Audio

Earin in tune with easy living

The Earin's sound quality is surprisingly good.
The Earin's sound quality is surprisingly good.PHOTO: EARIN

Great convenience with wireless earbuds; just don't drop them in a crowded area

Earin began life as a 2014 Kickstarter crowdfunding project that sought to deliver a truly wireless audio experience. While most Bluetooth wireless earphones have a wire connecting two earbuds, Earin is just two small earbuds that can be used separately.

Earin raised more than £970,000 (S$1.98 million), exceeding its target by five times. Now, it is available in Singapore.

The buds come in an aluminium capsule that might easily be mistaken for the handiwork of Apple's design maven Jony Ive. The capsule is also a charger.

Each earbud, with its plastic shell, is really light at only 3.5g. The package includes stabiliser fins to give an extra secure fit for workout use. The earbuds are resistant to sweat but, while a splash or two might not hurt, do not shower or swim with them.

To charge the earbuds, place them into the capsule and connect to a USB port via a micro-USB cable. A full charge takes about 75min.

The battery lasts just under 3hr for stereo music, or when you use both earbuds. It goes up to 11hr if you use it for monaural music playback. In other words, just use one earbud. So, if you are on a long-haul flight, you have to use only one earbud.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $349

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 7g

  • RATING

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 2/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

The earbud automatically switches off and charges when you place it in the capsule. But there is no way to know how much juice is left in the capsule.

Earin comes with a free app (Android and iOS) that lets you check the battery life of each earbud. But you will first need to pair the app with your mobile device.

The moment you take the earbuds out of the capsule, they will be discoverable. Search for the left earbud on your device's Bluetooth settings. You need to pair only the left earbud, as it will then automatically link up with the right earbud.

Once paired, you will be able to use the Earin app (iOS version tested) to adjust the left/right audio balance and toggle the Bass Boost feature.

The sound quality is surprisingly good, given its "wirelessness" and lightweight structure. The mids and highs are pretty detailed. But I recommend turning on the Bass Boost for better bass.

On the downside, the Earin does have some distortion at higher volumes, and like even high-end Bluetooth earphones are apt to do, it does lose the connection at times.

Still, it is a small price to pay for the freedom of movement offered. Plugged in, I can do housework without worrying about tangled cables. Such freedom is a double-edged sword, though. If you let slip a normal earbud, it is always saved by the cable connected to the other earbud. When you drop an Earin bud, it means a frantic search, not something you will want to do during rush hour on the MRT.

•Verdict: The Earin is a pair of truly wireless earbuds that is really convenient and produces decent sound. Unfortunately, it is badly let down by poor battery life.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2016, with the headline 'Earin in tune with easy living'. Print Edition | Subscribe