Funcl W1 and AI truly wireless earphones are a steal

Posted:
in General Discussion
We can't count how many truly wireless earbuds we've seen come across our desk, but the latest W1 and AI from Funcl are truly impressive considering their sub $20 and $50 price tags.
Funcl AI truly wireless earbuds
Funcl AI truly wireless earbuds


Launching on Indiegogo, the Funcl (pronounced like a combination of "fun" and "uncle") W1 and AI are two pairs of truly wireless earbuds that prove how far we've come in the last few years when it comes to the development of wireless headphones.

We tried out both sets, with the W1 being the cheaper of the two, and were very impressed with what was offered in such an affordable package.

Funcl AI and W1 truly wireless earbuds
Funcl AI and W1 truly wireless earbuds


Both include charging carrying cases and feature automatic connections when removed from the cases.

Funcl W1 truly wireless earbuds
Funcl W1 truly wireless earbuds


The W1, which came in a white charging snap case, a micro USB cord and a few sizes of silicone ear tips has Bluetooth 5, 4.5 hours of battery in a single use with three additional charges provided by the case (18 hours total runtime), AAC support and touch controls for you music or answering calls.

For 20 bucks, that is solid. Audio quality was more than passable, though of course we aren't comparing these to Bose or Master & Dynamic.

Funcl AI truly wireless earbuds
Funcl AI truly wireless earbuds


Looking at the "expensive" model, the AI, there are even more benefits such as support for AptX -- though Apple users don't get to take advantage of the codec -- longer battery life with 6 hours in the buds and three more charges in the case (24 hours total), lower 60ms latency (perfect for gaming), CVC noise cancellation and a virtual assistant. The AI sport a design more akin to the AirPods, sticking down a bit in each ear.

Those low prices come with plenty of trade-offs to consider, but many will overlook them for the price. First thing we noticed was the less than stellar build quality of the cases. They feel fine, but certainly don't have the satisfying snap found with the AirPods. Rather, it feels quite cheap.

They also charge over micro USB rather than the emerging USB-C. One thing we noticed that was just odd is that on the AI model, the earbuds are actually swapped in the case. The right earbud is positioned to the left and the left bud is position to the right. Again not a deal breaker, but an oddity.

Both the W1 and AI are available now on Indiegogo with fulfillment expected to start in December. The W1 will run $99 after the campaign or $19 during. The AI will run $159, or $54 during the campaign. AppleInsider readers, though, can pick up a pair for only $49 if you are one of the first 100.

Remember, this is a crowdfunding campaign and you are helping this product get to market. This means there are some risks involved in backing the product and no guarantee, but as we've got our hands on working production models chances are good you will get what you back.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    How is the voice pickup? Can you use either of them for voice calls reasonably?

    Will you guys ever try to get bluetooth headsets working with Macs (in/out, as on a phone call), and report on the results?
    aston441watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,415member
    I'm a little surprised you didn't compare the sound to the AirPods, though I think I know why -- they probably don't compare too favourably. Also lacking here was any sort of range testing -- yes, BT 5 is great, but without the W1 chip these are likely to also fail that test. The comments on the audio quality are incredibly vague as well; what does "passable" mean to you? Tinny? Muted? Dull? Mediocre? Would like to have heard more about the "virtual assistant" in the more expensive ones, since it is pointedly not Siri. What's the privacy policy on that?

    Finally, because the article doesn't mention this anywhere near strongly enough (and buries it at the very end), the real price of these (should they actually come to market) are around the price of most bad earbud-type phones (for the cheaper model) and very close to the price of the almost-certainly vastly-superior AirPods (for the more expensive model). Certainly the temporary (and insane) price cut for backers is attractive -- the sort of thing you might throw their way just for the lulz and if you want to support the makers -- but this sounds like something that will end up in a drawer for most iPhone users, and it's market price is too high for most Android users.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    I really don’t like indiegogo, got burn a few times. They offer no protection for the backers.

    I rather pay more than lost 100% of the money.
    mwhitewatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    viclauyyc said:
    I really don’t like indiegogo, got burn a few times. They offer no protection for the backers.

