Consumer Electronics, Gadgets & Accessories

EarFun Free 2 – Wireless in-ear headphones with aptX in test

With the Free 2, the manufacturer EarFun delivers the successor of the already quite comfortable Earfun Free headphones. Among other things, the new variant gets the latest Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX audio codec, but many features have remained the same.

In our review, we briefly go into the most significant differences from the predecessor and then highlight the most important product features as usual. There were no big surprises. We only noticed minor flaws in a few places, but they did not dampen the overall impression in the end.

We tested the headphones via Android smartphone, Windows 10 desktop system and Creative BT-W3 Bluetooth transmitter.

We hope you enjoy the test!

Specifications

Bluetooth version 5.2
Bluetooth frequency 2.402 GHz – 2.48 GHz
Bluetooth profile A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
Bluetooth transmit power <5 dBm
Maximum operating range 15m (without obstacle)
Battery capacity 50mAh x 2 (headphones);
400mAh (charging case)
Charge time 1.5 hrs. (for headphones);
2 hrs. (for charging case via USB-C);
3.5 hrs. (for charging case via wireless charger)
Play time Up to 7 hrs, 30 hours total with charging case; (varies depending on volume level and audio content)
Input DC 5V / 1A
Dimensions 66 mm x 39 mm x 29 mm
Weight 48 g
Price € 43.99 *

Scope of delivery

  • 1x pair of EarFun Free 2 headphones
  • 1x charging case
  • 3x pair of earbuds (S,M,L)
  • 1x USB-C cable
  • 1x user manual

Compared to its predecessor

One of the most significant innovations compared to its predecessor (EarFun Free) is the latest Bluetooth version 5.2, which, among other things, is able to filter out noise from voice recordings thanks to cVc technology. Other new features include the aptX codec, which complements the existing AAC and SBC codecs, and the low-latency mode. The latter reduces the delay between audio and picture to 60 ms.

Battery life has remained roughly similar to its predecessor, at 30 hours with charging case and 6 hours per charge, and the headphones’ quick-charge time of 10 minutes for 2 hours of play is still the same.

Likewise, both models are fully waterproof with IPX7 standard for short-term submersion, chargeable via induction, handle single headphone operation, can be used for voice assistants, and transmit stably up to a distance of 15 meters without obstacles.

The design of the charging case has changed significantly, which unfortunately also resulted in a more difficult removal of the headphones from the case in our test.

The total weight of the headphones including the charging case has also been reduced by a whole 12 grams from 60 to 48 grams.

In terms of price, both models are in the same category, at least as far as the prices on the manufacturer’s website at the time of testing are concerned (€50 reduced from €80).

Design and workmanship

Soft, round shapes dominate on both the EarFun Free 2’s headphones and charging case. Sharp edges are mainly found in the charging case’s interior.

Four metallic charging contacts and a small hole each for the microphone (right headphone only) and LED light (both headphones) are embedded in both headphones. The flat outer surface of the headphones, which also adorns the logo, has a touch function that can be used to execute various functions.

The charging case provides a small resistance when opened, which ensures a secure closure. When opened, the inserted headphones activate and go into pairing mode, after which you can connect them to Bluetooth devices.
The case has an LED light that shows green, orange or red when opened, depending on the charging status. The charging status can also be displayed via the button on the back. The USB-C port can also be found on the back.

Since the plastic surface of the headphones is relatively smooth, a secure grip is necessary when handling them, otherwise they will quickly slip out of the hand. For the same reason, they are also difficult to remove from the charging case without the right technique. Fortunately, the charging case itself is easier to grip, as its slightly rough surface provides a better grip.

We also noticed the shallow depth of the channel between the earbuds and the speaker output a bit negatively, which means that it can get dirty quickly under certain circumstances and can then only be cleaned with care. Wearing them without thoroughly cleaning the ears first is immediately punished by this. Other systems offer a much larger distance here, which means the dirt-sensitive technology is more protected.

Qualitatively, all components of the bundle make a good to very good impression. We only noticed unsightly manufacturing residues on the inside of the charging case’s flap, but they are usually not visible and do not affect the function.

Operation

Pairing with other devices works with the headphones inserted into the charging case and thus turned off by opening the lid, whereupon they are turned on and put into pairing mode. In our test, we connected the Free 2 headphones to our Android smartphone and Windows 10 PC in this way without any problems and could then use them for telephony and media playback.
Back in the case, closing the lid finally turned the headphones off. Opening it again automatically connected the headphones to the last paired device.
Apart from being inserted via the charging case, the switched-on headphones could also be paired with other devices directly in use after we disconnected the currently paired device.

The touch function of both headphones did not always work very reliably in the test and was therefore not much fun to use. We therefore almost only used it to increase or decrease the volume of the media playback and to pause or resume it, since this only requires a single or double tap, which was most likely recognized correctly. Again and again, we also executed functions unintentionally through touches.
The most important reason for unrecognized touch inputs was probably the very tight time gap that is allowed between several taps so that they are correctly recognized as the desired input.
A total of 10 functions can be executed via taps on the touch surfaces. However, we did not find this intuitive, as advertised, due to the similar inputs. If you do not want to learn them all by heart, you will have to consult the manual from time to time.

