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    Galaxy Buds FE are first proper answer to Samsung’s 3.5mm controversy

    Opinion
    By 

    Last updated: October 13th, 2023 at 18:59 UTC+02:00

    Flagship phones have changed and evolved over the years. We lost some things along the way, but the overall user experience for Galaxy phones has vastly improved. One thing manufacturers axed from flagship devices was the 3.5mm port. And if it weren't for low-cost devices, such as the Galaxy M34 5G and others, the 3.5mm port would've become a relic of a bygone era.

    What we have gained at the cost of the 3.5mm port is a wire-free mobile experience and deeper integration between our earbuds and smartphones. Most mobile users who have experienced wireless earbuds would agree that these audio solutions are better to use than wired ones. They're far more convenient if nothing else. Going wireless certainly has its advantages, but it comes at a cost.

    I'd say that the biggest hurdle in the wired-to-wireless transition wasn't battery life or audio quality — at least not for most mobile users, save for the very few who use portable amps — but the price of wireless earbuds compared to much cheaper wired alternatives.

    Thankfully, Samsung has expanded its Galaxy Buds series toward both ends of the spectrum. And so far, the Galaxy Buds FE earbuds released earlier this month are the best response to the cost issues presented by the 3.5mm port's removal.

    Story continues after the video

    Galaxy Buds FE are an important step on road to all-wireless future

    I've been in the wireless earbuds camp since I got the Galaxy Buds Pro for free as a pre-order bonus for the Galaxy S22+. Once I tried this new way of listening to music on the go, I saw no need to go back to wired earbuds or headphones for mobile use – or even at home. I never realized how annoying wires can be when you're on the move until I got rid of them.

    At the same time, I understand that wireless earbuds have had a higher barrier of entry due to their price, which is one big reason why the 3.5mm port's removal created so much controversy early on. “Samsung will force us to pay more,” and so on.

    But Samsung seems to understand this price barrier. Otherwise, we would've seen the 3.5mm port disappear even from low-cost phones. The company realized that upper-mid-range and flagship buyers are likely in a more favorable position, financially speaking, to go through the wired-to-wireless transition without spending too much of their hard-earned cash.

    Now that the concept is proven and manufacturing costs for wireless earbuds likely decreased, Samsung seems to be finally turning its attention toward the rest of the market. You could say the Galaxy Buds FE are the first affordable wireless buds from Samsung, costing $99. And you can get them for $75 if you trade an old pair of wired or wireless earbuds or headphones.

    Given that Samsung's wired AKG-branded USB-C earbuds had a price tag of $30 when they were on sale, this means the Galaxy Buds FE have a premium of $45-to-$69. That's not a bad price for a wireless experience and more advanced features like Active Noise Cancellation, Ambient Sound, and touch controls. It's actually pretty darn good.

    In my eyes, the Galaxy Buds FE are the first earbuds that might truly make the 3.5mm port's demise a non-issue for most smartphone users. Granted, some will always oppose change. However, if you always were inclined to go wireless and couldn't due to cost constraints, the Galaxy Buds FE should have brought you closer to realizing that transition. And that should be a win for both Samsung and many customers.

    As a side note, I'm starting to believe that the release of the Galaxy Buds FE might also signal the eventual removal of the 3.5mm headphone port from additional low-cost phones. The cheaper wireless earbuds get, the more the mobile market draws near to an all-wireless experience. I'm all here for it, and I hope affordability and wireless earbuds will meet a lot more often in the future.

    GeneralOpinion Galaxy Buds FE Buy now!
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