Micromax has been making smartphones for a while, but only recently broke into the TWS market when it launched its In 2b (Review) smartphone. The company launched two pairs of true wireless earphones and I have with me the more expensive AirFunk 1 Pro, which is aimed at entry-level buyers. Priced at Rs. 2,499 it covers the basics in terms of audio quality and functionality, in a simple-looking package.
Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro design
The Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro is available in five colours: black, blue, white, yellow, and red. I received a white review unit, which has blue silicone ear tips (and two more pairs of tips in different sizes but the same colour are included in the package). Pulling the charging case out of the retail box, I noticed several scratch marks, as it wasn't wrapped in plastic. The case has a glossy finish which attracts a lot of fingerprints, dust and pocket lint. The edges of the cover of the case are quite sharp and can pinch your fingers when closing it.
However, the case is easy to open and shut with one hand. What I loved about the pebble-shaped case is how small it is overall, which makes it easy to fit into the watch pocket of a regular pair of jeans. There's a Type-C port at the bottom, and the case can stand upright with or without the earphones inside. There's a single LED on the case which shows the state of the battery when it's plugged into a charger.
Micromax's AirFunk 1 Pro's charging case had some scratches right out of the box
The IP44 rated earpieces have bulbous heads which contain the drivers and electronics, and short, flattened stems at the other end. They have the same glossy finish as the case, with the same build quality including some sharp edges, although they don't usually touch the wearer's ear lobes, so this isn't as much of a concern.
What annoyed me the most about the AirFunk 1 Pro's design is the way the earpieces need to be placed in the charging case. They wind up positioned quite deep within the narrow opening, and their glossy finish makes the tops quite difficult to grip when you need to pull them out. In most cases I had to pinch the silicone ear tips to pull them out.
Since there's no pairing button, pulling both earphones out of the case puts them into pairing mode. This (indicated by a blinking LED on each earpiece) remains active for about three minutes, provided they haven't already been paired with another device. To pair them with a new source, simply pull both earphones out of the case and disconnect from the previous device, post which they will automatically enter pairing mode. Indeed, a simple button on the case would have made the pairing process a lot easier.
Pulling the slippery earpieces out of the case can get annoying
Touch controls are simple. Double-tap the stem on either earpiece to pause or play music, and triple-tap the left or right one to skip to the previous or next track. Long-press on either earpiece to summon your paired phone's voice assistant. A single tap on the left or right earpiece will lower or increase the volume respectively. All these gestures worked surprisingly well for a low-cost pair of true wireless earphones. There's no companion app so there's no way to customise the touch controls.
Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro specifications and battery life
The Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro has a single 13mm dynamic driver in each earpiece. There's also a Qualcomm QCC3040 SoC in each one, which enables Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity. The earphones support the AAC, SBC, and Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth codecs. There's also IP44 dust and water resistance for the earphones.
Battery life is where the AirFunk 1 Pro earphones excel
Battery life on the Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro was impressive. With support for AAC, I had it connected to an iPhone most of the time and at times to an Android smartphone to test its support for aptX. I managed to get about 7 hours of usage from the earpieces, and the case can charge them fully about 4-5 times, bringing the total runtime to about 28-35 hours. That's close to what Micromax claims. Charging the earphones was also quite quick, taking a little over an hour to fully charge the case with earphones inside.
Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro performance
Listening to Honeypie by JAWNY, it's easy to tell that that soundstage is quite narrow and not as airy as it should be. Switching to something slower, such as Juice World's Righteous, it becomes clear that the emphasis is on the bass frequencies, which is not surprising for a budget pair of earphones. Even so, vocals come out clearly, and aren't repressed in any way. While bass frequencies come out nicely (although a bit muddy) the highs aren't all that crisp. Overall, for its price, there's little to complain about, but you can get a better, wider soundstage from the dual-driver setup on Xiaomi's Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro (Review) which costs Rs. 2,999.
Gaming with these earphones was not a problem, and they kept up with all the action during my Call of Duty: Mobile deathmatch tournaments. There was also little to no audio lag when watching movies. In terms of range, the Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro did a decent job. Audio quality was clear till up to about 8.5m from the source device, and I could even go a bit farther provided there were no obstacles. However, if I passed through a door or moved so that a wall was in between, audio literally got cut off, and the earphones struggled to reconnect.
The Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro earphones offer good environmental noise canceling
Voices on calls were not crystal clear, but I never got any complaints about my own voice from people on the other end. This was quite surprising given that most TWS earphones in this price range don't do such a good job. Environmental Noise Canceling (ENC) was good enough to suppress the noise around me, which included some hammering from a nearby construction site and a table fan behind me.
Audio performance aside, the AirFunk 1 Pro's earpieces are quite small and very light at just 4g each. I could have them in my ears all day long and almost forget that I was wearing them. The earphones also have an IP44 rating which indicates they are somewhat protected against dust and splashes, so it's fine to use them during a light drizzle or for sweaty workouts.
The Micromax AirFunk 1 Pro was pretty good at the things that matter when using a pair of TWS earphones. Audio quality is decent at best, which is reasonable given its price. Voice quality is okay, with good noise suppression. However, battery life really impressed me, for the earpieces themselves as well as the charging case. Touch controls for volume are also nice to have.
What disappointed me the most was the overall build quality, with sharp edges on the case and the earphones as well. Priced at Rs. 2,499 in India, the AirFunk 1 Pro does offer good value for someone looking for a decent pair of entry-level TWS earphones on a tight budget. If you are willing to spend a bit more, Xiaomi's Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro (Review) offer better sound and better build quality along with an easy pairing button.