Audiofly is a quiet achiever in the audio market. They don’t release dozens of products every year, they don’t mass market but what they do deliver is outstanding quality. The Perth-based company do their engineering and manufacturing on our own shores. They’ve delivered another product worth looking at and offering great value to the consumer market in the AFT2.
We’ve been very lucky to get our hands on a pair for the last few weeks trialling them in a variety of locations and situations to see just how well they go. There’s a lot of complexity to them, but very little physically. I found the case was pretty easy to just drop in my pocket on the way out the door for a day out.
The fit and comfort
The short answer is yes, they’re comfy and fit well. I specifically mention that because I’ve had tried in-ear equipment in the past that fit well, produce good sound but they’re not comfy. I’ve also had the situation when I’ve been on a treadmill or out locally where I’ve had to stop and retrieve earbuds that have fallen out due to poor fitting. The AFT2 has ticked all the boxes in terms of fit and comfort.
Each of the earbuds is relatively large in comparison to many others on the market, but this contributes to comfort. Rather than relying on a tight fit and putting weight onto your ear canal, the body of the earbud sits snugly in your ear to balance it.
The review unit we got was the “sand” colour which is almost flesh coloured which makes them easy for others to not see. This meant that a number of times people thought I was being rude and ignoring them, when in fact I simply didn’t hear them over my music. While these aren’t ANC, they do offer cVc noise cancelling which is far more focussed on call quality than eliminating surrounding noises from your listening. But if you’ve got a good fit, you’ll find they do isolate surrounding noise pretty effectively.
I’m perhaps a little surprised that they only come with two sizes of the rubberised inner earpieces, but this would cater to the majority of buyers. I was pretty happy with the default earpiece fit when I took them out of the box and got onto the testing.
The setup process and sound delivery
A company like Audiofly manufacture a lot of high-end, professional equipment so I had pretty high expectations of these and I wasn’t disappointed. Let’s take a quick look — because that’s all it needs — at the setup process. Once the AFT2 was fully charged, I pulled the earbuds out of the case, searched for them on my phone and paired them. It really was as easy at that and if you’re looking to connect them to a new device, re-pairing is just as easy. Now let’s get onto what counts, the sound…
I have a personal preference for over-ear headphones for comfort and audio quality. I’ve never heard in-ear offerings that can match the audio of over-ear so that’s an unfair comparison. Putting them side by side with the Edifier TWS5 and the Jaybird Vista, the AFT2 stand up well. These are far from the most expensive set of in-ear offerings around but really do deliver well on general sound delivery. With my personal, somewhat eclectic listening habits, I need headphones that deliver solid and broad sound across the spectrum.
The Audio Experience
What was immediately obvious when I first fired these up was the mids had plenty of power behind them. Vocals were really clean and listening to an acoustic track, there were no moments of disappointment where instruments became overpowering to the vocals. This is such a positive point because often the mids or bass can become the total focus, with the sacrifice of having to drive higher range sounds hard and losing clarity.
Ultimately I found the sound pretty good, but not brilliant although this can be tuned to your preference if you’ve got a decent EQ app. I feel like the sound not being better is in part due to the intrusion of external sound. Being fair though, these are under $200 and undoubtedly with a bit more time, I’m sure I could tune them a bit more with the EQ app I regularly use.
The audio in phone calls was great too, with a decent fit to the AFT2 I found that even in a relatively noisy environment I could hear well. Perhaps as important is the audio that people were getting from me and I asked several times: Zero complaints, in fact, a couple of people volunteered that the audio was particularly clear before I mentioned the review. That clarity is no doubt partly due to the cVc noise cancelling algorithm that’s working away in the background.
They’re not ANC but if you’ve got a good fit you’ll probably find that the noise around you is isolated pretty effectively. If you’re looking for something with kick-ass noise-cancelling for use in a noisy environment, at the gym, for travel or during your commute you should probably look elsewhere.
There’s a couple of different worlds here, the paper theory and the actual delivery I got in the real world. Don’t take that as a criticism because Audiofly has understated the amount of power they’ll give you. Obviously, they’ve tested at a set volume, probably about 50%, and gone until the battery was flat.
On paper, they quote up to 10 hours of playtime without charge and “2+” charges from the case totalling over 35 hours of playback. I found I was getting consistently 12 hours of playback time, often more. Coupled with the 2 charges you get from the case, I was seeing 40 hours or more which (although the difference is minor in terms of “time”) is nearly 15% longer than their documentation suggests but let’s take a closer look at the case for a second.
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t tend to carry a bag, but rather everything in your pockets the cylindrical nature of this case is not going to be great to carry daily. It’s just a bit too big and round, where others are somewhat flatter and could sit next to a wallet or keys without causing discomfort. It does carry more than 2 full charges though, so that’s a saving grace.
Finally, the USB-C charger is really quick which makes it very easy to get a top-up charge every couple of days at home or work, then know you’ve got your listening covered for some time.
Controls and other features
The touch controls are simple, but unfortunately at times too sensitive and a little inconsistent at times. The actual controls are:
- Single Touch on either ear triggers the play/pause
- Holding down the button: Right ear, volume up. Left ear, volume down
- Double tap: Right ear, next track. Left ear, previous track
They’re IPX-5 rated which is good from a day to day use perspective, but not the greatest offering on the market. To put it into perspective, where some can be worn in the shower or even swimming; these could be worn while exercising and sweating, or in the rain. They’re not waterproof, I’d call them resistant to daily use.
Would I buy them?
I know I’m spoiled for choice at times, but for the dollars ($199.00), and even $30 – $50 more, I’d be a lot happier to spend the money if they had ANC versus the cVc noise-cancelling and would happily pay for the feature. That’s not to say what has been delivered is a bad quality product though.
Straight out of the box, they sat comfortably in my ears and were easy to pair. They’ll stand up to the day to day rigours that you can throw at them including exercise and handle the weather as it comes.
There are a couple of minor drawbacks with the AFT2, but they are fairly minor and can mostly be overcome. With wireless in-ear sound, the decision to buy — outside of comfort — comes down to the sound and they’re pretty good but not remarkably so. Even with that in mind, I feel like they represent pretty good value at $199.99 online via the Audiofly website.