Ever since the removal of the headphone jack, people have been looking at wireless headphones as a solution to their audio listening dilemma. More recently, truly wireless headphones have surfaced with enormous interest by companies wanting to come out on top. Apple is without a doubt in first place right now with the convenience of the AirPods, but at a steep $159 price tag, not-so-glamorous design, and lack of features for Android, we continue our journey to find the perfect pair of truly wireless earbuds. Convenience and size are primary factors, but I believe there is one category that many competitors tend to lack on: sound quality. While I like to listen to podcasts and take phone calls as much as my co-workers, I would love to use the same earbuds to listen to music without having to wonder where the bass went. The Air NANO by Crazybaby checks a lot of the right boxes, along with the sound aspect. Let’s take a closer look.
One of the issues with some wireless earbuds is that they’re just too damn big—you can’t carry them in your pocket, and they look awkward in your ears. If the promise of truly wireless earbuds is to be just earbuds with zero cords, then why not have the same form factor? Thankfully, the Air NANO is exactly that, just two very tiny earbuds. This makes them easily fit your daily lifestyle because you can grab and pocket them in a flash. The one downside to the size is the fear of losing them, but they tend to stay in your ears easily plus you normally will carry them in the case.
A common problem with truly wireless earbuds is not only that you’re relying on Bluetooth for the connection, but that there are now two devices that need to stay connected. In this case, Crazybaby takes the ideal approach of having one earbud become a host for the other so that there is more reliability in the connection. Pairing the NANO is like with any other Bluetooth device, but you also have to make sure that the second earbud connects properly. After pairing is complete, you can forget about having to manage it the future; you take the NANO out of the case, press the button once, and start listening. Once you’re done, just put them back in the case to charge. In terms of listening, the connection is solid. The audio rarely cuts out, which is crucial when working out or focusing on multiple tasks.
For a daily pair of earbuds that you want to use for long periods of time, comfort level becomes a factor that you don’t want to overlook. The size of the NANO definitely helps in this category because you don’t really feel them in your ears. My only gripe here is the hard plastic material which can cause some discomfort when the NANO moves around a bit in your ear (the edges of the top ring aren’t rounded). Adjusting them tends to help, and there are numerous ear tips also to secure a more proper fit. Overall this is a hard area to judge objectively due to different ear shapes and sizes, but I definitely did not feel a constant discomfort while listening for 2-3 hours straight.
I already revered the sound quality of the Air NANO, but how good is it? It’s not exactly comparable to a high-quality pair of over-ear headphones, but it’s a lot better than the average wired or high-end truly wireless earbuds. The NANO features 998 custom-made Carbon Nanotube Diaphragms, and the in-ear angled form factor allows for a rich sound because you’re not dealing with audio bouncing or leaking out. I was also astonished by the bass quality, so much so that I had to turn it down on my equalizer as I’m more used to a neutral soundstage. I also tested the call quality, and the mic performed very well. This makes the Air NANO well balanced in terms of being able to use them for different situations.
With such a small form factor, you would think that the NANO would suffer significantly from battery life. While it’s not the highest number I’ve seen, 3 hours between charges is more than enough for an average listening session. The case gives you an extra 9 hours as well, with a 5-minute charge netting you 90 minutes of listening. I found these numbers to be close in my testing, but most importantly I think it is important to consider your workflow and how long you tend to use earbuds at the office or during a commute. If you’re like me, you will take breaks or become distracted by co-workers, during which you can pop the NANO back in the case for extra juice. A useful little feature is a sound effect which plays when the battery is running low, so you won’t be surprised when the audio suddenly shuts off.
Regarding charging the case, I do want to mention the port. It’s USB-C which I advocate for more companies to adopt so hats off to Crazybaby for that. However, I wasn’t able to use a fast charger like the official Google Pixel or MacBook Pro charger. It’d be nice if I could re-use my other chargers, but this seems to be an unfortunate risk we take in adopting USB-C during the early stages. I did reach out to Crazybaby about this, and they claimed to have been able to use other cables with no issues, so I hope it’s just my particular review unit. This really isn’t a major problem since you probably will charge these at night, so take my rant with a grain of salt.
The Air NANO perform quite well, making your daily workflow of listening to music, podcasts, or taking phone calls on commutes and work hours a breeze. The size makes them great to bring along anywhere, and you won’t receive any awkward stares from people wondering why you have mini hairdryers sticking out of your ears. I’m really not hating on the AirPods—they’re still the best pair of truly wireless earbuds to get if you’re looking for the best connectivity, are an iPhone user, and have $159 to drop. But what if you still want the same ease of use and connectivity at a cheaper price point and with great sound? The Crazybaby Air NANO are hard to beat at $99, and I would recommend them if you want to get into truly wireless without the compromise on portability and sound. You can pre-order a pair on crazybaby’s website in nine different colors, so you’re bound to find the style you like.