With so many affordable true wireless earphones available these days, every time a new model comes out things get even more complicated, as customers try to differentiate between all the models.
The new EarFun Air S earbuds are certainly a worthy addition to this mix – they sound good with clear, balanced sound and decent bass levels, they support the advanced aptX codec, and their battery life is adequate for the price, with a total playtime of 30 hours.
But at these price levels, it’s always a balancing act – and on the list of downsides, you’ll find less-than-impressive active noise cancellation, touch buttons that occasionally hiccup, and a very plasticky look.
So, should you buy them? Let’s dig in deeper…
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Quick Look – EarFun Air S
What are they: Affordable and portable True Wireless Bluetooth earphones with ANC and a Qualcomm aptX chip.
Value for Money
- Very balanced audio
- 20+ Battery hours in the case
- aptX support
- Mediocre ANC
- Medium earbud battery times (5 hours if ANC on)
- Touch controls don’t always register presses
Features and Specs
- Driver unit: 10mm Wool Composite
- Battery Playing Time: 6 hours (5 with ANC on)
- Additional Battery Time on Case: 25 Hours with ANC off, 20 Hours with ANC ON
- Full charging time: Case: 2 hours (3.5 hours on wireless charging), Earbuds: 1 Hour / 10 Minute Quick Charge for 2 hours of use
- Case charging port: USB-C / Wireless charging
- Codecs: Bluetooth 5.2, AAC, SBC, aptX
- Extra Features: Smartphone app for extra personalisation / IPX5 Sweat & Water Resistant / Low latency “Gaming” mode
As far as the sound goes, these earbuds do everything by the book – it’s very balanced and pleasant, but if you’re a deep bass fan, there’s some pizzazz missing. As far as the ANC goes, it’ll help on a train or an aeroplane, but not out in the street. If you can grab these with a special deal, they offer great value for money – without being extremely exciting.
Table of Contents
Who Are The EarFun Air S For?
EarFun has been around since 2018, specialising in low-cost true wireless earphones that tend to offer excellent value-for-money – with a new model being released every few months.
The thing is, there’s only so much you can improve at the budget and mid-range level of earphones, so each new iteration – the Air S includes – feels more like a minor update than a major overhaul.
The EarFun Air S are supposed to be a sequel to EarFun’s more budget-friendly line, the Air. Why not call them EarFun Air 2? Who knows, but the S stands for Special.
Above them, you will find the Air Pro series, which includes my all-time-favourite EarFun model, the Air Pro 2.
There are a few differences between the original Air model and the Air S – primarily the addition of Active Noise Cancelling (which is pretty weak), Bluetooth 5.2 support for Qualcomm’s advanced aptX codec.
So, while they’re not a major upgrade if you already own the Air – they’re a very decent pair in and of themselves. But are they good enough, compared to the competition in their price bracket? Let’s check.
Using The EarFun Air S
Size And Comfort
EarFun’s Air series uses the stem-style design, similar to Apple’s AirPods.
The earbuds and the case are all small and quite light, so they’re easy to carry in your pocket, although the case is a bit “chubby”, so may not fit comfortably into a pair of skinny jeans.
The earbuds are comfortable in the ear, with the one downside being the silicone tips – they’re very thin, feel somewhat cheap, and were a bit unpleasant in my ear after an hour or so of use.
The earbuds do provide a good seal, which helps with the bass, and with the passive noise cancelling (and that’s important, since the Active noise cancelling isn’t all that impressive).
And as per usual, the charging case is NOT water-resistant, so make sure you keep it hidden in your bag (or pocket) when it’s raining.
Pairing And Controlling The EarFun Air S
Pairing the Air S with your phone (or other devices) is easy – they immediately go into pairing mode when you first open the case. And thanks to Bluetooth 5.2 support, they STAY connected.
Having used them for several weeks, I never once encountered sudden disconnections or Bluetooth noises and crackles – even in crowded places (i.e. the tube during morning rush hour).
The Air S promise a maximum working range of 15 meters (same as most of EarFun’s other models), and while that’s hard to test – because it depends on the type of walls and other interfering devices around you – I was usually able to use them on multiple floors in the house.
