The gradual disappearance of the 3.5 mm headphone jack from smartphones opens up new opportunities for manufacturers. After all, people who have not changed their wired models for years are gradually looking at wireless options. At Huawei, which itself produces smartphones without a 3.5 mm jack, they could not ignore such a promising niche in the market, so they introduced completely free Huawei FreeBuds headphones. Let’s see what they can offer in terms of sound and how comfortable they are to use.
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Package Contents Huawei FreeBuds
The headphones come in a large cardboard box, like for such a compact device, inside which you can also find a charging case, cable, documentation, two rubber pads and a set of ear pads in different sizes: L, M, S and XS.
Design and usability of Huawei FreeBuds
At first glance, FreeBuds resemble AirPods, the same form factor is used here: the speaker housing is attached to the leg. But the Huawei headphones themselves are a bit larger, and at the same time they are vacuum, so that on the format all the similarities with the design of the headphones from Apple ends, although in general I will recall them in this review more than once.
Huawei plans to sell FreeBuds in two colors: black and white. It was the first option that came to my review, and it looks pretty nice. The headphone case is made of glossy plastic, which, thanks to its smooth shape, shimmers in the light. During use, Huawei FreeBuds fit snugly to the face, rather than sticking out in different directions, and more like a wireless headset than headphones.
FreeBuds are protected according to the IP54 standard – this means that the headphones are protected from water splashes and the ingress of dust into the case will not affect their performance. Thus, you can play sports in them, drops of sweat will not interfere with the operation of the device, and you can even afford not to remove your headphones in light rain.
Before you put on your headphones for the first time, you need to find the right ear pads, there are four sizes in the kit. However, their quality leaves much to be desired, especially considering not the most affordable cost of headphones, but, fortunately, this is easy to fix as the ear cushion mount is standard here.
If you managed to choose a set of ear cushions from the standard ones, then Huawei FreeBuds hold well in the auricle, but as with other fully wireless headphones, physiology plays a role here, so it’s better to try them on yourself before buying.
Management in FreeBuds is extremely simple, an accelerometer is built into each earphone, so when you double-tap the right earphone, you can start playing music or pause it, and the left – call a voice assistant, on Android it’s Google Assistant, and on iOS and macOS – Siri. You can’t adjust the volume using the headphones, which is, however, typical of such compact models. There are infrared sensors on the headphone case, so playback is automatically paused if one of them is pulled out of the ear.
Each Huawei FreeBuds earphone weighs 5.6 grams and is almost not felt during use.
Connecting Huawei FreeBuds
Headphones can connect to smartphones, tablets and computers via the Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, while gesture support works in both Android and iOS.
To connect the headphones, you need to open the charging case and hold down the button, which is located on its back. This is not the most convenient procedure, since the case is easy to slam, but, fortunately, it has to be done only a few times.
Huawei FreeBuds stably keep in touch, I moved away from the sound source to the 10 meters stated in the Bluetooth 4.2 specification and playback was not interrupted. In this case, the headphones are automatically connected to the last connected sound source as soon as you open their case. But switching between different devices with FreeBuds is not as simple as with AirPods, which can do this in just a couple of seconds. In this regard, Huawei headphones are made simpler: if you are listening to music from a smartphone, to switch to a laptop, you must first disconnect them from the smartphone. Perhaps this will change with the release of new firmware, but so far it works.
Huawei FreeBuds sound good, as for a compact model, providing a wide stage, working out medium and high frequencies, a little sagging at low. Therefore, if the composition does not sound a lot of bass, then the headphones provide a smooth sound, without noticeable subsidence. At the same time, I note a good supply of volume and noise isolation, which is ensured not only due to the in-channel landing, but also thanks to the noise reduction system using four microphones.
Autonomy and charging of Huawei FreeBuds
Each earphone has a battery with a capacity of 55 mAh, which translates into 3 hours of music playback. This is not the largest indicator, but, fortunately, Huawei FreeBuds supports fast charging, so 15 minutes in the case add another 1.5 hours of playback.
The charging case itself has a 410 mAh battery and is equipped with a USB Type-C port for recharging. For each of the two headphones in the case there is a niche, charging occurs through the contacts. A full charge takes 1 hour and the entire battery of the case can provide up to 10 hours of music playback.
The dimensions of the Huawei FreeBuds case are larger than those of AirPods, but it is still compact and weighs 43 grams.