Tom's Guide Verdict
The $69 EarFun Air S comes with satisfying sound, but its flaws are too significant to overlook.
Companion app with useful extras
Poor touch controls
Middling battery life
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Colors: Black/dark gray
Battery life (rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 6 hours (ANC off); 25 hours (charging case with ANC on); 30 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (codec: SBC, AAC, aptX)
Water resistance: Yes (IPX5 rated)
Size: 1.48 x 0.86 x 0.9 inches; 2.2 x 2.5 x 1.2 (charging case)
Weight: 1.8 ounces (earbuds + charging case)
EarFun is one of the newer true wireless brands that’s grown in popularity over the past two years. They’re an Amazon darling that sells quality wireless earbuds at inexpensive price points. Past releases like the EarFun Air and the noise-cancelling EarFun Air Pro SV were well received, granted the latter left much to be desired on the noise neutralization front. The all-new Air S aims to fix several of its predecessor’s flaws…but does it?
These buds come loaded with fancy features like active noise cancellation (ANC), Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX and multipoint technology, EQ customization, wireless charging, and a low latency mode for mobile gaming. Unfortunately, EarFun continues to disregard functional flaws, making its latest creation more miss than hit.
Check out our full EarFun Air S review for the full breakdown.
EarFun Air S review: Price and availability
- Low-cost price
- Available in black/slate gray only
The Air S will be available now for $69 on Amazon in black/slate gray. Inside the box are a wireless charging case, USB-C charging cable, four sets of different sized tips, and a user manual.
It falls in the same price range as other entry-level noise-cancellers like the highly recommended Donner DoBuds One ($49), 1More PistonBuds Pro ($59), and sibling Air Pro SV ($89). For elite performance, we suggest splurging on premium models like the AirPods Pro ($249) or Sony WF-1000XM4 ($279).
For all of the latest wireless earbuds sales, bookmark our best headphones deals page.
EarFun Air S review: Design and comfort
- Sleek and sophisticated
- Charging case lacks durability
- Not as comfortable as AirPods
I’m not a long-stem wireless earbuds guy, but even I can admit when someone makes an attractive true wireless dangler like many of the designs in our best fake AirPods roundup. The Air S has a chic, business class look to it, which I credit to the matte finish and slate gray tone. Build quality is sturdy, therefore, you won’t need to worry about the buds breaking, should they take a hard tumble to the ground. IPX5 certification also protects them from excessive sweat and splashing. Bear in mind that they have a stronger IP rating than the AirPods Pro (IPX4).
The charging case is generic in terms of construction. It’s an oval block of plastic with the logo debossed on top, and the material feels cheap compared to other EarFun cases. On the other hand, it’s small and light to carry around. The pairing button on the inside adds to its value.
These buds are less comfy than the Air Pro SV. The thick cavity presses up against the ear, resulting in soreness after about an hour of use. Some people might find the long stems irritating when touching the earlobe, but this isn’t a big deal.
The tips form a tight seal and keep the buds in place when you move around. Don’t think this makes them ideal for exercising because it doesn’t; you can find several better options on our best workout headphones list.
EarFun Air S review: Controls and digital assistant
- Poor touch accuracy
- Digital assistant unavailable on macOS
EarFun may want to switch out their touch sensors because the touch accuracy on these buds is way off. Double taps read as single taps, triple taps read as double taps, and the long press gesture is often neglected. It got to a point where I had to try something different, so I swapped out taps for swipes and found my technique more effective for operation.
Not having wear detection to auto-pause music when removing the buds or resume playback when placing them back on your ears adds insult to injury.
One positive is that EarFun programmed a full suite of media controls on the Air S: playback, call management, volume, digital assistance, and listening mode activation.
Bixby, Google Assistant, and Siri are all compatible with the buds. However, it seems like the latter isn’t useable on macOS devices. I attempted many times to enable Siri on my MacBook Pro, and nothing happened. Accessing the digital assistant on iOS and Android devices was not an issue and all three AI bots registered and executed voice commands accurately.
EarFun Air S review: Sound quality
- Robust bass that can often come on too strong
- Customizable sound settings
- ANC mode doesn’t affect performance
If you want powerful bass from your wireless earbuds, then the Air S has you covered. EarFun’s sound profile leans towards the warm end of the audio spectrum with emphasized lows that are punchy, and at times overly aggressive, producing fuzz on some tracks.
Thankfully, you have the EQ in the companion app to manually adjust frequencies to your liking or select from a handful of different presets — Bass Boost, Bass Reducer, Treble Boost, and Treble Reducer — to personalize sound. As you can see, these focus more on low- and mid- frequencies. Highs are left out of the customization process, but they’re still discernible on orchestral recordings. Furthermore, listening in ANC Mode doesn’t compromise quality.
The brassy synths on Beyonce’s “Party” were nicely balanced and reproduced, which accentuated the record’s fun and laidback vibes. Harmonies and adlibs also sounded crisp. Bass wasn’t always consistent, as evidenced on boom-centric records like the Flatbush Zombies’ “Fly Away.” The sub-heavy 808 line muddied the soundstage and diminished the clarity on what are already low-pitched vocals.
