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Earfun Air S earbuds review: Flagship-class features, entry-level price

By Oscar the Grouch - 16 Apr 2023
Launch SRP: S$139

Earfun Air S earbuds review: Flagship-class features, entry-level price

Note: This review was first published on 17 January 2023.

Will the Earfun Air S take the affordable true wireless earbuds crown?

Earfun attempts to slay expensive, flagship earbuds

Budget true wireless earbuds are a dime a dozen these days but they also typically lack features and come with budget specs.

Earfun decided to throw the formula out the window with the Air S, which comes with features usually only found in more expensive models. This includes active noise cancellation (ANC), support for both AAC and aptX codecs, IPX5 water resistance rating, and a total battery life of 30 hours. There’s even wireless charging as the icing on the cake.

The Earfun Air S' feature set is certainly quite impressive, but let’s find out whether the Earfun buds deliver on its promise in actual day-to-day use. Can it be a flagship true wireless earbuds killer?

The TLDR version:

A set of true wireless earbuds that sounds quite good, has decent ANC, just about all the features you could want, and at a very agreeable price.


Design and features

The charging case may look and feel cheap, but feels solid with no flex or creaks.

The Earfun Air S comes in a cheerful yellow box that wastes no time in introducing you to the device and its app.

It’s immediately apparent why it’s priced the way it is when I picked it up. The charging case is made of cheap-feeling scratchy plastic with little heft.

Nevertheless, it appears to be solidly built as it neither flexed nor creaked when I pinched it hard with my fingers.

Other than one single LED indicator light on the front of the case and a USB-C charging port, the charging case is devoid of any other flourishes. I'm reminded of a plastic pebble.

Despite the simplicity, I appreciate the matte finish, which doesn’t attract fingerprints or smudges as much as glossy surfaces. As for accessories, Earfun has included a USB-C cable in the box as well as two additional pairs of silicone tips.

The earbuds themselves are also well-built despite using the same scratchy-feeling plastics. While they don’t feel premium to the touch, the construction is solid and feels like it can take a beating.

Earfun's app is simple to use and non-offensive, but lack a bit of polish.

Earfun has provided an app called the Earfun Audio App to customise and control the Air S. It's mostly straightforward and easy to use. The first thing I did was upgrade the earbuds’ firmware, which was carried out smoothly and without a hitch.

The app comes with the standard features you’d expect contemporary full-featured true wireless earbuds to have, including equaliser adjustments and customisable touch controls.

As is the case with most touch control systems on earbuds, the ones on the Air S take some getting used to. The biggest issue is that there's some delay between your inputs and the earbuds responding. Consequently, I found myself often double-pressing inputs and causing the earbuds to get confused.

Fit is a personal thing and because I have large ears, I usually go straight for the largest ear tips I can find in the box. With the largest ear tips, I found the Air S to be fairly comfortable, even for long periods of listening.

Battery life is rated at 6 hours per charge and, and an additional 24 hours with the charging case. These claims seem reasonable to me because I was able to get through an entire whole workweek with on-and-off listening of around four to five hours per day. So how do they sound?


Sound performance

Since I managed to get a pretty good seal with provided ear tips, I found the Air S' passive isolation to be quite good. And once I activated the ANC function, I found that the earbuds were able to block and cancel out a great amount of ambient sound. Low repetitive hums like that of a plane's jet engines (simulated through blasting white noise videos on YouTube) were almost completely blocked out.

Traffic and construction noises were also decently nullified, and only the occasional loud and random sounds like shrieking motorcycles managed to break through. That said, I found that the Air S weren't as competent in blocking out human voices. At MRT train stations, I could still make out the chatter of the passing crowd.

That said, I'd say the results are quite impressive, especially when you consider the price of these earbuds. The ANC performance is almost good enough to rival that of larger and more established brands.

When it comes to audio performance, the Earfun Air S was also decently impressive. Readers concerned about codec support should note the Air S supports both aptX and AAC. There's no support for higher-resolution codecs like LDAC. For such support, you'll have to turn to industry leaders like Sony and Sennheiser, among others.

The overall sound signature of the Air S is fairly balanced. Mids are strong and arguably its best aspect, but its bass is a tad too heavy. On a mostly acoustical track like RIO’s Heavy Heart, the overly strong bass response made her voice sound slightly muddy.

But this also means most pop, rock, and EDM tracks that thrive on pumping bass are very enjoyable. Imagine Dragons’ Lonely, which has a thumping bass line, sounded great, and I couldn't stop bopping my head along.

The Air S' sound stage is nothing to write home about. Most tracks lack a sense of space and its imaging was also quite imprecise. 

Game mode sounds great, but barely made a difference in reality. It also requires some sacrifices.

The Air S also has what Earfun calls a “Game Mode”, which purportedly reduces latency to as low as 100ms at the expense of battery life. Game Mode also has a shorter connection range than your standard Bluetooth connection.

In reality, there’s little practical need for the Game Mode. The standard Bluetooth connection feels snappy enough and I didn't sense any difference when I activated it.


Final thoughts

The Earfun Air S is good, but not to the extent to which we can call it a flagship killer.

Let's cut to the chase, with its long list of features, decent performance, and a relatively affordable price tag of S$139, the Ear Air S offers a great deal of bang for the buck.

Of course, it’s impossible to price it at this level without some trade-offs. Build quality is the most obvious aspect that Earfun has sacrificed. In my hands, the Air S in my hands just doesn't feel quite as polished and refined as Apple’s AirPods Pro or Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless.

The app experience, while completely serviceable, was also not quite the same standard as those offered by the more established audio brands. The apps from brands like Sony and Sennheiser are a step up in ease of use and simply look more pleasant.

Its closest competitor is perhaps the Creative Outlier Pro, which offers a similar feature set and comes at a comparable price point of S$119. The lower price of the Outlier Pro and the fact that it's local could be enough to sway some readers and they are certainly a good alternative to the Air S.

In that sense, the Air S is not quite a flagship killer. What it does offer, however, is a lot of value. As I shared earlier, the sound quality is reasonably good for a narrow but popular genre (such as pop, rock and EDM), the ANC is impressive for its price, and the feature set is extensive. In short, you get most of what the more expensive premium flagship earbuds offer (if you set your expectations right), but at a significantly lower price. And sometimes, that's all a product needs to win fans. 

You can find the Earfun Air S on Lazada and Shopee for S$139.

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  • Design 7
  • Performance 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Very good value
Loads of features
Decent ANC for the price
Wireless charging for convenience
Fairly balanced, enjoyable sound
The Bad
Uninteresting design
Feels plasticky
Narrow sound stage
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