The Earin A-3 Earphones have surprised me. They are comfortable, they sound great, and they allow me to stay aware of what’s going on around me. Granted, these might not be the earbuds I would bring for a long flight since they don’t block out ambient noise or have ANC, but let’s be honest, I don’t have any trips booked right now. They are working great for what I need while I work from home or when I take a walk.
- Tiny size
- No foam or silicone jammed into the ear canal
- Clear, rich audio
- Easy controls
- Comfortable, secure fit
- Really nice-looking aluminum charging case
- Great Bluetooth range of up to 82′
- No quick-charge
- You may sound tinny on some calls
Have you found a pair of true wireless earbuds that fit well in your ears yet? Many people like foam and silicon tips because they help cut out ambient noise and give a more secure seal, but some people hate the feeling of something being jammed into their ear canal. The Earin A-3 Earphones take a different approach; they have an open audio design which leaves them sitting in the user’s ears’ concha. The result is a surprisingly comfortable fit for just about everyone, but it’s also a slightly different experience from wearing and using many other earbuds.
If you are commuting, traveling, or in a boisterous environment, a closed audio earbud design with foam or silicone tips works well because it helps isolate you from the noise occurring around you — even if those earbuds don’t specifically offer active noise canceling. Closed audio design earbuds that offer ANC can further help isolate you from the noises around you, but having tips jammed in your ear canal can be uncomfortable over long periods of wear. These types of earbuds can also cut you off from sounds you might need to be able to hear — like traffic when walking or people speaking to you in an office.
An open audio design earbud doesn’t use a tip on its end, and it won’t block out ambient noise. If you have ever used a pair of AirPods, then you are familiar with the concept. The audio still sounds good, as the earbud’s speaker is playing sound next to your ear canal. But by design, they won’t cut out external noise like dogs barking, people speaking to you, or the engine noise on an airplane. Wearing them allows you to remain aware of your surroundings yet still enjoy your music or call, and many find them more comfortable for long periods of wear.
So you can see that there are benefits and pitfalls to both open and closed audio design earbuds; it just depends on what you are looking for and what will best fit your needs. If being able to stay aware of your surroundings is important to you as well as long-wearing comfort, then an earbud with an open audio design is a smart option to consider, and that’s where the new Earin A-3 Earphones come in.
Billed as the “smallest and lightest in the world” (which we will check into further in this review), the Earin A-3 Earphones are little black earbuds that bear an uncanny resemblance to the Friday Lock I have installed on my office door.
The box includes two earphones, an aluminum charging case (available in black or silver), a 40cm USB Type-A to USB Type-C charging cable, a user manual, and a support card.
The charging case looks surprisingly expensive; it’s not the usual black plastic. Measuring roughly 2.5″ long by 2″ wide by 0.75″ thick, the aluminum of the silver version I received has a nice matte finish. Front and center of the charging case, there is a single LED that indicates battery status. It will glow green when the case is 80-100% charged, yellow when it has 20-80% charge left, or red when it has 0-20% charge left. The battery status can be quickly checked by flicking the charging case’s lid open.
On the bottom of the charging case, there is a USB Type-C port.
The charging case can also be recharged by placing its non-metal backside on a Qi wireless charger. As you can see by the sticker I haven’t yet removed, that black area covered a button that puts the earbuds in pairing mode when pressed for two seconds.
And on the top of the charging case, there is an embossed Earin logo.
Lifting the lid reveals the A-3 Earphones. What sets these apart from any others I’ve tried is that there isn’t a specific bud for the right or left ear. Either bud can go in either ear; it just depends on how you turn it. The flat edge on raised center is a touch-sensitive area; if you double-tap it, it will play or pause your music, or it will answer or hang-up a call. A long press on that area will activate the assistant on your phone. I have tested this extensively, and it all works as expected.
When the earbuds are charged, and you lift the charging case’s lid, they will activate and show each ear bud’s remaining charge in the same manner as the charging case, with green meaning 80-100% charged, yellow meaning 20-80% charge left, or red for has 0-20% charge left. Earin rates the A-3 Earphones’ batteries as lasting for up to 5-hours of playtime on their own, but the charging case adds 25 hours. In practice, I found that to be about right. Listening at 50% volume with occasional bouts of boosting it to 80% gave me 4 hours and 45 minutes, so I have no complaints about that.
Unfortunately, there is no quick-charge feature, so when their batteries are dead, it takes about an hour and a half to recharge them in the charging case fully.
The Earin A-3 Earphones have an IP52 rating, which means they are sweat, splash, and dust resistant. Inside each earbud is a customized 14.3mm dynamic driver that Earin says moves 20% more air than their competitors. Unlike Apple AirPods, the Earin A-3 Earphones don’t have a dangling “tail” or microphone stem; the microphones are built into the earbud.
