After announcing the latest Kirin 990 SoC for their smartphones, Huawei unveiled what they consider to be a serious contender to Apple’s AirPods: the FreeBuds 3 true wireless headphones. Huawei’s headphones do strike a resemblance to AirPods, and a large part of that is down to the fact that the FreeBuds 3 aren’t in-ear headphones, and instead the stem of the ear buds hang out of your ear.
But despite what superficial looks might imply, the FreeBuds 3 come with some pretty interesting hardware under the AirPods-lookalike hood. Powered by Huawei’s freshly-announced A1 chip, the FreeBuds 3 are supposedly the first TWS headphones to come with Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy 5.1—which will make them suitable for high-res audio.
Huawei says that the new chip allows for dual-channel Bluetooth (similar to Sony’s WF1000XM3 headphones), and will also ensure a lower latency rate of 30%, along with a 50% reduction in power consumption—Android Authority says that this is in comparison to Apple’s AirPods, which is quite a claim. However, it seems that only Huawei smartphones that are on EMUI 10 and above will be able to connect to the FreeBuds 3 using the aforementioned Bluetooth standard.
But something that really stands out is that the FreeBuds 3 comes with Active Noise Cancellation, which Huawei says will result in a 15-decibel ambient noise reduction. While making calls, the headphones will utilise bone conduction technology to pick up your voice, which will supposedly help remove ambient noise as well (along with a new mic duct).
Each earbud will have a 30mAh battery that will last up to 4 hours on a single charge, while the charging case will provide a total of 20 hours of playback. The charging case will also be compatible with Qi-standard wireless chargers.
At the moment, pricing and availability details haven’t been revealed. On paper, however, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 certainly look like an interesting entry into the fast-growing world of TWS headphones. The 190ms latency is certainly impressive, and the inclusion of ANC tech on such a small pair of headphones is also a plus point.
But as with all things audio, we’ll have to wait till we get our hands on a pair before we can make future judgement. Click here for the official product page.