EarFun has been around for quite some time, releasing a wealth of well-thought-out listening devices. The company has continued that with its EarFun Air and recently sent me a pair of the truly wireless earbuds for review. Noting that these headphones only cost $59.99, I set my expectations low, to begin with. But that may have actually been unwarranted.
As my time with the Air truly wireless earbuds has shown, EarFun has proven yet again that it's a force to be reckoned with. Not only do these pack at least a couple of features typically reserved for earbuds in the $150+ price bracket. EarFun also went out of its way to ensure an award-winning design and great listening experience. And it did that without the need to go overboard on either design or complexity.
Instead, EarFun Air offers what many users — if not most — are really looking for when they shop for this style of devices. Namely, that's comfort, a decent battery, and good quality sound. In some of those areas, EarFun has gone above and beyond with EarFun Air. In some other areas, they don't quite hit the mark. Or at least not to the extent that they can be called the best earbuds available.
I went into this review for EarFun Air expecting to walk away somewhat disappointed. So let's take a closer look at the ways EarFun Air forced me to check those expectations.
EarFun Air hardware is cleanly designed and built with few frills
This device doesn't necessarily break down any barriers when it comes to design. Compared to others I've had the opportunity to review, EarFun Air isn't identical. But it's definitely familiar. The carry and charging case, for instance, is built with oval-shaped edges. At the apex of the curve, EarFun opted to flatten things out too, which does set the design apart from others a bit further.
The top and bottom are flat with a slight concave curve. the branding occupies the top and a USB-C port is found at the bottom.
EarFun also chose a coloration for the device that's very fingerprint averse. Namely, it offers them in a semi-glossy black or white — EarFun sent us the black variation of Air. The case, at the very least, doesn't collect either dust or fingerprints. But because this is plastic, it's still going to be prone to scratching.
Where the lid and body connect, magnetically, there's a thin-cut notch extending most of the way across the front. That's to make opening the lid easier. And the design does, in fact, do a good job of making opening and accessing the buds a one-handed process.
An LED light sits just below the lid, shining with different colors to signify how much battery life is remaining.
The company obviously went for a more refined look here, focusing on function over design. But that works for EarFun in this case. These earbuds won awards at both iF 2020 and CES 2020. And the reasons for that are obvious in-person.
In-hand, EarFun Air feels smooth but not quite slippery. That makes for easy placement in a pocket — helped along by its diminutive size. It also helps ensure that although the case needs to be laid on its back for charging, it isn't rolling or slipping anywhere. Meanwhile, the port on the bottom of the gadget is snug, without any wiggle to speak of even when jostled around.
Opening the case up, the EarFun Air buds slip easily in and out of their right- and left-designated slots. Magnets hold them in place so they aren't going to fall out by accident. But they also aren't a challenge to remove or put in.
As to the individual buds, as shown in the images above, those are shaped similarly to Air Pods. But EarFun steps away from the rubber nub-less design in favor of a tip that works more like a traditional bud. There are three different tip sizes included and, interestingly enough, each fit snugly in my own ears without discomfort.
There was, of course, still a difference in sound quality. So users will want to test them out and select the proper size. But these are still going to be comfortable to wear for long periods. Particularly if the proper nub is chosen. Even for those who have ears that are larger or smaller than average. And that is, in and of itself, a very real achievement.
The earbuds also feel almost weightless in-ear, which undoubtedly attributes to the level of comfort they provide. Also aiding with that is the fact that they only seem to sit one-way. So users won't need to move them around to find a proper fit. They slip in and out just like traditional earbuds.
The one drawback to the EarFun Air earbuds is that they have a glossier coating on their outward-facing surface. And that does attract fingerprints more than the case does. But that still isn't as bad as some other electronics and they're easily wiped clean. So that's barely a caveat at all.
The battery is middling but has extra features to make up for it
Battery life, it almost always goes without saying, is a subjective matter that relies on a variety of factors. A standardized test isn't really possible due to range, volume, and other differences from use case to use case. EarFun claims its Air earbuds will last up to 7-hours on a single charge, for instance, but that's not what my review showed.
For my battery test, I had the volume cranked all the way up the entire time. I also listened mostly to music, ensuring a deep use of a wide range of frequencies at the highest possible stream quality. And, despite the claimed distance of 49-feet, I listened at around 40-feet with only slight obstructions.
So my usage was very high-drain in terms of battery life. Those who use these a bit more intensively than I do, as a result, will likely see lower battery life. Albeit not to a great extent since I was already pushing these close to their limits. Those who don't need as high a volume — and 50 to 65 percent is reasonable with these earbuds — will see better battery life. As will those who use this gadget at a closer distance from the source device.
The always obnoxious "battery low" warning, happily enough, only lasted a few minutes toward the end of listening. That's a lot better than the dozens of minutes to upwards of an hour that warning can last for some headphones.
With all of that said, my listening time never surpassed 5-hours and 2-minutes on a single charge. And, across all charges, I never saw more than 20-hours and 20-minutes. EarFun claims up to 35-hours overall and, under better listening circumstances, I can see how that might be obtained without losing much by way of quality or volume.
On the charging front, the company was much more accurate with its claims. And that's a good thing since battery life isn't a strong suit here. But it is within the average range for truly wireless buds. It took right around an hour and a half to charge up the buds completely. And charging up the case, via USB-C took right around a minute or two longer than 2-hours. Wireless charging took longer, coming in at just 5-minutes or so under 4-hours.
That latter figure is using a dual-purpose 5/10W compatible charging pad.
