The EarFun Air Pro 3 are the best sub-$80 earbuds I’ve ever used | CNN Underscored

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When you realize exactly what the EarFun Air Pro 3 have to offer, you might think the $80 price tag is a typo. These earbuds come bearing great audio quality, a robust app with tons of customization options and active noise cancellation (ANC) that rivals sets that cost triple the price. They’re yet another winner from the folks behind our favorite affordable earbuds, and I’m not quite sure how EarFun continues to get away with offering so much for so little.

That said, the Pro 3 aren’t the sleekest buds around, and their affordable price does come with some compromises in regards to build quality and controls. But those were all minor drawbacks to a mostly blissful few weeks of listening to music, catching up on podcasts and making phone calls for hours on end while silencing all of the noise around me. Here’s why I think the EarFun Air Pro 3 are the best $80 earbuds you can buy.

The $80 earbuds to get

If you’re looking to spend less than $80 on your next pair of earbuds — without sacrificing high-end features like ANC and sound customization — the EarFun Air Pro 3 are the ones to get.

Great comfort and impressive sound

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I’ve been using the EarFun Air Pro 3 in place of my usual AirPods Pro 2 for several weeks now, and I occasionally forget I even made the switch. That’s how great these buds feel and sound.

The Air Pro 3 feature the same kind of soft silicone tips you’ll find on more expensive rivals from Apple and Samsung. They’ve felt secure and comfy from the moment I first popped them in, and while they’re not quite as lightweight as my AirPods Pro, it was still easy to forget I was wearing them throughout long hours of working, walking and commuting. You even get a total of four swappable ear tips (large, medium, small and extra small) — that’s on par with the latest AirPods Pro, and more than the three sets that most big-name earbuds offer.

EarFun’s latest buds also sound fantastic, holding up equally well for my usual mix of loud punk and sad, slow indie rock. I could easily pick out each of Boygenius’ three vocalists as their voices swirled together during the emotional “Emily I’m Sorry,” and enjoyed plenty of bouncy bass and crisp guitars when jamming Paramore’s “This Is Why.” There was a noticeable boost in clarity and stereo separation when I went back to my AirPods Pro, but EarFun’s buds come admirably close for something that costs a fraction of their price.

I used the Air Pro 3 for hours’ worth of phone calls, and never got any complaints about the quality of my voice. The recordings I captured with EarFun’s buds did have a bit of fuzz to them, but they were perfectly audible — and not too far behind the AirPods Pro 2 in terms of clarity.

Good ANC and tons of features

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It’s commendable enough that the EarFun Air Pro 3 even have active noise cancellation and ambient sound, two perks that aren’t very common on earbuds that cost less than $80. It’s even more impressive that these features work extremely well.

The Air Pro 3’s ANC helped keep me focused while at home and immersed in my music on the go, significantly dampening the sounds of construction and chatty subway cars while also quieting my dog’s ever-unnerving licking noises. And when I needed to pay attention to my surroundings, the buds’ ambient sound functionality did a similarly good job keeping me aware of nearby people and cars while out for walks. The Air Pro 3 performed nearly identically to my AirPods Pro 2 when it came to blocking out noise — if anything, EarFun’s buds were a little more suppressive against a noisy bedroom fan. The Pro 3’s ambient noise also held up well to Apple’s Transparency mode, though the sound of the wind became more unpleasantly harsh when it brushed up against EarFun’s buds than it did with the AirPods.

You’ll also get a surprising amount of customization and features for the price, with a full-featured EarFun Audio app for iOS and Android that lets you tweak everything from the sound to the controls. On top of giving you an easy way to glance at your buds’ battery life and switch between noise control modes, the app offers a full equalizer where you can activate preset profiles (like Bass Boost and Treble Reducer) or create and save your own. I personally prefer how the Air Pro 3 sound out of the box, but the various presets did have a noticeable effect, and are a nice extra for folks who like to tinker — something you can’t do on Apple’s earbuds.

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I was shocked to discover that the Air Pro 3’s controls are fully customizable, a feature you won’t find on some buds that cost twice as much. I didn’t love that the earbuds required me to double-tap to pause my music by default, but the app made it easy for me to switch to a much more convenient single tap. You can create custom commands for single, double, triple taps and even long presses, allowing you to assign out functions like skipping tracks and summoning your virtual assistant however you like. While I definitely miss the more tactile pinch controls and handy volume slider on my AirPods Pro 2, I found the Air Pro 3’s controls to be mostly reliable once I configured them the way I liked (more on that later).

