At first glance, the Earfun Air true wireless earbuds may seem too good to be true. Their extensive feature-list includes voice assistance, with two mics per earpiece, a wireless charging case that supports Qi wireless charging and Bluetooth 5.0 support.
The Earfun Air buds have a waterproof IPX7 rating, so they can be submerged in water up to a depth of one metre for up to 30 minutes, and an impressively long battery life of 35 hours. There are also touch controls and in-ear detection tech to pause playback when you remove them. They have a comfortable ‘toothbrush head’ design and come in a small charging case that looks like a classy box of dental floss in brushed black plastic.
Most wireless earbuds with similar spec sheets involve three-figure prices, but these earbuds cost around half that. All that’s missing is a household name printed on the lid of the case, but Earfun is a little-known Hong Kong audio firm that sells two pairs of true wireless headphones and two Bluetooth speakers. The Earfun Air earphones we’re testing are the firm’s joint-most expensive product.
The plucky audio underdog is always intriguing though, and since we recently gave five stars to a budget Bluetooth speaker made by another relative unknown, who’s to say these aren’t the affordable true wireless in-ears we’ve been dreaming of?
The Earfun Air packaging feels premium. There are four tips in total, which is one more set than we might expect at this level – though the medium, pre-fitted pair suits us a treat.
Bluetooth version 5.0
Battery life Up to 7hrs (35hrs with charging case)
Charging time 1.5hrs (approx)
Weight 5.35g (each earbud)
Perhaps the only indication that we’re dealing with a sub-three-figure set of in-ears here is the battery light display on the case. It features just one little LED to denote the amount of juice remaining. The solution is a good one though; when the case is opened, the light glows green when it has more than 30 per cent battery, orange when it’s below 30 per cent, and red at 10 per cent. It flashes red when you’re nearly out of juice and need to charge.
The touch control functions are also useful. A long press of either the left or right bud raises or lowers the volume levels so well that we never dig our phone out to change this throughout our listening. Functions such as pausing with a double-tap (you hear a reassuring ‘bop’ tone) and resuming playback are also flawless in their execution.
A triple-press of the right bud to skip track takes a little practice on our part, but the Earfun Air buds respond dutifully and quicker than we’d expect at this level.
Bluetooth pairing is incredibly easy (a voice announces ‘connected’), and during our testing the Bluetooth 5.0 connection never falters. There’s no app here for EQ functions or updates, but we don’t miss it at this level. Also off the features list is ANC (noise cancelling) or ambient aware/pass-through sound profiles, but there’s a decent level of passive noise isolation simply by the buds’ design.
What of the promised in-ear detection, meaning that playback pauses when we remove them and resumes when we put them back in? It’s a winner at this budget level, and will doubtless save on the headphones’ battery consumption too.
During call-handling, both our voice and the caller’s is clear and the driver housings respond perfectly to our touch when accepting or declining calls, without the need to dig out our phone.
Fans of a grippy, energetic listen to get you through a workout will find much to enjoy here. Throughout Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), Annie Lennox’s lead and backing vocals are central, with due diligence paid to each musical strand as the Earfun Air headphones positively revel in the synth-heavy juiciness of the track.
While similar budget-friendly headphones can come off somewhat congested, here the design of the driver and earpiece (which doesn’t sit too far into the ear canal) allows for a pleasant and spacious presentation.
Switching to a more sensitive melody, Elton John’s Skyline Pigeon is a similar success story. There’s the vocal on our left, the harpsichord on our right, and both merge beautifully halfway through the song, but never at the expense of the emotive lyrics.
There’s always a slight compromise to be made when opting for a wallet-friendly product boasting a feature set as impressive as the Earfun Airs, and we do find one when we listen to The Waterboys’ The Whole Of The Moon. It’s a zealous listen, but the female backing vocal through the treble is not as refined as we’d hoped. The song is known for its punchy midrange, but here it’s celebrated to the marginal detriment of the twinkling higher frequencies.
Similarly, Hootie and the Blowfish’s Only Wanna Be With You is handled with admirable timing, but the strummed banjo rhythm through the intro isn’t quite as three-dimensional as we might hope, and there’s a small loss of insight at higher frequencies. It’s not a massive sonic issue for a product at this price, but worth noting nonetheless.
To test the Earfun Air’s low-end reach, we play Stormzy’s Big Michael, and the bass is enthusiastic, energetic and accurate. While the dynamic build is marginally less pronounced than through our control headphones, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, the latter set is almost twice as expensive. And remember, those in-ears don’t feature wearer detection and aren’t water-resistant.
So, do Earfun’s true wireless Air headphones sound as good as in-ears at double, triple or quadruple the price? The answer is no. If you have the money and prioritise a superior sound, irrespective of useful features such as waterproofing or wearer detection, there are models that will better suit you. But until now, we’ve never awarded five stars to a set of true wireless headphones at this budget level – despite testing models from well-known and highly respected audio brands.
This little-known company has produced a comfortable, nicely built set of headphones that also boast excellent battery life, wireless charging support and an expansive listen. If you’re after something inexpensive that’ll sound good on the treadmill, the Earfun Air buds are simply some of the best cheap wireless headphones you can buy.
- Sound 4
- Comfort 5
- Build 5