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In this review, I’ll take a closer look at the xFyro ARIA wireless headphones to see how they compare to Apple AirPods, Bose SoundSport Free, Jabra Elite Active 65t, and Jaybird Run. If you would like to learn more about wireless sports headphones, check out my complete round-up.
To fund the development of the ARIA ear-buds, xFyro launched a funding campaign on Indiegogo. xFyro’s goal is to build the next generation of wireless sports headphones that address some of the weaknesses other wireless headphones often suffer from, including:
After multiple delays and months of waiting, I finally received my review unit and could put them through a test. The initial set of headphones I received performed disappointingly, but after talking to customer service they sent me a second unit. The new headphones I received worked much better than the first one, which might have been defective.
|Bose SoundSport Free||(4/5)|
|Jabra Elite Active 65t||(4.5/5)|
|Model||ARIA||AirPods||SoundSport Free||Elite Active 65t||RUN|
|Water-resistance rating||IP67||✘︎||IPX4||IP56||Sweat & Water|
|Quick charging||15 minutes for 3 hours||15 minutes for 3 hours||15 minutes for 45 mins||15 minutes for 1.5 hours||5 minutes for 1 hour|
|Time for a full charge||2h||2h||2h||2h||2h|
|Voice assistant support||●||●||●||●||●|
|Microphone||Dual-beamforming||Dual-beamforming||Wideband-enabled||4 microphones with noise-cancellation||Omni-directional|
Large, 16 mm drivers for superior sound quality 8 hours of listening time 32 hours of total battery life A 15-minute charge gives you another 3 hours of listening time Bluetooth 5.0 for a reliable connection with lag-free audio IP67 water- and dust-resistance Dual-beamforming microphones Ambient noise cancellation Stereo calling Tap-enabled playback controls Automatic pairing when you take them out of the charging case Support for Siri and Google Assistant.xFyro
The audio quality of these headphones is good, but below what I’m used to from my AirPods or other premium headphones I had tested.
The xFyro ARIA are the first genuinely wireless headphones I have reviewed that claim to last 8-hours listening time. Competitive headphones usually tap out between four and five hours. During my testing, the ARIA dropped about 20% in battery charge every three hours while listening to music from my smartphone (iPhone XS).
In addition to the already impressive listening time, you can get up to 32 hours of battery life out of the headphones by recharging them on-the-go using the magnetic charging case.
The charging case xFyro bundles with the ARIA headphones can extend the life of the battery by three hours through a 15-minute charge. That’s on the same level as the Apple AirPods, which have been the quick-charger leader so far.
Together with the Jabra Elite Active 65t, the ARIA are among the first wireless headphones that feature Bluetooth 5.0 technology. In comparison to older Bluetooth technology, the chipset used in the ARIA should improve connection reliability, the maximum distance between the headphones and paired devices, as well as data security.
During my tests with the first (defective) unit I had received, I noticed the connection dropping out several times while streaming music. With the second unit, I didn’t experience any significant connectivity issues, so far.
By using the latest wireless technology, xFyro managed to significantly reduce the audio lag that’s common with devices that use older technology.
One of the benefits of that technology is that the playback controls on my Apple Watch are as responsive as they are with my Apple AirPods. So far, all other wireless headphones I have tested experienced a definite lag when changing the volume, for example.
As far as water resistance is concerned, xFyro decided to stick with the same IP67 rating the company already used for its previous model, the xFyro xS2.
IP67 means that the headphones are protected against dust (6) and water if you submerge them for less than 30 minutes at a depth of less than 1 meter (7). You should probably not take them into the shower because are not 100% waterproof and they may not withstand water jets.
To learn more about the different water- and dust-resistance ratings of wireless headphones, check out my previous review of the best workout headphones for exercise and running.
xFyro designed the ear-tips in a way to completely seal off the ear canal. As a result, the ARIA headphones effectively block ambient noise using what’s called passive noise cancellation. That’s different and less effective than active noise-cancellation that Bose uses for the Bose QuietComfort 35. But active noise cancellation requires extra battery juice and electronics, and as a result, you typically don’t find that feature in wire-free headphones.
xFyro claims that the microphone the company built into the ARIA headphones uses similar dual-beamforming technology that Apple has leveraged for the AirPods. That should result in improved speech quality and less background noise when making phone calls.
