Samsung Gear IconX: Unboxing & Review

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How The Insiders Campaigns Work

When I received notification that The Insiders had a new campaign open for the Samsung Gear IconX, I knew I had to apply. The promo video was impressive and I had to know if it would live up to the hype. Especially as the deposit was half the retail price. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, I now use the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I adore the phone model and am always on the lookout for new accessories for it.

Back in July 2016, I decided to get more intentional with my health. I wanted a stricter diet regiment, along with a thorough workout routine. I already invested in the Bellabeat Leaf Nature, but wanted another way to track my exercises that worked directly with the smart phone.

The application process was pretty straightforward. Answer the questions, put down a $99 deposit and wait a few weeks for a response. If you weren’t selected, the deposit was refunded in a few business days. If you were selected, you’d have the option at the end of the campaign to keep it or returned everything back to get the deposit back.

Like many other product review companies, The Insiders selects a couple hundred reviews to test products out with the understanding that you’ll blog/vlog/post to SNS/etc. in exchange. A few weeks later, I received an email notification that I was chosen and just had to wait for the package to arrive.

Unboxing the Gear IconX

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 Because I didn’t have tracking information, it was a delightful surprise when I came home to the box waiting outside my door. Everything was carefully packaged and included a one-page campaign overview. There wasn’t a choice in color, so my fingers were crossed to receive anything but white (I’m way too accident prone).Gear IconX 2

One of the features I was most excited about was that I could hear my fitness stats without needing the phone right by me. You read that correctly, unlike some fitness devices, the IconX does not need your smart phone to be right near you. Being able to go jogging or hang out at the gym without the device nearby was freeing.

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I love how thorough the directions are for using the ear buds. You know how frustrating it can be when the device looks great in the promotions, but ends up taking 20 steps when you actually receive it.

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It took me a few tries to get down the tapping options. Not because it didn’t work, but mastering the sensitivity of each side was lighter than I expected. You can actually select which ear you’d like to be your dominant side. Which can be great and frustrating at the same time. More on that later.

Ambient sound is another awesome feature. If you ever wear headphones/ear buds on the community, like I do, you know noise cancelling features are a double-edged sword. You still need to ability to keep your guard up even if you’d rather not take part in the TMI conversation your fellow commuters are having. When you enable the feature, it’s reminiscent of being on the speaker phone–every sound has an equal focus.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself. When you first open the box, you’re presented with each ear bud and the charging box.

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Because every ear is different, you have four more sizes to choose from. Make sure that both pieces (i.e. the ear bud tip and wing tip) fit comfortably in your ear. The wing tip is what’s going to hold it in place–so you don’t want it to be loose. I had to try a few different combinations before I had the right fit.

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 You’ll notice the heart rate monitor that my thumb is resting against. This will actually light up during placement in your ear and you’ll hear a confirmation that’s connected.

Here’s a quick overview of where it needs to fit:

Anatomy of the Outer Ear

After you slip the ear bud tip underneath the tragus, the wingtip should rest underneath the concha. If it’s not holding–you will have it fall out and quickly. I can’t state it enough–take the time to find the best fit.

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Now, this is a particular aspect of the buds that can get mixed reviews. Just as each ear bud is marked left and right, so is this charging station. When you’re ready to charge them (usually after 45-90 minutes), you need to place them in this device and plug it in for a while.

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When the ear buds are still low, you’ll see these red lights. Remember when I mentioned the dominant ear bud? Often, during a charge, it’ll be red long before the non-dominant ear bud. In other words, both lights are not always the same color.

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The other light you need to check is the charging station’s light itself. If the ear bud lights are displaying as green, but the charging station’s light is still red like the image above–they are not ready to use. All three lights must be green to show the ear buds are ready to use.

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General Thoughts

I’m not going to lie, the relatively short battery life was a downer. I was hoping for a good 3-4 hours at least–as I commute via public transportation. That time frame would cover my daily workouts and podcast streaming on the way to/from work. With all the features, I get why it goes so fast and have altered my use. If you keep it specifically for quick workouts, it’s going to live up to the hype. You can track what you need to, blast your tunes and keep aware of your surroundings.

The dominate ear bud drains a lot faster that the other one. In the weeks I’ve tested it, there were days it was a good 10-15 minutes shorter at worst. Knowing I was able to put down a 50% deposit and can keep it for that same amount–it wasn’t a difficult decision. For those who are paying the full $199 retail price–you need to decide if the short battery life is justified by all the other features you can access during use.

If I were to be asked if I’d buy it at the full price–I’d say yes, mainly because it’s still a wonderful addition to my tech devices. Not needing a smart phone in my immediate vicinity while I workout is wonderful. I have another device to continue tracking my stats when the batteries do need recharging and the battery life fits within my workout schedule.

Overall, I’d rate it a 3.7 out of 5.