EarFun is among the younger audio accessory companies on the market and EarFun Free 2, sent to us for review, is a follow-up from last year’s EarFun Free. Last year’s model was, with good reason, widely lauded. With only one or two minor caveats to speak of and plenty to love.
The biggest benefit from this year’s model over last years is three-fold. First, these earbuds support aptX for better audio than ever before. And for audio that’s certainly better than last year’s model. Secondary to that, these earbuds are effectively fully waterproof. They won’t survive if submersed permanently, of course, but they will survive being submerged for much longer than most earbuds on the market. That’s thanks to an IPX7 rating and SweatShield technology.
Beyond even that, serving as the third benefit these earbuds cost just $49.99, making them some of the most affordable truly wireless earbuds on the market. And that’s without any consideration for the features noted above. Or the ongoing promotion, wherein using the “FREEOFF2” and available coupon on Amazon brings the price down to just $39.99.
So let’s take a deeper look at how EarFun Free 2 did under a thorough review.
EarFun Free 2 hardware is familiar but more refined
At first glance, my review unit for EarFun Free 2 seemed all-too-familiar. Namely, because it takes a near-identical form to the original. And to many other truly wireless earbuds that are available. The company centered its design around a smooth, pebble-shaped earbud with a slender but somewhat tall case for charging. But none of that is to say that this design should be looked down on.
In fact, on closer inspection, especially compared to the previous iteration of EarFun Free, there are quite a few differences here too. To begin with, the shape fits better in-ear than the previous version. So these earbuds are easily the most comfortable EarFun has released up to this point. And that point really can’t be overstated.
EarFun also included a longer-than-average USB-A to USB-C cable, as well as a total of six earbud tips. So users should be able to find a size that works best for their own ears. And the charging cable length will make it easier than ever for these to be powered up just like any other gadget. All too often, the cable that’s included is too short to be charged via anything but a laptop or power bank.
The design of the case, conversely, is well-made for easier one-handed operation. While not easy to define, in terms of the exact “why,” the new shape is easier to hold steadily in one hand. And it is, therefore, easier to open the case, remove buds, or put them back, without using two hands. stability in one hand.
But EarFun Free 2 is also well-made in terms of aesthetics. The case itself is sleek and well-balanced, with smooth curves and a minimal appearance. The earbuds follow suit, with very few lines interrupting the uniform look. There’s something almost charming about the straightforward utilitarian look EarFun has given these earbuds.
Now, we’ll discuss the biggest hardware changes later on. Those are to do with new water resistance features and audio quality. But, in terms of pure usability, the touch zones on the earbuds themselves are less sensitive as well. And that’s a good thing. Too many companies include touch controls that are overly touchy, resulting in accidental touches and other problems. These earbuds, while not difficult to use at all, definitely require a deliberate touch to control playback.
The hardware is also solidly put together, with no creaking or complaints from the hinges and a smooth in-hand feel. Especially with regard to the carry and charge case. The charge-check button and the USB-C charging port, conversely, are snugly fitted and snappy.
EarFun Free 2 battery life is an all-day affair backed by mediocre charging
As always, the results from the battery test during any review — not just EarFun Free 2 — are subjective. There are a number of factors from distance and range to volume and media type or call type that impact battery life. And there are still other factors such as the listening environment that will factor in too. So these results are not necessarily typical.
Having said that, I noted more than 7-hours of listening time, playing music from YouTube Music, with EarFun Free 2. And that wasn’t under the most efficient conditions either. Instead, that listening was with noise-canceling features active, at a distance averaging over 20-feet, and with the volume up to just two clicks short of the maximum.
With the included carry and charging case accounted for, that pushed my total listening time well over the advertised 30-hours.
While that’s all fairly standard for the more battery-conscientious earbuds on the market, it isn’t at all in this price range. So, what users are getting here is a great listening experience for hours on end, lasting effectively all day. All without having to pay top dollar.
Perhaps more impressively, and surprisingly, charging was exactly as advertised by EarFun during my review of Free 2. Ten minutes of charge netted me just over 2-hours of playback. It took just under one-and-a-half hours for the earbuds themselves to charge completely, and roughly two hours for the charging case to charge via USB-C.
Placing these on an aftermarket fast wireless charging pad resulted in around three-and-a-half hours to refuel everything. Since they can also be charged wirelessly, which is another uncommon feature in sub-$50 earbuds.
Great audio comes in an unassuming package with EarFun Free 2
Starting with the sole ‘caveat’ for EarFun Free 2, under review, these were just not the best I’ve used for calls.
