Gear Circle Headphones Review

Discussion in 'Android Accessories' started by mountainbikermark, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    Yesterday AT&T was in a giving mood so I figured I'd take full advantage. They had the Circle Bluetooth headphones on sale for $60 and I was given an additional 20% off.
    Here goes.
    They look cool but feel REALLY weird and fit REALLY weird but comfortable on me. They use a plastic headband looking thing to keep the back of them from sticking to your neck when sweating and it'll take some getting used to. Fortunately that part is clear so it's not noticeable when there isn't a collar to hide the band. The in ear part again is an almost in ear,a smidge outside of the ear canal due to the design. At first I hated that because the darn things kept popping out of my ears. I was THIS close to taking them back but decided to try the largest ear bud replacement (comes with small, medium, large) and no more falling out as well as they become ambient noise blockers.
    The sound quality with the wrong size or even wrong sided (they're labeled left and right) makes them sound what I considered horrible. Very tinny, what little bass was there sounded like when little Johnny cranks up grandma's fm radio too loud in her old Buick and the volume was pretty much non existent. The right sized bud on the correct side made all the difference in the world not only in fit but sound quality. The sound is very much corded quality due to whatever that new protocol they've added to a2dp is. Very natural but slightly bassy, an easy fix with Power Amp or the Gear Manager app it links to.
    Speaking of Gear Manager, it did sync with that on my Note4 and has a bunch of settings and other things you can tweak within the app. From voice dialing to other vocal notifications to tailoring the sound of the music. One thing it does NOT do is the unit itself has no track change ability other next track via double tap the power button the same button as you answer or end a call with with a single tap. A micro usb plug is also on the rear for charging along with a very tiny light that I'm not quite sure why they placed it on the back of the right ear plug. How can I annoy others with my ghetto flashing blue light if it's hidden by my neck? it is blue when first powered on and turns red both when the unit powers down it battery is very low.
    There are only 2 physical buttons on the unit,a power on/off slider and an answer/end/play/pause button. One really cool feature that you can set is set it to pause/resume when you put the magnets together after taking them out of the ears. I found this to work spot on with the Gear S music player but with Power Amp on the phone it paused fine but I had to use the power button on the Circle to get the music to resume. Probably a Tizen to Android thing.
    I have vocal notification to let me know I've got a text or email but set it to simple (it says "message" "email" ) instead of anything more detailed that it's capable of doing. You can set them to notify just like on the Samsung smart watches for any app that pushes notifications but I chose just the 2 for now. When powered on they play a nice relaxing jingle as they connect and all that stuff
    When a notification or call comes in the back of the unit gives a nice vibrating feel along the neck. It was strong like a very gentle massage but not anything to be startling if you're concentrating on something else. I haven't had a vibrating Bluetooth earpiece since back in the days of the Jabra 8010 days when those vibrated when you got a call .
    I'm not sure what Samsung was going after here but , like all their other Gear stuff, they're going in a different direction that only time will tell if it's THE next big thing or something we'll joke about in a decade looking back at the biggest gaffs/failures in the electronics industry. Though I like them at this point I'd have to lean toward the latter on this device if I were a betting man and I'd never pay the suggested retail for them or suggest it to anyone else either. If you can get them for $48 like I did, they're worth a shot but save your receipt just in case.
    As I find more tips and tricks I'll post them up here including how long the battery lasts.


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  2. 94lt1

    94lt1 Super Moderator
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    Those sound sweet...distortion?? How do they handle heavy bass and mids?


    I'm so waiting for these.. Hurry up and take my money... So to speak.. Bragi
     
  3. droidprincess

    droidprincess Super Moderator
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    I love your reviews!! I almost bought a pair but decided not to after watching a few YouTube reviews....They appeared a bit awkward. I like my LG Tone Pros
     
  4. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    If you don't have them in right distortion is the dominant sound. If you have them in right heavy bass will rattle your teeth without distortion. The key , and complaint, is them being in correctly. The largest buds are more medium sized compared to other buds I've used on other in ear headphones. Once you get a good sweat on they suction cup to your ear better (I'm NOT suggesting lick them first ewe gross) but not to the point of being dangerously stuck. As I wrote before they, when fitted correctly, lean a little toward bassy in the mids, vocals, etc.
    I'm going to take them on a hike today to see how well they stay put when walking, the closest thing I ever get to running.

