appearance and silky sound


HUAWEI has managed to put itself in a very good position. As a business, it has an audio product for everyone. Do you prefer in-ear headphones? Discover the FreeBuds Studio. Want a comfortable pair of ANC buds? Check out the FreeBuds 3 (well, the successor we’re looking at today, the FreeBuds 4). Want both passive and active noise cancellation? Look no further: FreeBuds Pro.

Of course, we’ve only mentioned the flagships in our listing above, but you’ll be happy to find that there are plenty of other products in their portfolio, like the FreeBuds 4i and the FreeLace Pro, not to mention. name a few, so they really have something for every taste, every need and every wallet.

The FreeBuds 4 builds on the success of the FreeBuds 3, with the company retaining the design principles and overall look of the headphones, but making slight changes and adjustments to improve on the predecessor. We’ll take a look at them, and of course the resulting product, in our HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 review below.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 Specifications

Compared to the FreeBuds 3, the FreeBuds 4 is slightly smaller, comparing both the heads themselves and the charging case.

An earphone weighs only 4.1 grams and is 41.4mm in height, 16.8mm in width and 18.5mm in depth. The charging case weighs 38 grams (with the buds removed) and, being shaped like a pebble, has a diameter of 58mm and a height of 21.2mm.

Inside you’ll find a slightly larger 14.3mm driver and the same Kirin A1 chip that’s used to power the GT2 series of smartwatches, headphones, and even the FreeBuds Studio.

FreeBuds 4 on table

Battery capacity hasn’t suffered from the slight overall reduction in size, with units rated at 30mAh per earbud and 410mAh for the charging case.

Bluetooth connectivity has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.2, and the headphones this year earned their IPX4 rating against splashing water from all directions.

Wireless charging has been ditched, with no clear plan to offer a version that supports it in the future, as has the bone sensor that was a feature of the predecessor.

Design, build and adapt

The design, in itself, is gorgeous and pretty much matches what we’re used to getting from HUAWEI on its premium products. The workmanship is also top notch, with nothing more to report.

headphones in hand

HUAWEI has gone for the open design, similar to the FreeBuds 3, which makes me really excited about the successor to the FreeBuds Pro this year. An open design has its advantages and disadvantages. We’ll cover that, but if you’re someone who doesn’t like in-ear headphones (like the FreeBuds Pro and more recently the FreeBuds 4i), you should definitely take a look at these.

In terms of fit, due to the open design, HUAWEI had more leeway to optimize the size and shape of the FreeBuds 4 to comfortably fit most ears. After a few minutes, you forget you are wearing them. They are comfortable and due to their lightness you can easily wear them.

These are two of the main advantages of an open design. We’ll cover the downsides in the segment below regarding audio quality and ANC. However, we would like to start with the fact that they are only against if you are coming from an in-ear canal design. If the open cup is your bread and butter, you should dismiss these so-called inconveniences.

earphone in hand

Audio quality, ANC and experience

Audio quality

We need to approach audio quality and ANC conversation from an open design perspective. Of course, an on-ear design will sound better due to the bigger speakers, while providing better noise isolation, and the in-ear headphones will deliver the best audio and ANC quality thanks to their passive noise cancellation and low noise level. insulation. sound inside the ear canal.

The 14.3mm speakers inside the FreeBuds 4 deliver truly enjoyable sound. They’re a bit lacking in the lower end of the spectrum, where the bass and lower mids reside, but that’s just a consequence of the open-fit design. Therefore, if your taste for music involves heavy bass and punchy bass, the FreeBuds 4 might not be the headphones for you. However, they are really silky on the mids and highs, with an emphasis on vocals and instruments.

There aren’t many settings to play with in the AI ​​Life app in terms of audio quality, and you can even get by without the app which at this point aside from customizing controls and setting firmware update, improve audio experience.

