Huawei is well known for their excellent phones but lesser so for their earbuds. The FreeBuds 3 are the tech giant’s latest in-ear buds which come with a lot of features in a style not too dissimilar to Apple’s AirPods.
Just like AirPods, there are no interchangeable buds, instead, you get a hard plastic earbud that either fits your ear, or it doesn’t. The FreeBuds 3 do fit my ears well, as do the AirPods, but that’s not a guarantee they’ll fit your ears. The microphones which are located at the base of both stems, allow air to flow around the mics to avoid wind noise when you jog or walk. I found call quality excellent and those on the other end also said the same.
The sides of the buds are touch-sensitive and allow for independent left and right, single actions such as double-tap for Play/Next, Play/Pause, Wake voice assistant, Enable/Disable noise-cancelling or off. These are configured using Huawei’s free AI Life app, which is only available for Android and not iOS. Within the app, you can update the FreeBuds 3 firmware, see the case and individual earbuds battery levels and toggle on or off the ANC. You can also tweak the ANC using a dial that turns on-screen, which adjusts the effectiveness just right for your environment. By changing the frequency I could hear a difference and some sounds were quieter. But, on the main, I didn’t find the ANC overly effective in most situations. Certainly, lower frequencies were suppressed a little but thanks to the open design and therefore the lack of any real seal, the FreeBuds 3 doesn’t do a great job of cancelling out sounds around you.
In terms of sound quality, the 14.2mm dynamic driver with dedicated bass and Huawei’s Kirin A1 chip produce an impressive sound signature. There’s a lot more bass than the previous model and the mids are distinctive with clear highs.
The sound stage is wide and the overall sound is bright and cheerful. I found the position of the buds in my ears really affected the sound volume and quality. In the end, facing the stems forward provided the optimum sound for my ears.
Not only do the FreeBuds 3 sound really good, but the latency is exceptional too thanks to the Kirin A1 and Bluetooth 5.1. I loved using FreeBuds 3 for watching movies because of the sound quality and in-sync audio.
The FreeBud 3 come in a case that also charges the buds. This looks like a smooth pebble you’d find on a beach, only in white or black. It’s a unique and stylish design that can be fast charged via USB-C or wirelessly. The earbuds have four hours battery and up to 20 hours with the charging case. Expect less listening time when noise cancelling is turned on.