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Huawei Freebuds 3 Review

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Huawei has been one of the most aggressive players in the true wireless earphones market for a while now. And with the Huawei Freebuds 3, they are beginning to get a much stronger hold in this category.

The new Huawei Freebuds 3 is the Chinese giant’s best attempt to go against Apple’s true wireless earphones. Its claim to fame is being the first open earbuds with active noise cancellation. It also has wireless charging and its own dedicated processor.

But how does it really perform in the real-world? We’ll find that out in our Huawei Freebuds 3 review.

Design and Build Quality

The Huawei Freebuds 3 has an open-fit earphone design. Just like the AirPods 2, you can put it in the ears easily, unlike the in-ear designs of the likes of the OPPO Enco Q1.

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It almost disappears inside your ears and comfortable to wear for hours. However, it lacks the noise-isolation that in-ear headphones deliver. So, despite its active noise-canceling, outside noise can still get in (more on that later).

In addition, the music you’re listening to can get out. This means that the person next to you can hear it if you’re blasting music away.

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The buds themselves are made of plastic, making each earphones very light at at 5g. The stem are protruding on top of the actual buds, to set it apart from the AirPods’ design. A shiny metallic material is on the bottom to protect the microphones.

We also have a wireless charging case for the Huawei Freebuds 3. If you think the AirPods’ case looks like a dental floss, wait till you see this one. It has a rounded design, with a metallic square metal on the back that houses the hinge and the Huawei logo. It already got hairline scratches during out time with it, so you might want to throw in a case on this case.

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A USB Type-C port is on the bottom, so you can charge it with the same cable that comes with your smartphone. Or you can utilize the included charger in the box. You can also charge it by placing the case on the back of your Huawei Mate 30 Pro, or any device that has reverse wireless charging feature.

There’s a charging indicator next to the port. Meanwhile, there’s an inconspicuous pairing button on the right side. It sits so flush that you’d think it’s buttonless at first look.

Opening the case reveals the Huawei Freebuds 3, with an LED indicator that shows the buds’ battery percent. The case is so light and low profile that you can put it in your pocket and forget that it’s there.

Interface and Features

Huawei is trying to build an iOS-like ecosystem with the introduction of new earphones like the Huawei Freebuds 3, and smartwatches like the Huawei Watch GT. And for us, this is a big plus.

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In order to pair it, you can simply open the charging case, put it close to a compatible Huawei device, and watch the cool pairing animation on your smartphone screen. Just tap ‘Pair’ and you’re good to go. It even shows you the case and each earphones’ battery charge.

You can also check the Huawei Freebuds 3 settings via a Huawei device. You can change what happens every time you double-tap the left or right earphone. By default, the left and right buds are set to turn on/off active noise cancellation and Play/Next song, respectively.

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It also allows you to update the earbuds. Something that you might want to do as it greatly improves its audio quality and overall usability during our time with it.

You can also adjust the direction of the active noise canceling in the settings menu.

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All these settings were baked-in on the Huawei Mate 30 Pro that we tested it with. However, they’re not available in other smartphones such as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro and iPhone XR.

An app called Huawei AI Life can mend this problem, although it only works on Android.

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As stated earlier, the Huawei Freebuds 3 has active noise canceling (ANC) as its biggest feature. It does a decent job of eliminating constant sound like the buzzing of an airplane engine, the air conditioner or the collective rowling noise of the city.

In fact, it’s not just for listening to music. You can plug it on your ears, enable the ANC, and feel the Huawei Freebuds 3 suck out the noise.

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However, the lack of noise isolation from its open design still allows some outside noise to come in. Also, ANC, in general, doesn’t fully eliminate people talking, cars passing by, and other louder sound.

The ANC works with a dedicated microphone and a Kirin A1 processor. They analyze ambient sound in your surrounding and outputs a white noise to combat the noise. However, there are times where the processor gets confused, and the ANC will cut out for a second or two.

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Connectivity-wise, the Huawei Freebuds 3 really nailed it. It’s the first earphones to come with a dual-mode Bluetooth 5.1. It provides fast and reliable transmission with good audio/video synchronization while playing games or watching movies.

The range is also great. I was able to pair it with my MacBook Pro and walk around the office without the Spotify cutting out.

Sound Quality

The sound that we got from the Huawei Freebuds 3 was impressive, but not might-blowing. The bass is audible and loud enough, while the treble and vocals are clean and more pronounced.

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It’s not meant for the bass heads. Huawei has a more affordable, bass-heavy Huawei Freelace wireless earphones for that.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 is for those who want a more balanced sound. It really shines in genres like rock or jazz. Its clean treble, completely wireless design, and ANC are also great for watching videos on the go.

As for the volume, the Freebuds 3 can get pretty loud and sufficient enough in most scenarios. Although, it may feel lackluster if you’re into loud music and you’re on a motorbike, PUJs, or in busy streets.

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The Huawei Freebuds 3 has Aerodynamic Microphone Duct design, which eliminates wind noise while on-calls. A bone vibration sensor is also present for better voice pickup. We tested it in voice calls and video chats, and the other line reported loud and clear audio.

The sound quality on the Huawei Freebuds 3 is more than what we expected, but it slightly fall behind the AirPods 2.

Battery Life

The battery life is fine on the Huawei Freebuds 3. With the ANC on, I was able to get about 2 hours and 30 minutes of music playback at 80% volume. A total of roughly 10 hours with the charging case.

If you’re planning on going on a road trip, you can use it with the ANC off. Without its special feature, Huawei claims that each earphone can last for 4 hours on a single charge, and 20 hours with the charging case.

You can charge the Huawei Freebuds 3 via the USB Type-C port on the bottom. Or wirelessly via a charging pad or a smartphone that has reverse wireless charging feature.

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Verdict

The Huawei Freebuds 3 was created to be a good alternative to the Apple AirPods for Android users. It may not sound as good, but it definitely delivered more than what we expected from its price.

It features a clean sound, minimalistic and lightweight design, an interface that works well with Android devices and Huawei’s own ecosystem. The best part is, it has an active noise canceling feature, something that its expensive competitor lacks.

Huawei Freebuds 3 pricing and availability in the Philippines

The Huawei Freebuds 3 is available in the Philippines for a price of Php8,990. You can get it at tons of Huawei stores both online and offline.

Pros

  • Clean, light design
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Balanced sound
  • Wireless charging
  • Fast connectivity

Cons

  • Volume range could be better
  • Scratch-prone case

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