The newest high-end TWS earbuds from Huawei are the FreeBuds 4 they usually carry an iterative improve over 2019’s FreeBuds 3. To not be confused with the not too long ago launched FreeBuds 4i, the FreeBuds 4 function open ear design with energetic noise cancellation which claims to filter out as much as 25dB of surrounding noise. You additionally get the newest Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and longer lasting battery life in a barely extra compact type issue in comparison with final 12 months’s mannequin.
I bought the prospect to check out the brand new FreeBuds 4 for an in depth time, utilizing them as my sole pair of earphones for work, journey, fitness center and the whole lot in between. Let’s see if the FreeBuds 4 are actually a tangible improve over their predecessors. Extra importantly, can you actually get dependable ANC from open match earphones?
Design and construct high quality
FreeBuds 4 carry an open-fit model with lengthy stems which instantly remind of Apple’s common AirPods and with the visible resemblance between the earphones is actually current. The charging case is barely smaller and weighs lower than the one on the FreeBuds 3 which ought to make them match simpler in pant pockets and luggage. It nonetheless seems such as you’re carrying round a dental floss equipment and I personally choose the squarer look of the AirPods’ case.
The second I put FreeBuds 4 in my ears I seen they’d probably not keep put and have a tendency to loosen over time to the purpose the place I felt they have been going to slide out and fall. Different individuals who tried them on reported they match simply wonderful with their sound receptors so the issue was seemingly on my aspect.
Regardless of the lackluster match, I nonetheless loved the sunshine and non-obtrusive type issue which contributed to a number of hour-long periods of listening with none ear fatigue or soreness.
The charging case has benefited from a sturdier construct this time round in comparison with the FreeBuds 3 and positively feels extra premium. The opening mechanism is rock strong and brings a satisfying snap when closing. The highest lid can now help the burden of the whole case with out shutting shut which is a transparent signal of the improved construct. The earbuds themselves are properly put collectively and survived the occasional fall from virtually 2 meters on the bottom with none scuffs or scratches.
Huawei is promoting two variations of the FreeBuds 4 on the subject of the case – a wired charging model which was used for this evaluate and a wi-fi charging mannequin which is but to be made obtainable. In-box contents embrace the buds of their charging case, a USB-C cable for charging and a few manuals. The buds are IPX4 rated for water and dirt resistance.
As quickly as you set the earphones in your ear, you get an accompanying sound to let you understand they’re related. You should utilize both of them individually which is cool if you wish to share your music with a pal. Eradicating both of the buds immediately pauses all media together with movies on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The pairing course of is similar as most different TWS earphones – you open up the case and maintain the pair button for a number of seconds after which choose the FreeBuds 4 within the Bluetooth menu. Pairing on Huawei gadgets is instantaneous as quickly as you pop the highest lid. You additionally get a smooth animation of the buds to let you understand they’re related.
You possibly can pair two gadgets concurrently (your cellphone and laptop computer for instance) and the earphones are good sufficient to know which machine you’re utilizing on the precise second and might swap again and fourth between them. This function additionally labored flawlessly on non-Huawei gadgets which is a welcome addition for those who’re not totally invested in Huawei’s ecosystem.
Huawei’s AI Life app is your one-stop-shop for controlling all features of the FreeBuds 4. Even for those who’re utilizing a non-Huawei cellphone it’s finest to sideload the app from Huawei’s AppGallery Retailer because the Google Play model didn’t help the FreeBuds 4 for some motive. As soon as setup you’re offered with battery standing for each left and proper earbuds in addition to their case, a connection heart of all of your paired gadgets and loads of shortcuts for the gesture controls.
The touch-sensitive stems on the FreeBuds 4 are positively a robust level and labored exceptionally in my testing paired to Huawei gadgets and smartphones, tablets and laptops from different manufacturers. There’s a double faucet and lengthy press gesture on every bud in addition to a vertical swipe to regulate the quantity. You possibly can re-map the double and lengthy press actions whereas the swipes are rightfully reserved for quantity adjustment.
The Discover My Earphones function is fairly self explanatory. The Buds can play a extremely excessive pitched noise that will help you find them in the event that they’ve been misplaced.
A giant new addition to FreeBuds 4 is the Open-fit Energetic Noise Cancellation 2.0 system. It brings automated changes to noise canceling primarily based on the encompassing surroundings with twin microphone hybrid noise discount system as a substitute of the only mic system on the FreeBuds 3.