    I rather pay more than lost 100% of the money.
    I agree never again on Indiegogo I gave my daughter the money for the Slice Charger she did it and we never received the charger so then I ordered the charger after the Kickstarter paid the extra 20 for express shipping she received it but it doesn't charge fast only 20% over night and there is nothing I can do about it.
    By the way it was here that I read about the charger and how great it was the editor needs to contact Hard Cider Labs and let them know they are not happy with the service their readers get......
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    I wonder if Apple will have a problem with them using "W1" since it could be seen as implying the same, seamless connectivity as AirPods and various Beats headphones and therefore be confusing to the customer.
    edited November 2018 gutengelpscooter63MisterKitMark Kchasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Looking at the "expensive" model, the AI, there are even more benefits such as support for AptX -- though Apple users don't get to take advantage of the codec

    iOS: aptX not supported
    macOS: aptX supported

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/08/31/mac-how-to-force-aptx-aac-on-your-supported-bluetooth-headphones/
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    This is so misleading using W1 as a name for wireless headphones. I wonder how long will take Apple to send the cease and desist letter.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    How is the voice pickup? Can you use either of them for voice calls reasonably?

    Will you guys ever try to get bluetooth headsets working with Macs (in/out, as on a phone call), and report on the results?
    I'm wondering the same exact thing. I use my iPhone for work calls and need something wireless that does not pick up too much background noise, but can actually be used for phone calls. Many wireless earphones fail that last test. 
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    You are misleading people by listing the promotional price as the price. The real price is what they will normally be — $99 and $159.
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    tylersdad said:
    How is the voice pickup? Can you use either of them for voice calls reasonably?

    Will you guys ever try to get bluetooth headsets working with Macs (in/out, as on a phone call), and report on the results?
    I'm wondering the same exact thing. I use my iPhone for work calls and need something wireless that does not pick up too much background noise, but can actually be used for phone calls. Many wireless earphones fail that last test. 
    Agreed, most of the BT sets people use sound like crap. People tell me the APs sound completely normal.
    tylersdadwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 232member, editor
    chasm said:
    I'm a little surprised you didn't compare the sound to the AirPods, though I think I know why -- they probably don't compare too favourably. Also lacking here was any sort of range testing -- yes, BT 5 is great, but without the W1 chip these are likely to also fail that test. The comments on the audio quality are incredibly vague as well; what does "passable" mean to you? Tinny? Muted? Dull? Mediocre? Would like to have heard more about the "virtual assistant" in the more expensive ones, since it is pointedly not Siri. What's the privacy policy on that?

    Finally, because the article doesn't mention this anywhere near strongly enough (and buries it at the very end), the real price of these (should they actually come to market) are around the price of most bad earbud-type phones (for the cheaper model) and very close to the price of the almost-certainly vastly-superior AirPods (for the more expensive model). Certainly the temporary (and insane) price cut for backers is attractive -- the sort of thing you might throw their way just for the lulz and if you want to support the makers -- but this sounds like something that will end up in a drawer for most iPhone users, and it's market price is too high for most Android users.
    I totally agree that at retail price, go for AirPods. But for $20/$50 bucks they are great. No reason for them to end up in a drawer. I didn’t go much into detail on audio quality because I find it a but unnecessary on cheap earbuds like this. They sound perfectly adequate. Nothing amazing, but not bad. Decent bass, but in reality lack in all areas compared to other big-name headphones at that $150+ price point. 
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 232member, editor
    boodle said:
    Looking at the "expensive" model, the AI, there are even more benefits such as support for AptX -- though Apple users don't get to take advantage of the codec

    iOS: aptX not supported
    macOS: aptX supported

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/08/31/mac-how-to-force-aptx-aac-on-your-supported-bluetooth-headphones/
    This is true, I guess I consider these more portable, rather than for the Mac. But they will work there just as good and yes will support AptX.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Andrew_OSUAndrew_OSU Posts: 232member, editor