FreeBuds on connected table

Active noise cancellation

HUAWEI claims that the ANC has been improved over the predecessor. We’re not saying they haven’t, we’re saying we haven’t seen a noticeable and significant improvement. The ANC is there, and it works.

Does it block as much noise as the FreeBuds Pro or the FreeBuds 4i? Of course not, as these have the benefit of additional passive noise cancellation due to the in-ear canal design.

With the FreeBuds 4, the noise cancellation will block out an air conditioner or fan almost entirely, but anything beyond it will bleed due to the open-fit design.

Since having ANC turned on almost halves battery life (from 4 hours to 2.5 hours), we recommend turning it off unless you specifically need to turn it on. And, when you do, expect, depending on the environment, that some noises will be blocked out, most seeping in in a muffled, muffled, or otherwise pure way.

FreeBuds 4 on Mate Xs

Live

We use FreeBuds 4 for phone calls, VoIP calls (Signal, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet) as well as for listening to music. All of the above were delivered as expected. We covered audio quality in the segment above and voice calls sounded great. On the other end of the phone, people say they can hear us clearly, regardless of the quality of the call (lesser phone calls, greater VoIP calls).

The two-device connectivity (the ability to be connected to two devices at the same time) will definitely come in handy if you want to bridge the gap between work and play. I do most of my work on my computer while I listen most of my music from my phone.

With wear detection, you don’t have to fumble for the pause button when you want to quickly stop your music. Just remove them from your ears and media playback will stop immediately.

The battery life is close to that advertised. 4 hours without ANC, 2.5 hours with ANC and 22 more hours with the charging case and without ANC. While this is similar to the numbers in the FreeBuds 3 and certainly manageable, there are other HUAWEI and competitor models that offer more. It’s fair to mention it!

Charging will take about an hour for both the earphones and the charging case. Currently only wired charging is available, so don’t expect to use reverse wireless charging on your phone to keep them going while you’re away.

The bud stem is tactile, and while you can configure actions in the AI ​​Life app, the defaults are a double tap for play / pause, a long press to turn ANC on / off, and a swipe of up and down to increase / decrease the volume. With this feature, you can use FreeBuds 4 without AI Life, on another Android, or even an iPhone or Mac.

When using the AI ​​Life app, you can update the firmware (we got an update during our review period), configure the aforementioned gestures, and try to locate the headphones if you misplaced them.

Last but not least, HUAWEI seems to have made it a mission for users to struggle to remove headphones from the charging case. It might just be me, but I seem to struggle with all of the company’s models, and the FreeBuds 4 aren’t at all easier to remove. It is a combination of magnets, glossy surface and finish that prevents a good grip for easy removal.

Reviews on HUAWEI FreeBuds 4

Conclusion

The FreeBuds 4 are a perfect pair of stylish headphones if you are new to ANC compatible wireless models. We don’t see them as a significant improvement over FreeBuds 3 to advise an upgrade.

The addition of the IPX4 rating means you can wear them in the rain and even at the gym, as splashing water won’t damage the headphones. It’s true that there is a great selling point, in addition to a silky smooth sound (lacking a bit on the low end) and its relatively small footprint.

They are currently £ 129.99 in the UK and you get a HUAWEI Band 4 Pro (worth £ 49.99) as a gift. You can currently buy them in the EU for € 119.00, where they’re currently down (at the time of this review) from € 149, but discounts vary by region, so make sure you to check your local HUAWEI store for the latest prices.

a headset in hand

Advantages and disadvantages

Benefits

+ light and comfortable;
+ touch gestures;
+ its soft and silky;
+ connectivity to two devices.

The inconvenients

– low ANC;
– poor battery life with ANC;
– lack of sound in the low end;
– no wireless charging.


Anton D. Nagy

Anton is the editor of Pocketnow. As responsible for the publication, he aims to bring Pocketnow even closer to you. Its vision is mainly centered and oriented towards the public. Anton’s ambition, adopted by the whole team, is to make Pocketnow a benchmark media.

Contact: [email protected]


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