Earin A-3 Review: The Tiniest, Most Amazing Earbuds Are Here

Back in 2014, Earin debuted its first, true wireless earbuds. That was only seven years ago, and yet, at the time, it had never been done before. The closest we were to small audio devices placed in each ear was viewing the Joaquin Phoenix movie Her. At the time, I investigated why independently wireless Bluetooth devices had become possible and poised to take over the earbuds market. Now, in 2021, AirPods rule the category that a few startups pioneered not too long ago. Earin hasn't given up, however. It's back with another category-defining product in the A-3. These are the tiniest, most universal earbuds I've ever tried, and they are brilliant.

Earin A-3 earbuds
Th Earin A-3 earbuds retail for $199. TYLER HAYES

Much like the standard AirPods, the A-3 are open ear, meaning they don't have silicon tips and don't create a seal. This should help them work more broadly across ear shapes and sizes. They manage to still sound loud, clear and semi-basslike. These earbuds don't have a designated left or right orientation, either. Put whatever one in whichever ear and they will figure out how to make the audio work in stereo.

I wasn't quite expecting to be blown away by new earbuds in 2021. I thought we had mostly seen and heard the bulk of improvements for a product like this. I was wrong.

True Wireless Earbuds Redefined

Imagine putting something the size of a pistachio in your ear. There's not much to hold on to in order to position it. That's likely one of the reasons the A-3 are shaped the way it is with a little surface area bent into a triangle, perfect for holding between a thumb and forefinger. The visible flat edge that sticks out of the ear is also the tap area for controls.

Earin A-3 earbuds
Despite their compact size, the A-3 get five hours of continuous listening per charge. TYLER HAYES

Putting in the A-3 earbuds the first time is a bit awkward. It takes a minute to figure out exactly how it fits and stays put. I inserted both earbuds and shook my head to confirm they were in well enough. The earbuds are light and rest in the ear canal nearly imperceptibly, just like AirPods but minus any stem hanging down. I almost didn't believe these were a real shipping product and not a manufacturer's prototype. The A-3 are a workable size, but it makes me wonder how much further earbuds can be optimized and condensed. Have we reached the peak?

Samsung's bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live earbuds are probably the closest to the A-3, but they are much less comfortable. The Galaxy Buds+ also relinquish any stem hanging down out of the ears, but they are much bulkier and use silicon tips to try to create a seal.

Earin's design gets a lot of the sound benefits of other tip-enabled earbuds but without ear fatigue. They are so invisible that more than a few times I forgot I was wearing the A-3, once almost resulting in my taking them into a swimming pool.

Earin A-3 earbuds
Earin A-3 earbuds don't have left or right ear designations but will automatically adjust the stereo sound. TYLER HAYES

The case doubles as a battery to recharge the earbuds. It's smaller than a lot of similar cases but much larger than it needs to be to simply hold the tiny earbuds. It boosts the earbuds five hours of battery time to a generous 30 hours of listening. The case does a fine job, but it feels a bit cheap—possibly even fragile. I tried not to baby it to see if it would break under normal conditions, but it didn't. There's something about the flipping mechanism of the lid, too, that I just didn't care for. It always snaps back quicker than I'm ready for it.

Earin A-3 Sound and Performance

The engineering feat of the A-3's physical size is only outdone by its ability to still sound big and boastful within those physical constraints.

There's no qualifier: The sound is great. Upon seeing the size, I was expecting them to be more trebly and tinny. And, if they had been, I would have been likely to forgive them more because of their size. But no forgiveness needs to be extended. There's adequate bass to make pop songs feel full and lush. Rock songs aren't all high hats or electric guitars. Hip hop songs retain their beats and rhythm just fine.

Earin A-3 earbuds
The A-3 earbuds aren't much larger in size than Apple's AirPods (front, right). TYLER HAYES

Whenever I'm unsure of the fullness of a song, I turn to Tep No's "Breathe, Be Happy." The song is just a tsunami of low-end frequencies that will engulf you with the right headphones or speaker. The A-3 are capable of reproducing the song's bass, as evidenced when using your fingers to pinch your ear canals closed around the earbuds. Some of the sound is certainly lost to the open ear nature, however. There's a trade-off here that the standard AirPods also have.

Whether it's Earin or another brand, I really enjoy open ear earbuds for a bulk of my listening because there's no hint of soreness after hours of it. I'm not a one-pair-of-earbuds kind of person, though, so I also don't need a single pair of earbuds to be everything, all the time. If I was only ever using one pair, I might be more compelled to focus on some that could block out noise better for use on airplanes or coffee shops.

I did try to use the Earin A-3 across multiple scenarios to see how they held up. I paired them to my Apple Watch and went running with just the two devices. The wireless earbuds stayed put much better than expected. They did get a little slick with sweat around the 5-mile mark, and I had to readjust them. I was pleasantly surprised with their exercise performance.

Using them as on-the-go earbuds for grocery shopping and running errands worked perfectly. I never needed to take them out because of their openness. I could hear comments from cashiers just fine. The double-tap gesture to play and pause worked as expected. The earbuds will autodetect when they're removed from your ear and pause what's playing if you prefer that method of engaging with people. I hesitated to take them out whenever I wasn't immediately putting them in the case, however, because I wasn't convinced that I wouldn't drop them, and never be able to find the tiny pieces again.

Earin A-3 earbuds
The A-3 case provides an additional 25 hours of battery life to the wireless earbuds. TYLER HAYES

At least half of the time I listen to podcasts and audiobooks when I'm not listening to music. Speaking voices were great with the A-3. Just know that open ear earbuds do leak sound, so listening past the 40 percent volume level will give others close to you a preview of your library selection. This isn't so much an issue as it is just an item to note.

Should You Buy Earin A-3?

I love what Earin has done with its A-3 wireless earbuds. It pushed the limits of how small they could go while still remaining manageable, and not becoming a parody of themselves. There's no Zoolander quote or GIF needed here.

It's remarkable that these are interchangeable between either ear and still able to deliver accurate stereo sound. Their battery life is tremendous. Music sounds better than expected. And best of all, because of their size, they can fit in any situation.

Their $199 retail price represents a little bit of a premium over similar offerings from other brands. As long as price isn't your sole purchase factor, the A-3 are a great choice and some of the most wonderful earbuds I've ever used.

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