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OmThing Airfree Pods Review: Decent Effort But Leaves Room For Improvement
The Indian market is flooded with budget true wireless earbuds, but there's always room for new brands to offer exciting products to price-conscious buyers. The latest to enter the crowded space is 1More. The Shenzhen-based audio company has announced its first set of products in India under 'OmThing' branding, which stands for 'One More Thing'. That might sound interesting but what caught our attention is the first lot of products that feature some spec-heavy audio gear at pocket-friendly prices.
- Comfortable To Wear
- Supports Wireless Charging
- Volume Controls On Buds
- Good Battery Life
- Average Audio Performance
- No Wear Detection For Auto Pause/Play
- Average Call Quality
Among three products (a Neckband & two TWS earbuds) launched under the OmThing brand, the AirFree Pods are the most expensive with a price point of Rs. 3,999. Available on Flipkart, the TWS earbuds lock horns with a myriad of sub-5K TWS earbuds from various brands including the likes of OnePlus, Realme, Xiaomi, Redmi, Nokia among others.
We spent almost a week testing the OmThing AirFree Pods to find out what 1More has to offer with its flagship TWS earbuds in the budget category.
Design & Build Quality
The AirFree Pods come in an oval-shaped charging case in four color options- Snow White, Galactic Black, Forest Green, and Sunset Orange. The plastic case has a soft matte finish that resists fingerprints and scratches.
The build quality is pretty decent for the asking price and the case also supports wireless charging. There's no LED on the case, which is a bummer as you have to open the lid to check the battery status. Four LED lights are placed inside the case, which ideally should have been positioned on the outside.
Moving on, the case even has a nylon strap, which allows you to hang it on a backpack or a keychain. The charging cradle has a Type-C port positioned on the backside of the case. Overall, OmThing has done a decent job with casing.
How’s The Wearing Experience?
The AirFree Pods come in an AirPods-like stem-style design and have a lightweight form factor. Each bud weighs a mere 4g and can be worn for an extended duration without much discomfort. Since these buds have a half in-ear design, the fit isn't quite ensuring but fret not, the buds won't fall off that easily. You can wear them in the gym, during a jog, or while cycling without worrying about them falling off your ears.
And since these buds are IPX4 certified, they can easily handle some water damage; however, you shouldn't take a dip in the pool with these buds in your ears. They won't be able to survive that much water damage.
Touch Controls & Smartphone App
I am glad to see a brand offering a comprehensive set of touch-controls on a budget. In addition to basic touch controls (Play/Pause, Call answer, etc.) the AirFree Pods support volume level control, which is usually missing at this price point.
- You can single tap on the left/right bud to play/pause the music and answer an incoming phone call.
- Tapping the left earbud twice increases the volume and vice versa.
- You can disconnect and hang up a call by double-tapping either earbud.
- Tap and hold the left earbud for one second to go to the previous track and the right earbud for the next track.
- Tapping either earbud three times invoke the voice assistant.
- You can also turn off the earbuds by a simple tap and hold gesture for five seconds.
1More has created a smartphone app but it has a very limited set of features. You can customize the touch gestures, check the battery status, perform the software update and that's about it. It would have been nice to see a built-in equalizer, presets, and probably some ENC mode settings.
Let's talk about sound delivery. These buds are powered by fairly large 13mm composite titanium dynamic drivers, which can get fairly loud and they must since the half in-ear design lacks passive noise isolation and ANC. Despite a fairly large driver, the sound coming out from these aptX-enabled buds isn't as immersive as I was expecting. I think the loose fit is the reason behind it and the audio experience can differ from person to person and fit-to-fit.
Thankfully, the AirFree Pods don't unnecessarily focus on the lower side of the frequency spectrum. The bass isn't leaking into other frequencies but I wish it could have been a bit tighter. The mids and highs are handled well and there's a decent amount of treble. These buds serve well for vocal-heavy music and podcasts. And thanks to the aptX codec support, I did not experience any latency issues on the AirFree Pods while streaming movies on Android TVs. The dialogues and music always stayed in perfect sync.
It is worth mentioning that the smartphone companion app lacks a built-in equalizer. You cannot customize the audio profile on these earbuds.
Overall, the music listening experience on the Airfree Pods is decent but not segment best. The sound delivery could have been more enjoyable and engaging. The less expensive Realme Buds Air 2 with Active Noise Cancellation offers a far more immersive music listening experience than these buds.
Voice Call Experience & Connectivity
With a Qualcomm chip running the show, the TWS earbuds ensure solid connectivity for seamless wireless audio transmission. I tested the AirFree Pods with smartphones, Windows PC, and Android TVs and did not experience any connection drops. The wireless connection (Bluetooth 5.2) remained stable in the given range during audio playback and voice calls. Pairing is also seamless. Simply take the buds out from the case and activate the Bluetooth on your smartphone. Select the OmThing buds in the list and start listening to your music library.
And while the pairing and connectivity are seamless, the voice calls experience is pretty average. The caller's voice sounds muffled and low despite setting the volume levels to maximum. This is a bit surprising since the earbuds have noise-canceling tech and four ENC microphones. I hope the brand rectifies the issues with a software upgrade.
Battery Life & Charging
The AirFree Pods can last for up to 4.5 hours on one full charge at 70-80% volume. The charging cradle can add another four charge cycles, which is pretty decent and will keep you grooving on your favorite music for almost a day. The earbuds take around 90-minutes to get fully charged via the USB Type-C charging port.
At Rs. 3,999, the OmThing AirFree Pods is a decent attempt but fails to bring the segment-best performance. These buds offer a comfortable in-ear fit and can easily last one day with a full charge. The wireless charging and aptX support are some nice touches. However, the lack of ANC and half in-ear fit are two major reasons behind the average audio performance.
If you have a budget of Rs. 4,000, you must check out the Realme Buds Air 2. Priced aggressively at Rs. 3,299, the Buds Air 2 is the most affordable pair of TWS earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC), a feature commonly seen on premium offerings. You must also check out the Oppo Enco W51 (Rs. 4,999) if you want a slightly more premium listening experience under Rs. 5,000.