How much are you willing to sacrifice for comfort?


The FreeBuds 4 are the most recent member of Huawei’s ever-expanding household of audio merchandise.

New true wireless earphones come out each week, so Huawei has its work lower out attempting to make the FreeBuds Four stand out. It’s not simply exterior competitors — the FreeBuds Four go up towards Huawei’s personal FreeBuds 4i (which are cheaper, however nonetheless good) and FreeBuds Pro (in idea dearer, however objectively higher).

So how can this center little one make itself seen? Our Huawei FreeBuds Four assessment provides you the rundown.

About this Huawei FreeBuds Four assessment: I used the Huawei FreeBuds 4 for seven days, working software program model 1.9.1.188. Huawei offered the FreeBuds Four assessment unit to Android Authority.

What you want to know concerning the FreeBuds 4

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

  • Huawei FreeBuds 4: £129/€149 (frequent reductions and promos obtainable)

The FreeBuds 4 are the mid-range possibility in Huawei’s lineup of true wi-fi earphones.

Like the FreeBuds 4i and FreeBuds Pro, these are energetic noise-cancelling (ANC) earphones, that means tiny inside microphones emit sound waves at sure frequencies to fight exterior noise. Unlike the opposite two merchandise, the FreeBuds 4 are “open-fit,” that means they lack the silicone suggestions that go into your ear canals, leaving your ear canals semi-open.

Learn extra: Headphones buying guide

The FreeBuds 4’s declare to fame is an “all-new” adaptive noise-cancelling function, which is meant to modify noise cancellation to go well with the distinctive measurement and form of your ears. That’s not one thing you can actually check, so make of that what you will.

How’s the design?

huawei freebuds 4 case 2

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

What I like most concerning the FreeBuds 4’s design is how comfy and “easy-going” they are. Because they don’t plug into your ear canals, they don’t get uncomfortable to put on after prolonged listening periods, assuming you can get a great match with them. Sound high quality and isolation come on the expense of the open-fit design, however loads of folks are open to that tradeoff — simply take a look at the AirPods‘ reputation. Also, if you need or want to preserve consciousness of your environment whereas listening, these are a great possibility.

The FreeBuds Four look very comparable to their direct predecessor, the FreeBuds 3. The principal distinction is the case is now barely smaller and lighter. The earbuds themselves are a millimeter or two shorter, however in any other case look the identical. Huawei appears content material to reuse a design that harks again to Apple’s authentic AirPods.

Huawei FreeBuds 4 are obtainable in white or silver colorways — the white model seen on this assessment is clear, however could appear relatively bland. I admire the end of the case, which is barely grippier and fewer fingerprint-prone than each the 4i’s and final 12 months’s FreeBuds Three case.

How’s the sound high quality and ANC?

huawei freebuds 4 10

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

There’s no method round it: the open-fit design of the Huawei FreeBuds Four impacts sound high quality.

Without silicone suggestions to isolate the audio system, sound slips out out of your ears, so you’ll want to hear at a better quantity. For comparability, I might use the FreeBuds 4i at 25% quantity on my laptop computer, however after I switched to the FreeBuds 4, I had to pump up the amount to 70% for an analogous expertise. That’s advantageous in a quiet setting like my yard, however the lack of isolation will make listening in noisy environments much much less nice than it could possibly be. Listening at excessive quantity is not good for the long-term health of your ears both.

The bass response will sound quieter than it ought to, which is simply one other consequence of an unsealed ear canal. These are not the earbuds for you if you take pleasure in thumping bass or hear to loads of rap, R&B, or different genres that depend on bass.

If you settle for the constraints of their open-fit design, the FreeBuds Four sound fairly good.

On the flip facet, if you hate headphones that drown out vocals and excessive sounds in extreme bass, you’ll love the FreeBuds 4. They de-emphasize the low finish, permitting you to extra simply hear vocal and string harmonics.

That’s not to say the FreeBuds Four sound unhealthy. If you settle for the constraints of their open-fit design, these true wi-fi earphones sound fairly good. There are plenty of folks on the market who hate the “stethoscope” feel of in-ear earbuds. For them, the FreeBuds 4 are a strong possibility.

Huawei claims to have improved the ANC on the FreeBuds Four in contrast to their predecessor. That is perhaps the case, however I didn’t hear a big distinction. In reality, I barely seen the ANC in most conditions. These headphones aren’t an important purchase for noise cancellation.

How’s the battery life?

huawei freebuds 4 case 5

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

The FreeBuds 4 are rated for 4 hours of battery life with noise-cancelling turned off. Turning ANC on will scale back battery life to simply 2.5 hours. Considering how imperceptible the ANC is, most customers ought to preserve this function switched off.

The battery contained in the case brings one other 22 hours (ANC off) to the desk. Depending in your utilization patterns meaning you might cost the case on Monday and never fear about it till Wednesday or Thursday. Of course, if you use the earbuds extensively, you’ll have to plop them again into the case each three or 4 hours.

Charging the earbuds contained in the case takes about an hour. That’s how lengthy you’ll want to cost up the case as properly. The case itself fees by way of USB-C. There can be a model of the FreeBuds Four that comes with a case that may be charged wirelessly, although this isn’t obtainable to purchase on the time of writing.

The FreeBuds Four don’t help wi-fi charging, which is a step backwards in contrast to the FreeBuds 3.

