Two years after EarFun released the second version of its popular EarFun Free Pro true wireless earphones – they’re back with the 3rd generation, which promises to improve on some of the earphone’s specs.
The EarFun Free Pro 3 are, again, true wireless earbuds that focus on the budget crowds: you get good sound quality, a compact size that’s very easy to carry, touch controls, Active Noise Cancellation, great battery times, aptX Adaptive support, and the list goes on and on.
The value for money here is quite good, but as expected at this price range, some corners had to be cut – and in particular, the ANC is just OK – it’s not worse than what we got on the Free Pro 2, two years ago – but I was hoping for an upgrade.
So, with such a long list of features – and a couple of downsides – are these the new kings of the budget earbuds arena? Let’s take a closer look.
Quick Look – EarFun Free Pro 3
What are they: Affordable and very compact True Wireless Bluetooth earphones with ANC.
Value for Money
- Clear sound with great bass levels
- Great battery times and Fast charging – 10 minutes for 2 hours of playtime
- Very lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Active noise cancellation is somewhat disappointing
- No major improvements over the previous version
Features and Specs
- Driver unit: 7mm Wool Composite Drivers
- Battery Playing Time: 7.5 hours (6 with ANC on)
- Additional Battery Time on Case: 33 in total without ANC, 27 with ANC ON
- Full charging time: 1.5 Hours for earbuds / 2 Hours for case (3.5 via wireless charging)
- Case charging port: USB-C / Wireless charging
- Codecs: Bluetooth 5.3, aptX adaptive, LC3, AAC, SBC
- Extra Features: IPX5 Sweat & Water Resistant / Hi-Res and Snapdragon Sound audio / Gaming mode (with lower latency)
The sound quality is great (especially at this price range), the battery times are quite good, and the earbuds are comfortable. The main letdown is the ANC, which isn’t as good as on similarly priced earphones (even from EarFun themselves).
Table of Contents
Who Are The EarFun Free Pro 3 For?
Having reviewed EarFun’s earphones for several years now, one can say I’m a fan – as they not only give excellent value for money, but they’re also quite good at what they do, regardless of the price range.
Having said that – it seems that true wireless earphones have reached a certain peak – and, just like smartphones these days, it feels like version upgrades are mostly minor updates, and not real game changers.
So that’s exactly the case with the new Free Pro 3: there isn’t much reason to upgrade if you have one of the earlier models, or a similarly priced model from a competing company.
Yet, if you’re in the market for brand new true wireless earphones – the Free Pro 3 deliver on many fronts, except for the Active Noise Cancellation which is a bit of a step backwards instead of forward.
The music quality is still great, the bass is impressive for such tiny earbuds, and while 6 hours (with ANC on) won’t break any records, it’s a number that will fit most use cases, especially with the quick 10-minute charge that gives you two hours of usage.
Using The EarFun Free Pro 3
The EarFun Free Pro 3 earphones are remarkably lightweight and compact, just like the previous model (the case is slightly bigger this time around – which gives you a bigger battery).
Their diminutive size means they’re barely noticeable when held or worn, a definite advantage for prolonged use, and I was able to use them for hours without them ever getting uncomfortable or heavy in my ears.
In the box, you’ll find an array of ear tips and ear hooks, offering six different sizes of ear tips (including one marshmallow-style foam pair), and five sizes of ear hooks to ensure a personalized fit.
The earbuds come with one size of each pre-installed, but having the option to change these is beneficial for optimal comfort.
Alongside the earphones, the box includes a USB-C charging cable and an instruction manual.
The charging case is notably small, making it convenient for carrying in a pocket or bag.
The earbuds feature touch controls on their entire outer surface, designed to avoid accidental presses when removing them.
This design enhances the user experience, making them more intuitive to use, as you don’t have to keep searching the touch area with your button (something I’ve encountered with other true wireless earbuds).
With an IPX5 rating, the earphones can withstand water splashes, such as rain or sweat, making them suitable for various weather conditions and exercise routines.
However, they are not designed for swimming or submersion in water.
It’s also important to note that while the earphones are water-resistant, the charging case is not, so extra care is needed in wet environments.
Pairing And Controlling
Pairing the EarFun Free Pro 3 with your phone or other Bluetooth devices is a breeze, as they support Bluetooth 5.3 and automatically enter pairing mode when you first open the case.
As with all of EarFun’s earphones, the Bluetooth connection is notably stable. during my tests, I experienced no issues with crackles, noises, or disconnections, even when walking in crowded areas (try the tube!) where some Bluetooth devices tend to falter.
EarFun promises a maximum working range of up to 15 meters for these earphones, but it’s worth noting that this can vary based on environmental factors like walls and obstacles between the earphones and your device.
The touch controls on the EarFun Free Pro 3 are sensitive and mostly reliable.
Although there were a few rare instances where I had to retap because my first touch didn’t register, this is a minor hiccup and not uncommon in earphones across various price ranges, including some high-end models.
