It’s about time I shifted my mindset from bricks and mortar
to today: why not buy your earbuds from overseas? Especially if shipping is
free? That’s certainly what it is for the xFyro Aria True Wireless Earbuds.
That of course involves buying online. In this case, that means from the xFyro website here. When I checked the website yesterday, they were listed for $US150, a forty per cent discount on normal price. When I checked today, they were shown for $AUD214 (again, a forty per cent discount). I’m not sure why it didn’t recognise I was from Australia yesterday. I’ll leave the US price in the box because I imagine the Aussie dollar price will vary according to the exchange rate. (Indeed, I checked again while doing my final proof read, and they were $AUD215.)
In most ways the xFyro Aria buds are standard for the breed.
Two compact buds with built-in batteries connected with each other wirelessly,
while one (the right one) connects with the source device. A small snap-case
with a built-in battery charges up the buds. It in turn is charged via a
Micro-B USB socket. The buds are held in place in one’s ears by means of
friction with the silicon tips and wings which lock into the whorls of one’s
ears. Three sizes of tips are provided, along with two sizes of wings.
Music is delivered, it seems, via the basic Bluetooth stereo audio codec, SBC. There’s no talk of AAC (preferred for iOS devices) or aptX or higher. There’s one button on each bud to handle playing and pausing, answering calls and hanging up, skipping tracks forwards and backwards and invoking Siri or Google Assistant. You can even put a current call on hold and answer an incoming one and switch between them.
But there are differences which move the XFyro Aria buds
beyond the standard:
The wireless connection uses Bluetooth 5.0.
The buds have volume controls.
They are IP67 rated, which means dustproof and
good for (gentle) immersion in water for up to half an hour at up to one metre.
They are rated at up to eight hours play time
per charge, with three recharges available from the case.
The buds can be fast charged too, getting three hours worth
of playback from a 15-minute lodging in the case.
The buds are suitably light in weight. The right hand one weighs 4.9 grams according to my scales, as does the left hand one. The case, sans buds, weighs 40.8 grams. It’s circular and quite compact, measuring 56mm in diameter and 32mm deep.
The case has no exterior lights or indicators. Open it up
and there are four blue LEDs indicating charge status of the case. There’s also
– this too is unusual – a push button for power. You can switch it off so that
the case will hold the buds without charging them.
The buds snap into place, drawn in by magnets and aligned by
the sculpted cradle so that their gold-plated contacts join those on the case.
They are easily taken out.
I found the largest of the three tip sizes worked best in my
ears, providing the best seal. The wings added an excellent lock. I engaged in
some rather vigorous exercise over a period of an hour, and not once did I feel
the need to reseat them. They were completely secure.
As usual I listened to a range of material, from podcasts to
music, from classical to rock to hip-hop.
The first impression – one that was maintained throughout – was that the XFyro Aria earbuds produced a good, even and natural-sounding tonal balance. That always gets a set of earbuds to 70% out of 100% on my sound score, since so many lean towards a harsh treble. Possibly they held the treble back just a little more than optimal, but coherence of the content didn’t seem to suffer as a result. In this case, a touch too little is better than too much.
At the bass end, there was a good solid performance down to
encompassing the kick drums. That meant generally enjoyable music.
Super high fidelity listening? No. But good, solid hifi
listening? Yes. Also, importantly, the tips provided decent isolation with a
good seal, and the volume went louder than was comfortable when required, while
remaining free of distortion.
The handsfree functions worked well. People with whom I
spoke on the phone found me clear enough.
Operationally there were few wrinkles. Both buttons were
fairly light, so they could be pressed confidently and effectively without
placing undue stress on my ears. Those few wrinkles mostly concerned the volume.
At one point some content started which was way too loud. You reduce the volume
by pressing the button on the left bud. My hand darted to the button and
stabbed it a few times, only to find that doing that invoked Google Assistant.
You have to pause between presses.
Meanwhile, pausing playback is not achieved by using the normal single press on the right-hand button, but by double-pressing it. That took a bit of getting used to, so I frequently found myself turning up the level a notch when what I really meant to do was pause playback. If these become your only or main buds, you’ll soon acclimatise yourself to that slightly different functionality. And it’s a worthwhile trade-off to get the benefit of having volume control in the buds.
I also would have liked some feedback on the battery level.
The buds use a female voice to tell when they’re connecting and so on, but as
the battery depletes, they give no indication of the charge status. Nor did my
phone’s Bluetooth connection display.
There was no way I could get eight hours of use out of them.
Closer to four was my experience before an insistent beeping tone and voice
telling me to charge them started up. That continued for a few minutes before
they shut down.
Amongst the advantages of Bluetooth 5.0 is the incorporation
of LE – Low Energy – into the core capabilities along with and longer range. Of
course, Bluetooth frequencies in the 2.4GHz band go only where they’ll go –
typically, not through water – and LE typically means less power in them. So,
when I put my phone (Huawei P30 Pro, which supports Bluetooth 5.0) on my usual
front yard rock and went for a walk, I easily got close to 50 metres away
without any loss of signal. Well, until I turned my head. Once my head was in
the signal path, the sound stopped. No doubt to the bemusement of my
neighbours, I spent a while taking a step here, a step there, walking
backwards, turning my head, to work out the range.
It turned out to be quite reliable beyond twenty-five
metres, except when I had my head just so, thereby blocking the signal.
I had to get back to just on ten metres to keep the connection, regardless of
Throughout normal use, with the phone in my pocket, the
connection was completely solid. Pressing buttons often involved a moment of
the sound losing sync briefly between the buds, but it would always come back
within a second or two.
The xFyro Aria earbuds are fine units, practical and respectable
sounding. If you don’t mind buying from overseas, they represent very good
value for money.