Review: EarFun Air S – S is for Studio?

The Air S are the latest model from EarFun with lots of features, like ANC, low latency game mode, and smartphone application support.
The Air S are the latest model from EarFun with lots of features, like ANC, low latency game mode, and smartphone application support.

Boasting a pleasing sound, a variety of convenient features, impressive comfort, and great stability, the EarFun Air S are an excellent addition to the under $50 TWS market.

General Usage 78.5
Audiophile Usage 68.6

Score Breakdown

89.1
75.0
60.0
What We Like
  • Warm and comfortable sound signature
  • Secure fit
  • Decent active noise cancellation
  • Good transparency mode
  • Multipoint, game mode, and aptX
What We Don't Like
  • Average detail retrieval capability
  • Enhanced bass colors the midrange

Where To Buy

Introduction

EarFun was founded in 2018 by a collection of skilled designers, engineers, and music lovers. They share a goal: to develop next-generation wireless audio devices that incorporate the most cutting-edge technologies to resolve current-generation obstacles.

EarFun thinks that technology has the potential to enrich modern lifestyles and seamlessly integrate with our daily activities. Their tagline reinforces this belief, “Better Sound, Better Life.”

The EarFun Air S are the latest addition to EarFun’s current lineup. EarFun does not specially mention what is the meaning of “S” in the model name, but the “S” may stand for “Studio” based on their tagline – “studio sound quality with noise canceling.”

We will try to determine what the “S” stands for within this article!

The Air S are the latest model from EarFun with lots of features, like ANC, low latency game mode, and smartphone application support.
The Air S are the latest model from EarFun with lots of features, like ANC, low latency game mode, and smartphone application support.

Case

Battery

  • Battery Life: 24 hrs with ANC off (20 hrs with ANC on)
  • Connector: USB Type-C
  • Wireless Charging: Yes
  • Battery Capacity: 500 mAh

I am always pleased with the battery life of EarFun’s charging cases. The Air S charging case provides an additional four charges to the earbuds (24 hours with ANC off and 20 hours with ANC on).

The charging case can be charged either through a USB Type-C charging port or wirelessly. The charging time varies based on the charging method – 2 hours via USB Type-C or 3.5 hours via a Qi wireless charger.

The small and portable case can provide an additional four charges to the earbuds.
The small and portable case can provide an additional four charges to the earbuds.

UX

  • Can be open easily with one hand: Yes
  • Pass the shake test: Yes
  • Light Indicators: Display battery level and display charging status

The clam-shaped charging case can be easily opened using one hand, and strong magnets securely hold the earbuds in the case. A LED light indicator near the lid opening displays battery level and charging status.

Case battery status LED

  • Green: > 30%
  • Orange: < 30%
  • Red: < 10%
  • Flashing red: < 5%
The LED light indicator displays charging status and estimated battery level of the case.
The LED light indicator displays charging status and estimated battery level of the case.

Design

  • Shape of the case: Clam-shaped
  • Material: Plastic
  • Build Quality: Good

The clam-shaped charging case of the Air S differentiates them from other entry-level models in the current TWS market. As my review of the Xiaodu Du Smart Buds mentioned, most entry-level TWS models tend to copy the case design of Apple AirPods.

EarFun put in extra effort when designing the case!

Despite being made of plastic, the case’s build quality is not shabby! This charging case may be the best I have encountered in the sub USD$100 range.

There is a button in the case for initiating pairing mode to new devices.
There is a button in the case for initiating pairing mode to new devices.

Portability

  • Weight: 52g (With earbuds inside)
  • Volume: 5.6 x 6.5 x 3.1 = 112.84cm cu (~6.89 in cu)
  • Portability: Good

In terms of portability, the Air S charging case is decent. Thanks to the plastic construction, it’s light, and the size is also acceptable. I can easily put it in my pocket without feeling restricted in movement.

The clam-shaped shell is pocket-friendly.
The clam-shaped shell is pocket-friendly.

Earbuds

Battery

  • Battery Life: 6 hrs with ANC off (5 hrs with ANC on)
  • Charge Time (10mins): 120 mins playback time

The Air S have a battery life as great as my 3rd generation AirPods. With a full charge and ANC off, they can serve me for 6 hours of continuous playback. The battery life decreases by a little when ANC is toggled on.

I have no concern about ANC shortening the battery life because EarFun implemented fast charging with the Air S. With only 10 minutes of charging, they can play for another 2 hours.

The small earbuds are able to play for 6 hours with ANC off.
The small earbuds are able to play for 6 hours with ANC off.

UX

  • Control Mechanism: Touch
  • Touch Accuracy: Good (Almost always register the right action)
  • Control Symmetry on both earbud: Yes
  • Mono Use: Both sides
  • The control gestures are mostly fixed
  • Earbuds can control low latency game mode and noise cancellation

EarFun models are always equipped with the most robust control gestures. The Air S touch panels can handle almost all controls and always register my gesture accurately.

Unfortunately, most control gestures can still not be modified in the smartphone application. Users only have the liberty to customize triple tap and long hold on each earbud. This feature could be improved for EarFun’s upcoming models.

It is easy to remove the buds from the case.
It is easy to remove the buds from the case.

Design

  • Profile: Medium
  • Material: Plastic
  • Comfort: Outstanding
  • Fit: Outstanding

Like Apple AirPods, the EarFun Air S are designed with a stem. You will find that the oval-shaped housing fits comfortably into your ears without causing any pressure points. The lightweight nature of the earbuds makes them comfortable to wear for long periods.

Four pairs of durable silicone ear tips included inside the box ensure a perfect and secure fit during movement. Regardless of how vigorously they are shaken, they will not move around in your ears. The best part is that they do not lose the seal, which would result in a noticeable reduction in bass performance.

