The newest high-end TWS earbuds from Huawei are the FreeBuds Four they usually deliver an iterative improve over 2019’s FreeBuds 3. To not be confused with the not too long ago launched FreeBuds 4i, the FreeBuds Four function open ear design with energetic 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 type issue in comparison with final yr’s mannequin.
I obtained the possibility to check out the brand new FreeBuds Four for an intensive time, utilizing them as my sole pair of earphones for work, journey, fitness center and all the things in between. Let’s see if the FreeBuds Four 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 Four deliver an open-fit fashion 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 Three 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 favor the squarer look of the AirPods’ case.
The second I put FreeBuds Four in my ears I seen they’d not likely keep put and have a tendency to loosen over time to the purpose the place I felt they had been going to slide out and fall. Different individuals who tried them on reported they match simply fantastic 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 classes 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 Three and positively feels extra premium. The opening mechanism is rock stable and brings a satisfying snap when closing. The highest lid can now help the load of all the case with out shutting shut which is a transparent signal of the improved construct. The earbuds themselves are effectively 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 Four with reference to the case – a wired charging model which was used for this evaluation and a wi-fi charging mannequin which is but to be made accessible. 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 dirt resistance.
As quickly as you place the earphones in your ear, you get an accompanying sound to let you realize they’re linked. You should 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 similar 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 Four 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 realize they’re linked.
You’ll be able to 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 might change again and fourth between them. This function additionally labored flawlessly on non-Huawei gadgets which is a welcome addition should you’re not absolutely invested in Huawei’s ecosystem.
Huawei’s AI Life app is your one-stop-shop for controlling all capabilities of the FreeBuds 4. Even should you’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 Four for some purpose. 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.
Huawei AI Life app controls
The touch-sensitive stems on the FreeBuds Four 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’ll be able to 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 can assist you find them in the event that they’ve been misplaced.
A giant new addition to FreeBuds Four is the Open-fit Energetic Noise Cancellation 2.zero system. It brings computerized changes to noise canceling based mostly on the encircling atmosphere with twin microphone hybrid noise discount system as an alternative 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 Four 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 relies 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 Four underperformed at isolating exterior noises in my private expertise. Folks with smaller ear cavities might see totally different outcomes so in case you have the possibility, do take a look at out the match earlier than you exit and purchase these.
Huawei can be touting greater sensitivity mics that may file sounds with as much as 48Khz pattern fee 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 take a look at but) and 150ms on EMUI gadgets which is actually a welcome addition for avid gamers.
Sound high quality
FreeBuds Four function 14.3mm dynamic coil drivers. Throughout my take a look at 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 circumstances with out over saying 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 yr.
Whereas the sound high quality is above common for TWS earbuds, noise canceling shouldn’t be that spectacular. You actually 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 Professional or Sony’s WF-1000XM4. In my testing, I discovered the FreeBuds Four to dam out delicate exterior noises like keyboard strokes or the hissing sound of the water dispenser on the workplace.
Outdoor or on the fitness center, the FreeBuds Four didn’t impress with their noise suppression however that has to do with the unhealthy match of my ears. This in flip makes it sophisticated 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 fee 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 Four 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 Four handle to final me two full days of labor and fitness center classes earlier than the low battery indicator got here on. I often listened to music at 60-80% quantity. A full cost from zero to 100% took round 30 minutes which is kind of spectacular.
Huawei’s FreeBuds Four current a viable choice 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 Three 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 Four supply a troublesome promote contemplating the extra inexpensive FreeBuds 4i are going for €100/£80 whereas final yr’s wonderful FreeBuds Professional are all the way 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 Four are for you however don’t anticipate 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 onerous to advocate the FreeBuds Four on account of their questionable match. For those who can snatch these at a gross sales occasion which Huawei often brings down the road and your ear canals can maintain them in and not using a drawback, then the FreeBuds Four are a worthy consideration within the uncommon breed of open ear TWS earphones.