Better Sound, Better Life

When it comes to portable sound, I want a comfortable pair of in-ear earbuds that will not break the bank.  I have tried dozens of brands, tested various features, and continue to feel amazed at how much cheaper the tech has gotten over the last few years.  I feel that the lines are quickly blurring between budget brands and higher fidelity offerings.  Companies like Earfün try to offer as many features as possible without offending those of us without unlimited resources.   

The Earfün Free 2 earbuds arrived in a 4 1/4 inches wide by 5 3/8 inches tall by 1 15/16 inches thick hanging style package.  The white-colored cover, side, and rear panels served as the perfect backdrop for the product features.  The cover provided the earfün title along the top left of the panel in vibrant black/yellow coloration.  I loved the splash of yellow, which tied in with the yellow coloration of the top/bottom panels.  You will find a Bluetooth logo along the bottom edge of the cover, the Earfun Free 2 product name, “True Wireless Earbuds,” and four product-specific icons: 1. Qualcomm aptX Audio Tech. 2. Immersive Sound. 3. 60ms Low Latency. 4. Touch Control.  The main focus of the cover panel was the glossy, slightly raised image of the earbud pair.  Each measured 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 1/4 inches tall, showcased the earfün title, the earbud cup, the shape, and the microphone’s location.  You will find the Qualcomm AptX logo upon the spine and the service@myearfun.com email address plus www.myearfun.com web address on the flap. 

The rear panel proved to be just a bit on the busier side.  The product title, True Wireless earbuds, and a small yellow rectangle were displayed along the top of the panel.  Like the cover, the splash of color served to tie in the yellow top/bottom panels.  It also served as a visual cue on where to open the side panel.  Beneath the title, you will find a list of the product contents (Earfün Free 2, Charging Case, 3x Ear tips, USB-C cable, user manual).  Beneath the product contents, you will find six detailed product feature icons (1. Supported Qualcomm aptX Audio Technology. 2. Balanced Immersive Sound with Dynamic Composite Drivers. 3. 60ms Super Low Latency Mode for Better Video & Gaming Experience. 4. Intuitive Touch control + Volume Control. 5. IPX7 Waterproof with SweatShield Technology. 6. 30-hour Playtime: 7 Hours + 23 hours Charging Case) and a 1 1/4 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches tall image of the charging case and wireless charging capability.   All of the above information was listed on the top half of the panel.  The bottom half provided information about the Bluetooth trademark, manufacturing details, FCC rules, TW101 product model, 5V/1A DC input, product manufacturing labels, Made in China, and SKU barcode stickers.  

The four white colored panels proved to be quite classy, professional, and clean. Although the top and bottom yellow panels were left unadorned, they still added to the ambiance of the overall feel.  To access the product, I lifted the flap and unrolled the box.  The inner surface of the flap provided a multilingual product maintenance warning to clean the device.  With the flap opened, it was clear that the white edges provided an outer slipcover to the inner yellow core. The internal contents were compartmentalized within individual cardboard/foam shells.  The 57-page multilingual instruction manual and 2 3/4 inches square like/dislike card were found within a clean black-colored 3 7/8 inches wide by 4 3/8 inches tall by 1/4 inches thick box.  Resting along the bottom edge of the box, you will find a 3 7/8 inches wide by 1 3/4 inches tall by 9/16 inches thick accessory box.  You will find the 20-inches long USB-A to USB-C cable and an accessory bag of ear tips within the box.  Lastly, you will find the earbuds and charging case nestled comfortably within a 3 3/4 inches by 4 1/4 inches tall by 1 3/8 inches thick bed. 

I removed each earbud, removed the thin plastic shell from around the charging case, inserted each of the 0.211-ounce earbuds (6 gram) into the case, and charged the case with the included cable.  While charging, I perused the instruction manual.  The cover displayed the title, a pleasing ink-outline drawing of the open charging case, and the Qualcomm apex logo along the bottom black border.  The manual was broken down into English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese sections.  The first panel showed the product contents and a detailed diagram of the earbuds and charging case.  Each earbud had an outer touch multifunctional control button, LED indicator, and microphone on the outer edge.  You will find an “L” or “R” plus the charging connector and ear tip on the inner surface.  The clamshell charging case had internal wells for the Left/Right earbud, a front-facing LED indicator, and a rear charging button plus a USB-C input port.  The third panel reviewed the charging features, the LED indicator legend (green >30%, orange <30%, Red <10%, Red Flash <5%), and methods to charge (USB-C or Wireless).   The fourth panel provided a list of product specifications (BT V5.2, Frequency 2.402 GHz-2.48Ghz, BT profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP, working range 15m <5dBm transmitted power, 50mAh x2 earbud capacity, 400mAh charging case capacity, 1.5-hour earbud charging time, 2-hour USB-C case charge time, 3.5-hour wireless charging time, 7-hour playtime per charge, up to 30-hour total playback per charge, 5V/1A input, 66mm x 39mm x 29mm (2 1/2 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches tall by 1 inch thick) dimensions, 48 g weight (1.31 ounces without earbuds, 1.69 ounces total).  Furthermore, the panel detailed the methods to fit the earbuds within the ears’ concha cavum (ear bowl).  Select the appropriate earbud for your ear, identify the left and right earbuds, insert the tip into the canal and rotate the earbud into the most comfortable position.