There’s a Game Mode that’s designed to reduce audio latency while you’re gaming, which feels like a gimmick you can probably ignore. I didn’t notice a real change when playing Vampire Survivors with and without the feature on, though it’s possible that serious Call of Duty or PUBG players may benefit from the purported boost. I was a bit amused that the Product Tutorial button takes you to a Google Doc of the instruction manual rather than providing tips directly within the app, but I still appreciate that there’s quick access to help.

The Air Pro 3 can even stay connected to two devices at once, something that made it easy to go from watching a YouTube video on my laptop to playing a song on my phone without any annoying re-pairing. This kind of multipoint connectivity isn’t very common on cheap earbuds, and while Apple has its own instant-switching technology when using your AirPods across iPhones, iPads and Macs, they technically can only be paired to one device at a time.

Long battery life and wireless charging

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I’ve always found EarFun’s buds to be some of the longest lasting around — at any price range — and that continues to be the case with the Air Pro 3. I typically enjoyed three to four straight days of heavy use before even getting a low battery warning, something that’s consistent with the earbuds’ rating of nine hours from the buds alone and 45 total hours with the charging case. That’s a big leap from the AirPods Pro 2’s rating (six hours from the buds, 30 from the case), and lines up with my testing; I typically have to recharge my AirPods as frequently as every two to three days.

And unlike many affordable earbuds (and even some expensive ones), the EarFun Air Pro 3’s case supports wireless charging. That gives them a big advantage over the similarly priced Jabra Elite 3 and Pixel Buds A, and the second-gen AirPods that go for a much pricier $129.

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While the EarFun Air Pro 3 punch well above their weight in terms of sound quality and features, they still look and feel like a pair of budget earbuds. I found the Pro 3’s thick, long stems to stick out quite a bit, and while they may be smaller and sleeker than last year’s Air Pro 2, I found myself yearning for the more low-profile look of my AirPods Pro and Jabra Elite 3.

The same goes for the bulky charging case, which feels flimsy, takes up more pocket space than most of my other earbuds and accumulated quite a few scuffs and scratches after a few days on the road. This level of build quality is common among the budget buds I’ve tested, but it is worth noting that the Air Pro 3’s excellent, affordable audio comes at the expense of its aesthetics.

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While I commend how robust and customizable the Air Pro 3’s touch controls are, they aren’t as consistent as I’d like. EarFun’s buds generally responded well to my various taps, double taps and long presses, but there were times when they were overly sensitive, leading me to skip a song that I simply meant to pause. I also noticed a slight delay between tapping the buds and getting a response from them. It’s far from a deal breaker (especially at this price), but the similarly cheap Jabra Elite 3 have much more reliable physical buttons, and the base AirPods are more accurate when it comes to responding to touch.

Also, it’s a small nitpick, but I hate that the Air Pro 3 don’t automatically pause my music when I take them out of my ears (it won’t happen until they’re closed in the case). This is something that the AirPods and most modern earbuds are smart enough to do these days, and led to multiple instances of music and podcasts continuing to play when I didn’t want them to.

Active noise cancellation




Ambient sound




Battery life (rated)

9 hours (earbuds), 45 hours (with case)

7 hours (earbuds), 28 hours (with case)

6 hours (earbuds), 30 hours (with case)

Wireless charging




Water resistance



IPX4 (earbuds and case)

Ear tip sizes

XS, S, M, L

S, M, L

XS, S, M, L

Software support

iOS, Android

iOS, Android




Lilac, Gray, Light Beige, Navy Blue



0.18 ounces

0.16 ounces

0.19 ounces





The EarFun Air Pro 3 are the best low-cost earbuds I’ve ever used. They sound great, offer active noise cancellation that rivals the AirPods Pro and deliver a staggering amount of features — some of which you won’t even find on much more expensive models. If you’re looking to spend no more than $80 on your next wireless earbuds, the Air Pro 3 are the ones to get.

That said, there are some worthy alternatives to consider in this price range. The $80 Jabra Elite 3 have a much sleeker design and more reliable physical controls, but you’ll be sacrificing active noise cancellation for those perks. And if your budget is firmly under $50, the standard EarFun Air remain our overall best budget earbuds pick. Apple aficionados will have a smoother experience with the oft-discounted AirPods 2nd Gen, but again, you’ll be giving up noise cancellation as well as tons of customizability. The fact that the Air Pro 3 comfortably replaced my AirPods Pro 2 for weeks speaks volumes, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better overall value than what EarFun is offering here.

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