After presenting your FreeBuds originals At the beginning of 2018, Huawei quickly iterates the formula to add one of the most sought-after features in wireless headphones. The noise cancellation comes in a format more than similar to that of the AirPods, at least set and in its white color, with the great difference that they can also be purchased in black.
As for the design of the FreeBuds 3, there will be few details of relevance beyond those we already know. The first of these is that, in the first instance, it seems that the headphones are somewhat external to the ear, although they remain relatively fixed. It is not so much its touch control, since the small upper cylindrical protuberance gives the sensation of destabilizing them when interacting. The second, which has a small conduit in its lower part to reduce noise from the wind picked up by the microphone that is in it.
Huawei FreeBuds 3, extended features
The new chip on board, the manufacturer's own, is the Kirin A1. This introduces improvements in efficiency and performance necessary to endure this energetically demanding feature in these minute formats. With it, for the first time in the industry, support for new standard Bluetooth 5.1, which allows more stable connections and now with a separate channel for each handset, as well as improved latency.
Both in terms of volume like sound quality, FreeBuds 3 fulfill more than enough. In both cases, it must be taken into account that its design, open, always limits the quality and perceived power of the sound. And there comes of course the active noise cancellation that we find inside, which we will discuss in depth later.
In its case we also see other products, besides a battery that, together with the four hours that headphones provide in s they add up to a total of 20 hours of reproduction. This case can be recharged with the same USB C cable as the mobile, or through the wireless charging also inverse in some of the last devices of the brand, up to 2 W. This last one is activated with the Mate 30 Pro, unlike the Huawei Watch GT 2, also recently introduced.
The Autonomous experience is somewhat different in quantitative terms, since the hours of life seem to depend both on the volume greater generally outside than on the interior to which we reproduce the music and on the activation of the noise cancellation, or on the level of load itself, which apparently decreases more rapidly when it is About halfway. The reference hours that Huawei gives are based on 50% volume.
However, during our tests the box of these devices seems to have difficulties to fully charge the headphones when it is close to being fully discharged and one of them, the right, is discharged consistently before even the other even warns of battery low.
Noise cancellation, star with asterisk
Interestingly, Huawei leaves behind the small plastic adapter to seal the ear canal in this generation with which it intends to isolate the user from external sounds. The brand spoke in its presentation of a reduction of up to 15 dB of ambient noise.
While Huawei boasts of it, being the first to include an open design when you introduce a feature like noise cancellation sounds at least somewhat contradictory. S is true that headphones noticeably attenuate ambient noise, especially serious, but its behavior is not homogeneous in different uses, and it seems that there are still some adjustments to be made.
As for the quality of the noise cancellation as such, it is appreciated but it looks strongly limited and even in some uses especially where the acute ones predominate, it is difficult to distinguish when it is activated when it is not. This function is therefore useful in environments with a constant background noise level, such as traveling by train, car or plane, or similar hum.
For the tests, FreeBuds 3 arrive with their own application that we can install on Android devices soon in AppGallery and Google Play, although the intention is that it also reaches iOS later. Although this application hardly provides functions on the Bluetooth settings section of a Huawei mobile phone, there is a feature that we can access through it.
AI Life, which is what it is called, allows balance noise cancellation so that it adapts, presumably, to our ears in a more precise way. The rest of the features, including the update of the firmware of the headphones or gestures, can be managed through the bluetooth menu.
Similar to the AirPods, we can interact with double touches with the Play / Pause playback, next, or activate the voice assistant or noise cancellation. As was the case with the Watch GT 2, I wish that the voice messages were not in English, or were instead a beep. I have to point out here that when you walk, it becomes much more hard to recognize these touches on the headphones, having to do them in a more intense way than is pleasant.
In any case, perhaps because of a sub-optimal adjustment of the balancing of this feature, it seems that Huawei still has work to do to bring competent noise cancellation to your headphones. Not only because it filters ambient sound, which it does, but because it is intermittent, sometimes even injecting a noise that you will not hear without the feature.
In addition, actions such as fast walking, or some wind, can cause this function to inject that noise from the air into the headset itself, despite the windbreaker design they are talking about. It seems that here it becomes a second microphone is necessary like the one we see in the Sony WF-1000XM3, which improves the quality of the cancellation, contrasting a more exposed microphone with another on the inside.
In any case, it is likely that some of these characteristics are still found in a preliminary phase, since the application itself that manages it has not been officially launched.
Offering more at home
Huawei Mate 30 Pro, Watch GT 2 and FreeBuds 3
The land of the headphones in-ear is increasingly competitive, finding a multitude of offers ranging from relatively inexpensive Galaxy Buds, to the most recent AirPods Pro. At 199 euros, Huawei positions these FreeBuds 3 in the high range of headphones without noise cancellation, only with l.
However, the open format doesn't convince for this purpose, since it gives the isolation, and although it allows access of the highest that can be even useful, a more complete and channeling mode of the external audio will be the optimal solution.
Although Huawei's own ecosystem is still rather incomplete, the integration of the brand itself takes something with the arrival of more and more serious devices connected to each other.
In any case, we have a sound quality much more than decent, a very passable autonomous although somewhat erratic in some points and case with wireless charge at a cost that raises the question of whether to plant or jump to something else.