And at a fraction of the cost
When people think of wireless earbuds, they automatically think of Apple’s AirPods – and for good reason. Apple AirPods popularised the whole concept of wireless earbuds in the first place. But AirPods – by virtue of having the Apple logo slapped on them – are rather expensive. And many people probably don’t realize there are much cheaper competing products out there.
Three of those products are Tribit’s Flybuds NC, Earfun’s Air Earbuds, and Enacfire E60. Today, we’re going to put all three sets to the test to see how they match up. They may not have the Apple logo on them, but all three companies have produced earbuds worthy of being named a credible contender to Apple.
Tribit Flybuds NC ($59.99)
The thing which first struck me when I opened the box was that the Flybuds come equipped with three sizes of ear tips. With other wireless earbuds that I’ve tested in the past, none came with different sizes of ear tips, so that by itself was a nice touch.
The earbuds connect to your device using Bluetooth 5.0 (to a range of ten meters) and can be charged inside the very sturdy charging case that it comes with. The charging case can be charged with a USB-C cable attached to your computer and a fully charged case can fully charge the earbuds four times. The case has four white LED lights on the front which gives you the current status of the charge.
It only takes a couple of hours for the earbuds to be charged and the blinking lights go off when the buds are charged and ready to go. A full charge lasts on average between six and seven hours so you can use your Flybuds all day without worrying that the battery is about to give out.
If you intend to work out listening to music, podcasts, or whatever, the Tribit Flybuds are rated IPX4 waterproof, meaning they are splash-proof and sweat proof.
Putting them into my ears, I found them to be extremely comfortable and very snug. With something like wireless buds, I am always nervous that they are going to fall out and I would lose them. But the Flybuds fit very well into your ear, and if they don’t, you can easily change the ear tips to a better size.
The Flybuds have ANC (active noise cancellation) and they can also help with reducing ambient noise. Calls on my iPhone resulted in the caller telling me they could hear me very well and that my voice was clear.
Listening to music on my phone, I could tap the earbud to change the song and pause the song. Taking the earbuds out automatically stopped what I was listening to and when I received a call, the music automatically stopped as well. Tapping the right earbud also switched me between active noise cancellation and ambient mode (white noise that helps you drown out other background noises).
In conclusion, if you don’t want to pay Apple’s prices for Airpods, then Tribit is a very affordable alternative which offers good value for money. If you buy them on Amazon, they often have discount coupons. At the time of writing, you can get an extra $20 off at Amazon, bringing the price down to an amazing $39.99.
5 out of 5 stars
Earfun Air Earbuds ($59.99)
Reviewing these earbuds is slightly difficult since I was accidentally given a pair of defective ones from their warehouse. But I will do my best to give my opinion on them, even though I only have audio coming through one ear!
Overall, the Earfun Air Earbuds look like excellent quality with its robust flip-charging case, well-built sturdy buds, and its several replacement eartips. The replacement tips are especially handy because when I first started using these buds, they kept falling out of my ears.
Like the Tribit buds, the Earfun charging case operates via a USB-C charging cable which attaches to a USB-C port at the bottom of the case. Plugging it in, a color-coding system tells you how long you need to keep charging for. Green is enough, orange is getting there and red means you’re running out of juice.
The company claims that you can get up to 7 hours battery life out of the buds before needing to recharge but mine is coming in at less than that. Again, that might be due to the defect that came with my test pair.
Again, like the Tribit buds, the Earfun Air buds are waterproof up to one meter in depth (which is useful if you drop them in the bath for example). This also means that stuff like sweat and rain also has no effect on them (gym lovers rejoice!).
The buds connect to your device using Bluetooth 5.0 and the sound quality (in the bud that works) is excellent. Playing U2 really blasted my eardrums out with superior sound quality, and the Bluetooth connection didn’t cut out once.
Making phone calls was also a breeze and the person at the other end reported hearing me just fine. There’s no ANC (noise cancellation) unfortunately with these buds, but I was still able to hear callers just fine and vice-versa. Still, it’s a bit of an unfortunate oversight.
Taking the buds out of your ears will stop playback and will restart when you put them back in. This is good for preserving battery life if you need to take the buds out for a moment.
The thing that’s slightly disconcerting about these wireless buds (and I guess this generally applies to ALL wireless buds, not just Earfun’s), is that you never remember what bud you need to tap and how many times you need to tap it to get what you are looking for.
For example, touching the right bud panel raises the volume, but touching it three times skips forward a track. Tapping on the left bud panel lowers the volume but tapping it three times summons Siri (or whatever voice assistant you have on your phone).
The point is that if you’re in the middle of an enjoyable song and you tap an extra time by mistake or you forget what side you need to tap, it isn’t long before you’re cursing the earbuds! It takes quite some time to learn which side does what.
In conclusion, these are a good set of buds to consider, but the defect which came with my pair, along with the lack of noise cancellation, knocks a star off the rating.
4 out of 5 stars.
Enacfire E60 ($41.99)
Now this is the pair that totally knocked my socks off. Just holding them, you can feel the heft and the quality, and the audio is amazing. This is easily the best of the three, kicking out Tribit for the top spot.
As I previously said, I’m always concerned that I’m going to lose wireless earpods with them falling out of my ears. But as soon as I put in the Enacfire ones, they felt completely secure and snug. I could easily see myself on the treadmill with these. They wouldn’t fall out once. But if the size is not right for you, you have a selection of six different eartips to choose from. Being waterproof, you don’t have to worry about sweat messing them up.
Like the other two sets of buds, the Enacfire E60 buds charge in their own case and charging is very fast (ninety minutes for a complete charge). Once fully charged, the earbuds last for up to eight hours, which beats Tribit and Earfun which clock in at seven hours.
Connection to your smart device is via the usual Bluetooth 5.0 and the earbuds work up to 33 feet from the device (assuming nothing is in the way of course). When listening to music, the connection didn’t cut out once which is great. Nothing is worse than listening to Annie Lennox and the music cuts out when it gets to the best bit.
Answering calls is as simple as tapping on one of the earbuds once, and rejecting a call involves touching one of the earbuds for two seconds. Testing the call feature, it all worked perfectly and the other caller reported crystal clear audio. This will be due to the noise cancellation and ambient noise filter which ensures that any background noise is nuked.
As I said, audio quality is fantastic so listening to music was an absolute treat. The company describes it as the “lossless music experience” and it certainly feels like it.
In short, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about the Enacfire E60 buds. In fact, my desire to have the Apple Airpods has now seriously diminished because these are so good at a mere fraction of the price.
5 out of 5 stars.
Great Apple Airpod Alternatives
When someone wants wireless earbuds, they naturally gravitate to Apple, but as this article has shown, you can easily get a pair of equally good earbuds for a much cheaper price.
For those who are brand-conscious, Apple may be the only way to go, but if you don’t care what logo is on your hardware, give any of these three a serious look. More than likely, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.