Pros: Powerful bass response, crisp and clean highs, stays in my ears fairly well, good ANC indoors, good battery life
Cons: Ambient mode is lackluster and doesn't work in single-bud mode, poor ANC outdoors/commuting, no previous track control, occasional dropouts
I first heard of Earfun when they launched an Indiegogo campaign for their first True Wireless earbuds, the Earfun Free. I purchased the special edition which was tuned by Oluv's Gadgets. Though my first impressions were good, my experience quickly went downhill within the first week after one of the earbuds failed to produce sound, and Earfun could only offer a full refund for my special edition product. So with the Earfun Free Pro I was hoping to turn over a new leaf. I bought these during Black Friday/Cyber Week for approximately 50$ US or 65$ CAD. Shipping took approximately 10 days to reach Canada.
Design - 8.5/10
The design is very similar to the FIIL products, essentially being a rebrand of the FIIL T1 Pro. The overall look is rather simplistic and uninspiring, and if I were to nitpick, the placement of one Earfun Logo upside down relative to the other is an odd decision. Unlike the FIIL T1XS, the USB Type-C port supports a true Type C-to-C charging as well as Qi wireless charging. The plastic case is fairly slim and compact, and the earbuds are touted as one of the smallest in the market.
Comfort and Fit - 8/10
The Earfun Free Pro highlights the t difference between seal and fit. These are some of the best fitting earbuds I have tried, staying in my ears when running or dancing. However, their seal can be difficult to nail down and does not lead to tight passive isolation. Shoving them into your ears can sometimes cause one ear to seal with less bass, and other times the flange will flip backwards when you yank them out. You can't really sleep with these without the sound becoming subdued due to the seal dislodging. Third-party tips may work better but I currently don't have any that pair well with the Earfun Free Pro. The 1More ANC eartips worked great as they were basically the same design with a rigid core (think Sony hybrids) but I had to return these.
The earhooks/fins are meant to ensure the earbuds stay in, but after a fairly short span of usage, they will start to expand and become loose. Thus I opted to use the sleeve that lacks earhooks, which still stays in my ears quite nicely.
Isolation - 7/10
Passive isolation is average at best, due to the insufficient seal. The active noise cancelling is a mixed bag. It works quite well for an indoor setting, such as a fan or space heater, but does very poorly outdoors. While commuting, the ANC was actually amplifying higher frequency sounds made by the train at rest.
Sound Quality - 8/10
If you're looking for anything close to an analytical/lean "audiophile" sound, these aren't for you. They have a wide V-shape signature, where the bass is heavily emphasized, as is the treble to some degree. The sub-bass has a satisfying deep, resonating thump, but on some occasions may sound sloppy and loose. Otherwise the bass is well-controlled and doesn't much bleed into the mids, but the midrange is mostly recessed to begin with. The highs have a sweet sparkly tone and have decent treble extension. Instrument separation and soundstage are fairly decent. These have a fairly wide soundstage but it is a tad lacking in height/depth. The overall sound quality you get from these reminds me of some of those budget-level IEMs back in the day that aimed higher than their price point.
Removing the nozzle filters causes the treble to become sharper and more raw, stripping the "sweet" tone from them. I had to do this because even though there was no visible ear wax, I was noticing a dip in volume from the right earbud even after cleaning. While they are usable for me, you might want to put the filters back or add some dense foam into the nozzle if you're sensitive to highs.
As for codec support, these only support AAC and SBC (with a bitpool value of 53). You can’t go wrong with either, though AAC does have slightly more clarity in the highs, and SBC distorts in technical frequency sweeps.
These use an Airoha chip that supports Bluetooth 5.2. However, the connectivity isn't completely perfect as I experience dropouts occasionally with my phone, especially when putting it in my pocket with its Bluetooth modem facing away from the earbuds (eg. these occasionally suffer from a "death grip" of my phone). This could be down to my phone above all else, but I do see some similar complaints about dropouts.
The Airoha chip also supports McSync, means that you can use the earbuds individually and hot-swap them quite seamlessly. However, I have noticed that if you use an individual bud for too long, you cannot take out the second bud to initiate a stereo connection. Another gripe is that these don't allow for the use of ambient mode when only one earbud is used, unless you have the second bud out of the case or keep the case open with it inside.
The ambient mode is only barely usable. The mic feed is barely loud enough to hear conversations close to you. Music must be turned way down to even hear your surroundings. There's many occasions where I even forget I have ambient mode turned on. Though ambient mode lacks much hiss, it does amplify a very high-pitched EMI sound also noticed with ANC on. When exposed to sudden sounds like thumps or knocks, the mic feed will also distort and negatively affect your music experience. For something such as playing the piano while listening to music, these are not recommended.
These have touch controls you have control over just about everything including volume, but what has been sacrificed a previous track function. I sure like their "forward thinking"! Jokes aside, you are still able to use previous track via voice command on Android, but I was unable to do this on Windows 10. The controls are quite responsive, though occasionally it will register the wrong function if your tap is finicky.
Battery Life 8.5/10
I am very impressed with the battery life of both the earbuds and the case. Being a heavy user with about 6 hours of usage per day, I could use these for about 4-5 days before I have to charge the case. The case actually seems to retain battery just to warn you it is low, but refuses to charge the earbuds at this state. I can understand why they do this (unlike the Galaxy Buds+ which is driven by optics/covering of the case), but it can be confusing to see the lights on the case only to realize later that your earbuds are no longer charging.
One odd quirk is the battery indicator in my Bluetooth settings. It appears to give you an exact number for battery percentage, but it tends to fluctuate unreliably whenever I put them back in the case. Perhaps this is optimized for Bluetooth 5.2 usage, but I cannot test this at the moment as all my devices are BT5.0.
For the price, the Earfun Free Pro has a lot to offer and currently sits at the top of MY list of True Wireless Earbuds. With its deep thumping bass, the sound works well for a wide variety of genres, but may be undesirable for those looking for a more analytical sound. At the same time, however, I can't help but think these don't excel in any particular feature. While the ANC is decent for indoor situations, it performs poorly outdoors, and the ambient mode is lackluster. If you’re willing to look over these compromises, the Earfun Free Pro is a solid option for its price point.
vs. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94
Both of these feature ANC and an ambient mode. The TaoTronics' ANC does a better job attenuating the lower frequencies and has a more ergonomic fit and seal, though it actually doesn't stay in my ears as well as the Earfun Free Pro. The Earfun do a better job with medium frequencies such as a space heater. The ambient mode and call quality is also superior on the TaoTronics than the Earfun. The TaoTronics have inferior battery life (no more than 2 days/12 hours of heavy use before the case depletes and the earbuds can't be powered off). Their tuning is less bassy but warmer than the Earfun, lacking definition in the mids and highs, with a bloated mid-bass whether you have ANC turned on or off (turning ANC off has the most bass). Personally, I prefer the detailed sound of the Earfuns over the TaoTronics.
vs 1More ANC
In terms of sound, the 1More has astonishing clarity and soundstage which the Earfun can't quite keep up. Though bass heavy and dark overall, the 1More has a more balanced bass, and the treble has crisp metallic texture, which can occasionally sound sibilant, and is also extremely unforgiving of poorly mastered tracks. However, their biggest pitfall for me is the seal and fit, as well as the relatively poor battery life (case lasts barely two days, just like the TaoTronics 94). The ANC is superior to the Earfun while commuting but not by much, and the Earfun has the upper hand in indoor settings. The value of the Earfun, and a number of other issues with the 1Mores made it hard to justify keeping them.