Earfun Free Pro 3

Earfun Free Pro 3

Verdict

An affordable true wireless, the Earfun Free Pro 3 includes an envious spec sheet with strong noise-cancelling performance. You can, however, find better-sounding true wireless for similar money.

Pros

  • Strong noise-cancellation
  • Snug fit and good comfort
  • Impressive spec for the price

Cons

  • Patchy wireless performance in busy areas
  • Beaten for sound quality
  • Muffled call performance


  • Snapdragon Sound supportCan stream up to aptX Lossless quality

  • Bluetooth multi-pointConnect to two devices at once

  • 33 hour battery 33 hours of audio without ANC engaged

Introduction

Chinese brand Earfun is nothing if not prolific. Whenever I review one of its headphones, another pops up. In this case, it’s the Free Pro 3.

The last true wireless pair I reviewed was the Air Pro 3, and in the Free Pro 3 we have another trilogy-capper that’s bundled in as many features as possible at an almost incomprehensibly inexpensive price.

Is the Free Pro 3 all smoke and mirrors or the genuine article? I think many will be impressed by the value offered despite a few caveats.

Design

  • Small and discreet
  • Earhook design
  • Touch controls

With Earfun releasing so many true wireless it can be difficult to remember which one is which, but the Free Pro series sport a different design from the Air Pro models, ditching the stem for an in-ear design that stays in with wing tips (or ear hooks).

The appeal of wing tips is that they help keep the earbuds rooted inside, and for the most part these buds stay rooted in the ear, though I found from time to time they come a little loose with a refit needed to make sure the noise-isolating seal remained tight.

Earfun Free Pro 3 design detailEarfun Free Pro 3 design detail
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Otherwise it’s another small, discreet design with comfort levels that are good and don’t provide any bother in terms of irritation and cramp over longer periods. The IPX5 rating is the same as its predecessor, which means you could consider them for gym and running use, especially with the ear hooks already provided as part of the design.

You’ve also got touch controls and they respond to presses and holds well without annoying lag.

The charging case is slim which makes these earphones perfect for slipping into a tight jeans pocket. You’ve got a choice of three colours to liven them up from the plain black, with silver white and a navy blue option that add a splash of colour to a rather functional look.

Earfun Free Pro 3 charging caseEarfun Free Pro 3 charging case
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Features

  • Snapdragon Sound support
  • Hybrid Noise Cancellation
  • Earfun app

Like Earfun’s other true wireless, the Free Pro 3 buds come with a tonne of features that make something of a mockery about more expensive earphones’ limited feature set.

Bluetooth support equals Snapdragon Sound (aptX Lossless streaming) or the aptX Adaptive codec for those without an aptX Lossless compatible smartphone.

The Adaptive codec should maintain a stable connection in busy interference areas but I found that the Free Pro 3 didn’t offer the steadiest of connections, often dropping in busy areas to the point where music ceased to be heard. Best not to believe the hype on that front.

Earfun Free Pro 3 case openEarfun Free Pro 3 case open
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Bluetooth multi-point allows the earphones to be connected to two devices at once for those who love to multi-task.

Battery life is claimed to be 7.5 hours on a single charge, 33 hours in total with the charging case with ANC off, and 6 hours and 27 in total with ANC on. I found that with a battery drain, the Earfun lost 20% across an hour, so five hours is about representative of what you can get. Both fast and wireless charging are supported to top up the reserves.

Call quality isn’t as clear as Earfun states. Overall call performance is muffled, and voices can be hard to hear when there’s lots of background noise around. At best this effort is ok for the price, but these earphones don’t crystal clear calls.

Earfun Free Pro 3 eartipsEarfun Free Pro 3 eartips
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Boasting hybrid active noise-cancellation, the Earfun is quite impressive considering the price. While it’s worth stating you’re not getting Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Ultra level of performance, the noise-cancelling feels strong – walking on busy roads and traffic is reduced by a significant amount, people’s voices are suppressed well, plane trips go by quietly enough. It’s a little stronger in its suppressive qualities than the Air Pro 3.

The transparency mode increases levels of awareness, though there are more expensive earbuds that pipe in more clarity and detail than the Free Pro 3 can muster. Regardless, for the £79.99 / $79.99 they’re perfectly adequate.

