Huawei FreeBuds 3 unboxing and hands-on review

huawei freebuds 3 philippines

Huawei Freebuds 3 is my first true wireless stereo (TWS) experience

True wireless earphones have been around for a little while now. As of today there are already a ton of selections of brands and models of different price points to choose from. Though this is already the case with true wireless earphones scene here in the Philippines, it is actually the very first time I am able to finally try one, thanks to the Huawei Freebuds 3. That being said, I was very excited to use it right away since it's been quite a long time since I have been wanting to get one for myself. So in this post, I would like to share with you my unboxing and quick hands on review of this wireless earbuds.

What's in the box

Like many other Huawei-made products, the Freebuds 3 come in a rectangular white box with the photo of the audio accessory itself on the front. There is also the Huawei Freebuds 3 branding up top with the tagline that says "New Intelligent Sound", whatever that means, we will find out later on. And then the Huawei logo on the top right corner of the box.

huawei freebuds 3 review

Upon sliding the outer box out, I am immediately greeted by the main star of the package cradled in its own box compartment. Together with the unit itself right underneath it are the USB Type C charging cable, warranty card, user guide, as well as a QR code that users can scan to download the accompanying mobile phone app called the Huawei AI Life (will talk more later about this one).

This is the Huawei Freebuds 3 wireless earphones

The unit I got comes in glossy black colorway. My first impressions? It is so shiny and so black at the same time that it reminded me of Anakin Skywalker's Darth Vader suit when he first got it in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. While it is nice to look at the first time being just black and glossy on its own, it picks up fingerprints and smudge real fast. I guess that's the only "dark side" to it, I thought to myself, hoping it's the only one ever.

huawei freebuds 3 hands on

The Huawei Freebuds 3's case and the earbuds themselves are made of plastic but the overall finish and build don't feel that plastic-ky at all. And that's a good thing since it makes the whole Freebuds 3 accessory package lightweight. While the material used was plastic, it still supports wireless charging. So if you have a smartphone that's capable of reverse wireless charging, running out of battery while on the go with the Freebuds 3 is never going to be an issue.

Huawei Freebuds 3 specs and features

Let's talk about the Huawei Freebuds 3 specs and features. First off, the device is equipped with Kirin A1 processor right at its core. Based on personal experience, this is a pretty capable chip. Huawei promises this processor to deliver a stable, fast Bluetooth connection, as well as an accurate video and audio synchronization. Again, based on my personal usage, the promise is delivered all the time so far.

One of its most talked about features is the ANC or Active Noise Cancellation.  The ANC promises to eliminate outside noise for a much more immersive listening experience. In terms of battery life, each of the earbuds carries 30mAh battery while the case has 410mAh. Each earphone is to last up to 4 hours on a single change and the case is to provide additional 16 hours of life. The earbuds are automatically charged when not in use and housed in the case.

Form factor wise, the Huawei Freebuds 3 sport an open-fit design. Both earbuds are touch enabled for music playback and ANC control. The earbuds are lightweight at only 4.5g each and about 48g for the charging case. And last but not the least, the Freebuds 3 wireless earphones are available in three color selections - black, white, and red.

The experience and impressions

The circular shape with rounded corners make the Freebuds 3 so easy to carry around whether in the hand or in the pocket. The overall dimensions and weight are so compact and lightweight that I can almost immediately forget its there in my pocket. The same can be said when the earbuds are in use and worn in the ears. I can wear and use these for longer hours, like when travelling to and from work, and not get my ears tired. Sometimes I have to check them from time to time making sure that I still wear them.

huawei freebuds 3 review

I don't know about you, but for me, I prefer in-ear designs on earphones most of the time mainly because of two things - it naturally blocks outside noise and the audio does not leak out. If I could add one more reason, many open-fit earphones that I have used so far were not that good in terms of form factor and how they fit in my ears. So while  how I wish Huawei opted for an in-ear design with the Freebuds 3, I think they did a great job on how they made it. Thanks to what the company calls "Dolphin Bionic Design", the Freebuds 3 nicely fit in my earns which results to a more conformable and stable wearing. This kind of design together with the Active Noise Cancellation feature, listening to my favorite music against outside noise is just a pleasurable experience.

Speaking of the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

One of the main selling points of the Huawei FreeBuds 3 is the Active Noise Cancellation or ANC. Through this technology and with the help of the powerful Kirin A1 processor, the earbuds intelligently cancel out background noise in real time. So how is it in the real world? Well, I would say the first time I fired it up it worked like magic. To be honest, it does not completely get rid of the outside noise most especially the high-frequency ones like those coming from cars and trucks, but it still delivers the job just fine.