    You are misleading people by listing the promotional price as the price. The real price is what they will normally be — $99 and $159.
    Right now, at the time of publication, these can be bought for those pre-order prices. That isn’t misleading and we put the full retail prices right at the bottom where we link to the campaign. 
    Soli
  • Reply 14 of 19
    boodle said:
    Looking at the "expensive" model, the AI, there are even more benefits such as support for AptX -- though Apple users don't get to take advantage of the codec

    iOS: aptX not supported
    macOS: aptX supported

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/08/31/mac-how-to-force-aptx-aac-on-your-supported-bluetooth-headphones/
    This is true, I guess I consider these more portable, rather than for the Mac. But they will work there just as good and yes will support AptX.
    Oh really? Do tell. Did you *actually* use them on a Mac? To talk and listen at the same time, like a phone call or FaceTime? I have yet to see a bluetooth device do that on a Mac, and I've been asking for a while. (And for those who've seen my previous comments: The "Audio MIDI Setup" tool did not help.)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    Daoud236Daoud236 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    If I support the campaign and purchase a pair on Indiegogo, will I be guaranteed my purchase? The campaign is already will above their desired goal.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    I thought W1 meant it had W1 chip. Very misleading! Hope Apple makes them change that.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    What is the distance these will work away from your phone? BT 5.0 is supposed to triple the distance.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    chasm said:
    I'm a little surprised you didn't compare the sound to the AirPods, though I think I know why -- they probably don't compare too favourably. Also lacking here was any sort of range testing -- yes, BT 5 is great, but without the W1 chip these are likely to also fail that test. The comments on the audio quality are incredibly vague as well; what does "passable" mean to you? Tinny? Muted? Dull? Mediocre? Would like to have heard more about the "virtual assistant" in the more expensive ones, since it is pointedly not Siri. What's the privacy policy on that?

    Finally, because the article doesn't mention this anywhere near strongly enough (and buries it at the very end), the real price of these (should they actually come to market) are around the price of most bad earbud-type phones (for the cheaper model) and very close to the price of the almost-certainly vastly-superior AirPods (for the more expensive model). Certainly the temporary (and insane) price cut for backers is attractive -- the sort of thing you might throw their way just for the lulz and if you want to support the makers -- but this sounds like something that will end up in a drawer for most iPhone users, and it's market price is too high for most Android users.
    Hello, I can actually answer some of these questions for you.  While I am not what most people might call an audiophile, I'm a trained singer and have pretty sensitive hearing.  I received a pair of each model a few days ago.  I have mostly been using the W1s and find them to be quite good for listening to music and watching movies from Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes. In fact, I am fairly certain that there have been no problems with syncing of audio to video.

    As for potential distance issues, I put them in earlier this afternoon to connect to my computer (which I unfortunately have not been able to do yet), and I started hearing music from my own collection.  After turning off bluetooth on my iPhone and iPad, I realized that it was playing from my downstairs Apple TV4K while I was upstairs, and it sounded great.  I'm still getting used to the touch controls and wish the instructions were in a bigger font because I can barely see them even with my glasses on.

    I have spent some time with the AIs but not enough to give any real detailed feedback yet. I will say that they sound almost as good as my Bose over ear Bluetooth headphones, and every bit as good as my AirPods and Beats X, and actually stay in my ears when I move around.  Also, have not tried Siri or phone on either pair. While I am not thrilled with Funcl as a company because their customer support is absolutely awful, and it took 7 weeks from the time I got my tracking number, to the day I got the buds, I am very happy with these so far.  Hope this helps.
    edited January 13
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Indiegogo lured me into purchasing a pair of earbuds which had all the right speaker specs to be better at audio fidelity than the AirPods. I've had these Crazybaby "Air buds" for a little over a year and from day 1 they did not arrive working correctly for me even after following the setup/pairing instructions word for word.

    I've raised a number of Support tickets but no one at CrazyBaby has had the courtesy to contact me back with either a solution, promise of a new pair  or an RMA so I can return the faulty ones or refund.

    Buyer Beware.


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