There are three reasons why Apple’s AirPods are considered the best true wireless earbuds you can buy: They’re small, pair really easily to iOS devices, and only cost $159.
Everyone from Samsung to Jaybird to Bose have their own alternatives, but they cost even more. $159 for AirPods is a great price, but Crazy Baby, the company behind that crazy Mars levitating Bluetooth speaker, thinks it can offer even better sound for an even lower $99.
You may not have heard about Crazy Baby, but they’ve actually got some experience building true wireless earbuds.
The startup launched its first true wireless earbuds, the Air, last year on Indiegogo, and it was an immediate hit. It racked up over $2.7 million in crowdfunding, smashing its goal by 5,513 percent.
The $169 wireless earbuds were praised for their great Hi-Fi sound quality and small size. The new Air Nano promises the same sound for only $99.
Not only that, but the Air Nano will come in 10 different colors to really cater to a more price-conscious demographic.
Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE
I had never tried the Air earbuds before, so I set my expectations accordingly. When the company brought the earbuds over to our office, I was expecting budget sound.
However, after listening to the both the Air and the Air Nano, I was pleasantly impressed by how similar the audio quality was despite the newer bud’s smaller bullet-like size and design.
The splash-proof wireless earbuds use the original Air’s same CSR chip to deliver great sound. I’m not sure exactly what this marketing speak is, but I can tell you they sounded better than my AirPods. There’s more bass and a little more separation between the mids and highs.
Image: RAYMOND WONG/MASHABLE
I only had a brief listen so I can’t say how well they “burn in” over time or even how well they isolate external sound while on the loud subway, but at least the fit is tight and comfortable. There’s no getting around the fact they look like bullets in your ears like the Erato Apollo 7’s I reviewed last year.
Battery life appears to be on the weak side, though. The earbuds themselves last for 3 hours of music listening on a single charge, which is less than the 5 hours you get from AirPods and Google’s Pixel Buds. The case gives you another four extra charges for an additional 12 hours of battery life.
Image: raymond wong/mashable
At the very least, they charge up fast. Five minutes of charging in the case gets you 1.5 hours of music listening.
The era of true wireless earbuds is here and products like the Air Nanos will drive costs down until they’re affordable for everyone. The question is, at what point does the balance between sound and price mean an inferior audio experience? Who knows, but for now, we’re just happy someone’s making good-sounding wireless earbuds that cost $99, because not everyone can afford to drop more on them.
Air Nano is currently funding on Indiegogo and has already surpassed its goal, receiving over $219,000 as of this writing. If it beats the original Air wireless earbuds at the end of its crowdfunding, this might be a brand to keep an eye on.