The newest excessive-finish TWS earbuds from Huawei are the FreeBuds 4 and so they carry an iterative improve over 2019’s FreeBuds 3. Not to be confused with the just lately launched FreeBuds 4i, the FreeBuds 4 characteristic open ear design with lively noise cancellation which claims to filter out as much as 25dB of surrounding noise. You additionally get the most recent Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and longer lasting battery life in a barely extra compact kind issue in comparison with final 12 months’s mannequin.
I received 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, fitness center and every part in between. Let’s see if the FreeBuds 4 are actually a tangible improve over their predecessors. More importantly, can you actually get dependable ANC from open match earphones?
Design and construct high quality
FreeBuds 4 carry an open-match type with lengthy stems which instantly remind of Apple’s common AirPods and with the visible resemblance between the earphones is definitely 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 package and I personally choose the squarer look of the AirPods’ case.
The second I put FreeBuds 4 in my ears I observed 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. Other individuals who tried them on reported they match simply high quality with their sound receptors so the issue was seemingly on my facet.
Despite the lackluster match, I nonetheless loved the sunshine and non-obtrusive kind issue which contributed to a number of hour-lengthy 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 stable and brings a satisfying snap when closing. The high lid can now assist the burden of your complete 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 nearly 2 meters on the bottom with none scuffs or scratches.
Huawei is promoting two variations of the FreeBuds 4 almost about the case – a wired charging model which was used for this review 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 place the earphones in your ear, you get an accompanying sound to let you recognize they’re related. You can use both of them individually which is cool if you wish to share your music with a good friend. Removing 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 a number of seconds after which choose the FreeBuds 4 within the Bluetooth menu. Pairing on Huawei units is instantaneous as quickly as you pop the highest lid. You additionally get a modern animation of the buds to let you recognize they’re related.
You can pair two units concurrently (your telephone and laptop computer for instance) and the earphones are good sufficient to know which gadget you’re utilizing on the actual second and may change again and fourth between them. This characteristic additionally labored flawlessly on non-Huawei units which is a welcome addition should you’re not totally invested in Huawei’s ecosystem.
Huawei’s AI Life app is your one-cease-store for controlling all features of the FreeBuds 4. Even should you’re utilizing a non-Huawei telephone it’s finest to sideload the app from Huawei’s AppGallery Store because the Google Play model didn’t assist the FreeBuds 4 for some purpose. Once setup you might be introduced with battery standing for each left and proper earbuds in addition to their case, a connection heart of all of your paired units and loads of shortcuts for the gesture controls.
The contact-delicate stems on the FreeBuds 4 are positively a powerful level and labored exceptionally in my testing paired to Huawei units 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 can re-map the double and lengthy press actions whereas the swipes are rightfully reserved for quantity adjustment.
The Find My Earphones characteristic 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 Active Noise Cancellation 2.0 system. It brings computerized changes to noise canceling primarily based on the encircling setting with twin microphone hybrid noise discount system as a substitute of the one mic system on the FreeBuds 3.
On paper, this implies higher ambient sound choose 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 most effective matching noise canceling mode.
This 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. Compared to in-ear earphones with ANC, the FreeBuds 4 underperformed at isolating exterior noises in my private expertise. People with smaller ear cavities might see totally different outcomes so you probably have the possibility, do take a look at out the match earlier than you exit and purchase these.
Huawei can be touting increased sensitivity mics that may document sounds with as much as 48Khz pattern fee which makes for a transparent voice pickup even in noisier environments. You can discover extra particulars within the sound high quality part under. There’s additionally a low latency mode with a 90ms delay on HarmonyOS 2 telephones (which we couldn’t take a look at but) and 150ms on EMUI units which is definitely a welcome addition for players.
Sound high quality
FreeBuds 4 characteristic 14.3mm dynamic coil drivers. During my take a look at interval, I listened to numerous 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 prior to now 12 months.
While the sound high quality is above common for TWS earbuds, noise canceling isn’t that spectacular. You definitely really feel much less exterior commotion with ANC enabled nevertheless it’s nowhere close to the extent of different premium in-ear buds just like the AirPods Pro or Sony’s WF-1000XM4. In my testing, I discovered the FreeBuds 4 to dam out refined exterior noises like keyboard strokes or the hissing sound of the water dispenser on the workplace.
Outdoors or on the fitness center, the FreeBuds 4 did not impress with their noise suppression however that has to do with the unhealthy match of my ears. This in flip makes it difficult to suggest them over an in-ear pair of earbuds with correct silicone suggestions that may create a greater seal in your ear canal.
Voice choose up from the on-board microphones was respectable 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 normal for true to life voice choose up. During telephone calls, individuals on the opposite facet 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 choice for these a pair of premium open-match 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 wonderful FreeBuds Pro are right down to €140/£130.
It’s the in-ear match that determines which mannequin you go for and should you’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 respectable although not class main.
There’s lots to love right here when it comes to audio output and added performance with flawlessly executed multi-level pairing and gesture controls but it’s onerous to suggest the FreeBuds 4 because of their questionable match. If you’ll be able to snatch these at a gross sales occasion which Huawei normally brings down the road and your ear canals can maintain them in with no downside, then the FreeBuds 4 are a worthy consideration within the uncommon breed of open ear TWS earphones.