After approximately 45 minutes, the earbuds were fully charged and ready to use.  To pair the earbuds, you can follow section six of the manual.  Open the charging case lid, navigate to settings, Bluetooth, then choose Earfun Free 2 from the list. The manual also detailed the methods to connect to a second device using one of two options.  You can unpair from the first device, reconnect to a new device, replace the earbuds into the case (door open), and hold the back button on the charging case for 2 seconds.  Both the initial pairing and second device pairing worked flawlessly and proved to be quite easy to complete.  The seventh panel displayed the functions of the earbud charging case and earbuds. The intuitive touch multifunction buttons were easy to learn.  The instruction manual was arranged rather oddly, so I will summarize the features below.  A single tap of the right earbud will increase the volume, while a single tap of the left earbud will decrease the volume.  A double-tap of either earbud will play/pause the music. A triple touch of the right earbud will advance a track; a triple touch of the left earbud will move to the previous track.  During a phone conversation, a double-tap of either earbud will answer/hang up a call.  You can reject a call by tapping and holding either earbud for 2 seconds, and you can answer and transfer two calls by tapping either earbud thrice.  To activate the voice assistant, tap and hold the right earbud only for 2 seconds.  To activate the low latency mode, tap and hold the left earbud for 2 seconds.  The low latency mode improves video/gaming as an FYI but decreases the connection distance (Normal latency listed as 200ms, low latency 60ms). The last few panels provided information about the Earbud LED indicators (blue 1s flashing power on, red 1s flashing power off, pairing mode blue, connected LED off, purple flashing for factory reset. Lastly, the instruction manual provided information about resetting the earbuds/case and troubleshooting.  

The company did an amazing job with the instruction manual and provided straightforward details of their product, intended purposes, and strengths.  I found the preinstalled ear tips were the best fit for my ears; I completed the product testing with the stock setup.  I placed the right then left earbuds into my concha cavum and rotated them back slightly to fit into the bowl of the ear.  I was pleased with the fit, with the tip diameter within my ear canal, and overall appearance.  The earbud stuck out of my ear just a little, but the flat surface did not provide a large surface area to cause pain when resting upon a pillow or bed.  I enjoyed the ability to lie in bed without adding fatigue to my ears.  To test the duration of the battery, I recently took a trip from western Kentucky to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is approximately a six-hour drive.  I stopped for gasoline once for that trip and found the earbuds lasted the entire journey (volume at 50%).  As a passenger, I utilized both earbuds.  As the driver for the return voyage, I solely utilized the right earbud.  I loved the hands-free features, the touch panels and felt that they did a great job at preventing unwanted touches.  I was able to manipulate the earbuds within my ears without activating the touch button.  I have yet to experience any ear fatigue or pain with these earbuds and feel that the duration test was quite successful.  The earbuds were comfortable and should provide similar levels of comfort to most users with the accessory ear tips. With the earbuds in place, I went for a half-mile jog, completed fifty jumping jacks, I turned my head side to side, and tried to dislodge them with several activities.  I was pleased to find that they remained securely affixed within my ears. Lastly, I showered with the earbuds and enjoyed the ability to listen to music without damaging the earbuds.

