Earfun reached out to me to review the Earfun Free, their crowdfunding true-wireless earbuds that are available for backing in Indiegogo for US$39 (expected retail price is US$99). The specs are impressive: Bluetooth 5.0, 6 hours play time per charge, 30 hours with charging case, IPX7 water resistant, wireless charging, USB-C, ergonomically-shaped earbud design.
There are so many crowdfunding true-wireless headphones that it’s so hard to determine if they are really as good as they have claimed. The challenge is that the prototypes were reviewed by tech sites which might not be the final product during the manufacturing. The other factor is that during the crowdfunding process, the project team might modify the specs, for better or for worse. Quite often, these crowdfunding products achieve success only after they have received overwhelming acclaim after the commercial launch.
I have reviewed quite a handful of these TWS that started as crowdfunding projects, like Bragi The Dash, Earin, AVIOT TE-D01b, xFyro xS2. Of all the crowdfunded earphones I have reviewed so far, the Earfun Free is the lowest priced, but being low-priced might not be a good thing for a crowdfunding as it is associated with either low-quality or potential scam.
Unboxing and Design
I received the production version and the packaging looks professionally done up. The instruction booklet and inserts are printed of good quality paper and does not look like fly-by-night product. The 2 pairs of additional eartips are housed on a strip of plastic holder instead of just in a ziplock bag.
The casing is made of plastic with matt gloss, the same material as the earbuds. This is to allow wireless charging. The top case cover has some resistance at the joint such that it does not just slam shut when you push the cover down. A cover is held by weak magnet which allows the cover to be opened without excessive effort while enough to keep the cover closed. The 4-LED indicator is helpful to show the remaining battery level, and the USB-C charging port is behind.
There are ample room in between the 2 earbuds to slip your finger to push the earbuds sideways, a well-thought design. Without this space, the user would have to lift up by pressing at the top and bottom of the earbuds, and given the strong magnet and the contour, it would be quite a feat to get them out elegantly.
To pair the earbuds to the device, turn off the right earbud, then press and hold the right earbud for 3 seconds to turn on and then go into pairing mode. Once the right earbud is paired, there is no need to worry about the left earbud as it will auto-connect. The Earfun Free is designed as a pair and the buttons on each earbuds operate differently. For instance, the left earbud button controls the track changes while the right earbud button activates voice assistant (Siri, Google, etc.).
True to the product website description, the earbud buttons are easy to depress. The button is made of silicone instead of a stiff plastic, which means user can press with a finger tip without too much force, as opposed to pushing the entire surface on other earbuds. Good thing is that you can feel the click when pushing with your finger tip, so you are sure that the action will be registered.
The earbuds attach to my ears snugly, thanks to the ergonomic design. There is no unwanted weight or pressure felt inside my ear canals, as the main earbud body is supported by the outer ear wall. The voice prompts are rather soft, too soft if I may critique, though it’s probably not a bad thing. Running with them is fine, they don’t wriggle nor exhibit any risk of dropping out of the ears. But due to the tight seal which isolates noise well, the drawback is that I hear my thumping footsteps as I jog.
I was surprised that the Earfun Free produces respectable audio details for its price. Despite supporting only SBC codec, the audio reproduction is smooth with no jarring compression artifacts. The bass is heavy, punchy but leaves room for the treble, though the lows are slightly slow in the decay. Yet at the same time, I could hear the bass guitar lines clearer than some other earphones. The bass presence is impressive and offers some fun to my ears. The midrange benefits from the detailed bass and offers musical balance which I enjoy. Earfun Free achieves that without muddying the overall sound.
The treble is less forward, and its first impression might not deliver that transparency that makes earphones stand out. But I prefer this balanced tuning for a more comfortable extended listening experience, even at higher volumes. The treble details are all there, just not as outstanding and pushy as the lower frequencies. The sound stage subtly reveals the depth when the track is not too overwhelming, for instance, when listening to Classical genres. The Earfun Free produces the dynamic range well, and my ears could not detect any distortion. Earfun Free has one of the better implementation of the SBC audio codec.
The Earfun Free true wireless earbuds are few of the TWS gems in the saturated audio market that I recommend getting your hands on, especially if you prefer a balanced treble sound quality, or one that loves to listen to music at higher volumes but dislikes harsh treble. The wireless charging case offers a nice geek feature to show off. Currently on its last few days of crowdfunding for US$39, they will retail at US$99 thereafter.
- Detailed sound quality, strong bass and controlled treble
- Wireless charging case, IPX7 waterproof, easy to press buttons
- SBC audio codec delivers good resolution without distortion
- SBC audio codec
- Relatively short battery life compared to competition
- Unconventional earbud button controls
- Master earbud is fixed
Disclosure: Product is provided free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. Opinions are from author.