True Wireless Earphones have come a long way in recent years, in terms of pricing and sound quality, and you can get excellent performance for mid-range prices, with EarFun often leading the pack. But what about the low-cost end of the market?
The new EarFun Free Mini earphones have an impressive spec list: Touch controls, decent battery playtime (5 + 19 hours), IPX7 waterproofing, very lightweight, decent (if limited) audio quality for music and phone calls, and most surprisingly – you get all that for under £30.
Of course, some cuts had to be made at this price point – so there’s no Active Noise Cancellation, no wireless charging, they only support Bluetooth 5.0, there are no advanced audio codecs such as aptX, and music quality can only go so far. So, are the Minis worth their tempting cost? Let’s find out in this review.
Quick Look – EarFun Free Mini
What are they: True wireless Bluetooth earbuds for audio and phone calls, at a very low-cost price.
Value for Money
- Decent audio quality (for the price)
- Comfortable in the ear
- Very lightweight (3.9g)
- Extremely cheap
- No Active Noise Cancelling
- Unimpressive bass levels
- Battery times on the lower end
Features and Specs
- Driver unit: 6mm
- Battery Playing Time: 5 hours
- Additional Battery Time on Case: 19 Hours (24 in total)
- Full charging time: 1.5 hours (2.5 hours for the case, 10 Minute Quick Charge (for 2 hours of use)
- Case charging port: USB-C
- Codecs: Bluetooth 5, AAC, SBC
- Water Resistance: IPX7
- Extra Features: Touch controls
While these can’t compete with higher-priced models in terms of the sound quality and features, they’re surprisingly decent for the price, pushing out pleasant sound and lasting for up to 24 hours without searching for a power socket.
Table of Contents
Who Are The EarFun Free Mini For?
Just when I thought EarFun couldn’t surprise me anymore, they went ahead and created this impressive pair of earbuds that cost less than £30 (and if you’re quick – for the launch, you might be able to find them at less than £20).
Just a few years ago, earphones at this price range were – often – rubbish – and they were certainly NOT wireless. These days, however, we can get earbuds that sound better than the low-cost wired earbuds of yesteryears, at a very similar price point.
That being said, don’t ask for the moon: while the sound quality is OK, and will make do for casual everyday listening, it’s a few levels below mid-range earphones (such as EarFun’s own Air Pro 2), and you don’t get some higher-end features – most notably Active Noise Cancellation and wireless charging.
Still, if you’re looking for budget earbuds, either as a second gym pair or simply for budgetary reasons – these are a real bargain.
Using The EarFun Free Mini
Size and Comfort
The first thing you’ll notice about the Free Mini is how small they are (hence, the mini in the name), and lightweight, at only 3.9grams.
They’re not the smallest I’ve seen (as they’re weirdly shaped and have a bit of a belly), and not the prettiest out there – but they’re functional and easy to handle.
They have a very plasticky feel, which hurts the in-ear comfort levels a bit, but thanks to their weight, they don’t pull your ear down, and still feel fine after a couple of hours of use.
In the box, you get three different silicone ear tip sizes, a USB-C cable for charging, a small stick resembling an ear cleaner for cleaning the charging surfaces, and the instructions manual.
The charging case can also be described as “functional” – it’s not as small as others I’ve seen, but it can still fit comfortably in your pocket. It’s very plasticky, but looks fine for what it is.
The EarFun Minis use touch controls, so most of the outer face is the touch-control surface. Pulling them out of your ear without touching and pressing that surface is a bit tricky, but can be done when you get used to it.
They go pretty deep into your ear canal, which is a big plus for the passive noise cancellation (as there’s a good seal), but it also means they hurt my ear canals a bit each time I tapped the touch controls, pushing them even deeper into my ears.
The earbuds are IPX7 water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your own sweat (when you’re working out, for example) or some light rain. The case, however, is not water-resistant – so be careful with it.
Pairing And Controlling The EarFun Mini
The Minis support Bluetooth 5, which is getting a bit long in the tooth, but despite that, they were quick and easy to pair with my phone – the first time, and every time I took them out of the case.
They also stay connected: having used them for a couple of weeks, I haven’t had a single disconnection or Bluetooth-inspired crackle which you sometimes get in crowded spots.
The touch controls were responsive and I rarely needed to tap again due to a misread press.
The buttons follow EarFun’s standard control scheme – one tap on the left lowers the volume, a tap on the right raises the volume. Two taps start and stop the music, or answer a phone call, and three taps are used to skip forward/back.
You can also use the buttons to activate a Voice Assistant on your phone, and that’s about it – as there’s no ANC.
EarFun Free Mini Audio Quality
When listening to music on the Minis, it’s important to set your expectations correctly – you’re not going to get exciting, booming sound, and quiet songs tend to sound as lightweight as the earbuds themselves.
The good seal helps block outside noises (though don’t expect it to block a humming train or an aeroplane’s engine), but the bass is generally weak and disappointing.
Things fare somewhat better with louder pop tunes – the bass is still missing, but the overall sound gets cheerful and – here’s that word again – functional.
Checking them with an 80’s classic, Modern Talking’s Cheri Cheri Lady, the absence of proper low end was apparent, resulting in a somewhat limited soundscape. Vocals were clear enough, but again, when listening to the high-frequency guitar and backing vocals, it felt like something was missing.
Things looked up with a newer recording, All Alone from Or Barack. Still missing the bass, but the mids and highs sounded clear and percussive. Vocals cut through nicely, and with some EQ tweaking you can thicken up the bass, at least to some degree.
Overall, while the sound is limited, it doesn’t shrill or get distorted, and is pleasant to listen to.
As for phone calls, the EarFun Mini worked well. There are no fancy noise-blocking technologies here, so if you’re standing in a loud environment, the person on the other end of the call will suffer – but in quiet areas, and especially indoors, the calls sound well on both ends.
EarFun Free Mini Battery Times
When fully charged (which takes 90 minutes), you can use the earphones for up to 5 hours, which is under the average these days, but still good enough for most use-cases.
The case holds additional 19 hours of power, which is again a bit low – but a total of 24 hours without needing to look for a power socket is not too bad. The quick charge is also a big help, if you ever forget to charge the earbuds in time – you can get two hours of usage after a 10-minute charge inside the case.
There’s no physical way of knowing the exact charge level of the earphones themselves (though you can check on your phone when they’re paired), as the case has just one LED light – when it’s red, it’s time to charge it.
Bottom Line: Are The EarFun Free Mini Worth It?
With so much competition in the mid-range earphones market, it’s interesting to see that competition now moving to the lower end of the market.
If you can spend £30- £40 extra pounds, the better music quality and active noise cancellation will improve your experience immensely.
But if your budget calls for a cheaper pair, the EarFun Free Mini is a really decent choice, that gives you a lot for your money – certainly more than you would have gotten just a couple of years ago.
If you’re not too finicky about the audio quality, and even more so if your main use is for podcasts and phone calls – then this model is certainly worth considering.
Note: The earphones were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of the product.