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With Capacitive Controls and Wireless Charging, the EarFun Air Bring True Wireless Value in Spades

Illustration for article titled With Capacitive Controls and Wireless Charging, the EarFun Air Bring True Wireless Value in Spades
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer

EarFun Air True Wireless Airbuds | $44 | Amazon | Clip $10 Coupon + Promo Code EARFUN42

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I mostly enjoyed the EarFun Free, but their controls left a lot to be desired. Combine stiff buttons with inconsistent gesture timings, and I had a hard time keeping a seat warm for them in my ever-changing rotation of true wireless buds. Still, they were reasonable for the price, and the EarFun Air are even better with solid improvements across the board.

Starting with those controls, I was excited to see a capacitive touch interface in this model instead of the Free’s stiff buttons, and that was one of my primary focus areas in testing. These can carry their own set of sensitivity issues, but EarFun seems to have nailed that specific aspect of it. They’ll react in a pinch, but not when you don’t want them to thanks to controls that require more than a soft brush of skin to do anything (like the Aukey EP-N5 we just reviewed).

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Unfortunately, I feel EarFun still has work to do on gesture timing. You’ll figure it out with practice, but EarFun’s gestures need a frustrating level of precision. For instance, we have to double-tap to play/pause and triple tap to skip. You’ll just pause the track if you don’t get the triple tap exactly right. Sometimes, you might not initiate any action at all.

The tap controls make it much better to deal with over the buttons, though. I don’t think this is a sensitivity or detection issue as the volume gesture (hold either side to raise or lower) works perfectly. The amount of buffer you need between each tap seems to work out to about half a second with little wiggle room, and I’m sure someone with access to higher chakras can build consistency and muscle memory in time, but there were too many misfires for my comfort.

The news elsewhere is better. Ear detection is probably my favorite addition. Your music pauses when you remove one or both of the buds from your ear. Conversely, the tunes resume once they’re reinserted. This behavior was very consistent, and it’s one of the few bells and whistles I always consider upgrading to more expensive units for, so I’m glad you can find it in something under $50.

  • In-ear capacitive detection
  • 4-microphones for noise-canceling calls
  • Touch Control
  • Dual composite dynamic drivers
  • IPX7 Waterproof With Sweatshield Technology
  • Single Earbud Mode—Right or Left
  • Volume Control
  • Fast Charging, 10 Min Charging = 2 Hours Playtime
  • 35-Hour Battery Life: 7- hour playtime + 28 hours With Charging Case
  • Wireless and USB-C charging
  • Voice Assistant

I also found healthy improvements to sound in the EarFun Air. The EarFun Free put a bit too much oomph on the mid-upper bass registers, causing muddying in the meat of many tracks, but it’s dialed back just enough here. I thought they sounded flatter out of the box, but the bass response improved with a little break-in and a bump to volume, which didn’t introduce any nasty distortion. Some people (me) like some flatness in their sound signature, though, as evidenced by my historical purchasing record of several variations of Audio-Technica’s ATX-M50s. Without all the rumbling, you’ll notice sharp discernment between each instrument of the most heavily layered tracks, and that’s a prerequisite for earning a spot in my daily carry.

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One last quick gleeful shriek in word form: THESE FIT MY EARS!! If you’ve read my true wireless reviews to date, you know I have a real problem with these tail pipe earbuds. It’s not necessarily poor design, it’s just the ergonomics never seem to work out for my sinkholes you call ear canals. I didn’t have any problems with the EarFun Air in this regard. They stayed snug and fit really comfortably, and I didn’t need to fidget with them nearly as much as I usually do. If you have issues, the two extra tip sizes may help, but believe me: if I can wear these, so can you.

Illustration for article titled With Capacitive Controls and Wireless Charging, the EarFun Air Bring True Wireless Value in Spades
Photo: Quentyn Kennemer
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Bottom line: there were several things I loved about the EarFun Free and a couple things I didn’t, and the EarFun Air addresses them all to varying degrees. I’m glad to see wireless charging return, the sound improvements make music more enjoyable, the capacitive control interface is convenient (though, at times, maddening), and battery life is right where it needs to be for a pair of buds that don’t weigh your ears down.

You can grab your own pair of EarFun Air for $44 with a quick clippy clip of the Amazon coupon and exclusive discount code EARFUN42. We’d like to thank EarFun for this special offer for our readers, and for providing a pair for a fair review.

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Associate Editor. I'm trying to be the very best like no one ever was. To play every game in the world is my real test. Finding the time to is my cause.

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