The craze these days in tech is the set of wireless bluetooth earphones all over the market. They are there in all kinds of price ranges, shapes and sizes ranging from bands, thin over the neck strips, pure wireless without any wires and so on. I being a geek naturally got sucked into this craze as well and after seeing many many reviews on youtube and other blogs, decided to opt for the Samsung U Flex bluetooth wireless earphones.
The headset is priced currently at 4999/- on the samsung shop website, but being a corporate BYOD login user I got the product for 3522/-, with no cost emi options as well. Samsung does good on the BYOD side, and it is this kind of ventures that makes a company retain its customers.
The details of the U Flex are available all over the internet, so I will start with an unboxing video of the headset for you below.
Since this review is a rather short one, I will focus on the pros and cons of this headset so you know whether it interests you.
The good bits
- Price: The U flex is priced reasonably and its a steal and about 3500 bucks.
- Weight: The eaphone is lightweight as such except for the bottom part of the band and you would have guessed it its flexible while packing it so you can pretty much put it into any bag in any manner
- Soft buds: I am a big fan of soft buds and this is no different from say the One Plus bullets V2 that I have which by now is the gold standard in a 1000/- bucks earphone price range. The fact there are multiple sizes of these buds only add cheer to the buyer.
- Fit: Since there are different sizes of soft buds available, you will eventually find one that fits you well. Once you slightly push the earphone into the ear, almost all outside noise is filtered out keeping the environment inside silent so you can hear that all important conversation or music in peace
- Charging time: Charging time is pretty quick and if you are left with zero juice when you wake up - by the time you refresh yourself and get prepared for office it will reach full charge. Pretty neat.
The bad bits
Every product will have its bad bits mainly because someone did not properly consider how the user will use their product. The apple airpods is a case in point where you get ear pain in less than 5 minutes !!
- Battery life: its about average, for moderate use, I may get two or three days max. This means few calls in a day, about an hour of music a day. Nothing more than that. If you are much more an active user then it may not cross a day due to heavy usage.
- Wires: It is ironic that I have to speak about wires in a wireless bluetooth earphone. But that is what makes it the achiles heel for Samsung. This thing has some bit of wires which end in the earphones themselves that magentically lock, but for most part of the wearing in the day, I have come to be known as a doctor with a stethoscope. Something that shows how casual onlookers look at it. The wires tangle with my seatbelt in the car, they tangle with my office ID card lanyard - it is a mess. Its not something that will make me change the earphones to some other brand, but nevertheless is an annoyance I can live without at times
- Audio quality: Now this is totally subjective based on what sound signature you like. I like proper separation between the lows, mids and highs and a bit of thump in the bass. The separation is clear in this earphone, but bass is where it disappoints for users that look for it. It could have been better, keeping bullets v2 wired headphone as a reference point.
- Volume: The volume stops at some point to increase. It is not a level that I would personally prefer as my reference was somewhere higher, but that is about it. At the max volume you are left wanting for more. I have not tried using this with a Samsung phone yet, but I am assuming pairing will be much better and the software app will have better controls with which you can adjust the bass in much more precision.
- Call quality: You can hear the person on the other end well, the problem is the other way round. The other person cannot hear you so well since the band has the mic which sits under your collar or away from your mouth (the speaking point). So you need to raise your volume a bit while speaking which could be annoying to others around you.
- The band: It grows on you, after about a month or two of usage, I really want to take out that earphone and throw it on my desk. It seems heavy, you know its there on your neck and heck sometimes you just answer the call with your phone. Period. There maybe more effective ways of having greater battery life, but the band does not provide for much in that way
- Buttons and UX: I have a keen eye for user experience or UX, since I am from that domain. Everything matters to me - placement of buttons, usage in terms of button presses, outcomes of those - all of that. The metal buttons on either side of the band are somewhat merged with the band itself and you really need to grope and find out literally where the button starts and ends since it sits below your chin. The buttons for siri, Ok google, or Samsung's own bixby can be configured though I never reckon to have to use that. All these are useful only when you are away from the phone which was not my use case.
- Connectivity: The connection is stable (bluetooth 4.2) although I did have some drops while listening to music at times which was irritating, but for long calls never once did the connection drop. In a rather silent place calls are good and one can go on and on without worrying about annoying drops. Of course the farther you move from the earphone the worse it will get.
- Sweat proof worthiness: The earphone handles the sweat part just about okay though I have not tried its water resistance. I did try to jog with the earphone but there is quite some amount of movement in the ear which is audible and not so comfortable - I am not talking about fit, its just the loudness of the phones moving around your neck, you can feel it. These arent the best for heavy exercise
- Magnetic latch: The magnets aren't very strong, but also not very weak they secure the earphones in place quite firmly.
- Charging: I am putting this under negatives because it still uses micro USB port for charging and not USB type C. This is not a big downside as such but still its 2018!
Many people have reviewed this gadget, and I am only bringing you the points that you need to know specifically before investing on this earphone. As such the product is unique since it flexes saving space for packaging. It has reasonably good audio, though not loud and thumpy in terms of bass (for the reference I listen to despecable me to decide).
The price is in the correct range and being Samsung you get BYOD and Emi discounts and options. I am hating that sort of heavy-ish neckband although the heaviness is only a feeling more than reality. The tangling wires are definitely irritating and battery life is about okay for my kind of use. There is always room for improvement for this design. The good bits outweigh the bad ones and you would generally NOT be disappointed with this purchase.
If you have it and have used it extensively leave me notes what you feel about it in the comments below. I have also reviewed the Leaf ear phones which I will update shortly based on real world usage, if you want a comparison of some sort.
My next purchase is the Focal Spark Wireless BT which is on the way! Look forward to another review of that one as well on this blog.