[Review] Funcl AI Wireless Earphones


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May 31, 2014
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Wireless earphones have become very essential accessory these days as you don't see smartphones with a headphone jack. Even those that do have a headphone jack may not have in their next iteration. If you haven't invested in wireless earphones or headphones, then the Funcl AI earphones is a great choice that provides great sound at a considerably lower price that you can't complain.

Great fit
Highly affordable and portable
Balanced sound
Good battery life
Direct access to Siri or Google Assitant

Connecting to multiple devices a pain
Inferior Pixel phone support
Touch control is delicate

Sleek design
I use different headphones for different occasions. When I am at home or traveling in flight, I use my Beats Studio Wireless and when I am on the go or in my office, I use my BeatsX for its portability and quick access. As soon as I saw the Funcl AI's design, it was evident it is built to be portable. So I switched my BeatsX to this new Funcl AI for this review to see if it can replace my BeatsX.

In the box, you get the earphone in a sleek box with its manuals, micro-USB charging cable and set of earbuds to pick the right choice for your ears. However, the packaging made it harder to find the cable and earbuds as they are well hidden below the top cover in the box. It took me a day (for real) to realize there is something inside. I wish Funcl had some visible cues to indicate there are more below the top cover. Given that most of the devices now use USB C, it was a pain for me to find a spare micro-USB cable as well so if you don't have one, you will need to use the one in the box provided you find where it is hidden in the box.

The earphones are secured in this sleek box which also acts as a charging case. Pretty cool. The earphones placeholders are also magnetic along with the charging ends in the earphones that they quickly get in without any difficulty.

Just like any other device, I had to charge before its first use. It took about an hour before it was fully charged. There is a handy indicator in the box to indicate if it is charging. Red indicates it is charging while a white light indicates it is fully charged.

Instant pairing
Initial pairing was a breeze. You first press and hold the touch button for few seconds until the indicator light in the earphone flashes white, either left or right, to put into the pairing mode and then connect from your preferred device. Most of the time it should connect both left and right pieces, but in case it doesn't, you can just press and hold the touch button for few seconds and it should pair right away.

Perfect fit
Now comes the exciting part. Putting the earphones on. For me, it is a perfect fit. The default earbuds it came with fits very well into my ears and they sit tight. I tried shaking my head hard and the earphones didn't move a bit. Love it. If you are worried they would fall off, you don't have to be.

Great sound
I will be honest. I did not expect good sound coming out of these earphones, mainly due to their price point but I was wrong. These earphones provide exceptional sound, equivalent and sometimes better (with good bass and noise reduction) than my BeatsX.

If you have a device, like Google Pixel, that supports aptX audio codec for low-latency audio, then you can enable it via their app. However, it took several attempts to enable the setting. With my Pixel 3XL, I could tell enabling the aptX audio made a significant difference and hence I would recommend doing this as soon as after the initial setup.

However, note that iPhones do not support this codec. That said, I found the sound quality when connected to my iPhone XS Max was significantly better without the aptX audio option as it was required for my Pixel 3XL.

The touch of a button
The left and right earpieces have touch buttons and provide assistant and media functions.

If you use Google Assistant or Siri or Cortana, then you will be happy to know that you can easily access them using these earphones. Just double tap on the left touch button and that will launch the respective assistant and you can talk to them right away.

To control the media, you can use the right touch button such as:
A single tap will pause the music
Double tap will skip to the next song

Great battery life
There isn't a lot to say other than that the battery life is quite amazing and you will love it. Func AI promises 24hrs of battery life with a full charge. My experience was closer - I charged

What's a device without issues
While I love how great these earphones are with respect to the aesthetic design, great fit, exceptional sound, it is plagued with few issues that could be a dealbreaker when choosing these earphones.

Connectivity issues
While it was super easy to set up initially, the problem comes when you want to connect to a different device. Most of the time when I switched from my Pixel 3XL to my iPhone XS Max, regardless of the pairing status (whether you paired earlier or not), I had to unpair and pair it every time I changed devices. This was quite frustrating as I do use multiple devices. It gets easier if one of the devices is completely switched off, but it is still not a pleasant experience.

While my iPhone XS Max has no issues or whatsoever connecting to the earphones (when it connects instantly), I get random connection issues with my Pixel 3XL.
- Sometimes, it connects as a 'phone call' mode where the music is connected. I had to disconnect and connect it again few times before it can connect as 'full mode' which includes phone and music.
- Volume controls fail randomly where the volume level is so high even when the phone volume level is down to 2. Here again, I had to disconnect and connect it again a few times to fix the issue.

In general, I also had issues pairing to a previously connected device as the steps to pair is very confusing. To be fair, if you have paired the earphones only to a single device, the earphones do connect to that one device instantly the moment you take it out of the box. However, this becomes an issue if the earphone is paired with multiple devices and that the last device it paired isn't available anymore.

Touch button issues
Touch buttons are great but they also come with usability issues. I think it is their placement and that they are so delicate they respond to light touch. Every time I pick up my earphones to wear, I accidentally touch the buttons and depending on which earphone, those accidental touches will respond with their respective function. For example, when I pick up my left earphone and accidentally touch the left button it switches to 'phone call' mode which is annoying. Once it goes into that mode, I have to disconnect and connect again which is also frustrating.

I just wish the touch buttons were not this delicate and respond to touch so easily.

Should you buy it
If you haven't invested in wireless headphones or earphones, then the Func AI earphones are of great value with a sleek design and exceptional sound quality. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it is plagued with few issues but I would still recommend these as the connection issues persist only if you pair it to multiple devices.

You can back up the earphones on their Indiegogo page for introductory prices for early adopters. It is worthwhile to mention that they also sell their Funcl W1 earphones along with this Funcl AI earphones. Following is the price options on the Indiegogo page.
Funcl W1: $19 USD
Funcl AI: $54 USD
Funcl W1 * 1PCS + Funcl AI * 1 PCS: $72 USD
Funcl W1 * 2PCS + Funcl AI * 2 PCS: $139 USD

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