EarFun Air S lead

If you want good wireless earbuds for cheap, it doesn’t get much better than EarFun’s lineup. The company’s $49 EarFun Air have been our best budget earbuds pick since they debuted, and the $89 EarFun Air Pro 2 are a great higher-end alternative with active noise cancellation (ANC). But for those with a budget between the two, the new $69 EarFun Air S are a perfect option.

The EarFun Air S offer a truly compelling set of features for less than $70, including noise cancellation, multi-device connectivity and a full companion app for customizing the audio to your liking. It doesn’t hurt that they sound and feel fantastic. However, there are a handful of significant drawbacks. Here’s everything I loved (and didn’t love) about these budget earbuds after a week of heavy use.

Great sound and comfort for under $70
The EarFun Air S are a very good set of earbuds for folks looking to spend less than $70, offering great sound, reliable noise cancellation and lots of features. However, their inconsistent controls and scratch-prone case make the EarFun Air Pro 2 the better pick for most people.
If you're set on picking up the Air S, the buds are currently $62.99 after a 10% coupon and as low as $52.49 if you apply the code EFAIRSGS at checkout.

What we liked about them

Fantastic sound, noise cancellation and comfort for the price

EarFun Air S 2

Considering that most of the earbuds I test on a daily basis cost around $200 or more, you would think I’d notice a massive dip in sound quality when switching to the much cheaper $69 EarFun Air S. Fortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, that’s not the case. Whether I was jamming out to massive walls of punk guitars or getting in my feelings to the acoustic plucks of my favorite indie tracks, EarFun’s buds consistently pumped out clear, satisfying audio for every genre I threw at them.

This great audio performance could be partially chalked up to the EarFun Air S’ support for Qualcomm aptX, which is an audio technology designed to deliver better wireless sound quality than your average Bluetooth headphones. It’s only the second pair of EarFun buds to offer such tech, following the $49 EarFun Free 2. The earbuds’ internal microphones were similarly reliable — the voice recordings I captured on them were clear, and I got no complaints while using them on personal calls.

The EarFun Air S is also one of the few pairs of sub-$70 earbuds that offer active noise cancellation. EarFun’s buds did a decent job dampening distracting sounds, from the raucous construction I pass on my daily walks to the constant whir of my bedroom fan. It was roughly on par with the more expensive EarFun Air Pro 2, though not nearly as suppressive as more premium buds like the more pricey Beats Fit Pro. When I needed to stay alert while walking my dog, the Air S’ ambient noise feature was reliable for amplifying the sounds of nearby pedestrians and cars.

While affordable earbuds often sacrifice comfort (I’ve been burned by at least one pair of cheap buds I panic-bought at an airport), the EarFun Air S’ silicone ear tips formed a secure, soft fit that I never had the urge to take off throughout long hours of working or walking. If the buds don’t feel quite right to you out of the box, the EarFun Air S come with four sets of ear tips to swap between — that’s more than the three you get with much pricier options like the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and could be useful for folks who have a hard time finding a good fit.

A decent companion app and lots of features

EarFun Air S 3

One of the EarFun Air S’ biggest advantages over the standard EarFun Air is support for the EarFun Audio app, which gives you a basic set of options for customizing the buds on either iOS or Android. EarFun’s software lets you toggle sound modes like ANC and ambient sound, monitor the buds’ battery life, play around with an equalizer to find your preferred mix and activate a Game Mode designed to reduce latency while playing games.

These features aren’t anything groundbreaking, but they’re also not common on a pair of buds this cheap. I didn’t notice a huge change to my music when using the equalizer, but I appreciate that audio nerds can manually play with the bass, mid and treble levels if presets like “bass boost” and “treble boost” aren’t hitting the spot. I didn’t notice a difference in audio latency when using Game Mode with fast-paced Apple Arcade titles like Sonic Rush and Galaga Wars, though competitive Call of Duty Mobile and PUBG players with a discerning ear may get some use out of the feature.

The EarFun Air S also offer multipoint connectivity, meaning they can be paired to two devices at once. While getting this feature to work involved some occasional re-pairing, it was reliable overall, allowing me to seamlessly go from listening to music on my iPhone to watching a YouTube video on my MacBook. If you work from home and want to be able to easily take calls from both your personal phone and your computer throughout the day, you’ll likely get some good mileage out of this.