Jazz classics like Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” were serene listens. The double bass was thick, and the hi-hats were distinctive. What impressed me most was the channel separation. Hearing gentle flutes tickle my right ear while soulful horns played on the left was pleasant.
EarFun’s Game Mode is available for reducing latency on mobile games. Dialogue and sound effects were more accurate and synchronized when turning on the feature.
Unlike the the Air Pro SV, the Air S has aptX support for better audio handling over Bluetooth. AAC and SBC codecs also perform up to par on iOS/macOS and Android devices.
You’ll want to be careful with the volume levels on the Air S because they can get harmfully loud.
EarFun Air S review: Active noise cancellation
- Mediocre noise neutralization
- Adequate transparency mode
The Air Pro SV showed that ANC was not EarFun’s greatest strength, and the same is true with the Air S. The marketing places an emphasis on Qualcomm’s QCC3046 SOC technology, which is said to block out unwanted noise while allowing some sounds to leak through for safety reasons. In my experience, sounds across all frequencies leaked in and captured my attention.
Walking into my laundry room, I heard the tumbling from our washer and dryer, along with our cat meowing for attention by the door. Baby cries were loud, kitchen appliances were distracting, and wind was prominent when listening to music in gusty conditions. The Air S could only handle a few mid-frequency sounds. I barely heard any chatter when walking around the neighborhood or hanging in the gazebo, nor did I notice any barking when passing by dog parks. But that’s about it.
Ambient Sound is sufficient for increasing awareness of your surroundings. Common outside noises like construction tools and speeding cars are audible from about 80 feet away, though voices don’t come through as clearly as one would like. This makes it difficult to have conversations with the buds still in your ears. I tried using the feature in the house and could barely make out my wife’s words.
EarFun Air S review: Special features and app
- Control app support
- Plenty of useful extra features
- No Find My Buds function
Not many sub-$70 wireless earbuds have a companion app, but the Air S does. The EarFun Audio app is where you’ll find all features that extend functionality, including aforementioned ones like ANC/Ambient Sound, control customization, Equalizer, and Game Mode. Rounding things out are battery level indicators, firmware updates, toggle controls, and a product tutorial.
We’ve seen similarly priced rivals offer a few more features such as Dolby Atmos support and a Find My Buds function. Rivals like the Sony WF-C500 even come stocked with high-end features like 3D audio (360 Reality Audio) and upscaling technology (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine). Nonetheless, EarFun gives you a generous number of perks considering the very low MSRP.
EarFun Air S review: Battery life and charging case
- Mediocre battery life
- Charging case comes Qi-enabled
EarFun rates battery life at 5 hours with ANC on and 6 hours with ANC off. High volume and Game Mode drop these down by about 1 hour. These are similar to AirPods Pro playtimes (4.5 to 5 hours), which is not enticing. I did not like having to recharge the buds every other day.
The charging case holds a maximum of 30 hours, 6 hours more than the AirPods Pro’s case. Do the math and you get about 5 additional charges to work with. EarFun also made the Air S case wireless charging compatible.
EarFun Air S review: Call quality and connectivity
- Acceptable for voice and video calls
- Solid connectivity
To my surprise, the Air S functioned well as a calling headset, but only in reasonably quiet settings. Any calls I took indoors were mostly met with positive feedback; two people complained about minor muffle. Outside was 50/50. EarFun’s ANC technology did little to minimize ambient noise during calls and demonstrated terrible wind resistance. I had to pick a quiet and isolated corner for people to hear me clearly.
You’ll get some fantastic wireless performance via Bluetooth 5.2. Range is high, peaking at 70 feet (21 meters) in open spaces, and connections remain stable during calls and streaming sessions. Pairing is instant with recognized devices. There’s also multipoint technology to pair the buds with two devices at the same time, though there is some latency when switching between audio sources. The only thing missing is one-tap Google Fast Pair to expedite the pairing process with Android devices.
EarFun Air S review: Verdict
As much as you’ll enjoy the lively sound and terrific wireless performance, the EarFun Air S is an overall letdown and not something we would consider best cheap wireless earbuds material.
Expectations for ANC were already low after experiencing some of the brand’s previous entries, and these buds did little to change our minds. What stings more is that EarFun couldn’t get the basics down, like battery life, controls, and conventional functions (e.g., Siri on macOS). You can find other models in the EarFun lineup that offer a more well-rounded package for under $100.
Next: Want quality buds for a bargain? Here are the best cheap wireless earbuds right now.
A lifestyle journalist with an affinity for consumer products, Alex has over a decade of experience and has worked with popular publications such as Complex, Thrillist, Men’s Health, Gear Patrol, AskMen, and Hoop Magazine. He currently focuses on audio, reviewing the most coveted headphones in the market for both Tom’s Guide and Laptop Magazine.