Mifo S ANC review: Tiny and very comfortable, these sport earbuds drop the ball on features
When wireless earbuds fit right, it’s hard to part with them. Ask anyone about priorities when it comes to their earbuds and the odds are good that a comfortable, secure fit will be close to the top of their list. Mifo got that memo and designed its Mifo S ANC to fit like a glove for pretty much anyone who decides to wear them.
They’re small and nimble, yet packed tight enough to include a nice set of features like ANC and transparency. It’s a good mix to start things off, but can these earbuds do more than just fit in? We refrained from taking them off to find out.
What’s in the box
Mifo includes four pairs of ear tips in the box, ranging from small to extra large. You get a nice flat USB-C charging cable, along with a manual, which you will need to read carefully to learn all the controls available. My black review unit didn’t match the image depicted on the packaging, which was of the green and black variant emblazoned with text all over both the case and earbuds. There are also blue, green, and white variants, rounding out the total of five options.
Mifo calls it a “horn-shaped design”, which is not altogether different from what a wing is in other wireless earbuds. The difference is that most of those come with silicone wings you can remove or swap out for another size. The Mifo S ANC were crafted with the horn (or wing) as part of the chassis. Those horns flow well into the rest of the earbuds, playing a role in how they anchor into the inner ear.
A rigid, unmoving horn, along with the feathery weight, only adds to the stability and natural comfort.
Such a design choice would potentially work against the Mifo S ANC if they were bigger, but their more diminutive size makes them feel like they just slot in. A rigid, unmoving horn, along with the feathery weight, only adds to the stability and natural comfort. I know it’s a subjective point, but if you have smaller ears and feel betrayed by other pairs, these may be closer to what you’ve been looking for. Even if you consider your ears “bigger,” you could still get the same feeling using the ear tip that fits best. I know I did.
“Sport and outdo” is a mantra Mifo communicates through these earbuds, signifying that they’re ready to go in active situations. The IP67 rating certainly gives them that, letting you dunk them down to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. If you were looking for workout — or especially — running earbuds that won’t fall out, the S ANC deliver that. I rode my bike and wore them in other active situations, coming away impressed at how neatly they stayed in.
The outer shell sporting the Sport and Outdo logo is where you’ll find the touch controls. Taping once on the left lowers the volume, whereas the right raises it. Triple-tap on the left to repeat a track, and on the right to skip one. Double-tap either side to play/pause (or answer/end calls). Hold for one second on either side to cycle through transparency, mild ANC, and strong ANC. Tap five times to toggle low latency mode on/off.
You can’t adjust these because Mifo doesn’t have a dedicated app to support these earbuds. That also means you can’t fully turn them off if you don’t want them. I found mixed results, especially early on when I had to sort of “feel” for the touch surface so as to avoid accidentally lowering or raising the volume. That smaller surface can be too sensitive in some cases, and not enough in others. I also found no way to access my phone’s voice assistant, and even the manual doesn’t mention it.
Another missing feature that has become fairly standard on earbuds at this price is wear sensors, so there’s no way to auto-pause your tunes when you remove an earbud (or resume when you replace it).
One thing that is slick is the case. Mifo put the S ANC earbuds in a nice clamshell case that closes with a satisfying click and opens through the button on the front to release the latch. That button also serves another purpose, which is to factory reset the buds when you press it three times in succession.
Mifo is a little cryptic on specs and details, but what is obvious is that it tuned the S ANC to a more neutral sound signature. You will get some decent bass out of them, especially when you use the right ear tips to seal it in, though the highs get some of the preferential treatment. Mids aren’t bad, and I liked how they came through with some of the classic rock tunes I played.
There is good clarity to the sound, so I can’t knock what the default profile provides too much. If you like various genres, you may find they handle them with relative equality. Not there aren’t some inconsistencies, like how male vocals on a rock track resonate differently than on an R&B or jazz one.
You will notice that the difference between the “mild” and “strong” ANC modes isn’t all that striking.
Things also start to get challenging when you add variables to a given situation. For example, in a louder gym or walking with street noise, you will notice that the difference between the “mild” and “strong” ANC modes isn’t all that striking. I noticed better blockage for low-frequency sounds when I toggled strong on, but otherwise, it wasn’t always easy to tell. That’s why a really good seal is crucial, as the passive isolation helps to at least drown some of that ambient sound while the ANC is doing its thing.
I do think it’s worth trying these earbuds with foam tips to see if you can block out even more since they deform to create an even tighter seal. I didn’t have any that fit the anchors on these earbuds, so couldn’t test it out to gauge any contrasts.
Transparency mode is fine for talking to someone or hearing your surroundings while out on a run in a concrete jungle, though there’s nothing too remarkable about it.
You only get AAC and SBC codecs, so no aptX, unfortunately. The low latency mode is pretty good when it comes time to watch a movie or show, or to start a gaming session. I didn’t notice much of a problem at all with syncing issues once I engaged it.
Mifo plays up the six-mic array between the two earbuds, and they do an adequate job with phone calls. While I didn’t notice anything off-putting, and callers didn’t complain or generally make me repeat myself, I also didn’t find them to be as good as others when talking in more crowded situations. The tighter fit made it easier for me to hear the caller, but they did ask me to raise my voice to overpower the ambient noise.
While Mifo doesn’t list this feature, you can use one bud at a time. I found success doing it by taking both out to connect, and then putting the one I didn’t want back into the case. The makeshift mono mode worked fine for me.
Mifo rates battery life at up to seven hours per charge. It doesn’t say explicitly, but that’s without ANC. Leave it on, and you’re at six hours. Raise the volume, which you will probably have to do regularly, and you’re now closer to five hours or less. It’s a sliding scale you may not care about if you’re thinking of these more as workout or running earbuds, but if they’re going to be your “everything” earbuds, keep it in mind.
The case will give you another three charges, though it doesn’t support wireless charging. You’ll need to use the USB-C cable for that. I did like the three LEDs inside the case when opening it, as they gave me an indication of the battery status. Basically, each light represents 30-33% of the case’s total charge, so you know where you stand.