That isn’t to say that the pickup from mics was awful. In fact, it was still easy for those I called to hear what I was saying. Clearly, even. And I could easily hear what was being said to me. But the background noises from my surroundings were also clearly audible for those I called for the test. Qualcomm cVc 8.0 Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression (ECNS) went a long way to keep my voice clear regardless.
However, my voice was also distant, as though I was on speakerphone.
Noise suppression wasn’t perfect either, especially when I was cycling around to snap photos and try them out. And that came down mostly to wind coming through. While I’ve certainly heard earbuds that perform worse under those conditions, I’ve also heard better. Making these a middle-of-the-road option for that use case.
Conversely, these earbuds are also among the most affordable you’ll find on the market with aptX support. Enabled by Qualcomm’s advanced QCC3040 SoC, coupled with Bluetooth 5.2 for as close to a lossless audio experience as is possible via Bluetooth. While the chips’ TrueWireless Mirroring Technology helps keep connections stable and latency low. In fact, Low Latency Mode offers latency as low as 60ms, and as few as 2-percent of truly wireless headphones currently have a latency that low.
In terms of real-world experience, all of that equates to music that’s well-balanced, if lacking in the bass end at lower volumes. Turned up over 50-percent, bass tones come through clearly, with plenty of punch and shake — at least where that’s intended. At lower volumes, the bass is certainly present but not overpowering. At no point does it outplay or overshadow lows or mids. And at no point is there any unwanted distortion.
Sound placement, conversely, is good but not perfect in terms of where the audio feels like it’s coming from. Most users won’t notice a big difference between these earbuds and top-of-the-line buds on that front.
And it’s worth noting at this point that is all packed in at a shockingly value-focused price under $50.
Premium connectivity, up to a point, with one truly killer feature
With EarFun Free 2, there weren’t exactly a lot of fancy features to parse through during my review. And that’s not surprising at all, since these cost less than $50. There’s no in-ear detection, for example. And that’s unfortunate because it means manually pausing playback with a touch or with the source device instead of just taking the buds out of your ears.
Similarly, there are deep and complex applications to explore. No equalization to play with and no specialty features on that front at all beyond noise cancellation. The latter of those features is enabled via the use of the above-mentioned Qualcomm chipset, which includes both cVc 8.0 ECNS & TrueWireless Mirroring.
TrueWireless Mirroring technology keeps the connection between the buds, individually, more stable. And it helps ensure that users can listen to either earbud independent of the other. Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 ECNS ensured that my voice remained clear and stable in calls throughout my review as well as providing some noise-canceling.
But Qualcomm cVc 8.0, in these buds, also didn’t help fix the somewhat distant-sounding audio of my voice. Giving it a speakerphone-like effect. And it did allow background noises to come through too, although dampened just enough to make a conversation possible. Even in a louder environment.
Meanwhile, Bluetooth 5.2 kept the connections solid even just beyond the advertised 15-meters — roughly 50-feet — as long as no obstacles were in the way. Although obstacles did drop that range to under 30-feet.
But the biggest extra feature here is going to be the waterproofing, sweat-proofing SweatShield technology. Giving these earbuds an IPX7 rating, that keeps them working even if they’ve been submerged for up to 30-minutes. And that works as claimed by the company.
EarFun also says that’s corrosion proof, at least with regard to corrosion from sweat. So users can use these even while swimming or in the shower. Although that probably shouldn’t be the primary use. They do work that way under testing but with some fairly severe cut-out issues when fully submerged. Most likely caused by interference from the water.
It’s also worth mentioning, of course, that the carry and charge case is absolutely not waterproof at all. Just the earbuds.
Is EarFun Free 2 worth the money?
When we’re looking to pick up some new earbuds, there are a few factors that really stand out as important. For instance, are the earbuds waterproof? Sweat-resistant? Is the audio powerful but not overbearing at any specific frequency? How’s the battery life and how long does it take to charge?
In most ways, EarFun Free 2 far surpasses competitors under review and its predecessor as well. Not in terms of any of those aspects, necessarily. But in terms of the cost of those aspects, with only minor caveats when it comes to charging up and the mics on this wearable. More directly, all for under $50, without sacrificing top-dollar features such as aptX support.
Stacking atop that, EarFun Free 2 is completely waterproof to the point of being swim-ready over short durations. Put shortly, anybody looking at earbuds in the sub-$100 range should be considering these earbuds.