There’s a game boost mode, which according to Earfun brings latency down to less than 55ms for improved synching with video and gaming performance. That’s quicker than the 80ms performance on the older model.

Earfun Free Pro 3 app controlEarfun Free Pro 3 app control
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Considering the price, the app is extensively stacked with features. You can swap through the noise-cancelling mode, set up Bluetooth multipoint, prioritise sound or a stable connection, enable game mode, find the headphones, customise the sound and controls and carry out firmware updates. It’s the type of comprehensive feature set you’d expect from headphones twice as much.

Sound Quality

  • Warm presentation
  • Bass-forward sound

I don’t have the Free Pro 2 to hand, nor did I review them, so I can’t do a true comparison. But I do have the Air Pro 3 and the Free Pro 3 fare better in A/B tests.

The sound here is more open, the midrange is more naturally resolved and detailed compared to the warmer tone and lack of definition the Air Pro 3 describes instruments with. The playing of the guitar in Vanessa Carlton’s A Thousand Miles comes through with more detail on the Free, while it picks out the cymbal crashes better too.

The treble is clearer and brighter, while there’s more depth and firmness to the low end. It’s a better sound across the frequency range.

Earfun Free Pro 3 earhook designEarfun Free Pro 3 earhook design
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Though they eke out more brightness at the top end of the frequency range than their siblings, these still aren’t particularly bright, which with GoGo Penguin’s Raven means that although the notes of the piano are clear, the treble sounds neutered. There’s a lack of bite and insight at the top end.

But if you like bass then there’s an effective sense of rich, warm low end provided by the Earfun Free Pro 3. In Massive Attack’s Angel, there’s more weight and depth to the slow and pounding bass beats than there is on the Final x Dragon Ball Z or the Beats Solo Buds, though if I had to nitpick, not the same levels of clarity and detail as the Final pair. These headphones still register a bass-forward.

Earfun Free Pro 3 earphone touch control areaEarfun Free Pro 3 earphone touch control area
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

That warmth translates fine enough to the midrange performance, which smoothly reproduces singers’ voices, though again there’s a slight lack of clarity and definition to Janelle Monae’s voice in Can’t Live Without You Love compared to the slightly more expensive JBL Live Pro 2.

The JBL is similarly smooth in how it handles the midrange, but you can hear more of the inflexions in Monae’s voice which are masked on the Earfun, and the same is true of Anette Askvik’s voice in Liberty. There’s more nuance and insight that the JBL can provide.

The JBL is also better balanced of the two, even if it has a few of the same issues (a slightly dull treble response). The Earfun aren’t a particularly energetic sounding pair thanks to that warm smooth sound, nor are they dynamic. If you favour a warm, comfortable sound with an emphasis on bass then the Earfun can provide that. Anyone after more fidelity has plenty of options to choose from in the budget earbud market.

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Should you buy it?

For the ANC

We’re not talking Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds level of performance here, but for the money they will exorcise most nearby sounds.

For the audio

If you like warm, bass-forward sound then you’ll enjoy the Earfun. If your tastes lean towards a more balanced approach, the JBL Live Pro 2 are still around for £99 / $99.

Final Thoughts

Earfun continues to outdo bigger and more well-known audio brands with the specifications for its headphones. On paper, you’re getting the type of specs you’d likely have to pay double for a new pair of earphones.

But in real-world performance, there are a few hiccups. The support for higher quality codecs such as Snapdragon Sound/aptX Adaptive doesn’t really bear itself out in the audio performance.

Rivals like the Final ZE3000, JBL Live Pro 2, and the Edifier TWS1 Pro 2 offer a better sounding experience. The call quality is muffled, and the wireless connection suffers in busy areas.

On the positive side, the buds boast strong noise-cancelling, are comfortable fit, and the performance can be customised, which is not always a guarantee at this price.

If sound is a priority then you can do better, though in some cases you may have to give up the allure of having noise-cancellation. If ANC is of paramount importance then the Earfun are very good in that respect, but you’ll have to weigh up the lack of balance with audio.

How we test

We test every pair of headphones we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.

Tested with real world use

Tested across several months

Battery drain carried out

FAQs

How long is the Earfun Free Pro 3’s battery life?

Earfun quotes 33 hours in the buds and charging case with ANC off, and 27 hours with ANC on.

UK RRP

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