE is that Samsung has finally brought back the wing tips design ever since the first generation Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+. It helps to make sure the Buds FE sit tightly and comfortably in the ears so I don’t need to reach up to adjust it every few minutes just to make sure it is still there, especially while exercising or doing other physical activities.
Compared to the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, it may not look as sleek and classy but I personally feel the design of the Galaxy Buds FE is far more practical. The earbuds have much more clearly defined areas for tapping and gripping, making it easier to operate such as pausing the audio or changing the volume. Compared to the smooth round design of the Buds 2 and Buds 2 Pro, the chances of accidental taps are much less.
The case design is quite similar to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and is white colour for both variants. Only the interior matches the colour of the earbuds and it comes in 2 timeless colours, which is Graphite and White, so basically it can go along well with your everyday outfit, making it the perfect choice for any occasion.
It is also quite impressive that the Galaxy Buds FE comes with quite a complete list of software given its price tag is 50% lesser than the Buds 2 Pro. It fully supports the Galaxy Wearable app, allowing you to personalise the Galaxy Buds FE directly from your Samsung Galaxy devices, getting the perfect settings from the equaliser to Bixby Voice-wake-up.
It also features some quality of life functions to make life easier in your daily usage of the Buds FE. The SmartThings Find app gives you an alarm reminder in the event you leave your earbuds behind, whereas the Lost Mode will allow you to track down the location of your earbuds in case you lose them.
Also the Galaxy Buds FE works perfectly well with Samsung’s ecosystem of devices. With the Auto Switch features, you can pair the earbuds with a few other Samsung Galaxy devices and switch freely between them without missing a single beat.
Like the other Galaxy Buds, the Buds FE support gestures on the touchpad as well, for example a single tap pauses and resumes media playback, a double tap skips to the next one etc. The touch-and-hold gesture is also customizable for each earbud, so you can set it up based on your usage preferences, for example switching between ambient and ANC mode, or opening up your favourite music app.
The Buds FE comes with a battery capacity of 60mAh and 479mAh for the case. With ANC on, the Buds FE can last up to 6 hours on a single full charge, and provide up to 21 hours of play time including its case. With ANC off, the battery can even last for up to 30 hours, keeping up with your long playlists of songs, podcasts and even videos browsing throughout the day. It is likely that the playtime might vary when it comes to real life usage but definitely the battery would be more than sufficient to last for a full day's use.
One thing worth noting is that the Galaxy Buds FE case also lacks wireless charging support but having this feature removed is understandable given the affordable price tag. And since USB-C has become so common nowadays, having to use one to charge the Buds FE feels quite convenient as well.
Sound quality is quite subjective as everyone has different preferences but for me, the Galaxy Buds FE did very well in providing solid audio quality despite having only one driver. It has a very clean sound profile and the bass is quite decent too. Audio quality can be further improved through the Equaliser settings so users can adjust the settings that best suit their preferences.
The Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is among the best features to have on the Galaxy Buds FE, and Samsung really did a great job as it was indeed not very common to find a pair of quality earbuds with ANC at such an affordable price tag. It reduces background noises very effectively and users also can switch to Ambient Sound mode to hear surrounding ambient sounds without taking off the earbuds.
The Galaxy Buds FE also has three microphones inside each earbud, working in harmony to capture your voice accurately, allowing you to enjoy crispy clear calls. It also utilises Personalized Beamforming which adjust the buds to the users wearing pattern for optima pickup of your voice.
As of now until 31 October 2023, there is an ongoing promotion for the Samsung Galaxy Buds FE where you can get Minions Bob Eco-Friends Cover for free when you make a purchase. The cover reimagines iconic design elements from one of Minions beloved characters, Bob. Quality wise the case cover is quite solid and it does add quite a personalised touch to the case as it’s pretty plain at the outside. It is quite easy to put on but removing it does give me a little chill down my spine as the top part attached quite tightly and I was a little afraid that the cover might broke. Nevertheless, it does provide quite a solid protection for the casing.
Overall, the Galaxy Buds FE being the more budget option, definitely shines on its own and I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any complaints if you opt for it. Sound quality wise it might not be the best when compared to the more expensive flagship Galaxy Buds model but given the price tag of RM399, I would definitely recommend the Galaxy Buds FE to anyone looking for a pair of earbuds which is best value for money.