I have always been a bit of a luddite when it comes.to earphones staying true to using the classic Apple EarPods since way back when I had the OG iPhone. I even used to solder the Earpods onto the headphone cable that came with my new phone to still get the mic and other functions to work!
Thankfully now these days are over as I have been able to get the same level of relative comfort from using the OG Apple Airpods which I have used religiously for about a year. The only time I have departed from these is when I have been flying and then I have used some over-ear cans like the Samsung Level On headphones.
The thing I liked about my overhead headphones was the fact that they offered noise cancellation to block out the background noise when on trains or planes. This is one place (one of many depending on your preferences) where the Airpods failed me. Now I have strange ears that don’t seem to like having things shoved into my ear canals so in-ear headphones are a none starter for me so i was very happy to see the Huawei Freebud 3’s didn’t go down this route.
The headphones come in a pleasant-looking box and are very nicely packaged for a set of headphones. In the box, you get a rechargeable carry case and a charging cable. Not much abnormal there and very much par for the course of any sort of wireless headset.
What does make things a bit different here is that the case is capable charging wirelessly from any QI enabled charger including the back of your reverse charging enabled phone (in my case the Huawei P30 Pro others are available). The handiness of this cannot be overlooked and although it, not the first to provide this solution as Samsung and Apple options also do this, it is nonetheless a nice feature to have. If you don’t have a wireless charging solution then you can still charge via a USB Type C cable but you will need to bring your own plug!
Once you actually get into the case then things get a bit more interesting. I am so glad to see that the headphones do not have anything that pokes into your ear canal. Instead, the headset is designed very much like the Apple Earpods and they push the sound into your ear canal via sculpted channels. These feed the sound into your ear canals without any physical intrusions which is a much more comfortable way of doing things in my mind anyway. However, there is an inherent problem with this approach. It is prone to allowing exterior sound to get in as there is no sound tight seal between your skin and the plastic body. This is where i found the biggest let down to be present on the Airpod design. I would be lying if I were to say that I was not concerned that the same design was present on the Huawei Freebuds 3. The good news is that my fears have been allayed by the use of some very clever and AI-assisted tech in the form of intelligent noise cancellation.
Essentially what happens here is there are small microphones that are listening to the ambient sound on the exterior of the headphones. This sound is then analysed the onboard AI chipsets to ascertain what would be the best way to block out that exterior sound whilst still allowing your music of media to get through uninterrupted and clearly.
All sounds very complicated and fancy but it really does work. I have used the earphones in the car and it does dull the sound of the engine down significantly to the point that it would actually be dangerous to drive the car. I have also used it whilst walking to work down some busy roads with some heavy traffic and the headphones block the background noise very well and to just the right level. Again this is not necessarily new tech but it is very nice to see here and the fact that the AI is controlling the feedback tone really helps modulate it and adjust it as appropriate.
We have some other very cool tech onboard these tiny buds is a Kirin A1 with support for Bluetooth 5.1 that enables a 2.5s connection time, something called Isochronous dual-channel connection, which saves battery and ensures 190s maximum latency. The Huawei FreeBuds 3 are IPX4 splash resistant while their case offers both USB-C fast charging and wireless charging.
So that is how the tech works but how does it feel to use these earphones. Well, I have been very impressed by them to the point where I no longer use my Airpods anymore. The earphones are comfortable and snug in the ears. They feel like they will not fall out with normal head movements, though it is important to note that these are not designed for use during strenuous sports especially ones that involve a lot of head movement.
As to the controls they are very simple and can be modified by an app which is currently in beta form and only available on the Huawei App store (this will be a potential roadblock to those using non-Huawai/Honor devices).
The app is called AI Life from Huawei. It is very simple and will show the battery status of the individual earphones and the charging case. You can also change the function of tapping on the side of either Earpiece by default the left controls the noise cancelling and the right will play or pause the track. These are handy additions and are very convenient to use.
I have been using the earphones for about a week or two now and I have not actually had to recharge the case once as I have not had to use the earphones to much just on a brief 15 minutes to work and then back each day so about 30 mins use every day. The case is rated to give 16hrs of charge from its own 410 mAh battery to the earphones and the actual earphones themselves will last about 3-4 hrs of continuous playback. from their 30mAh batteries.
One really nice touch when the phone is set up with the app is that when you open the case it will auto-connect and pair with the earphones as a quick way to connect meaning that you can just open the case and plug into get your tunes going with just a quick double-tap (assuming you haven’t changed from the default gesture settings). This is something that I really appreciated. this was a feature that made the Airpods special when used with an iOS device and it is now available on Huawei devices (at least for the time being).
So there we have it the Huawei Freebuds 3. A great and really useful alternative to Airpods for Android phone users and if you are a Huawei user then you get enhanced features as well. The really question is are they worth the money. Well for me it is a firm yes as they are now my go-to earphones and they are never far from my grasp. I love the ease of use and the convenience that they afford. The fact that I can charge from placing them in the case and charge that from my phone as awesome as it is one less charging cable to lose and fewer plugs to have to worry about. The combination of the case’s internal battery and the earphones batteries are awesome for longevity meaning i have not had to worry about them running low.
I am a definite fan of the Huawei Freebud 3’s and they come highly recommended from me and I would check them out if you are looking for some new earphones. You will be able to buy them very soon from the Huawei store for £170 very soon.
The Freebud 3’s are now available form many store including Amazon at this link would make a great present for an Android phone user and we’ll worth a look.