The number of new true wireless earbuds (TWE) keeps growing, with many new brands coming up. Compared to normal wireless, there are greater opportunities to attract consumers in the true wireless segment because there are so many possibilities to make a TWE stand out. Like other brand startups, xFyro went through crowdfunding to introduce the xS2, marketed as the “world’s first wireless waterproof earbuds“. With a official price of US$249, they are running a promotion of US$125 or S$170 (subject to currency fluctuations) on their online shop. They sent over a review unit for me to try out and share my opinions.
I have reviewed dozens of true wireless earbuds and the xFyro xS2 is one of my favourite designs. Just like the Earin M-2, the casing is long like cigar, built of solid brushed aluminium that feels cool to the touch.
The earbuds are stored on both ends of the casing. It’s a convenient setup: I do not have to open the case to remove the earbuds, which are held in place by magnets. And both earbuds have the same mould so I can dock them either way. Although the magnets are not extremely strong, they don’t fall out casually.
The earbuds are coated with silicone beneath a white plastic, and this provides a good grip when handling them. The operating buttons covers the entire face, and are easy to click. They control only play functions and cannot adjust volume. One issue is that the printed labels are hard to see under low light.
Besides charging the earbuds, the case can also charge other devices via the large USB port, but it contains only 850mAh capacity. Charging the case takes about 2 hours via micro USB, the port located at the opposite side.
When it comes to power management, the earbuds work differently. Docking and undocking the earbuds do not automatically turn on or off, so I need to manually turn on the earbuds when they are removed. Similarly, when I dock the earbuds back to the case, the Bluetooth remains active and audio streaming continues, so I must manually power down the earbuds. There is an advantage to this method: I can keep the earbuds connected to the smartphone even when docked, so whenever I need to answer calls, I just remove from the case and start my conversation without waiting to re-connect.
The xFyro xS2 earbuds are already paired to each other from the factory. To pair to your smartphone or audio device, choose either the right or left earbud as your primary earbud. With the power off, press and hold the earbud button for 4 seconds until it goes into pairing mode, then initiate pairing from the smartphone. Once the primary earbud is paired, the voice prompt will say “Phone One connected”, then proceed to turn on the second earbud – just press briefly to power up, not to go into pairing mode. After a while, the primary earbud voice prompt will say “Phone Two connected” and you’re ready to enjoy.
Subsequently, just power up the primary earbud first, then power up the second earbud. For powering down, press and hold the primary earbud, and then both earbuds will power down simultaneously. I have not faced any pairing problems throughout my review period as long as I follow the steps. For more details on how to re-pair due to connection problems read the xFyro xS2 user manual.
Like all other TWE, the voice conversation does not work well at outdoors. The microphone is too far away from the human mouth and I need to project your voice at normal speaking volume, unlike when the mic is near my mouth where I can at least lower my volume yet the other party can still hear me. It’s no fault on the xS2, it’s just physics.
The xFyro xS2 earbuds have a lovely overall sound signature, prominent mid-bass extending to midrange, achieving a warm and full sound. The sub-bass is not excessively boomy, the treble does not sound too brittle and exists a tinny veil, not as precise and clean as some of the treble-biased earphones in the market. The sound staging is very coherent between the channels, with vocals positioned from 11 to 1 o’clock, close to the ears. Background instrumentation are more spaced out, even appearing to contain depth (height). These earbuds have the sound staging like traditional headphones.
Audio sync with videos are good, without excessive lag.
Wear for Swim?
xFyro has advertised on the waterproof properties and can wear for swimming, but are they really waterproof? The xS2 is given a rating of IP67, which means they can submerge in water up to 1 metres for up to 30 minutes. As for wearing them to swim, sure the buds can survive, but you will not be able to listen to any Bluetooth music, because radio waves cannot be transmitted underwater. Once your head goes underwater, the audio gets immediately cut off, and when you resurface, music resumes. Even the manual also discourages use in water. A better use case is that they make good swimming ear plugs.
Another thing about IP rating is that they might not remain that way throughout the life of the product. As you use frequently, the seals may break down, and the waterproof properties will be lost. If xFyro designs a TWE with internal memory, then it will surely be very functional for swims. The Bragi The Dash Pro has built-in memory for listening to music and has swim tracking, but that costs more than double.
Putting swimming aside, the earbuds can handle runs and other workouts, although a lack of ear fins could bear some risk that the buds may fall out during intensive moments. The trick is that once you insert the earbuds to the ears, give it a twist to “lock” the earbuds behind the antihelix (ear wall).
These earbuds could have been my new ultimate favourite earbuds, if not for the frequent disruption between the earbuds and to the Bluetooth device. Under most circumstances, the earbuds do their job well, but there will be times when the buds just get disrupted repeatedly until you adjust your head position. Or it would just happen once in a while. The occurrences were unexplained, it could happen suddenly even when I was in the same position for the longest time (e.g. working on a cafe). The xS2 earbuds connect to each other via Bluetooth instead of the more expensive NFMI (near field magnetic induction). Like any wireless technology, environmental interference are hard to prevent, and my review unit happen to be one that is more sensitive.
I like the xFyro xS2 case design, it looks polished with premium quality, and easy to access the earbuds on-the-go. I like the audio quality, they sound smooth and immersive. The earbuds feel comfortable on my ears, and sizable enough to handle without fear of dropping them. The IP67 rating is good to ensure they can withstand life’s unexpected moments. The connection disruption occurs now and then, and while it’s a common issue with TWE, I think the xS2 antenna can be improved a little to achieve greater transmission stability.
The xFyro xS2 sells for around S$170 (US$125) and buyers enjoy free worldwide shipping and 30-day money-back guarantee. Visit the page for more product information.
Note: Product provided free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. Music Photo Life does not earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.