The newest high-end TWS earbuds from Huawei are the FreeBuds 4 and so they convey 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 possibility to check out the brand new FreeBuds 4 for an in depth time, utilizing them as my sole pair of earphones for work, journey, gymnasium and every little thing 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 convey an open-fit type 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 baggage. 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 might 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 positive 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 undoubtedly feels extra premium. The opening mechanism is rock strong and brings a satisfying snap when closing. The highest lid can now assist the burden of all the case with out shutting shut which is a transparent signal of the improved construct. The earbuds themselves are nicely put collectively and survived the occasional fall from nearly 2 meters on the bottom with none scuffs or scratches.
Huawei is promoting two variations of the FreeBuds 4 close to 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 embody the buds of their charging case, a USB-C cable for charging and a few manuals. The buds are IPX4 rated for water and mud resistance.
As quickly as you set the earphones in your ear, you get an accompanying sound to let you already know they’re related. You need to use both of them individually which is cool if you wish to share your music with a buddy. Eradicating both of the buds immediately pauses all media together with movies on smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The pairing course of is identical as most different TWS earphones – you open up the case and maintain the pair button for just a few 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 modern animation of the buds to let you already know they’re related.
You may pair two gadgets concurrently (your cellphone and laptop computer for instance) and the earphones are good sufficient to know which system you’re utilizing on the precise second and may change 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 capabilities 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 assist the FreeBuds 4 for some cause. As soon as setup you’re introduced 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 undoubtedly a powerful 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 amount. You may 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.
An enormous new addition to FreeBuds 4 is the Open-fit Lively Noise Cancellation 2.0 system. It brings computerized changes to noise canceling primarily based on the encompassing setting 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 can even detect your ear canal form after which apply the very best matching noise canceling mode.
That is the place we should always point out that ANC high quality will depend on 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 completely different outcomes so if in case you have the possibility, do check out the match earlier than you exit and purchase these.
Huawei can also be touting increased sensitivity mics that may file sounds with as much as 48Khz pattern charge which makes for a transparent voice pickup even in noisier environments. You 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 announcing bass. They aren’t the loudest pair of TWS buds round however nonetheless supply a balanced sound profile which is a noticeable step above extra inexpensive choices we’ve examined previously 12 months.
Whereas the sound high quality is above common for TWS earbuds, noise canceling will not be that spectacular. You actually really feel much less outdoors commotion with ANC enabled however it’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 refined outdoors noises like keyboard strokes or the hissing sound of the water dispenser on the workplace.
Outside or on the gymnasium, 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 ideas that may create a greater seal in your ear canal.
Voice decide up from the on-board microphones was respectable but recordings got here out muffled. I didn’t see a giant distinction with Huawei’s 48Khz recording charge enabled and I nonetheless discover Apple’s AirPods because the gold commonplace for true to life voice decide up. Throughout cellphone calls, individuals 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 formidable 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 gymnasium 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 kind of spectacular.
Huawei’s FreeBuds 4 current a viable possibility for these taking a look at a pair of premium open-fit earphones that provide 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 supply 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 count on the identical degree of noise canceling as the opposite two fashions. Battery life is respectable although not class main.
There’s lots 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 resulting from their questionable match. When you can snatch these at a gross sales occasion which Huawei normally brings down the road and your ear canals can maintain them in and not using a downside, then the FreeBuds 4 are a worthy consideration within the uncommon breed of open ear TWS earphones.