Huawei finally brought out their new wireless earbuds, the Freebuds 3. It seems that Huawei is in good company as Apple released the AirPods Pro earlier. Both of them were targeting the feature of active noise reduction. Compared to the Apple AirPods series, the Huawei Freebuds series usually have a more competitive price. The new Freebuds 3 is no exception. Compared to the price of 249 USD.
The Freebuds 3 costs around 197 USD, almost having the same price as AirPods 2, which surprisingly includes the new feature of active noise cancellation. Today we will bring a simple comparison between the Huawei Freebuds 3 and the Apple AirPods Pro.
Both of them developed their appearance style with strong identification, which probably will become diverse references for the design of following wireless earbuds. It’s pretty hard to tell you which design is better. But out of my experience and use, compared to the ear-in design, the open-fit design of Huawei Freebuds 3 fits most people’s ears without causing any discomfort. Especially if you are looking for a pair of earbuds for extended wearing, it’s no doubt that the Huawei Freebuds 3 can provide you better wearing experience.
Considering the competitive price of the Freebuds 3, actually, it’s fair to compare it with the Apple AirPods 2. They both have great fit and share a similar wearing experience. But after thinking about the fact of active noise reduction, it’s not difficult to tell you that the Freebuds 3 looks like a more attractive option.
Besides the ear fit, there are several important dimensions like sound, noise reduction, conversation, and audio delay that needs to be considered when choosing the earbuds. Then you can match them with your personal usage case scenario. So how do they sound?
As wireless open-fit earbuds, the Freebuds 3 sound great. Or we would say it’s surprisingly good as we did not expect it too much. The good bass provides a better underlying depth to the sound, and the pleasant and rich mid-range reserves great detail of both instruments and vocals. Well, the high-pitch sounds a bit more piercing than the Apple AirPods Pro. Especially when you get closer to 100% volume, the sound would lose part of the bass and make highs distort slightly. So, we suggest you don’t listen on full volume on the Freebuds 3.
But the open-fit design here is really a mixed blessing. It does bring you great comfort, but meanwhile, has a great impact on the sound, especially when fitting into the different shapes of ears. We brought the Freebuds 3 to several testers and asked them about its fit. Most of them had pretty similar comments as us, but we still received complains about the bass performance. We think the reason here is that the open-fit design is not able to provide a perfect fit and different ear shapes will also contribute other variables to the actual listening experience. But as we open the noise reduction, it gets much better. Even so, Freebuds 3 is still one of the wireless earbuds with the best sound.
But please don’t overestimate them, after all, its one of the best sounding WIRELESS earbuds. If you are a hardcore audiophile, you probably would not think of the wireless earbuds anyway. To be honest, I feel the Freebuds 3 sound slightly better than the AirPods Pro.
You probably had a hard time imaging how the open-ear design of the Freebuds 3 brought active noise reduction. But given how good the isolation was on the AirPods Pro, we know now that tight-fit tips and a good noise canceling solution can do wonders even for the earbuds with an open ear design. On the Freebuds 3, there’s almost zero physical isolation. But after we test it, we found it’s better than what we had imagined. The Freebuds 3 offer up to 15dB of active noise cancellation. Through the detection of the microphones on each earbud, the Freebuds 3 create a counter, phase-inverted waveform to cancel out the noise. Although it’s not as effective as the AirPods Pro, you can definitely feel the difference with the noise-canceling turned on. Generally, it works well with constant low-frequency noise such as the hum of surrounding machines or drone of an engine. The testers reported that sometimes the consistent effect would be randomly interrupted by sudden noises, but it rarely occurred in our own daily tests.
But if you match the Freebuds 3 with Android phones, the latest AI life App could provide an adjustable strength of the noise canceling. And if you’re a Huawei device user, the Freebuds 3 can provides quite a wonderful experience with their latest official software supports, such as faster and more stable connections.
For the noise canceling, the open-fit design is not good for nothing. The benefit of the open-fit design here is that it can reduce the in-ear pressure that occurs to most noise-canceling earphones, though it does sacrifice the perfect noise canceling function. However, it does provide another decent noise-canceling option for those who cannot tolerate those big headsets or ear-in rivals.
Connection & water-proofing
The new Kirin A1 chip supporting Bluetooth 5.1 enables a short connection time at around 2 seconds on most phones. The isochronous dual-channel connection works well for the audio synchronizing of both earbuds. And it ensures 190ms maximum latency, which is pretty hard to detect during video play or gaming. In daily use, our testers were more likely to give it a high score. The Freebuds 3 are IPX4-certificated, which means that there is no need to worry about sweat or rain, but just make sure not to wash them or take them into the pool.
Battery & operation
As for the battery, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 offers 4 hours of endurance for a full-charge, and the charging case can provide another 16 hours of battery for the earbuds.
About its operation, a double tap on the left earbud switches the active noise canceling. A double-tap on the right one skips to the next track. And you can adjust what the double-tap gestures do from the AI-life APP. you can set them to play or pause media, or just to wake the voice assistant.
It’s no doubt that Freebuds 3 is a great choice for users who want a pair of full-function earbuds at a cheaper price tag. Before the release of the Freebuds 3, we were pretty sure that no one can challenge the dominant position of the AirPods Pro. But now, the Freebuds 3, like a brave and skillful warrior, is holding a sword and challenging the throne.
2019 has been a tough year for Huawei, but it successfully brought out several great product series, like the Huawei P30 series, Mate30 series, Matebook laptops and so on.
We believe in the near 5G future, Huawei has something strong planned for the coming years. And it’ll be a win for the customers who’ll have another great option to choose in multiple product categories in the market.
HUAWEI Freebuds 3 True Wireless Earphones Semi-open Active Noise Reduction Bluetooth 5.1 Earbuds With Mic And Charging Dock