This product was provided free of charge by xFyro for review.
How many times have you nearly been murdered by wires? They lie on the floor just waiting for your unwitting foot to get trapped, or they hang around your neck, carefully biding their time until they strangle you to death. You can’t trust them, which is why wireless is the way of the future, people, hence my sound reasoning for reviewing the new xFyro XS2 wireless earbuds.
What you get when you open up the box is a slender tube that acts as the charging unit for the wireless earbuds themselves. The xFyro is a rather pretty thing to look at thanks to the black, brushed metal casing and gold accents on the ends where the earbuds reside. Finally, there’s a white xFyro logo at one end, the only slight blemish in what is otherwise a lovely, sleek aesthetic that does a good job at feeling like a premium product.
It has a pleasing amount of heft in the hands, too, and even when giving it a good squeeze there’s no sign of weakness the aluminium case.
On the metal tube you’ll also find a micro USB port for charging the unit up to its 850 mAH capacity, and on the other side there’s a power button to manually turn off or on charging and a nice bonus in the form of a micro-USB out port, meaning you can actually use the xFyro unit as a battery for your phone or any other compatible device, though obviously it won’t provide a huge charge. Still, if you just need a little boost to get you by then it’s a handy thing to have in your pocket.
The earbuds themselves are situated at either end of the main unit and are held in place by small magnets that feel strong enough to ensure that the buds won’t accidentally fall out in your pocket, although I do confess to being mildly paranoid about that for the first while. Popping the buds back in feels nice and easy thanks to the magnets snatching them from your fingers, and I never noticed any issue with the buds not seating themselves correctly on the contact points.
While charging the buds will display a simple red light that will swap to blue when they’ve taken their fill of power, but there’s no way to judge how charged they are. When in use a voice will inform you of low battery, but that’s all the warning you get. Likewise, there’s an indicator on the main unit that also goes from red to blue without any way of knowing how full it is until it hits 100% charge.
xFyro claim that the earbuds themselves have around 3-4 hours of continuous use thanks to their 45mAH capacity, and that the main unit will provide 6 full recharges of the earbuds before it needs to recharge itself, a process which takes around an hour. During my testing these numbers seemed pretty accurate, so I was quite happy with the overall battery life.
The earbuds themselves come with three different swappable sizes of tip so that you can hopefully find the right one to fit in your ears. They feel relatively comfortable, but do have a habit of slowly slipping out of the ear which forced me to give them a quick wiggle and push every 5-10 minutes. It didn’t give me the confidence to go jogging with them, either, unless I was wearing a hat to help hold them in. The fact that the seal formed around the earbuds isn’t quite as secure as it could also effects the sound quality.
Connection is handled via Bluetooth to your chosen device, which in my case was a Moto G5 and a Huwei Mediapad. To pair them you simply hold down the big, central home button on either the left or right earbud until a pleasant voice informs you that it’s in pairing mode, then you go to your device and pick the earbuds from the list of available Bluetooth gadgets. You’ll also need to pair the other earbud to its counterpart, which is as easy as holding down the home button on the earbud until it confirms that pairing has been done.
The first earbud you pair to your device is classed as the primary earbud. If you turn on the other earbud without having the primary one on you’ll get no sound.
Turning on your earbuds is as simple as holding down the home button until that little voice (which I hope is coming from the earbuds and not my mind) tells you that it’s powered on. You can simply have one earbud in if you like, and to turn the other one on you once again just hold the home button down. Simple stuff.
As for turning them off you just have to hold that the button again, but keep in mind that both earbuds will turn off so if you want to drop down to a single bud you’ll need to turn them both off then fire the primary one back up again. I would have liked an option for turning off the non-primary earbud separately, though, just because I walk on a lot of countryside roads and dirt tracks so I swap quite often between one earbud so that I can hear traffic and two so that I can enjoy whatever I’m listening too.
You get some basic media controls implemented so that a single tap of either earbud’s home button will pause or play whatever music, video or podcast you’re currently listening. A double tap will skip you on to the next track, and this also works on Youtube. The only thing missing is a way to adjust volume without having to grab your phone or tablet or whatever you are using.
And if you’re more of the talkative type who actually uses a phone as a phone then you can also answer and reject calls using the home buttons, too. A handy-dandy microphone allows you to speak to your unwelcome caller without having to move your phone from your pocket, though the quality isn’t going to be stellar, especially if you’re in a noisy environment. But you can always grab your phone anyway and speak directly into it while using the earbuds for better clarity if you’re standing on a windy street or something like that.
But lets finally get to the most important thing: sound quality, and how I was pleasantly surprised by how good the xFyros actually sounded. Naturally, the Bluetooth wireless means the audio quality can never entirely rival that of a good pair of wired earbuds due to signal loss and other factors, but these do a pretty damn good job considering you get to ditch the wires entirely. The bass packs enough punch for those thump-heavy tracks without being stupidly overpowering, although I would like a little more richness to the to the low-end sound, while the mids and highs have a slightly warm tinge and a nice level of clarity. All in all, I found I was able to discern small details in songs quite well and didn’t notice any harshness in the vocals that can sometimes be present on cheap earbuds or headphones. The audio quality isn’t going to blow you away, but for day-to-day listening of music and podcasts on the go they are more than up to the job. I’d personally consider the tradeoff of a slight loss of quality for wires to be a good one, and that’s coming from a self-proclaimed audio lover.
With any wireless device there’s always room for connection problems as outside interference and all manner of things can cause the signal to drop out. However, to my surprise, I didn’t suffer from too many instances of the Bluetooth connection disappearing into the air, and when it did it would usually pick back up quite quickly.
The advertised range of the earbuds is 33ft or 10m, assuming there’s nothing in the way such as a wall or an angry dragon. This distance seems about right, though it’s not often that I’ll take my phone out my pocket and toss it 33ft away when I’m listening to something.
Occasionally if I used just one earbud too frequently I’d have to re-pair them. But that was a minor issue considering how easy it is to pair the buds anyway.
Interestingly xFyro claim that these earbuds are 100% waterproof, and thus the advertising quite clearly depicts people swimming with the earbuds. However, the manual itself states that swimming is not recommended because while the earbuds are rated to handle 1m of static water for around 30-minutes they may fall out and thus get damaged in deeper water. Plus, given that they aren’t the best at staying in your ears I feel like the added movement and pressure would be too much unless you were wearing a swimming cap. But my big complaint here is the use of images that clearly depict these earbuds as being good for swimming when the manual itself recommends otherwise.
Look, I’m not going to compare these to other products on the market because I don’t have heaps of experience with other wireless earbuds, so I’m talking purely from time testing these ones. Overall, I felt the sound quality was great and the amount of use time from both the earbuds and the charging unit was absolutely fine. They managed to keep a stable, strong connection for the vast majority of the time and were easy to setup and use. The only big issue was the earbuds slowly slipping out of my ears, thus affecting the audio. It was nothing a quick wiggle with a finger couldn’t sort, but it’s frustrating to feel like you can’t completely trust the earbuds not to fall out. Still, if you’re looking for a set of wireless earbuds that don’t break the bank (they retail for around £90-100) then the xFyro xS2’s might be for you.
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