Malaysians are always on the lookout for quality bargains, and the same applies with the consumer electronics market. CMF heeds this call with its latest Buds Pro earbuds that come with an asking price of RM239.
At this price point, it is rare to find active noise cancellation (ANC) included, but the Nothing sub-brand delivers in this sector.
The CMF Buds Pro come in unique packaging that includes the earbuds, charging case, different ear tips, and a USB cable. The charging case takes a circular form, in options of dark grey, light grey, or orange.
Resembling a hockey puck or a portable make-up blusher, it looks cool but the matte finish and smooth texture make it prone to scratches. The hinge features a chrome finish, while an LED strip in front denotes the remaining charge and status when opened.
Right below the hinge is a USB-C port for charging, and opening it will reveal a button flush with the surface to kickstart the pairing process. Wireless charging isn’t supported, which is to be expected.
Taking on a stalk shape with a touch-sensitive outer surface, the earbuds are pretty generic in design. A couple of tiny vents that house the speakers are located at the top of each bud, while another two vents at the bottom hide the microphones from sight.
The Buds Pro features in-ear detection, marking another feature usually present in higher-end models.
With IP54 rating for dust and water resistance (earbuds only), gym rats and outdoor sports enthusiasts should not have any issue sweating it out.
Tiny and lightweight, the Buds Pro are comfortable enough when worn for long periods; and the soft silicone tips certainly make the listening experience a pleasant one.
User interface and app
The Buds Pro work with the Nothing X app for software controls. Available on Android and iOS, those who own Nothing handsets will be able to enjoy superior integration via the Bluetooth settings and notification toggles.
This is a slight advantage to have, but not one that keeps you out of the walled garden unlike the other ecosystems from different brands.
The Nothing X app offers all the required options for Buds Pro, allowing you to make EQ adjustments and customise the controls for each earbud. Interestingly enough, the buds only respond to tap and hold, and double and triple taps – no single-tap action is supported here, ruling out accidental single touches.
The app also lets you adjust the ANC modes with three levels of manual control (there is no automatic ANC, which is not unexpected for entry-level buds); and you can also disable the in-ear detection, with the option to enable a low-latency mode.
Knowing how easy it is to lose one or the other, the Find My Earbuds option makes it easy to hunt them down in a quiet spot – but good luck should you misplace them in a busy, public area!
Audio performance and quality
Featuring a sole dynamic Liquid Crystal Polymer and Polyurethane driver, the earbuds support SBC and AAC codecs via a Bluetooth 5.3 connection. They are also capable of adjusting bass frequencies on the fly depending on the type of audio content.
Bass comes on thick in most tracks, making it ideal for those who love to groove to genres like electronic and rock. However, the low mid-range could be improved, where one can experience a very obvious dip in the frequency response.
Nevertheless, the sound quality and performance of the Buds Pro are decent enough for the average listener. It is good enough to handle your games, Spotify playlist, and YouTube videos without any issues.
The ANC works great, and those who travel via public transport will find themselves isolated from their immediate environment. The transparency mode will not leave you looking aloof, as you will be able to hear all ambient noise without losing out on musical enjoyment.
Making calls with the Buds Pro is a hit-or-miss affair: the microphone performance is no laggard, but it doesn’t offer excellent clarity, either. Indeed, it is slightly muffled to the listener on the other end, even when you are in a quiet place.
While functional, the Buds Pro are not well suited to recording audio or holding long conversations.
Battery life and bottom line
The Buds Pro features a 55mAh battery in each earbud, with a touted battery life of 11 hours with ANC disabled and 6.5 hours when enabled.
So far, real-life usage mirrors these claims, with slightly over 11 hours of audio playback with ANC disabled and approximately six hours with noise cancellation turned on. These are excellent figures by any means, marking another win for CMF.
All in all, the CMF Buds Pro have their shortcomings and compromises, but there is very little to fault in terms of performance and comfort.
They may not be the snazziest-looking pair of earbuds in the market, but wearing them is like slipping on a pair of well-worn slippers, seasoned and shaped to fit the contours of your feet: you will hardly realise they are there.
Learn more about CMF Buds Pro here.
Edwin Kee dreamt of being a pro-gamer only to have circumstances mould him into a programmer in a past life. He has since moved on to write about travel, consumer electronics, and other topics. Read more articles by Edwin here.