When they do work, the controls are intuitive: a tap on the left lowers the volume, while a tap on the right increases it. Two taps play or pause music and answer phone calls, and three taps on the left earbud cycle through ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), Ambient Mode, and Normal Mode. Three taps on the right earbud skip to the next track.
But if you don’t like this control scheme – you can easily customise the controls via EarFun’s smartphone app.
Disappointingly, the earphones lack in-ear detection, so the music doesn’t stop if you take an earbud out of your ear.
But they at least feature an automatic de-pairing function -removing both earbuds and placing them back in their case will disconnect them from your phone, stopping the music playback.
EarFun Free Pro 3 Audio Quality
This is where it’s most evident that this year’s model feels more like an update than a major upgrade: the audio quality is great, but is it better than what we got on the Free Pro 2? Not really.
But that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with the sound quality – and it’s quite enjoyable, especially for its price.
I started my testing with Harry Styles’ To Be So Lonely.
The audio quality was notably clear and crisp, which enhanced my listening experience, allowing me to fully appreciate the nuances of the song.
The strumming of the acoustic guitar and the emotional depth in the vocals were distinctly audible, showcasing the earphones’ ability to capture the finer details in the music.
The earbuds’ sound performance was particularly impressive with Styles’ vocals and the complex instrumental arrangements.
The acoustic guitar and percussive elements were delivered with remarkable clarity, contributing to a rich and immersive audio experience.
A standout feature was the robust bass response, which is often a challenge for smaller earbuds to reproduce effectively, but in this case, it was handled exceptionally well.
Moving on to the 70s pop hit SOS by ABBA, the EarFun Free Pro 3 earphones continued to impress.
They adeptly captured the song’s iconic harmonies and the rich, layered instrumentation that are hallmarks of this classic track.
The clarity with which the vocals and the arrangement of instruments were delivered allowed for a full appreciation of the song’s depth and complexity.
However, it was noticeable that the high-frequency range didn’t quite match the overall quality.
While the earphones performed well in other aspects, this particular range seemed to need a bit of enhancement.
Adjusting the EQ settings (which you can do via the app) did provide some improvement, indicating that with a little tweaking, the earphones can be optimized to better handle these higher frequencies.
The Active Noise Cancellation is where the Free Pro 3 model is somewhat of a disappointment.
EarFun calls its ANC implementation “QuietSmart 2.0”, with “Hybrid” functionality that supposedly can deal with both low-frequency noises (like the deep rumble of a train’s engine) and higher frequencies like announcement voices on the train.
When the Free Pro 3 model first launched, the ANC had some issues (as in – it wasn’t very good) – but, listening to customers’ complaints, EarFun pushed out a couple of firmware updates that aimed to improve the ANC.
They’ve even added a new ‘Ear Canal Customisation” feature, that lets you pick (via the app) out of four different ear canal shapes – and this will supposedly improve the ANC for different people.
Those updates did improve the ANC somewhat (even though I can’t say I’m hearing much difference between the four ear canal presets), and they do an OK job when you’re in a train or an aeroplane – but car and street noises slipped into my ears quite easily, and people’s voices were not blocked very well either.
The ANC was already somewhat of a sore point with on the Free Pro 2 – and it’s a shame to see that they were not able to improve on it, two years later.
In fact, I believe the ANC is better on EarFun’s similarly priced earphones – the Air Pro 3.
Lastly, the EarFun Free Pro 3 earbuds feature an “Ambient/Transparent” mode, designed to do the reverse of Active Noise Cancellation by capturing and amplifying surrounding sounds.
This functionality is significantly effective, ensuring that you remain aware of your environment, such as hearing an approaching car while walking near a busy road.
Additionally, the earphones excel in handling phone calls, incorporating noise-filtering technology that effectively muffles background noise. This ensures that callers on the other end can hear you clearly, even in noisy settings.
The EarFun Free Pro 3 offers an improved battery life, with up to 7.5 hours of usage without ANC, and 6 hours with ANC activated.
This is a step up from the Free Pro 2, which offered 6 and 5 hours respectively.
Additionally, the charging case provides an extra 25.5 hours of power, totalling 33 hours of use without ANC, or 27 hours with ANC.
The case can be charged using a USB-C cable or wirelessly, although wireless charging is slower. A convenient feature is the “Quick Charge” option, which allows for two hours of listening time after just a 10-minute charge in the case.
Bottom Line: Are The EarFun Free Pro 3 Worth It?
The EarFun Free Pro 3 earphones represent a solid, if not revolutionary, update in the true wireless earphone market.
They excel in delivering crisp, clear audio with impressive bass, making them a great choice for music enthusiasts on a budget.
The battery life is adequate for most users, and the addition of quick charging is a convenient touch.
However, the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) is somewhat lacklustre, falling short of expectations and not showing significant improvement from previous models.
Overall, the EarFun Free Pro 3 stand out for their audio quality and user-friendly features, offering good value for the price range.
They are a commendable option for new buyers, though not a necessary upgrade for those with previous models or similar earphones.
Note: The earphones were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of the product.