Wireless charging isn't the only special feature these earbuds deliver though. And that's a good thing. Especially given the shorter listening time and longer charging time than some top devices. First, there are easy-to-use touch controls with these earbuds. Under review, those didn't fail to work properly on the EarFun Air as they often do with more expensive devices.
Instead, the taps worked when I wanted them too. And they didn't accidentally work when I didn't.
Along that same vein, triple-taps with these earbuds quickly activate Google Assistant or Siri — whichever is available — without the need to pull out a phone.
Connections aren't a strong suit for EarFun Air but aren't terrible
One of the few failings I was able to find with EarFun Air during my review is connectivity. It's also the primary reason this isn't getting 5-stars and an Editor's Choice award. So it's worth noting and dedicating an entire segment for.
Namely, EarFun claims to be using Bluetooth V5.0 with these earbuds. And that's believable since the quality is actually very good as we'll discuss momentarily. But it also claims a workable distance of just 49-feet. That's not going to be enough for users who want to take this gadget outside for listening. For example, while mowing the lawn and leaving their smartphone inside.
The theoretical range for Bluetooth 5.0 — on paper — is between 200-feet up to 800-feet. So it's not immediately clear why these don't do better. Especially with consideration for the fact that my listening range really was limited to around 40-feet, rather than 49-feet. Any obstruction is going to impede the listening range, of course. But I started noticing issues at around 45-feet with a single exterior wall serving as the only obstruction.
And that was through a sliding glass door.
Now, it's worth noting that there wasn't any distortion at shorter ranges with the obstruction in place. I tested that for a couple of reasons. But the most important was because I was so surprised that there was that issue, to begin with. Most earbuds don't simply drop the connection. They get fuzzy and annoyingly bad to listen to before that happens. So it may be the case that the disconnect is deliberate.
It's entirely possible that these earbuds could receive an update of some sort to fix the issue. After all, these support Bluetooth profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, and HSP, along with audio codecs ACC and SBC. There's really no reason that's immediately apparent why the range should be an issue here.
But instead of distortion and artifacts when distance and obstruction became too great, these earbuds just kind of dropped off the connection entirely. The connection then came back when I reduced the range between source and EarFun Air.
I didn't notice any issue at shorter ranges with multiple obstructions either. Which also seemed a bit odd. When these headphones are connected, there are no problems at any tested range. Audio comes through, as we'll discuss shortly, clearly and cleanly. So, for users who will keep their phone on them during use or stay within that range, these should work just fine. It's only going to be a problem for those who need more.
EarFun Air audio quality stayed well balanced without the need for special modes
Stepping forward to the most important aspect of any listening device, the audio experience from EarFun Air during my review was surprising. As noted above, the audio is clean and clear, without distortion at any volume.
With the knowledge that these earbuds claim to utilize a 'custom-built high-excursion, low-distortion composite dynamic driver', my goal was to put these headphones to the test across several genres and podcasts. Summarily, they didn't disappoint. Not only does noise-canceling via the four built-in microphones keep sound isolated. And not only does Bluetooth 5.0 assist in keeping audio almost lossless in transmission from source to earbud.
EarFun Air represents bass tones well across most frequencies in just about every song I played. They're plenty powerful too, although I did notice that in some of the lowest registers, across several songs of varying genres, the tone began losing power as it got lower. That happened only with the lowest bass hits, resulting in a complete lack of the rumble and rattle often desired from those tones.
The audio was still there and still represented. But lacking that extra oomph.
So these aren't going to be the most bass-powerful headphones around. And they weren't quite as consistent in power as I'd have liked to see. But they're also under $60 and not bad by any stretch.
With that said, the volume was on-point for bass tones. They were still definitely present and the mids and highs didn't suffer that same power loss. So the resulting experience was both balanced and deep. The earbuds themselves weren't nearly as quiet as some headphones can be. I'm looking at you, Samsung Galaxy Buds. EarFun tuned these so that even at half volume, noise-canceling meant that audio was more than loud enough to hear clearly.
Now, it bears mention that audio can be as subjective a subject as battery life measurements can be. It's also not possible to listen to every available media file or judge the buds on every song. But, during my listening experience, the mids and highs don't drown out other tones at all.
For calls, these earbuds — thanks in part to the noise-canceling — reportedly weren't distinguishable from using the built-in mic on my flagship smartphone.
If the features and usability suit you, these buds won't disappoint
The only question remaining is whether or not these earbuds are really worth their $59.99 price tag. And I think the answer is going to depend on who's asking. While these can be purchased for a great deal less — up to 20-percent off via the company's website by clicking the initial coupon for 10-percent off and then entering an "EARFUN35" discount code — they aren't the best for some things.
As noted, these earphones are not going to be the best for users who need an extra-long range. Or for those who want head-shaking, pounding bass. Similarly, EarFun didn't necessarily build these to be well-suited for those who need longer listening. At least not at over 6- or 7-hours. There are going to be better truly wireless earbuds to suit those needs. Albeit, those will generally be a lot more expensive.
But that effectively ends the list of true caveats. For balanced audio that doesn't break the budget, EarFun is going to be a great option to turn to. And EarFun went above and beyond on design and comfort.
If my review of EarFun Air proves anything, it's that it's going to be a real challenge to compete with these on those fronts. EarFun has done an excellent job in terms of pricing these earbuds. For features such as direct AI assistant access and wireless charging, that holds too. So, anybody in the market for truly wireless earbuds should really be taking a closer look at EarFun Air.