Like for example when I am riding a jeepney, from the inside you can definitely hear all sort of sounds coming from the traffic. When I am using the Freebuds 3 and the ANC turned on, I can still hear those noises though much more reduced this time and I can still hear the music I am listening to loud and clear. For low frequency sounds such as the humming machine, the electric fan, or a couple of people talking nearby, the ANC perfectly delivers the promise.

Huawei AI Life mobile app

By default, you can double tap the right earbud to activate and deactivate the Active Noise Cancellation and double tap the left ear to play next song. But through the AI Life mobile app, you can change the gestures and have additional control on ANC. It also tells you the battery status of the buds and the case when connected. See screenshots below.

huawei freebuds 3 hands on

When the ANC is turned on, there is a dial in the app as you can see above. This allows you to customize the feature according to your environment and to your comfort. In here, you can also change the gesture settings in the "Shortcuts" section. Sadly, there is no touch gesture to control the volume. I was looking for something like "double tap and slide up/down" for volume. That said, I have to pull out my phone everytime I need to adjust the volume. And by the way I am using a non-Huawei smartphone. Perhaps the experience is much better compared to having a Huawei phone. Also, the AI Life app is not available on iOS devices, at least that's what I read, but the Freebuds 3 still works with Apple-made devices via Bluetooth connection.

How's the sound quality and is there a delay in audio synchronization?

Before I talk about the audio quality, I would like to mention first that pairing the Huawei FreeBuds 3 with my smartphone for the first time is pretty easy and fast. And then after that, everytime I pop the case open, in just about two seconds, the earbuds will automatically connect to my phone.  And that's one of the best experiences using a wireless earphones, I no longer have to wrestle first with messed up wiring of my headphones before I can start listening to music or watching series on my phone. I am sure all of you can relate to how "real the struggle" it is in this part of our smartphone life.

With the Freebuds 3, the moment I am done putting the earbuds in my ears, they are already connected to the phone and are ready for streaming music.

Now when it comes to the audio and sound quality of the Freebuds 3. I am not an audiophile and not an expert in the genre but I can definitely say that the audio quality in the Freebuds 3 is so good. Even when I adjust it to full volume, the quality is still very good. Lows, mids, and highs are perfectly balanced, I would say. I have no complaint, it's just good all the time for me and I am very satisfied.

Is it better than the other true wireless earphones out there? I cannot really say since I have never tried any other except this one. But I am pretty sure, this is one of the best in the market right now. It can compete head to head with other more expensive wireless earbuds.

huawei freebuds 3 battery life

Delay in audio streaming?

I read in some of the blogs I follow that one of the downsides of wireless earphones is the audio synchronization with smartphones. That there is a delay in transmitting the sound from the device to the earbuds. For song listening, I guess, this is not an issue since there is no visual to match the audio with. But for watching YouTube videos, or series on Netflix, and most especially when playing games, this is very crucial. Well, thankfully that is not an issue with the Huawei Freebuds 3. I tried to play a couple of games on my phone while using the Freebuds 3 and of course watching my favorite vloggers on YouTube. I am happy to report that there is no audio delay. Maybe there is a latency but only when you inspect too closely, but it is barely noticeable.

How's the battery life? 

It's long lasting. Another promise is being delivered in this part of the accessory. On a single charge, the earbuds last about 4 hours of use. My travel time from work to our house in Antipolo is about two and a half hours, sometimes three when the traffic is at its worse. And I never experienced running out of battery life with the the earbuds during my commute. It only happened once but that was only when I continued to use the earbuds even after arriving at home for additional couple of hours. Charging both the case and the earphones takes much less time. In a few moments, the FreeBuds 3 are ready for the action again.

huawei freebuds 3 bone sensor

Is it good for calling?

Because the FreeBuds 3 earphones have been my daily driver, I had the opportunity to receive calls while using them. Of course when it happened, I made sure to ask the person on the other line if I was being heard clearly. Take note, I was in a busy restaurant when one of the calls took place, and I was told they could hear me loud and clear without so much background noise. Well, that all thanks to the built-in "Bone Sensor" that Huawei implemented on the earbuds. This sensor helps the the FreeBuds 3 to better pick up voice through bone vibrations and helps reduce unnecessary noise.

Final words

The Huawei FreeBuds 3 is priced at Php8,990 and are now available in the Philippines. For many of us, that is quite pricey. But if you are someone who is very particular in audio quality, durability, design, and performance that does not compromise, the Freebuds 3 is worth considering. Both the black and white color variants are nicely done. But if you want to be a little bit unique, you can opt to choose the Valentines Red Edition which is also priced the same.

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