The xFyro xS2 true wireless earbuds aim to offer a reliable alternative to the traditional wired headphones, completely removing any type of cable towards the phone and in-between the earbuds (hence the TRUE wireless name), but trying to maintain the expected sound quality and the comfort that we got accustomed to. The true wireless earbuds have really taken off after Apple released its AirPods (whether we like it or not, Apple remains a trend setter) and ever since, the other manufacturers have been jumping the bandwagon by quickly releasing their own solutions to this new and growing market segment. This means that the new true wireless earbuds need to either have a decent price tag or have some spectacular features in order to stand out from the crowd.
The xFyro xS2 has bet on the waterproof capability and on the uniquely-shaped charging box to capture your attention, but the manufacturer also makes some bold claims, such as 8 hour battery life on a single charge or noise isolation, so I think it will be interesting to see if the true wireless earbuds rise up to the expectations.
Note: The pricing of the xFyro xS2 is very weird because, if I would review it at its MSRP, the earbuds will have to compete with the likes of Sennheiser Momentum or Beats Powerbeats Pro, but considering that it is always discounted at about $100 (some sort of marketing tactic?), I am going to test it by taking into account the performance level expected from the earbuds in the discounted price range.
Built Quality and Design
The true wireless earbuds have a difficult feat to accomplish because unlike the ‘non-true’ wireless earbuds, which could store the Bluetooth antenna and other hardware along the wire that connected the earpieces, these new type of devices need to include everything within the body of the earbuds and still remain functional, elegant and comfortable. The xFyro xS2 feature two relatively small earpieces, each measuring approx. 1.2 x 1.2 x 0.7 inches (LxWxH), so they’re quite unobtrusive and, because of the all black finish and relatively conservative design, they won’t attract too much attention (not in a bad way anyway, others will know that you’re wearing wireless earbuds).
The shape of the earbuds is rectangular with rounded corners and there’s rubber coating all around the case, leaving exposed only the two magnetic connectors (used to attach the earbuds to the case) and the button area. Underneath the connectors, there’s the speaker area where you can attach the eartips (inside the package, xFyro has added another couple of silicone tips to ensure that the device will be suitable for multiple ear sizes).
The button section is pretty unassuming, having a letter for showing the side (left or right), the power symbol which also doubles as the LED indicator and further down, there’s the microphone – there’s one on every earbud. To turn on the earbuds, press and hold the button key for three seconds until the LED will flash blue (and inside the earpiece, you’ll hear ‘Power on’) and, to turn them off, simply press the Power button for two seconds (while the device is turned on) and wait until the LED flashes red and the voice will say ‘Power off’. While wearing the earbuds, you can accept calls by clicking once the button on either earpiece, you can reject a call by clicking and holding the button on either earpiece for 1 second or return the last call by double-clicking the button (again, from either earbud).
While playing music, you can pause or play the current song by pressing once the button. Unfortunately, the xFyro xS2 doesn’t allow you to change the current song (the Next/Previous function is missing) or adjust the volume (similarly to the BlitzWolf BW-FYE1, you’ll have to adjust it from the mobile device).
I usually associate the true wireless earbuds to the small charging boxes which I have to carry around to get several more hours of music from the earbuds. So, it was a bit strange to see that xFyro went against this new trend and, instead of the small box, it has a metallic tube with two openings, one in the left, the other on the right, especially shaped to connect each earpiece – they magnetically attach to each side.
Some people have complained that this approach is less than ideal because the earbuds can fall off the case and, to test this claim, I tried to make the earbuds fall off by frantically shaking the charging case: the earbuds remained in their place regardless of the struggle, but I do see the possibility for them to fall off when being transported in a textile bag that gets tossed around a lot. The charging tube is covered by a black matte finish with narrow glossy margins, which are also black – it seems that the manufacturer got rid of the gold glossy margin which made the tube look cheap and I applaud this decision. Within the metallic body, there are two plastic areas, one on the top with four small holes which are actually LEDs and will shine to let you know the charging level and next to it, there’s an IN flap that, when removed, will expose a micro-USB port (use the provided USB cable to charge the internal battery – the cable is a bit short, measuring only about 8 inches).
On the other side, the plastic area has an On/Off button and next to it, there’s an OUT cover that, when removed, will show the USB Type-A port which can be used to charge other devices (a welcomed addition that I have not yet seen on any other earbuds charging boxes). The xFyro xS2 are advertised as waterproof and indeed, the device is IP67-rated, so it will survive submerges under water down to 3 feet for up to 30 minutes and it is completely protected against dust. This means that you don’t have to worry if its raining outside and, you could also use them while showering (some time ago, xFyro claimed that the xS2 could also do great while swimming, but, since Bluetooth won’t work underwater, the earbuds will just keep water from entering your ears and nothing more).
Are the xFyro xS2 earbuds suitable for jogging? Considering that there are no hook-type tips and the only thing that keeps the earbuds in place is the standard tips firmly inserted into the ear, there is no way to ensure that the xFyro xS2 won’t fall off your ear while running. In my case, I found them relatively stable when firmly pushed inside the ear with the advised 360 degrees rotation, but, if I was active, the left earbud will sometimes fall, so they’re more suitable for when sitting on the couch, chair or seat and less for jogging or any other physical activity (if you can get your hands on some hook silicone tips, then these earbuds will be a lot more stable).