On paper, this implies higher ambient sound decide up and in flip improved noise canceling however in actuality I couldn’t inform the distinction in comparison with the older mannequin. The FreeBuds 4 may also detect your ear canal form after which apply the very best matching noise canceling mode.
That is the place we must always point out that ANC high quality is dependent upon the seal created by the earphones in your ear canal. So smaller ears will naturally be higher positioned right here. In comparison with in-ear earphones with ANC, the FreeBuds 4 underperformed at isolating outdoors noises in my private expertise. Folks with smaller ear cavities may see totally different outcomes so when you’ve got the prospect, do check out the match earlier than you exit and purchase these.
Huawei can also be touting greater sensitivity mics that may report sounds with as much as 48Khz pattern fee which makes for a transparent voice pickup even in noisier environments. Yow will discover extra particulars within the sound high quality part beneath. There’s additionally a low latency mode with a 90ms delay on HarmonyOS 2 telephones (which we couldn’t check but) and 150ms on EMUI gadgets which is actually a welcome addition for players.
Sound high quality
FreeBuds 4 function 14.3mm dynamic coil drivers. Throughout my check interval, I listened to varied music genres alongside the occasional podcast, YouTube video and some basketball video games. The earphones delivered crisp, clear and wealthy sound in all use instances with out over saying bass. They aren’t the loudest pair of TWS buds round however nonetheless provide a balanced sound profile which is a noticeable step above extra inexpensive choices we’ve examined prior to now 12 months.
Whereas the sound high quality is above common for TWS earbuds, noise canceling is just not that spectacular. You actually really feel much less outdoors commotion with ANC enabled but it surely’s nowhere close to the extent of different premium in-ear buds just like the AirPods Professional or Sony’s WF-1000XM4. In my testing, I discovered the FreeBuds 4 to dam out delicate outdoors noises like keyboard strokes or the hissing sound of the water dispenser on the workplace.
Outdoor or on the fitness center, the FreeBuds 4 didn’t impress with their noise suppression however that has to do with the unhealthy match of my ears. This in flip makes it difficult to advocate them over an in-ear pair of earbuds with correct silicone suggestions that may create a greater seal in your ear canal.
Voice decide up from the on-board microphones was first rate but recordings got here out muffled. I didn’t see an enormous distinction with Huawei’s 48Khz recording fee enabled and I nonetheless discover Apple’s AirPods because the gold commonplace for true to life voice decide up. Throughout cellphone calls, folks on the opposite aspect reported loud and clear reception coming from my finish. Huawei did place the microphones with a windproof duct which does a powerful job in windy environments.
Huawei claims 2.5 hours of battery life with ANC enabled and as much as 4 hours with it turned off. The charging case extends these numbers to 14 hours or 22 hours respectively. A fast 15-minute quick cost will get you as much as 2.5 hours of music playback.
In my testing I discovered these numbers to be correct. FreeBuds 4 handle to final me two full days of labor and fitness center periods earlier than the low battery indicator got here on. I normally listened to music at 60-80% quantity. A full cost from 0 to 100% took round half-hour which is sort of spectacular.
Huawei’s FreeBuds 4 current a viable possibility for these a pair of premium open-fit earphones that supply spectacular sound and do not want stellar ANC. The upgrades over the FreeBuds 3 are iterative and felt most within the multipoint pairing, revised gesture navigation and improved microphone system.
At €150/£130 for the wired charging mannequin and €170/£150 for the wi-fi charging model as soon as it launches in July, Huawei’s FreeBuds 4 provide a troublesome promote contemplating the extra inexpensive FreeBuds 4i are going for €100/£80 whereas final 12 months’s glorious FreeBuds Professional are all the way down to €140/£130.
It’s the in-ear match that determines which mannequin you go for and for those who’re the kind that prefers the open-ear fashions then the FreeBuds 4 are for you however don’t anticipate the identical stage of noise canceling as the opposite two fashions. Battery life is first rate although not class main.
There’s loads to love right here by way of audio output and added performance with flawlessly executed multi-point pairing and gesture controls but it’s arduous to advocate the FreeBuds 4 as a result of their questionable match. Should you can snatch these at a gross sales occasion which Huawei normally brings down the road and your ear canals can maintain them in with out a drawback, then the FreeBuds 4 are a worthy consideration within the uncommon breed of open ear TWS earphones.