Four hours of battery life isn’t spectacular as of late — even Huawei’s £80 FreeBuds 4i provide up to 10 hours on a single cost, albeit with a smaller battery within the case. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Plus in the meantime reached over 11 hours of listening time in our testing (additionally with a smaller battery within the case).

What different options do the FreeBuds Four have?

huawei freebuds 4 vs freebuds 3

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

The FreeBuds Four look nearly equivalent to the FreeBuds 3

The FreeBuds Four function Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and help Bluetooth multipoint. That means you can have them related to, say, your laptop computer and smartphone on the identical time, which is nice for taking calls with out skipping a beat. Personally, I discover this function a bit annoying, however you can disable it from the companion Huawei AI Life app.

AI Life lets you verify battery life for the case and every earbud, toggle Bluetooth connections, and customise the contact gestures. Speaking of which, it’s good to see that the FreeBuds Four now have swipe-to-adjust-volume gestures, as well as to double faucets (for playback management) and squeezes (for toggling ANC).

Read extra: What are the best noise-cancelling earbuds?

The Find My Earphones perform in AI Life lets you play every earbud at max quantity, probably permitting you to discover them when you inevitably misplace them.

Finally, put on detection stops playback when you take off the earbuds and resumes it when you put them again in. This is nice (and helps with battery life), however sadly this function solely works with telephones, not laptops.

Anything else?

huawei freebuds 4 in hand

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

  • The case: The FreeBuds Four case feels properly made. It’s additionally very easy to take away the earbuds from it, in contrast to with the FreeBuds 4i.
  • Compatibility: Huawei is saving some options for its ecosystem, together with gadgets powered by its new(-ish) Harmony operating system. These embrace fast pairing and the flexibility to switch playback from a smartphone to a Huawei TV or pill paired with the FreeBuds. The excellent news is you’re not lacking any essential options if you’re utilizing them with gadgets from different manufacturers.
  • Water resistance: You can safely use the FreeBuds Four within the rain, thanks to the IPX4 water resistance certification.

FreeBuds Four specs

Huawei FreeBuds 4
Size

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Earbuds: 41.Four x 16.eight x 18.5mm
Case: 58 (diameter) x 21.1mm

Weight

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Earbuds: 4.1g
Case: 38g

Connectivity

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Bluetooth 5.2
Dual system connection

Sensors

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Touch: Swipe, double-tap, press and maintain
Ear on/off detection

Batteries

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Per earbud: 30mAh
Charging case: 410mAh
4h of music playback per cost (ANC off);
2.5h of music playback per cost (ANC on)
22h of music playback with case included (ANC off)
14h of music playback with case included (ANC on)

Charging

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

USB-C
Charging time – earbuds: ~1h
Charging time – case (no earbuds): ~1h

Speaker

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

14.3mm dynamic

Audio

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Active noise cancelling
Call noise cancelling

Water resistance

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

IPX4

Colors

Huawei FreeBuds 4:

Silver Frost, Ceramic White

Value and competitors

huawei freebuds 4

Huawei FreeBuds 4

Supremely comfy open-fit earbuds

So mild and unobtrusive, you may neglect you’re sporting them. With first rate options and sound high quality, the FreeBuds 4 are one of many few remaining choices for followers of open-fit true wi-fi earbuds.

At their launch worth of £129, the FreeBuds 4 are £40 cheaper than the FreeBuds Three have been two years in the past, however competitors is stronger at this time.

The most blatant various to the open-fit FreeBuds 4 are the Apple AirPods, the OG of true wi-fi earphones. Available £159 or €179, the Apple buds look and work very equally (not an accident). The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live (£159) additionally lack silicone ear suggestions, however sound high quality is variable relying on the match (a typical consequence of open-fit earphones).

More choices on SoundGuys: Best noise-cancelling true wireless earphones

The choices widen dramatically if you take a look at passive-sealing, silicone-tip-equipped choices. The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) ($119) stay an important possibility for these wanting for ANC in an important well-rounded bundle, and the brand new Sony WF-1000XM4 are even higher, however pricier. Sadly, each pairs presently aren’t broadly obtainable throughout Europe, however US consumers ought to completely think about them. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro (£219) provide stellar battery life and first rate ANC.

The strongest competitors may come from Huawei’s different true wi-fi earbuds.

But the strongest competitors may come from Huawei’s different true wi-fi earbuds. The FreeBuds Pro, launched late final 12 months, provide all the identical options because the FreeBuds 4, with superior sound high quality, ANC that’s really efficient, and much higher battery life. At the time of this writing, they are cheaper than the FreeBuds 4, at £116, making it very arduous to advocate the newer mannequin, except you actually need open-fit earbuds.

Huawei FreeBuds Four assessment: The verdict

huawei freebuds 4 case 4

Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

Two years in the past, I reviewed the FreeBuds Three and I actually appreciated them. In the meantime, the business has moved on, bettering sound high quality, battery life, and designs throughout the board. The FreeBuds Four really feel frozen in time — certainly, there’s not much new to discuss when you examine them to their predecessor.

The FreeBuds Four really feel frozen in time.

If you’re wanting for open-fit true wi-fi earbuds, the FreeBuds 4 are a good possibility. They’re very comfy, they sound good, and the battery life (with the case included) is passable.

But if you need superior sound high quality, passive isolation, and actual energetic noise cancellation, there are many higher choices on the market, together with Huawei’s personal FreeBuds Pro.


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