Later this month, Apple will release the company’s new AirPods earbuds, which were first announced at last month’s iPhone 7 event. While waiting for Apple’s “truly wireless earbuds” to arrive, you might have caught a glimpse online of the Earin buds from a Swedish startup by the same name.
After spending a week with the Earin buds, I’ve become convinced that I want to live in a world without headphone cables. However, as my Earin review shows, that type of world isn’t quite here.
Up until recently, earbuds have come in two variations: wired and wireless. Unfortunately, even the wireless earbuds on the market still feature cables that hang in the front or back of your head. These cables usually contain volume controllers for music and a microphone for making calls.
Truly wireless earbuds such as the AirPods, Earin, and Bragi’s upcoming The Headphone, have no cables. Controls for these devices are found either on the buds themselves (like The Headphone) or in a compatible app (like the Earin).
Design and Hardware
The Earin ships in an eye-catching, reusable box. Inside, you’ll find an aluminum capsule, which houses and charges the earbuds when not in use, two stabilizers for an extra secure fit for running and gym activities, two pairs of premium foam tips, and a micro USB cable. Each of these tips is very comfortable.
The Earin capsule, which is slightly larger than a tube of lipstick, contains a 600 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery that provides the Earbuds with three charges. You’ll go through these charges very quickly since each one only lasts for three hours.
Fitting the buds into the capsule proved to be a frustrating process. You need to push the buds into place at just the right angle before charging begins. Unfortunately, a light push won’t do. You really need to push on the earbuds to get them in place, which sometimes proves maddening given that each bud weighs just 3.5 grams.
Taking them out of the capsule is also an annoying process. I became convinced on more than one occasion that I was going to pull too hard and see one of the earbuds fly across the room.
Despite these concerns, the capsule does get the job done. You’ll need around 75 minutes for a full charge, which gives you nine hours of listening time to enjoy. You can charge the earbuds together or separately.
The Earin buds turn on automatically as soon as you remove them from the capsule. At this point, you’ll need to go into your iPhone’s Bluetooth settings and connect the Earin to your device.
The Earin app contains a few features, essential and otherwise.
First, this is the only place where you’ll find the battery level for each earbud. The Earin app also includes a bass boost, which you can activate to enhance the low-end frequencies. It also contains a balance wheel to control the volume between the left and right earbuds.
The app also features a setup guide and the ability to assign a unique name to your earbuds (if you find this necessary).
Without the Earin app, there’s not much you can do with the earbuds. The same goes for the Bluetooth connection, of course. Unfortunately, keeping the Earin connected to my iPhone 7 Plus proved challenging. This might have been an issue with Apple iOS 10, a software update that has been plagued by early Bluetooth issue.
Luckily, there’s an easy workaround. Reconnecting my iPhone’s Bluetooth connection through the Settings app usually did the trick.
So how does the Earin sound? Surprisingly, very nice.
I found the sub-bass experience somewhat intense, with deep lows and moderately clear highs. At mid-range, I found the bass response understated. Unfortunately, changing the bass setting in the app didn’t change this much.
I wasn’t able to compare the Earin to other truly wireless headphones. However, I did compare the sound with a pair of Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless earphones. The Earin sounded far superior to the similarly priced Powerbeats.
The Bottom Line
Truly wireless headphones are almost certainly going to play a major role in the consumer audio market in the months and years to come. We’re firmly at the beginning of this process.
Like all new consumer products, truly wireless headphones are going to have some issues, at least early on.
The Earin’s biggest problem isn’t its design or the sound it produces. Rather, it’s the Bluetooth connection, which can be wonky at times. If Earin can get this right, these earbuds (or a future version) could become a major player in the truly wireless headphones market. For now, their first product comes with a lot of risks, which is made even more concerning because of the price.