There has been a dramatic increase in true wireless earbuds in the market recently. Some of these brands have popped up overnight and just as quickly faded into back into the night with inferior products. There have, however, been a few noteworthy products that have risen to the top among the myriad of choices, which often times confuse unsuspecting buyers living off their broken promises and over-the-top specifications. Many of these brands have carved out their reputations on crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Having initially set a goal of $10,000 on Indiegogo for their take on the true wireless earbuds, xFyro’s target was quickly surpassed, eventually settling on $1,954,350, just shy of 9000% over the original target. The xFyro Aria earbuds have gained quite a bit of a reputation in the crowd-funding community, with as many as 7,000 backers looking to get their hands on a pair or two.
Their campaign was based on offering quite a slew of features and capabilities that not many other manufacturers were able to offer with their products, even some of the leading OEMs in the business. There have been many, however, that were sceptical as to whether the team could deliver on their set of promises made, especially considering the cost. We take a closer look at what the xFyro Aria True Wireless Earbuds has to offer and whether promises were kept with the end product.
Build and Design
There’s quite a lot to unpack in terms of the design, as there are a few features not common in most other earbuds. The build itself isn’t too far off from the most common in-ear design. The buds are split into two elements, the in-ear portion driving the sound into your ear and the core, which houses most of the electronics and buttons. The first aspect is pretty straight forward, offering basic eartips to place in-ear. In the box contents, there are an additional two pairs of silicone eartips, one smaller and one larger pair. The eartips were designed in such a way that it creates a seal within the ear to prevent ambient noise from disturbing the sound delivered by the Aria buds.
The second part houses quite a few more components that the eartips, which includes two magnetic points, rubber wings, LED light and a single control button, as well as the “left” and “right” symbols to indicate which bud fits into which ear. Starting with the magnetic points, these are strategically positioned to allow the buds to easily fit back into the case in which it is housed for both storage and wireless charging. There is quite a nice click into position when positioning the buds back into the case, as it provides security that they won’t simply fall out of the case when not in use.
The case itself is a circular, rubberised box, which looks fairly inconspicuous before opening the lid to unveil the insides. The case has to bud-sized holes with two magnetic points protruding in each, allowing the buds to slide and click into place without too much effort. The case also includes a charging button, which you can press to allow the earbuds to be charged. The LED indicator lights on the Aria earbuds will tell you whether they’re being charged or not when in the case. The case itself has four blue LED indicators, which provide you with the information on the battery level whenever you pop the lid. The lid, too, has a magnetic strip to keep it secure during travel.
The rubberised wings on the outside of the earbuds provide additional security whenever the Aria is in use. When you place the buds into your ears, simply swivel them around to clip the wings behind the inner cartilage of the ear to secure it in position. This means that they won’t easily fall out even when going for a run or jumping around at the gym. Rounding off the design, there are two buttons available for use, with one on each earbud. The controls are pretty straight forward once you know what they are. One click to start play when off, two clicks to pause during playback. Use one click during playback to increase the volume on the right earbud and decrease using the left.
Each of the earbuds weighs around 10g, making them fairly lightweight. While they might be double the weight of the Mavin Air-X, there’s quite a few more on offer in terms of features. The unit is fairly comfortable in-ear, which means that you can wear them for a considerable amount of time without feeling any annoyance. In fact, using them during workouts or runs around 1-2 hours at a time were more than adequate, even when continuously on the move. It may not be comfortable enough to forget that you’re actually wearing them, but it gets the job done. The Aria also offers IP67 certification, which makes it dust-proof and waterproof at a depth of 1m up to 30 minutes. While you can use the device while swimming, the interference with the Bluetooth connection once underwater isn’t recommended.
Setup and Features
As with many other true wireless earbuds, especially those with included charging cases, setup of the Aria if very simple. Simply take the right-hand side earbud out the case and it will automatically turn itself on and switch to pairing mode. You can then connect to the Aria by means of your Bluetooth settings menu via your smartphone or tablet. Once it is paired, you can remove the left-hand side earbud, which will then power on, switch to pairing mode, as well as automatically connect to the right-hand earbud to turn on stereo audio. When you’re done with the unit, simply take them out of your ears and place them back into the case. The earbuds will switch off the current playback, as well as power down into idle mode. It’s important to get such features working well and that’s the case here. During the few weeks of reviewing time, there wasn’t a single instance for an almost daily usage, where the earbuds failed to connect both earbuds.