The angled nozzle and oval-shaped housing improve the overall fit of Air S
The angled nozzle and oval-shaped housing improve the overall fit of Air S

Mic

  • Noise Cancellation: Average
  • Voice Pick-up: Good

The Air S are equipped with the latest cVc™ 8.0 technology for better call quality. The voice pickup is advertised to be enhanced with two microphones on each earbud. I find the voice pick-up is decent, if not particularly outstanding. Under quiet conditions, my voice can be effectively recognized by the microphones.

The noise cancellation of the microphones is merely average. During a busy commute, surrounding noises are picked up together with my voice. Nevertheless, my voice can still be heard clearly.

Mic Demo

Sound

  • Driver: 10mm wool composite driver
  • Sound Signature: Warm V-shaped
  • Bass: Good
  • Mids: Average
  • Treble: Good
  • Sound Detail: Average

Active Noise Cancellation

Active noise cancellation is primarily effective on the low end, eliminating engine noises and air conditioning hum. Conversely, the earbuds pass through the majority of environmental midrange and treble. Although sufficient, the more expensive EarFun Air Pro 2 perform much better than Air S.

The transparency mode is surprisingly effective and captures surrounding noise nearly as well as the Technics EAH-AZ60. However, there is no doubt that Technics’ earbuds produce cleaner vocals, which is ideal if you wish to engage in a conversation without taking your earbuds out. Regardless, the EarFun Air S transparency mode is very functional.

The affordable EarFun Air S have decent ANC capability.
The affordable EarFun Air S have decent ANC capability.

Overall Sound Quality

Like most of EarFun’s models, the Air S have an energetic and warm V-shaped sound signature. They are enjoyable to listen to, but there are compromises in the clarity and detail reproduction.

Studio-quality earbuds should be able to retrieve the highest level of detail. It seems the “S” in Air S does not stand for “studio.”

Bass

There is a greater focus on lower frequencies, with a substantial boost in the entire region, contributing to the overall warmth of the sound. The bass is less controlled, and occasionally the midrange can be obscured.

There is good punch and decent speed to the bass. Listening to faster music genres is possible, but quick double pedal work can become muddy and lost in the mix. Although they are not designed for purists, the extra punch may benefit you if you plan to use them outdoors.

The Air S sit well in my ears.
The Air S sit well in my ears.

Midrange

Overall, the midrange frequencies are reasonably decent, although they are not as clear as more premium models, such as the EarFun Free Pro 2. The midrange has the warmth injected from the boosted bass, coloring the sound and making it less transparent. The midrange is significantly recessed due to the presence of boosted bass.

Treble

The treble is slightly recessed in the lower portion and boosted in the upper portion. This boost gives the sound a lovely shimmer and adds a sense of air, reducing the density of the presentation due to the bass.

In busy tracks, especially those with metal influences, cymbal crashes can sound quite splashy. When the track is calmer, splashiness is less of an issue.

The Air S have enjoyable sonic performance and users can make minor adjustments through the smartphone application.
The Air S have enjoyable sonic performance and users can make minor adjustments through the smartphone application.

Connectivity

  • Audio Codec: AAC, SBC and aptX
  • Bluetooth Version: Version 5.2
  • Bluetooth Chip: QCC3046 Soc from Qualcomm®
  • Auto-connect when: Case cover is opened
  • Average drop-outs in an hour: 3 – 4 times on aptX (0-3 times on AAC)
  • Multi-point connection: Yes

The EarFun Air S supports Bluetooth codecs such as SBC, AAC, and aptX. It is unusual to find aptX in a product in this price range, which may make it a selling point for those looking for a higher-speed Bluetooth connection.

The delay is hardly noticeable using Game mode, which reduces the latency below 100ms. YouTube is completely in sync, and the performance should satisfy everyone, including the most demanding mobile gamers.

The Air S support multipoint connection. There is, however, about a two-second delay when resuming playback or switching between two connected audio devices. This is noticeably slower than most of their competitors.

The stability of Air S reduced slightly when they are connected via aptX.
The stability of Air S reduced slightly when they are connected via aptX.

Waterproof

  • IP Rating: IPX5

A rating of IPX5 protects the internal components against sweat and water splashes. If you wish, you can take them in the shower, but do not submerge them in water.

Software

  • Available on: iOS and Android
  • Equalizer available in the application for minor sound signature tuning

The Air S are one of two EarFun models with smartphone application support. The application is user-friendly and includes a three-band equalizer. Triple taps and long hold gestures can be customized.

Users can modify the sound signature and a few touch gestures through the smartphone application.
Users can modify the sound signature and a few touch gestures through the smartphone application.

Conclusion

You should consider the EarFun Air S if you are looking for full-featured earbuds at a reasonable price. EarFun once again excels at pushing the price/performance ratio to the limits with these earbuds.

Aside from having good sound quality, the Air S are comfortable and very stable in your ears. They have good active noise cancellation and a transparent mode that works well. They support multipoint, aptX, low-latency game mode, and wireless charging, which is plenty of extras for such a small price.

Overall, these earbuds are a good choice if you are on a tight budget. At this price point, they offer one of the best alternatives to AirPods.

2 comments

  1. The “S” stands for “subpar”. For around 60 Euro you can buy the same combo I have: CCA C10 and the AptX HD cable from KZ. That’s just a little more, for sound quality that these aren’t even close to matching. After I have experienced how overly positive TWS bud reviews often are (speaking about Melomania 1+ specifically) it’s shocking how much people pay for mediocre earphones.

    1. Dude, it’s obviously not meant to be for the same people.
      One are for snobs, the other ones are for casuals.
      I could not care less about sound quality, as long as it’s passable. 2/10 is fine by me. But wireless is much more practical for my lifestyle and habits, even though I generally do think anything with a battery is a compromise.

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