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Huawei FreeBuds 3 Review: Better, More Affordable ANC Wireless Buds


Get these over Apple’s

True Wireless buds, like the one that Apple has popularized, is fast becoming a common sight on people’s ears, with good reason. Huawei is trying to put its own spin on wireless cans, stuffing AI-capabilities, smart active noise cancellation, as well as a comfortable fit into their own iteration, resulting in the FreeBuds 3. While Huawei’s offering is a little on the nose as far as looks go compared to Apple’s offering, they’re much better to use and have a more palatable price point.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Good sound quality for open-fit cans
  • Relatively more affordable than what Apple makes

Cons:

  • Looks too much like Apple AirPods
  • Advanced controls can only be used by phones that have EMUI 10

Unashamedly Apple

Huawei isn’t afraid of taking a LOT of inspiration from their Cupertino-based rival when it comes to the design of the FreeBuds 3. Like, it’s incredibly difficult to tell Airpods against the FreeBuds 3 from afar.

Just like their Apple counterparts, Huawei’s FreeBuds 3 uses an open-ear design, which means it doesn’t fit snugly into your ears when you’re wearing them.

The biggest reason why’d you’d want that particular design is comfort – we’ve worn the FreeBuds 3 for hours on a time and it’s no exaggeration to say that we’ve forgotten that we were wearing it more often than not.

Huawei promises that the FreeBuds 3 won’t fall out of your ears when you’re working out, but we’ve yet to test that – we did test the IPX4 certification of the wireless buds by sweating our butts off when we had to walk five blocks in 100% humidity the other day.

The Freebuds 3 charge off of a circular charging case with an LED indicator for the battery’s status.

There’s a button on the right of the case for pairing duties. A long press on the side will initiate pairing, signified by the blinking LED.

The case has a 410mAh battery and is charged via USB Type-C on the bottom. The top of the case is spring-loaded, and the headphones connect to it via magnets for extra security when not in use.

AI smarts for better performance

Huawei equipped their new Freebuds 3 with the same Kirin A1 chip that powers their excellent Watch GT 2, and the buds use AI tech to mitigate noise when you’re out and about.

Huawei was the first company to put in active noise cancellation tech into true wireless buds ahead of Apple, which helps a ton when it comes to open-fit headsets like it.

While ANC performance will be impacted by the open-fit nature of the FreeBuds 3, we found that it did the job well enough to increase audio quality while we were out and about. Huawei says that the ANC is good for up to volumes of around 15dB.

The Kirin A1 also allowed for use of fancy wireless tech, specifically smart Bluetooth channel signal selection. In layman’s terms, the headphones intelligently select the best Bluetooth signal available, which isn’t always the case for products like these.

And thanks to isochronous dual-channel Bluetooth, each earbud connects to the phone independently rather than one piggy-backing off another which reduces overall lag.

Controlling the FreeBuds 3 is easy – you simply double tap on the left bud to turn ANC off and on, and a double-tap on the right bud toggles playback and skips to the next track.

Good sound quality for what it is

How does the FreeBuds 3 actually sound? Better than expected, actually – while other cans will probably sound better than the FreeBuds 3, those headphones usually are (1) closed designs that isolate outside noise better and (2) are wired cans made for enjoying music inside.

That being said, the FreeBuds 3 sound better and richer compared to low-cost alternatives to Apple’s offerings, delivering a little more bass at the low end and a slightly wider sound stage.

As for battery life, we got around 4 hours of battery life on a single charge, and the case has enough juice for around 3-4 charges total. You can expect around a week’s worth of battery life in the case before you had to charge it.

Speaking of charging, you can use the USB Type-C connector on the bottom or take advantage of wireless charging that newer, more expensive flagships offer today to charge the case wirelessly.

Verdict: a cheaper and better alternative to Apple’s Airpods Pro

If you’re looking for a high-quality set of True Wireless buds, it’s hard to ignore Huawei’s offering.

The Freebuds 3 offers excellent audio performance, long battery life as well as great wireless connectivity and ANC.

It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than Apple’s offerings too, retailing at just Php 8,990.

 

Huawei FreeBuds Lite Review: Solid AirPods Alternative

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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