Truly Wireless, Truly Affordable Headphones

11/16/2017 12:17 pm ET

When it comes to headphones, I’m not fancy. I only care about three things: Sound quality, price point, and wirelessness. The first two are self-explanatory, but the last one is a bit more complex. It’s no longer a question of “are they wireless?” but a question of “how wireless are they?”

That’s why I thought it was worth writing a review of crazybaby’s new Air (NANO). For $99, they may be the best bang for your buck for wireless headphones (although higher priced headphones will obviously offer a fuller sound spectrum).

Using my three-pronged criteria, I’ll explain why.

Test 1: Sound Quality

Sure, you want something that sounds nice, but how do you quantify “nice”? For me, there’s one sure-fire question to judge sound quality: am I listening to the music or am I feeling the music?

You know the difference I’m talking about. Do you feel the bass reverberating inside you or is it just this muffled, buzzy sound? Does the music feel like it has depth and range or does it sound like it’s coming through on a car radio from the early 1990’s?

Air (NANO) hit all my sound quality expectations, and I’m pretty sure it’s thanks to their carbon nanotube technology. I don’t pretend to know a lot about it, but it’s the first thing they advertise on their website, so I wanted to do a deeper dive. As I understand it, it’s a space-age material that lets you produce a crisp, raw sound quality from a super lightweight material.

In short: you get big headphones quality in the tiny earbud size.

Like when I test all headphones, I sampled Kendrick Lamar’s Backstreet Freestyle and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Can’t Stop. Both songs feature a good range of sound diversity and give me a general idea what the headphones are capable of. Both produced satisfactory results through Air (NANO).

One of my small complaints is that they aren’t noise canceling, they’re semi-noise canceling. That means you can jam out to your favorite song and still hear that car that’s about to hit you. It’s great for commuting, day-to-day activities, and sports (they come with wingtips). But if you’re looking to completely shut yourself off from the world, you’re better off investing in the bigger and heavier variety of headphones.

Test 2: Price Point

No matter how much money I have, I’m always looking for a deal. Especially when I’m taking a chance on something like headphones, I don’t want to break the bank.

So when I saw these bad boys were only $99, I was simultaneously skeptical and intrigued. Their predecessors, Air by crazybaby, sold for $169, about $10 more than Apple’s AirPods. But for $99, what am I losing out on?

Well, not sound quality. In terms of the acoustic, the Air (NANO) speakers sound identical to Air. So for me, that’s a no contest.

The tradeoff is in the material that makes up the headphones and the carrying case. The original Air is sleeker than Air (NANO). The feel is different. Air is a little bit heavier, which some people like better and some don’t. It’s all personal preference.

Air (NANO), on the other hand, does come in a variety of 10 different colors.

But again, if you’re anything like me, you don’t care so much about all that. You just want good quality for a low price. That’s why Air (NANO) wins for me.

Test 3: Wirelessness

The first two tests have existed since headphones were a thing, but the wirelessness test is unique because it keeps on evolving. How wireless can you go? Probably not much more wireless than this. Thanks to their CSR chip, the connection is super strong. Dropped connections are rare. Once you’re connected, you don’t have to think about it anymore (which I love).

The pods themselves have no wires. They fit comfortably in my big ears, thanks to a slew of included for earbud cover sizes. It would lead me to believe that they’re comfortable on small ears as well.

They charge in the case, which is also wireless. Right from the moment I took them out, they were ready to go (no preliminary charge time needed).

For me though, the most impressive feature was how fast they charged. Just five minutes in the charging case earned a charge of 1.5 hours. So, as long as you can sit out one song, you’re good to go for your entire commute to work (and, most likely, back home again) on a single, 5-minute charge.

And it checks all the other wirelessness boxes: good range, strong compatibility, and easy to set up.


My verdict? Air (NANO) fulfills my three requirements for a quality set of headphones and surpasses my expectations in most areas. You won’t be disappointed with these high-quality, quick-charging, wallet-saving earbuds.

If you’re looking to get your own pair, check out their Indiegogo page.

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