With a design reminiscent of the popular AirPods, Huawei offers a cheaper alternative that connects easily to the smartphone. It is very convenient to use and provides call quality and audio performance of admirable quality for those looking for budget true wireless headphones. Still, it does have some caveats: small battery life and only a decent noise reduction system.
The true wireless headphone market has been long and confidently dominated by Apple AirPods. In attempts to create alternative TWS headphones, the Chinese manufacturer Huawei introduced FreeBuds 3. The title “Airpods for Android” is a title that the Freebuds 3 have truly earned. The True Wireless headphones have an identical design, more or less polished, similar charging case, some of the features that Apple Airpods includes plus a few unique ones.
Huawei aims to achieve an astonishing breakthrough with its open design True Wireless Stereo headphones FreeBuds 3. To buy a pair of TWS Huawei FreeBuds 3 headphones, the price you have to pay is around $150. Are these worth headphones worth their price? That depends upon your priorities.
Huawei Freebuds 3 TWS In-Ear Headphones Review
Type: True Wireless Stereo In-Ear Headphones | Bluetooth: 5.1 | Latency: 180 ms (average) |Battery: 4 Hours (20 Hours in Total) | Charging Time: 30 minutes | Drivers: Dynamic | Drivers-Size: 14 mm | Weight: 9 g (4.5 grams per earbud)
Huawei Freebuds 3 perform neatly, delivering a well-balanced and enjoyable sound throughout the whole playing session. The comfort is excellent, as the Freebuds 3 do not sit too deep in the ear canal. When the wind blows in your headphones on top of ambient sounds, its noise canceling function rapidly reveals its limitations. Instead of reducing the ambient noise, it intensifies the noise and generates some unpleasant sounds. Regarding Bluetooth quality, the latency we measured was 180 ms is not really inconvenient if you want to watch videos on a mobile phone. Though you still have to remember that FreeBuds 3 doesn’t support any high-rez Bluetooth codec such as aptX
Although the design is entirely similar to the AirPods, the earphones are a little longer, and the sound is delivered in a more focused manner into your ear.
The Huawei FreeBuds 3 headphones have no built-in buttons or sensors: all management is done through tapping your finger on the headphone. Each earpiece produces a different action when tapped. For example, double-tapping on the left turn on noise reduction, while interactions with the right are responsible for playback management and music transition. Enabling or disabling the noise reduction system is followed by a voice announcement. However, you can customize this in the AI Life application.
The Kirin A1 processor is responsible for all electronics. HUAWEI developed the new chip specifically for headphones and wearable devices. It supports Bluetooth v5.1 + BLE 5.1 protocols, enabling headphones to connect quickly and stably. Thanks to intelligent adaptive frequency tuning technology, the processor automatically recognizes the frequency ranges affected by other 2.4 GHz signals, such as Wi-Fi, and automatically switches to a free channel.
The AI Life application also offers handy features that allow you to adjust the earphones and, above all, create shortcuts. You can configure certain audio management shortcuts: play/pause, next track, activate the voice assistant, activate/deactivate noise reduction.
Regarding Bluetooth quality, the latency we measured was 180 ms is not really inconvenient if you want to watch videos on a mobile phone. Though you still have to remember that FreeBuds 3 doesn’t support any high-rez Bluetooth codec such as aptX, the headphones also don’t provide you the possibility of connecting to multiple audio sources.
The operation is done by simply double-tapping on the headphones. Unlike AirPods Pro, for example, the headphones do not completely seal the ears, which makes Huawei’s acoustic insulation rather challenging. Huawei does filter out the low frequencies, whereas the high frequencies are not filtered as much.
When the wind blows in your headphones on top of ambient sounds, its noise canceling function rapidly reveals its limitations. Instead of reducing the ambient noise, it intensifies the noise and generates some unpleasant sounds. Through the AI Life smartphone app, Huawei’s noise-canceling system can be adjusted. It’s suitable for those who travel by plane for long periods while.
Just to be clear, you should not expect the same noise reduction as with headphones such as the Sony WF-1000XM3 or Bose QuietControl 30. Neither should you expect as much noise reduction as on the AirPod Pro True wireless headphones?
The microphone is ideal, your conversation partner can hear you clearly and relatively easily. It is possible to talk on either earpiece – the right or the left: when one microphone is not used, the microphone switches to the one in the other earpiece.
In Freebuds 3, Huawei uses proprietary Chip Kirin A1. Among other things, this chip ensures that the Bluetooth connection is stable and synchronizes video and audio smoothly with minimal delay. In fact, that’ s what the Freebuds achieves. Some savings have been made on the codec, where Huawei only supports AAC alongside the SBC standard. Yet even if the Freebuds cannot play audio files in high-res, they do quite well in their domain.
To install a chip, a battery, a hands-free kit, as well as 14 mm drivers is an achievement in its own right. With the Kirin A1 chip, Huawei can provide Bluetooth 5.1.
The music playback is excellent. The FreeBuds 3 can even play slightly more bass-oriented songs. Its sizeable drivers perform incredibly well, the music is perfectly controlled, and because of the Isochronous Dual-Channel Bluetooth connection that allows two headsets to receive the same signal from an audio source, no delay occurs between the two earpieces.
All in all, the FreeBuds offer a satisfactory audio quality, even though they are not meant as audiophile listening devices: considering the amount of technology integrated into these small headphones, it goes without saying that these earphones are adequate for everyday purposes, suitable for listening to music on the move or listening to podcasts at home.
Huawei Freebuds 3 perform neatly, delivering a well-balanced and enjoyable sound throughout the whole playing session. The comfort is excellent, as the Freebuds 3 do not sit too deep in the ear canal. Unfortunately, their design poses some noise canceling difficulties, as they do not reduce the noise under all circumstances.
The headphones are convenient and feature customizable control through a simple to use application that includes a variety of functionalities. With a decent autonomy of more than 4h, 20 hours in total with all charges, Huawei FreeBuds 3 is more durable and reliable than Huawei FreeBuds 2, which only offers 2.5 hours. The compact case the headphones come in is a stylish and sturdy, identical to Airpods. Besides, the Bluetooth transmission is reliable and high-quality, bearing no interruption when listening to music paired to your mobile phone.
Its sound is good, yet fails to reach the standard of the Airpods. The same goes for the battery life, making the Freebuds rank at the bottom of the list with 4 hours of playtime. Still, the general picture remains convincing.