Calls made while wearing them are very clear on your end, but results can vary for the person listening to you. Oddly enough, I called a friend while sitting in my office (using Wi-Fi calling assist on my phone), and they thought I sounded a bit “tinny,” although they could hear me clearly. Stepping outside, oddly enough, and getting on regular AT&T 4G LTE service during the same call made me sound much better and clearer to them. So that’s something to keep fiddling with, I suppose.
To insert them in your ear, you aim the center portion with EARIN printed on it vertically with the speaker aimed toward your ear canal, and then you kind-of angle them in a bit. The same earbud can be flipped so that it will work in either ear, and there is automatic left or right ear detection based on how the speaker is oriented; If the “N” is the first letter in the logo stack, the earbud is automatically detected as the left earbud, and if the “E” is the top letter, it is detected as the right earbud. Each earbud needs to be paired with your mobile device because they operate independently.
There are four microphones (two Knowles microphones and two voice pick-up units) in each earbud, and each earbud has passive noise and wind noise reduction algorithms built-in for clear calls. The earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 (utilizing a very low-power consuming Qualcomm chip) and offer an estimated operating distance of about 25 meters (82′); this range is excellent, and I have enjoyed that I can get up and walk around the house or even go on the back deck without having to bring my phone.
Because they operate independently, and each earbud has a proximity sensor to detect when it is in your ear, each earbud will pause audio when it is removed from your ear (with the other earbud continuing to play); the earbud will resume playing when it is reinserted in an ear. If you aren’t squeamish about sharing an earbud with someone, two people can each wear one in the same ear while listening to the same audio in mono mode.
When you first try on the Earin A-3 Earphones, it takes a minute to figure out how to properly set and angle each bud in your ear’s concha, but it becomes second nature very quickly. In my ears, the A-3 Earphones feel secure and very comfortable. I can whip my head around, and they do not move. I’ve only managed to knock one out when I brushed my hand up against my ear, but that could happen with any in-ear buds.
Each earbud is incredibly light, and I can wear them for hours on end comfortably; I would forget they were even in my ears if I didn’t have music playing. I can’t say that about earbuds that have foam or silicone tips, so for me, it is a huge wearability improvement.
With the Earin A-3 Earphones inserted, you hear the music pushed to the forefront, yet you can still hear everything going on around you. It’s a much different experience from wearing closed audio design earbuds, but that isn’t a negative. As I said, wearing open audio design earbuds is perfect when you are in a situation where you need to be aware of your surroundings.
The sound produced is clear and surprisingly excellent; the drivers have an impedance of 32 ohms at 1kHz, and they are great for everyday listening. I’ve used the A-3 Earphones while listening to a huge variety of music across genres, and I have no complaints at all — highs are crisp, the bass is solid, and the midrange isn’t muddy.
I wasn’t sure if I would need to crank the volume much more than usual due to their open design, but that hasn’t been the case. 30-50% is great inside, and if I am outside and need them to be louder, 80% does the trick. And again, I really like that I can hear what’s going on around me without having to say “huh?” when someone has resorted to waving at me to catch my attention.
As far as size, here are some of the smallest True Wireless Earphones I have on hand. I tried to only compare with others that don’t have stems.
You can see that the Earin A-3 Earphones truly are smaller than the others, and they don’t have a huge body that pokes out on each side of your ears. In fact, when you have them in (especially if you have hair), it’s tough for others to tell you’re wearing them unless they are specifically looking.
The one ding against the Earin A-3 Earphones that I can find is that their Earin app is only available in the Apple App Store; it’s still listed as coming soon for Google Play. Listed as Earin app features are the ability to get over-the-air firmware updates, being able to customize controls, and being able to monitor battery levels. Hopefully, an Android app will be coming soon, but the earphones don’t really suffer for not having it — except for not being updateable.
UPDATE 03/17/21: Earin has just released their Android app for the Earin A-3 Earphones. You can download it now from the Google Play store. I just did, and the first thing that happened was an update got pushed through. So now it is possible to update your earphones’ firmware, monitor battery levels, and customize the controls. Good news!
The Earin A-3 Earphones have surprised me. They are comfortable, sound great, and allow me to stay aware of what’s going on around me. Granted, these might not be the earbuds I would bring for a long flight since they don’t block out ambient noise or have ANC, but let’s be honest, I don’t have any trips booked right now. They are working great for what I need while I work from home or when I take a walk.
The Earin A-3 Earphones sell for $199.00 and are available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Tiny size; No foam or silicone jammed into the ear canal; Clear, rich audio; Easy controls; Comfortable, secure fit; Really nice-looking aluminum charging case; Great Bluetooth range of up to 82′
What Needs Improvement:
No Earin App for Android; No quick-charge; You may sound tinny on some calls