FreeBuds Pro 3 | Do the little things right

Touch volume control, amazing bass, connecting two devices simultaneously, effective ambient noise cancellation: the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 wireless earbuds are refined down to the smallest details. However, they handle phone calls poorly and we are always afraid of dropping them.

WE love

For several years now, the Chinese manufacturer Huawei has focused, at least in North America, on its watches and headphones, abandoning its phones. Last fall, we were treated to the most recent high-end model of its wireless headphones, the FreeBuds Pro 3, presented as competitors of the AirPods Pro, Sony XM5 and other Galaxy Buds2 Pro.

The first obvious comparison is of course the sound quality, and the FreeBuds Pro 3 do not disappoint from the first tests. From rock to jazz to classical music, these headphones have always had the astonishing ability to combine well-rounded bass and generous details in the highest frequencies. We definitely prefer them to Apple’s AirPods Pro, especially for the rich bass, and they’re only outclassed in our experience by Sony’s unbeatable and very expensive WF-1000XM5.

The Bluetooth connection works smoothly, both with iPhones and Android phones. The former, however, have the advantage of being able to download the AI ​​Life application directly from the App Store, while the latter must go and find it via a direct link, by “sideloading”. Note that Huawei phones detect nearby headphones and can connect to them without any further intervention.

You can connect two devices at the same time, phones, computers or televisions. The first person to make a sound then takes control.

Let’s stop at the application which offers, first of all, the “tip port test” to confirm that you have chosen the right size, among the four offered in the box – here we have added the XS for very small ears. A good mark also to the equalizer, which initially offers six presets with a photo to illustrate it. You can also create your own setting. As far as we are concerned, the adjustments are superfluous, these headphones being rather well balanced.

It is also in this application that you can configure the reaction of the headphones to all the manipulations they offer. By default, they are pinched once to answer or end a call, or play or pause a song. Twice and the call is refused or we move on to the next song. Three times and the previous song plays.

When you pinch and hold, you can switch from transparency mode to active noise cancellation. And the difference is impressive, for in-ear headphones that don’t have all the coating of headphones. In the metro or in the city center, you really go from invasive noise to a hushed silence that allows you to hear your music or audio book.

You can also configure this command to call your phone’s voice assistant, Siri or Google Assistant. And it works, even if these FreeBuds Pro 3 are not part of these ecosystems. The voice commands “Hey Siri” or “Ok Google”, on the other hand, are not accessible. you must not exaggerate.

The other nice little touch is that you can also control the volume by sliding your finger up and down on the earphones. The technique is delicate and not obvious at first attempts, but it is once again completely functional.

The FreeBuds Pro 3 gave us an average of 4 hours of listening time with ANC activated, around 7 hours without this function. The case, which accepts magnetic charging, can charge the earbuds four times.

We like less

Oddly enough, Huawei enthusiastically touts what we found to be these headphones’ main weakness: phone calls. The voice of our interlocutors seemed rather “candy” to us. They heard us well, however, another aspect touted by the manufacturer with its “2.5 times improved voice pickup thanks to a specially designed bone conduction microphone”. Without being so laudatory, let’s just say that our voice sounded good on the other end of the phone.

The Bluetooth connection seemed finicky at times, notably during two phone calls which sputtered unpleasantly. Transferring between the two Bluetooth-connected devices can also be problematic. It takes a little delay after stopping the music on one for the other to come on board, in particular.

During sporting activities, the headphones held up well. But they tended to stick out a bit from the ear and looked like they were going to fall out.

One buys ?

The FreeBuds Pro 3 are undoubtedly very good quality headphones, delivering high-caliber sound performance. They have added little touches that are too rare among their competitors, including touch volume control, magnetic charging of the case and support for two devices via Bluetooth. All this at a competitive price, it must be emphasized.

Our reservations concern the quality of reception of telephone calls. And if the voice command “Hey Siri” or exclusive use of the Google Play Store are essential requirements, the FreeBuds Pro 3 are not headphones for you.

FreeBuds Pro 3

  • Manufacturer: Huawei
  • Price: $298.99

Rating: 8.5 out of 10


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