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  5. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    A revisit to my initial review and the reason I don't usually review stuff right away.
    The fit thing has become a non issue once I got used to them not actually being embedded into my ear canal. I kept feeling like they were going to fall out but to date they have yet to actually pop out and I'm now pretty used to the feel. They wiggle around but don't lose their sound quality once I found the right size buds and switched to the medium neck band full time. It was a smidge too tight at first but has stretched to where it's snug without feeling tight like when it was new. I've tried the quickly turn my head as far as it'll go test and unlike the Tones, they didn't pop out or come loose enough to change the sound.The large buds, as I said, move around but don't come out any and I'm actually using them 3 to 1 over the Tones because I prefer the accuracy of vocals, lower mids and lower ends all around. Getting the hihats and cymbals like I want was just a little experimenting with the eq on the Gear app. The slight muddy tone is preferable in voice calls for me because it adds more "oomph" to voices on calls, allowing me to have a lower volume in noisy surroundings.
    I finally turned on notifications in the Gear app, chose a few and having a text read to me is really neat along with if I get a call and ignore it I get a vocal notification if they left a voice mail since checking that in notifications.
    It's been cold, colder or brutal here the entire time I've owned them and I can attest the Circles fit better inside of a hooded sweatshirt when not being used than the Tones and higher collars don't hinder or bind them on my neck when out walking either.
    I still prefer next/previous,ff/rew buttons for simplicity and accuracy but the Circles do actually skip ahead if I double tap the talk/end/play/pause button. At least there's that.
    I initially fully figured I'd end up returning the Circles but they have grown on me to where I actually prefer them over the Tones and since I have a Samsung device get the added bonus of a few Gear only features like vocal notifications and the ability to pause the music by putting the magnets together, play by pulling them back apart and they hide better inside of clothes when I'm not using them.
    The Tones+ are still an awesome set of earbuds but I'm not loathing the Circles anymore either. On non Samsung phones I'd skip the Circles but with the Note4 they are a nice addition and adding the S for music control keeps me from ever needing to remove the phone from my pocket unless changing something on the equalizer.
    Pairing them with the watch itself as a standalone is on par with pairing them with a non Samsung phone. They don't have the extra Gear features and the host device needs to be used to get the most from manipulating music tracks. That's why I said for non Samsung phones I'd probably have returned them or if I had to choose only 1 to begin with it would've stayed the Tones+ and never bought the Circles.

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    #5 mountainbikermark, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  6. Caesars

    Caesars Senior Member

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    I own these as well, I am a fan ;).
     
  7. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    On a whim I put one of my daughter's small hair bands behind ear ear bud to stiffen the bud up a little, like Marshmallow Headphones feel, and I must say the "forget I'm wearing them" feel is so there now, the outside world disappears even at low volume with them on now, the bass has gotten even tighter and that slight muddy tint of the vocals is gone. It's like "ah this is what I'd hoped they'd be" to a tee. My wife can yell at me as loud as she wants now and unless she comes in the room I won't even know it :D

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  8. Ollie

    Ollie Droid Does

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    I have these as well. I cannot for the life of me get them to stay in my ears. I've tried all sizes of earbud adapters that came with it and it just isn't working out for me.

    The distraction of always poking them back into my ears is taking away from what I otherwise would consider a great sounding piece of kit.
     
  9. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    You got daughters or access to a dollar store?
    I got 2 that were just laying around the house that are about the size of a quarter, pulled the soft part of the bud to flip it over, wrapped them 3 times around the middle, tucked it tight, flipped it back over, voila no more movement.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Next time I'm at the dollar store I'll pick up some black ones but the blue ain't half bad and is barely seen anyway.
    Hope that helps but yeah, bad design by Samsung and shouldn't have needed a Mcgyverism.
     
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  10. Ollie

    Ollie Droid Does

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    I have access to some o-rings. I'll give it a shot.
     
  11. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    I noticed today when I powered them on it said my battery was "moder ate" not "moder et", "moder it" or "moder at" lol. A verb not a noun or adjective.
    Koreanglish. Gotta love it.
     
  12. Thomas Hagewood

    Thomas Hagewood New Member

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    Another reviews that helps me again and to gain more knowledge about this topic my friend also purchased this one. And one time I’m just barrowing that and like you Ollie it always taking away from my ears. But the sounds are good and clear.
     
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