The major complaint I had with the first-generation of ARIA headphones was the miserable microphone quality. However, I’m glad to report that the second unit I received worked much better.
I still prefer using my AirPods over the ARIA when making phone calls. However, the microphone of the ARIA is very much usable, even if you are in a noisy environment.
Speaking of making calls, the ARIA support stereo calling. That means you can use both earbuds simultaneously when making phone calls. The only other headphones that support stereo calling are Apple’s AirPods. Every other brand supports mono calling, which means you’ll only hear audio in one ear when making phone calls.
Adding playback controls to tiny wireless earbuds is challenging and makes water-proofing them more difficult. Apple was the first company introducing tap controls instead of physical buttons.
Initially, xFyro had planned to follow suit by using only touch sensors to enable playback controls on the ARIA. However, the review unit I received uses regular buttons for playback control.
The original button layout of the xFyro ARIA was confusing, in my opinion – see below.
Right earbud controls:
Left earbud controls:
For the second unit I received, xFyro changed the button layout as shown below. Despite the revamped controls, the updated review unit I received had an old manual that didn’t reflect the actual control layout. If that also happened to you, here is a PDF with the correct layout.
Right earbud controls:
Left earbud controls:
Apple’s AirPods are, in comparison, more limited and only allow you to assign a single control to each AirPod. For everything else, you have to use Siri, which won’t work if you are offline.
The term automatic pairing is a bit misleading, in my opinion, because the initial pairing of the headphones to your device doesn’t happen automatically. Only Apple’s AirPods are capable of doing that via their tight integration into iOS.
The xFyro ARIA, Jabra Elite Active 65t, and Jaybird RUN on the other hand automatically connect and disconnect when you take them out or put them back into their charging case. Still, that’s an incredibly convenient feature because it means that you won’t have to turn them on and off manually.
The only downside of these earbuds is that they don’t support multi-point connections. So if you want to pair them with multiple devices, you have to switch them into pairing mode each time you want to change the connection.
Much like other earphones, the ARIA provide full support for summoning Siri or the Google Assistant.
The xFyro wireless earphones are currently available for pre-order via Indiegogo at a reduced price of $109, which is much cheaper than any of its competitors. Once the funding campaign on Indiegogo has ended, xFyro plans to sell them for $200, which puts them above its competitors.
Frankly, I don’t think these headphones are worth $200, so we shall see if xFyro is planning on following through with that price increase.
Yes, the ARIA work with pretty much all Bluetooth-enabled devices, including iPhone, Android, and various tablets.
No, the ARIA have rubber ear tips of various sizes. So you can pick the size that best fits your ear canal.
I’m not an audiophile, but I like the sound of these earbuds. It’s lacking some bass and the sound is not very loud. That makes it sometimes hard to hear vocals if you are in a noisy environment, such as an airport.
I was genuinely excited to get my hands on the xFyro ARIA headphones because, on paper, they looked better than any other wireless sports headphones on the market.
After having had a chance to test xFyro’s headphones, I think that the company delivered on most of its promises. While the sound of these true wireless earbuds is reasonable, and I like the magnetic charging case, battery life, and comfort, the build quality of the quality of materials xFyro used is slightly below of what I expected.
Based on all the feedback I have received from others and my experience with the first review unit, it appears as if xFyro had some initial manufacturing issues that resulted in defective units being released.
Those problems seem to be fixed now, and I appreciate how quickly the company has responded to those complaints. Overall, I consider the xFyro ARIA solid headphones that are worth a hundred bucks and that have some room for improvement.
Did you order the xFyro ARIA? If so, let me know if you enjoy them, and if you think they are worth the money!
I was born and raised in Austria. I speak German, English, and Spanish. Since moving to the U.S., I have lived and worked in the greater Atlanta area. In my twenties, I was a professional 100m sprinter. These days I do mostly CrossFit. I'm a technologist and Apple fan. I love science and don't believe anything unless there is proof. I follow a Ketogenic Paleo diet and intermittently fast every day. I'm married and have two trilingual kids. My goal with this blog is to share what I learn so that you can spend time on something else. Check out my latest Diet, Fitness, and Technology articles.
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