Design and construction
The AirFree cases have an oval charging case with four color options – Snow White, Galactic Black, Forest Green and Sunset Orange. The plastic case has a soft matte surface that is resistant to fingerprints and scratches.
The build quality is pretty decent at the asking price and the case also supports wireless charging. There is no LED light in the case, which is unfortunate because you have to open the cover to check the battery status. There are four LED lights inside the case, which should preferably have been placed outside.
In the future, the case even has a nylon strap that allows you to hang it on a backpack or keychain. The charging stand has a type C port on the back of the case. Overall, OmThing has done a decent job with the case.
What is the user experience like?
AirFree cases have an AirPod-type arm-style design and a lightweight shape. Each loop weighs only 4 g and can be used for a long time without much discomfort. Because these loops have a half-ear design, the fit isn’t quite certain, but don’t worry, the loops don’t fall so easily. You can use them at the gym, jogging or cycling without worrying about them falling to your ears. And because these buds are IPX4 certified, they can easily handle some water damage; however, you should not take a dip in the pool when these buds are in your ears. They will not survive such great water damage.
Touch Drivers and Smartphone
I am delighted to see a brand that offers a comprehensive range of touch controls on a budget. In addition to the basic touch controls (play / pause, answer a call, etc.), AirFree Pods supports volume control, which is usually missing at this price point.
- You can play / pause music and answer an incoming call by tapping the left / right button with one tap.
- Tapping the left ear button twice increases the volume and vice versa.
- To end a call and end the call, double-tap either earpiece.
- Touch the left earpiece for one second to skip to the previous song and the right earpiece to the next song.
- Tap one of the two earphones three times to open the voice assistant.
- You can also turn off the headset with a simple tap and hold for five seconds.
1More has created a smartphone app, but it has a very limited set of features. You can edit touch gestures, check battery status, perform a software update, and that’s it. It would have been nice to see the built-in equalizer, presets, and probably some ENC mode settings.
Let’s talk about audio. These loops have fairly large 13mm composite-titanium-dynamic elements that can be quite hard and must be because there is no passive noise insulation and ANC in half the ear. Despite a fairly large driver, the sound coming from these aptX-compatible loops isn’t as immersive as I expected. I think a loose fit is the reason for that, and the sound experience can vary from person to person and appropriately.
Fortunately, AirFree Pods do not focus unnecessarily on the lower side of the frequency spectrum. The bass doesn’t leak to other frequencies, but I wish it could have been a little tighter. Centers and heights are handled well and the treble is a reasonable amount. These buds serve well for the song’s heavy music and podcasts. And thanks to aptX codec support, I didn’t experience latency issues on AirFree Pods during movie streaming on Android TVs. Dialogues and music always remained in perfect sync. It is worth mentioning that the smartphone partner application lacks a built-in equalizer. You cannot customize the sound profile of these headphones.
Overall, the Airfree Pods music listening experience is decent, but not the best. The sound could have been more enjoyable and attractive. The cheaper Realme Buds Air 2, with active noise reduction, offers a much more immersive music listening experience than these headphones.
Voice call experience and connections
Featuring a Qualcomm chip, the TWS in-ear headphones ensure a good connection for seamless wireless audio transmission. I tested AirFree Pods on smartphones, Windows PCs, and Android TVs, and the connection didn’t break. The wireless connection (Bluetooth 5.2) remained stable in the given area during audio playback and voice calls. The pairing is also seamless. Take the loops out of the case and activate the Bluetooth on your smartphone. Select OmThing loops from the list and start listening to your music library.
And while the pairing and connection is seamless, the voice calling experience is pretty average. The caller’s sound sounds low and low, even if the volume is set to maximum. This is a bit surprising as the in-ear headphones feature noise canceling technology and four ENC microphones. Hopefully the brand will fix the problems with a software update.
Battery life and charging
AirFree Pods can last up to 4.5 hours on a single full charge at 70-80% volume. The charging cradle can add four more charging cycles, which is pretty decent and will keep you on your favorite music for almost a day. It takes about 90 minutes to fully charge the headphones via the C-type USB charging port.
Rs. 3999, OmThing AirFree Pods is a decent company, but it doesn’t bring the best performance in the segment. These buds provide a comfortable fit in the ear and easily last one day on a full charge. Wireless charging and aptX support are great touches. However, the absence of ANC and half-ear fitting are two major reasons behind average sound reproduction.
If you have a budget of Rs. 4000, you need to check out Realme Buds Air 2. Priced aggressively at Rs. 3299, the Buds Air 2 is the most preferred pair of TWS in-ear headphones with Active Noise Reduction (ANC). You should also check out the Oppo Enco W51 (Rs. 4,999) if you want a slightly better listening experience below Rs. 5000.