To test the sound, I navigated to the audiocheck.net website and ran the Low-Frequency Response and Subwoofer Audio Test (10-200 Hz) followed by the High-Frequency Response and Hearing Audio Test (22-8 kHz).  I heard an audible rumbling at 20Hz and the high-pitched tone at 15kHz, which was good for a nearly 40-year old male.  As we get older, we tend to lose our upper range.  As an example, my six and nine-year-old children were able to hear the pitch at 17kHz.  Pleased with the frequency range, I tested the channel programming with the Left/Right/Center test and found them to be appropriately labeled. If you have not previously read any of my headphone reviews, I invite you to test any pair of headphones with the audiocheck.net Stereo Perception and Sound Localization Test.  For the maximal effect, turn off the lights, turn the volume to 75%, and then close your eyes.  Even though I know what to expect, I still feel the prickles of goose pimples and turn my head.  In fact, my children regularly request this feature.  For added effect, search for 7D and 8D audio, or 3D binaural tracks like the “Sound Of Silence (3D Binaural Audio)- Simon and Garfunkel Cover-Jarvis Brothers (Ear to Ear).  The binaural recordings will showcase the speakers and will provide an interesting and enjoyable experience.

When I test Earbuds, I try to compare them to a common source.  In this case, I wanted to compare the Earfün Free 2 to my AirPods Pro.  Thanks to the in-ear setup, the Earfün Free 2 device added a small degree of passive noise reduction.  The Earfün Free 2 device did not have active noise canceling or passthrough modes like the AirPod Pro device, but for 1/4 the total cost of the AirPods Pro, you may rather save your money and not miss the features.  I liked that I was able to use the earbuds in nearly any environment. I tested the IPX7 rating with a recent trek to the pool and enjoyed being outside in a Gatlingburg rainstorm.  The comfortable fit, paired with a small charging case footprint and water resistance, ensured that I pocketed the Earfün Free 2 device for regular utility.    

To finish my review of the headphones, I turned to my typical test tracks.  When comparing/reviewing headphones, I love to utilize the same test songs.  This process allows me to provide a fair test comparison between devices.  I tend to start with a few bass heavy songs like “Far Over The Misty Mountains Cold” The Hobbit, CeeLo Green’s “Bright Lights Bigger City,” and the sultry bass line from “Train Song” by Holly Cole.  The Earfün device delivered quality sound  and the bass supported the mids and uppers without sounding muddy.  For the price, the bass was crisp, clear, and immersive.  To test the balance and staging (sound placement), I utilize “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Caribbean Blue” by Enya, and the fun bouncing “Bubbles” by Yosi Horikawa.  These tracks provided a good representation of the overall quality of the earbuds.  I was pleased with the sound placement, with the staging and with the balance.  Although the devices will not provide true audiophile sound, for the budgeting individual, you will enjoy using the device.  Lastly, to test the mids/uppers and blend, I used several of the medleys from Anthem Lights, and a variety of songs from Home Free and Pentatonix.  Lastly, I played a variety of instrumental soundtracks such as Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Far and Away, and Braveheart.  Even at 75% power, the upper sounds never became sharp, shrill, or pointed.  The Earfün Free 2 earbuds sounded great for Pop, R+B, Classical, Country, Modern, and Rock.  

To test the Bluetooth range, I used my long driveway.  I placed my iPhone 12 Pro Max onto my tailgate and I started walking.  I was able to get to about 40 feet before I started to have interruptions.  Within my two story home, I found that I could keep my phone anywhere in the home and utilize the Bluetooth feature. With typical ranges of under 20 feet, I was able to enjoy Amazon Prime Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora without any issue. Before testing the video modes, I activated the left earbud low latency and watched YouTube.   While in high latency, I noted no lag for any of the streaming services except YouTube.  Playing games on my iPhone was similar to watching movies.  If I was in high latency mode, I was able to fully watch programs on Hulu, Paramount + ( CBS All Access), Movies Anywhere, Amazon Prime Video, or VUDU.  With the earbuds in low latency mode, I recognized that the device/phone needed to be in closer proximity. However, the video to audio was able to sync more regularly.  This carried over to Disney + as well. 

Summary

The quality of the Earfün Free 2 earbuds and the feature to price ratio cannot be underscored.  The earbuds were able to last over six hours on a recent trip.  After an hour and a half charge, they were ready to go again. The playback time was above average, and prolonged listening did not cause any ear canal fatigue thanks to the lightweight earbuds. The buttons were easy to access, and the multifunction nature proved to be integral to the use of the device.  I enjoyed the full bass, the balanced sounds of the instrumental pieces, and the audio from several movies.  If I had one suggestion, it would be for companies to change from USB-A to USB-C to USB-C to USB-C cables.  However, the technology is not yet to the point to replace USB-A entirely. The Earfün Free 2 offers a significant upgrade to the Earfun Free The device will provide an amazing sound experience at a fraction of the cost of other brands. 

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