In terms of comfort, I could keep the earbuds for a couple of hours and they felt comfortable during this time, but, because I sometimes has to push the button (which would further push the earbud in the ear canal), I had to often take a break from using them.
Connectivity and Sound Quality
The manufacturer was relatively quiet about the internal specs of the xFyro xS2 and the only info I could find is that the earbuds use the latest Bluetooth v5.0 (+EDR) which has a better range and an increased throughput (up to 2 Mbps data transfer rate); the earbuds also use the CVC 6.0 Noise Cancellation technology which cancels environmental noise captured by your microphone when you’re making calls (should not be mistaken for the active canceling tech which reduces the ambient noise when listening to music). I noticed that the xFyro xS2 was initially equipped with a Bluetoth v4.2 chip (CSR64110) that had some latency and disconnection problems, so I do suspect that this is a refreshed version of the earbuds. That’s all the info about the internal hardware that I could gather, so let’s see if the pairing process is quick and intuitive.
After you remove the case from the package, you should press the Power button to turn it on (check the four LEDs on the side to see the charging level) and, after you remove the earbuds from the case, press the button on the right earbud for about 4 seconds until the LED light will start flashing blue and red: this indicates that the earbuds are ready to be paired (if nothing happens after you press the button, make sure that the earpieces are charged). As the LED alternates between red and blue, enable the Bluetooth on your mobile device (I used a Pixel 2 XL) and, from the Connected devices (Android 9.0) click Pair new device; the xFyro xS2 should be automatically detected, so all you need to do is click Connect.
Afterwards, press and hold the button on the left earbud for about 2 seconds until the LED flashes blue (don’t press it longer than 4 seconds, since it will enter in pairing mode) and it should automatically connect to the right xS2 earbud (as that happens, both the left and right earbuds will flash blue and red at the same rate which will indicate that the pairing has been successful). The maximum distance between the mobile device and the earbuds was about 30 feet with one concrete wall in between – that’s the point where the signal became unstable.
Note: You can use one xFyro xS2 earbud to connect to one mobile device and the other xS2 earbud to connect to another Bluetooth device.
To test the sound quality, I once again followed some steps from the excellent guide written on the audiocheck.net. The frequency response focuses towards the reproduction of low, mid and high frequency and the xFyro xS2 did a good job in terms of bass (it went down to 20Hz which is the lower limit to the human hearing); the mids were also decent and I could hear the sound up to a frequency of 18kHz (20kHz is the upper limit for the human hearing). Despite the good bass level, it still felt kind of bloated and busy and a lot of the times it covered some detail, while the treble was a bit underwhelming (the mids were really good, though). Taking into consideration that the xS2 earbuds are approx $100, the frequency response is decent and in line with what most consumer users would expect (the best sound reproduction is reserved to those $250+ devices) – still, remember that the Bluetooth earbuds and the true wireless earbuds can’t, at the moment, rise up to the sound quality of the wired earbuds.
To test the clarity of the sound, I roamed through various bass frequencies and, while for most part, it was clear, I would occasionally hear some buzzing. If you were wondering about the driver matching, the xS2 earbuds are evenly matched and, as with every in-ear earbuds, the level of insertion does have an important role in keeping the sound balanced. As you may have expected, there is no active noise cancellation, but I was surprised at how loud these earbuds can be, therefore easily covering any background noise (I couldn’t go over 50 % in a quiet environment). While answering a call, the person on the other side was able to clearly hear my voice and the background noise wasn’t too amplified (not very different than if I used the built-in microphone in my smartphone), but, from my side, things were very different: the sound felt very far and I doubt I could clearly hear the other person in a crowded and overly noisy environment.
Some positives that some earbuds struggle to achieve, but the xS2 managed to accomplish was the fact that I never experienced any disconnects between the earbuds (if I was too far from my phone, both earpieces would disconnect almost at the same time) and, while I was playing YouTube videos, there was no noticeable lag between the sound and the video.
In terms of battery life, the manufacturer claims up to 8 hours on a single charge, which is fantastic if true, but, in my experience, a single charge would not give me more than 3 hours and 40 minutes (with the volume under 50% most of the time). This is the norm with almost every earbuds under 100 dollars and, since xFyro aims towards the mid-range earbuds level, I did expect a bit more. Each earbud has a 45mAh battery, while the charging case has a 850mAh battery, so you can recharge the earbuds about 7-8 times more (the charging time is about one hour and a half from 0 to 100 percent).
The xFyro xS2 are a decent pair of earbuds, offering a good sound quality (suitable for most, especially those that prefer a bit more bass – the audiophiles will want more), the build quality is good, the low profile makes them comfortable to wear (although the shape makes them prone to falling while exercising) and the Bluetooth connection is surprisingly good an stable. But, are these earbuds $200-good? No, the competitors from this price range offer a better experience. But are they $100-good? At this price point they’re indeed worth taking into consideration.
Note: It’s worth noting that the company has been plagued by shipping delays especially regarding their newer Aria earbuds, although this is something not that uncommon in the crowdfunding world.
- Lightweight And Reasonably Comfortable
- IP67 Rated (Dust and Water Resistant)
- Solid Bluetooth Connection
- Decent Sound Experience
- The Charging Box Acts As A PowerBank For Additional Devices
- A Bit Expensive
- The Earbuds Can Fall Off While Jogging
- No Volume Controls On The Earbuds
- The Battery Life Could Have Been Better