Huawei has launched its FreeBuds 3 wireless in-ear noise-cancelling earbuds in New Zealand and we have a look. And they are so small that just this is amazing on itself. Weighing at only 4.5 g each earbud - and 48 g for the case, it's incredible how much power it packs.
The Huawei FreeBuds 3 packs lots of technology in such a small package. Starting with the wireless bit - with support for Bluetooth 5.1 built-in, the earbuds are ready to pair when you open the case for the first time. It will automatically connect again to your phone when you open the case after the pairing. And in case you need to pair to another device, an almost invisible button on the side of the case can be used to start pairing again (or reset the earbuds if held for longer than seven seconds).
In addition to being completely wirless, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 also sports active noise cancellation. This means it cancels out background noise (usually white noise) by processing the sound around you and creating a second sound that cancels out the noise. Even though the Huawei FreeBuds 3 doesn't cover your ear (like over-ear headphones) it is very effective and it's a pleasure to ear them during bus and aeroplane trips (although you have to be careful not to sleep with these in a plane or risk losing them if they fall).
On this subject, unlike most earbuds, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 is not inserted into your ear canal, but rather rest on the inner-side of your ear. To tell the truth this is the first earbud I can comfortably wear and not having it falling all the time (why I only ever had over-ear headphones until now).
You control your Huawei FreeBuds 3 with double-tap gestures - out of the box the default is to turn noise cancelling on/off with a double tap on the left earbud and play next song with a double tap on the right earbud. These can be changed using the Huawei AI Life app, which in addition gives battery status for the earbuds and case, plus an update feature - I had the Huawei FreeBuds 3 for a week before being offered an update that apparently brings more stable connections and a couple of enhancements.
By default noise-cancellation is off when you get the earbuds out of the case so you have to remember to turn this feature on using the app or double-tap gesture.
All this technology is powered by Huawei's own Kirin A1 processor, built into one of the earbuds - and that's why such small size is amazing.
The Huawei FreeBuds 3 come in a round case that doubles as a charger, so every time you put the earbuds back in the case you know they will be recharging and ready for your next use. Also interesting to note the case can be charged either via a USB-C cable or wirelessly - the case is compatible with the Qi standard and will charge from any compatible device, including your smartphone if it supports reverse wireless charging (like the Huawei P30 Pro does). A fully charged pair of earbuds (30 mAh) should give you about four hours of constant use and since the case is also a charger you can have up to 20 hours of sound without having to find a power socket.
In terms of sound, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 is amazing. A 14mm driver gives you a good range of sounds, working well for both music and voice calls. The mic also sports bone sensor and noise cancelling technology, making your voice sound clear to the person on the other side of the call.
The Huawei FreeBuds 3 is available now in New Zealand.