There’s no in-ear detection, so if you take the earbuds out of your ears while you’re listening – they will keep playing until you put them in the case and close it.
Controlling the earphones is straightforward, but the touch buttons were not perfect this time around – I did find myself having to re-tap on occasion, with the earbuds not registering my touch.
In other instances, they felt TOO sensitive, and it was almost impossible to pull them out of my ears without accidentally doing something to the touch surface.
Out of the box, a tap on the left lowers the volume, a tap on the right raises the volume, and two taps start and stop the music and answer a phone call.
The EarFun smartphone app lets you customise what the buttons do. But unfortunately, you can only modify the Triple Tap and the Long Press – for some reason, EarFun doesn’t let you change the Single Tap and Double Tap functions.
The app also gives you an EQ you can play with – so you can add some more bass, for example (up to a point).
The app can also be used to activate the Low Latency Gaming mode, which should help with possible Bluetooth lag issues when you’re playing a game on your phone or watching a film. Personally, I never noticed any lag issues, even on the normal modes – but I’m not a heavy gamer.
EarFun Air S Audio Quality
Advanced features are nice, of course, but sound quality is the most important aspect of any earphones.
And the audio quality here, when you’re listening to music, is quite good – especially if you like well-balanced sound. That being said, the bass was a little lacking for me on some tracks (as a heavy bass fan), and the overall sound was – for lack of a better term – not overly “exciting”.
Going old school, I started my testing with Boney M’s Ma Baker (but twisting it a little with the Garry Read remix). Relentless drum n bass thumps are present throughout most of the song, and were handled well by the earbuds.
Vocals were clear and shiny during breakouts, helped by the good seal and the passive noise blocking – I was able to have an intimate listening experience without having to abuse the volume levels. The bass was certainly present and handled well, though some depth was missing.
Moving on to Beyonce’s Alien Superstar, The bass felt better this time, possibly helped by the song’s mix.
The somewhat minimalist verses accompanied by constant drum beat sounds were coming across nicely, without distortion but with meaty low ends.
The vocals were clear, though there was some “sheen” missing. But some EQ tweaking helped improve that part. All in all the song sounded energetic and clear even when I ramped the volume up.
The Active Noise Cancelling was not very impressive, unfortunately.
It’s still better than it was, at these price levels, a couple of years ago – but other low and mid-range earphones, even from EarFun, managed to do better on the ANC front.
The ANC here does help somewhat with low, constant rumbles – so it’s OK for travelling on a train or when you’re flying – but it doesn’t do very well with outside noises such as cars, buses and shouting babies.
In fact, when an annoying individual was yapping away on his speaker phone next to me on the train, the earbuds seemed to AMPLIFY the sound of his voice for some reason (probably because they did an OK job of muting the train engine’s sounds – which cleared the way for the sound of his voice).
Then there’s the “Ambient” mode, which deliberately does the opposite of ANC – it picks up some of the sounds around you and amplifies them. That’s useful if you’re walking near a dangerous road, or otherwise want to be more aware of your surroundings while still listening to music.
As for phone calls, the EarFun S use 4 built-in microphones to eliminate noises for the person you’re speaking with on the other end. It works well, and the other side was always able to hear me quite clearly.
EarFun Air S Battery Times
Battery times often suffer when you add more and more advanced features to mid-range earphones – and indeed, with ANC being one of the primary culprits.
When fully charged, you can now use the Air S for up to 6 hours without ANC, and 5 hours with ANC.
The case holds additional 25 hours of power (without ANC) and 20 hours with ANC on.
In this day and age, 5 hours is a low number. It’s not a deal breaker, and the “Quick Charge” feature lets you quickly get 2 hours of playtime with just 10 minutes of charging – but there are still better options out there, in that regard.
Bottom Line: Are The EarFun Air S Worth It?
The EarFun Air S are a good pair, and a worthy update of the Air line.
Their biggest “problem”, however, comes from EarFun’s own Air Pro 2 earphones – a year later, I think they’re still EarFun’s best model (to date), and at a very similar price point, they offer more exciting sound and better features (but without aptX support).
That being said, and especially if you can snag the Air S with a special promotion/discount, they’re surprisingly impressive on the value-for-money front, and the quality you get for the price.
Note: The earphones were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of the product.