Excellent battery life

EarFun Air S 5

Most earbuds typically last a few days of regular use before I have to juice them up again. The EarFun Air S lasted me nearly a full week. In fact, these budget buds have some of the best battery life of any earbuds I’ve tested, holding up through six days of heavy on-and-off use while cycling through various sound modes. EarFun’s buds are rated for six hours of continuous playback and 30 hours of total use with the charging case, and my testing certainly lived up to those claims — if not slightly exceeding them. I was already impressed by the several days I got out of the EarFun Air Pro 2, and I found the Air S to last even longer. And like the Pro, the EarFun Air S’ case supports wireless charging, which is a helpful feature you won’t find on similar budget buds like the Pixel Buds A (and even more expensive options like the Beats Fit Pro).

What we didn’t like about them

The touch controls are robust — but also hard to use

EarFun Air S 6

As with the EarFun Air Pro I reviewed earlier this year, the EarFun Air S have some of the most robust touch control options of any pair of earbuds I’ve tested — including the more expensive options. Using various combinations of taps and holds, you can do everything from control music playback and take calls to adjust the volume and switch between different sound modes. In theory, you shouldn’t ever have to take out your phone while using these buds. In practice, that’s not quite the case.

Yet, despite everything you can do with the EarFun Air S’ touch controls, they were far too inconsistent and confusing in my daily use. Some of my taps weren’t recognized at all, and others were registered incorrectly — causing me to, say, skip a track instead of pausing it. I don’t love touch controls on earbuds in general, but they were not even as reliable as those on  the EarFun Air Pro 2.

They’re not the slickest earbuds (and are very scratch-prone)

EarFun Air S 4

The EarFun Air S aren’t the worst-looking earbuds, but they won’t win you any style points either. Like many of EarFun’s other buds, the Air S borrow liberally from the original Apple AirPods — long stems and all — but with a thicker, more plasticky design that makes them look dated and worth what you pay for them. I was never worried about raising an eyebrow in public, but there are many more subtle and stylish options available for the money (like the excellent Jabra Elite 3).

You also get what you pay for when it comes to the Air S’ case. I like that the case charges wirelessly, but it’s also bulky and extremely prone to scratches. Most earbud cases accrue some noticeable wear and tear over time, but EarFun’s case picked up some especially nasty scuffs after sitting in my pocket alongside my keys for just a few days (pro tip: Don’t do what I did). I didn’t have this issue while using the EarFun Air Pro 2 case in the same way.

How they compare

Active noise cancellation

Yes

No

Yes

No

Ambient sound

No

No

Yes

Yes

Companion app

Yes (iOS and Android)

No

No

Yes (iOS and Android)

Multi-device compatibility

Yes

No

No

No

Water resistance

IPX5

IPX7

IPX5

IP55

Battery life (rated)

6 hours (continuous); 30 hours (with case)

7 hours (continuous); 35 hours (with case)

7 hours (earbuds only); 34 hours (with case)

7 hours (earbuds only); 28 hours (with case)

Wireless charging

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Weight

1.8 ounces

2.11 ounces

1.8 ounces

1.18 ounces

Color options

Black

Black, White

Black

Navy, Lilac, Dark Gray, Light Beige

Price $69 $49 $79 $58

Bottom line

In terms of everyday performance, the EarFun Air S are some of the best earbuds for the money I tested. They sound and feel as good as options that are twice the price, complete with solid ANC and a decent amount of useful extra features. It’s hard to do much better than this for $70 — an affordable price that drops even lower after coupons.

However, the Air S’ unreliable controls were enough of an issue to make me want to switch back to my usual earbuds, and its scratch-prone case has grown pretty unsightly after just a day of use. Unless you really care about having a companion app or multi-device connectivity, we’d recommend that most people go with the $79 EarFun Air Pro 2. While technically more expensive, these buds actually net out to $59 on Amazon right now after you apply a coupon, and they get you a sleeker, more durable design with better touch controls.

If your budget is firmly under $50, the standard EarFun Air are still the way to go. And if style is your priority (and you can live without noise cancellation), the $58 Jabra Elite 3 look much better and have rock-solid physical controls. The EarFun Air S still offer some of the best comfort and sound quality you can get for the money, but those who care about having intuitive controls and an attractive, durable design should look elsewhere.