We’ve already listed a few of the features of the Aria, which includes the IP67 rating, auto-connect, wireless charging within the case, touch-based controls, as well as the LED indicators. One of the claimed features by xFyro is noise-cancelling technology. It’s important to stress here that these aren’t active noise-cancelling earbuds, instead relying on the seal created by the rubberised eartips to block out most of the ambient noise. While the unit does include CVC 6.0 noise cancellation, these are reserved solely for the microphone and only when in use. That said, having tested out this feature, I’m reasonably confident with the results. The unit is able to provide clear audio from the mic, even in noisy areas such as the gym, as well as being able to clearly hear the person on the other end of the line.
The earbuds can also be used to access your assistants, whether you’re using Siri, Google or Bixby. Users can simply activate their assistants, simply by asking for them when using the earbuds, with the always-on microphone.
While the device uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology, it makes use of the basic codecs in order to keep costs down. This means that the team wouldn’t pay royalties for the use of aptX (Qualcomm), LDAC (Sony), SBC and AAC codecs, all of which offer better bandwidth and transfer capabilities to produce better audio over a further distance to boot. This isn’t a train smash, however, as the unit offered a respectable 10m (or just over) in range, which also works through walls.
Performance and Battery
In terms of the sound quality, the Aria is not half bad, especially considering the true wireless tag, as well as the lack of licenced codecs. Audio is well-balanced through the lows, mids and highs. The bass is full and deep, although it can sometimes overpower other frequencies. Breaking down each of the various frequencies, there’s just something short with each of them. On the whole, it fairs adequately, but not quite complete in the end. For the average user, the audio will be more than satisfactory even using the default settings. For the audiophiles out there, however, you may want to look elsewhere, as you may not be entirely convinced. Thankfully, with most modern smartphones, there’s a wide variety of audio settings available, allowing users to fine-tune certain lacking areas. Once you’ve found the sweet spot, the audio quality will perform quite a lot better.
One of the key areas for all wireless devices is battery life. On paper, the Aria earbuds have a factory rating of 8 hours of battery life on the earbuds themselves, as well as an additional 24 hours in conjunction with the battery-powered case. This, however, is the one aspect about the specifications that I would take issue with. On average usage, the earbuds could last a maximum of 5-6 hours of continuous play, which decreases to around 4-5 hours when listening to louder music with heavier bass, which requires additional power. This isn’t a crippling issue, however, as there was more than sufficient playback during a single usage cycle. The case delivers similar results to its 24 hours of additional charge, (on average) above 20 hours when tested a few times. This also minimises any effects of the earbuds’ battery life, as you wouldn’t be too far from your case at any time.
Another of the annoying aspects of the Aria when the battery is low is the voice prompt to indicate this fact. It would be great if it were done once or twice, but as soon as you’ve reached below the 30% mark, expect to be reminded of this fact every minute or so, effectively killing the playback in the process, even with another 30-60 minutes of playback remaining. While I can understand that the idea may have sounded great on paper, in the real world it doesn’t play out too kindly and is something we can do without.
Update: It’s worth pointing out that xFyro has noted the battery life matter from the first production, which has both been rectified and replaced. As such, battery life has been extended to go even beyond the 8-hour mark on the updated units.
The xFyro Aria True Wireless Earbuds came with a huge promise of a list of features at a reasonable price to the end-user. While it may have failed to deliver on a few of these, there’s more than enough promises kept and quality provided to make these a really good pair of earbuds. You’re not going to replace your higher-ranked wireless headphones, which offer quite a lot more in terms of sound quality, but at its size and cost, it delivers quite a lot at the end of the day.
xFyro is currently running a half-price sale on the Aria earbuds retailing for $125, making them a desirable purchase. You can get your pair via the xFyro website.
The xFyro Aria delivers a wide-range of features with reasonable audio quality, making it one of the stand-out true wireless earbuds options on the market. If only it had a better battery life.