When the charging case is empty, the status light flashes red. It can then be recharged within 2 hours via cable or induction. However, the included USB-A to USB-C cable only charged the case in the test when we connected it to a USB-only power supply. Connecting it to a USB-A data jack, such as on a PC or laptop, had no effect on the case’s charging status.

Wearing comfort

Overall, we found the Free 2’s wearing comfort to be good to satisfactory. The headphones are largely comfortable to wear even over a longer period of time, but they can also press uncomfortably at times. However, we never experienced any pain during our test. If, for example, an unpleasant feeling of pressure developed after prolonged wearing, this could be reduced by adjusting the fit.

Putting on the headphones was mostly uncomplicated. After insertion into the auditory canal, they can be rotated slightly to bring them into the correct position. If they were well positioned, the headphones remained in place even when the head was tilted or moved slightly. However, they sometimes loosened and threatened to fall out due to longer tilts or frequent jaw movements, which is why we occasionally had to adjust the fit.

The included ear tips in three different sizes could be replaced with a few simple steps and may optimize wearing comfort under certain circumstances.

Audio Quality

Thanks to custom drivers, the Earfun Free 2 is said to deliver “hi-fi sound with deep bass, natural mids and clear, detailed highs.” Indeed, a listening test of the humanly perceptible spectrum presents us with a clean picture from 20 Hz to about 15 kHz. In practice, the listening experience with the Free 2 did not leave much to be desired, whether it was a piece of music or pure speech, the sound always seemed balanced and natural. Bass was present, although understandably not as deep and full as we were used to from other types of devices.

The transmission with the low-latency mode turned on did not work quite as problem-free at all times. Both on the Windows 10 desktop PC at rest and on the smartphone at rest and in motion, annoying crackles occurred sooner or later in one of the headphones during the connection at the shortest distance to the Bluetooth transmitter, which could sometimes be heard so frequently that they clearly negatively affected the listening experience. The only remedy in such cases was to turn off the low-latency mode.

Otherwise, we did not notice any noticeable permanent quality differences between the two transmission modes during the test. In a test video, the audio signal was transmitted slightly faster with the low-latency mode turned on than with it turned off.

Apart from the not always so interference-free low-latency mode, we were very satisfied with the stability of the Bluetooth connection itself. The new aptX codec as well as the AAC and SBC codecs worked flawlessly. In a tangled apartment, we found it very difficult, if at all, to provoke interference by moving away from the transmitter quite unscientifically through two rooms.

Microphone

The Free 2’s built-in microphone is said to provide improved quality for voice recordings thanks to Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 technology. The technology filters out background noise, for example, and also optimizes the recording in terms of distortion and echo.

In our test, we recorded the same audio snippet in a quiet environment with the internal microphone of our Samsung Galaxy smartphone and then with that of the Free 2, which is located in the right headset. We then compared both recordings with the original audio track.

Compared to the original, both recordings already lack a good bit of the original depth. The Free 2’s recording is also much colder, but the humming background noise, which was still recorded on the smartphone’s internal recording, is completely missing here.

Original
Internal microphone (Samsung Galaxy)
EarFun Free 2 microphone

The result sounds cool and tinny, but in noisy environments should be a big improvement over recordings without such optimization.

Conclusion

We liked the EarFun Free 2 headphones most when we were on the go, but they also performed well during indoor activities or fitness and were almost always comfortable to wear. Its lightweight design and more than adequate battery life for most uses, made it a practical companion, even for longer out-of-home activities. Background noise was reliably filtered out during voice recording, but this also made for a rather cool, tinny voice.

We did not notice any major flaws in the audio quality for this product category and price range. The sound seemed coherent and natural and also offered a certain depth. When using the low-latency mode, an annoying crackling noise often occurred on one of the two headphones in the test, which could only be remedied by turning off the mode. However, we assume that these interferences were rather only related to our device. The Bluetooth connection itself was always stable, and the aptX codec worked flawlessly.

Overall, we were mostly satisfied with the build and design. However, we did not like the touch controls. The many possible functions that require similar inputs and the not very easy input via quick taps was rather unreliable. At least the basic functions, such as volume control and playing and pausing the current medium, were mostly still manageable via this. The fact that both headphones were relatively difficult to take out of the charging case is also acceptable.

At a price of about 46 € at the time of testing (currently € 43.99 *), you get a practical and compact portable solution for completely wireless audio playback and voice recording for many areas of everyday life, despite some minor flaws.

EarFun Free 2

Workmanship
Comfort
Sound quality
Recording quality
Features
Value for money

85/100

With the EarFun Free 2, you get a compact mobile solution for completely wireless audio playback and voice recording for many areas of everyday life at an entry-level price.

EarFun Free 2 price comparison


By purchasing via the links from our price comparison, you support our editorial work without incurring additional costs. We thank you for your support.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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With the Free 2, the manufacturer EarFun delivers the successor of the already quite comfortable Earfun Free headphones. Among other things, the new variant gets the latest Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX audio codec, but many features have remained the same. In our review, we briefly go into the most significant differences from the predecessor and … (Weiterlesen...)

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