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    Samsung Galaxy Buds FE review: Better than the sum of its parts


    Last updated: October 13th, 2023 at 20:49 UTC+02:00

    It was only a matter of time before Samsung brought the Galaxy Buds earbuds under the Fan Edition umbrella, and the company has done that with the Galaxy Buds FE. At just $99, these are the cheapest earbuds in the Galaxy Buds series, and Samsung has naturally cut down some features to achieve the lower price.

    Are the Galaxy Buds FE worth buying, or are you better off spending more and getting one of the non-FE models? Let's get right into it.


    Design and fit

    The design of the Galaxy Buds FE is a winner. Samsung has brought back the wing tips from the first Galaxy Buds and the Galaxy Buds+, so the Buds FE sit comfortably in the ears and stay there, and you won't be reaching up every few seconds to make sure the earbuds aren't about to fall off. Well, unless you have used the Galaxy Buds 2 or the Galaxy Buds Pro, in which case you might find yourself trying to adjust them out of habit.

    The Galaxy Buds FE aren't as pleasing to look at as the Galaxy Buds 2 or Galaxy Buds/Buds 2 Pro, but they are far more practical. Another good thing here is the flat touch area on each earbud, which considerably reduces chances of accidental taps, something the Buds 2 and Buds Pro lineup suffer from because of their rounded construction.

    The Buds FE sit comfortably in the ears and stay there

    The case design is pretty standard. It has a glossy finish like the Galaxy Buds 2 case, and only its interiors match the color of the earbuds, with the case being white on the outside no matter which version you purchase.

    The Galaxy Buds FE case also lacks wireless charging support. That's one of the features Samsung had to remove to reduce the asking price, and while that is understandable, having to use a USB-C cable to charge the Buds FE feels inconvenient.

    Sound, active noise cancellation

    People have different preferences when it comes to sound, but the Galaxy Buds FE, despite having a single driver, do a solid job of producing audio that will make most buyers happy, especially when listening to music or podcasts.

    The buds are loud enough, have a clean sound profile, and have decent bass. Audio quality is further improved when selecting the Dynamic equalizer setting in the Galaxy Wearable app, though you will want to check them all out to find the one that sounds the best to your ears.

    Overall, the Galaxy Buds FE can't match the quality of the costlier Galaxy Buds models, but most folks won't complain unless they compare the different Galaxy Buds models. Think of them like the built-in speakers you get with high-end TVs. They provide decent audio quality for those who don't want to spend extra money on a soundbar or external speakers. The same is applicable when it comes to the Galaxy Buds FE vs the Buds 2 or Buds/Buds 2 Pro.

    The Galaxy Buds FE do active noise cancellation very well

    The Galaxy Buds FE have three microphones inside each earbud, and they do a good job of picking up sound during calls or when trying to wake up Bixby with a voice command. For a demo of the microphone's quality, skip to the MINUTE mark in the video above.

    Samsung has thankfully left ANC intact instead of stripping it away in pursuit of a lower price, and the Buds FE do ANC very well. The wing tip design helps by providing a bit of passive noise cancellation just by being in your ears. Samsung claims ANC can reduce sound from outside by up to 98%, and that's pretty accurate.


    While they don't cost as much as the Buds that came before, the Galaxy Buds FE come with a surprisingly complete software package. Among the major features, there's ambient sound mode so you can listen to external sounds (including your voice when you're on a call) when the buds are in your ears, voice wake-up for Bixby, and automatic detection of when the earbuds are put in the ears and also when they are removed (which pauses whatever media was playing).

    You can also use the Galaxy Wearable app to help find the perfect fit for getting the best sound and active noise cancellation experience. And there's an equalizer, as already mentioned. The Galaxy Buds FE also work great with Samsung's ecosystem of devices. They can be paired with multiple devices, like your phone or tablet, and the earbuds are smart enough to automatically switch between those devices.

    The Galaxy Buds FE come with a surprisingly complete software package

    The Buds FE support gestures on the touchpad, and they're the same as the ones on other Galaxy Buds. During media playback, a single touch pauses and resumes playback, a double tap skips to the next track, and a triple tap plays the previous track. When you get a call, you can double-tap to answer it or touch and hold to decline; a double-tap also ends the ongoing call.

    It's also possible to customize the touch-and-hold gesture for each earbud. You can set the gesture to switch between ambient sound and noise cancellation modes, wake up Bixby, reduce the volume, or open the Spotify app.

    Battery life

    Samsung's battery life claims for its earbuds often end up being accurate, and the same is true for the Galaxy Buds FE. With ANC on, the Buds FE can last six hours on a single charge and up to 21 hours when taking the charging case into account. Without ANC, the buds' battery life is rated for 8.5 hours without the case and 30 hours with it. Naturally, you won't see those exact same figures in real-world use, but in our experience, you can come pretty close.


    If you're looking for the best sound, the Galaxy Buds FE aren't for you. But the Buds FE make up for that with the wing tip design, which allows for a comfortable fit and keeps the earbuds in place and features like active noise cancellation. It's an excellent overall package for $99, and we wholeheartedly recommend the Galaxy Buds FE.

    Galaxy Buds FE

    What we like

    • Comfortable and tight fit
    • Earbuds stay in place
    • Decent sound despite single driver setup
    • Excellent ANC performance
    • Solid battery life

    What we don't

    • Not the best sound quality
    • Case lacks wireless charging
    Review Galaxy Buds FE Buy now!

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