While they may look like Apple AirPods, the Huawei FreeBuds 4 offer an advantage with active noise cancelling and decent sound. Battery life is also comparable. If you hate wearing in-ears but want ANC to help block out fan and street noise, then the FreeBuds 4 are a pretty good option to consider.
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Open-fit active noise cancellation
- Wear detection sensor
- 14.3mm driver
Unlike in-ear earbuds, the FreeBuds 4 rest outside the ear. If you have the right ear shape, they won't fall off. Else, you may feel like they never quite sit comfortably. They do seem to sit better compared with the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless X, and were in no danger of falling out. However, because of their design, they don't quite seal out external noise, and feel leaky. This is normal with this type of earphones.
Sound-wise, the FreeBuds 4 aren't too bad, but lack a bit of bass. The highs and mids are louder, which make the bass feel tiny. They are good for vocal-heavy tracks, but are less than ideal for songs with lots of thumping. I feel that the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless X sound better overall. Turning on ANC slightly compresses the audio, but that's expected. The ANC also performs decently, though the FreeBuds 4 obviously can't block off all sound since they don't quite seal up your ear canal like an in-ear. They managed to reduce the hum of the background, but street noise still got through.
Battery life is rated at four hours without ANC, and 2.5 hours with. I managed to get around three hours of playback at full volume with ANC off. The charging case adds another 20 hours for all-day use. You can also select a less aggressive ANC mode using the Huawei AI Life app, though I did not test its impact on battery life. This app also lets you turn off or on wear detection, which enables auto playback when you put in the earbuds. It will also help you locate the earbuds if they are within range by playing a loud sound.
At S$198, the Huawei FreeBuds 4 are priced to compete against the Apple AirPods. If you're fine with less than bassy audio, these are the headphones for you. Get it from Shopee or Lazada. However, if you're looking for slightly better sound and a longer battery life, then check out the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless X. Alternatively, for pure noise-cancelling audio goodness, check out the Sony WF-1000XM4.
Note: Review unit provided by Huawei.
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