It has been a few weeks since I got hold of the latest HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 review unit. I have taken it for a few runs now and have been using it frequently to understand the Pros and Cons of this pair of earbuds. It is time for the review.
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 is currently on preorder till 23rd July. It is retailing at S$178 (after S$20 discount) and comes with free gift worth S$28. You can check out the details HERE.
Here is the menu for easy navigation on different parts of the review.
Before I begin, I understand that some might be confused about the way HUAWEI names their earbuds. For example, they have FreeBuds Pro, FreeBuds 4i, Freebuds 3i, FreeBuds 3. If you observed, out of these earbuds, only FreeBuds 3 and FreeBuds 4 are based on an open-fit concept. The rest are in-ear kind of earbuds and the FreeBuds Pro has special features like using one of the earbuds as a microphone.
In my review, I will compare the FreeBuds 4 with FreeBuds 3 as they are the closest match and also because I have the FreeBuds 3 for easy comparison.
I have done a video on my review. Check it out below.
If you want more comprehension review, read on.
I have the review unit in Silver Frost color. I like this color as it matches my desk (see first picture).
There are not much things to show in the unboxing. It has the casing with the earbuds, an USB-C cable, documentation and user manual. As it is open-fit earbud, it does not have the different sizes of ear tips for you to interchange.
Comparing to FreeBuds 3, the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 has a smaller casing. However, if you compare the earbuds, they are very similar. The built for the casing is good even though it is made of plastic.
The spring-loaded cover does what it is supposed to do. With this matte look, I believe the casing will suffer scratches over prolong usage.
The status light has shifted from the bottom (compared to FreeBuds 3’s casing) to one side of the casing. In my opinion, it is practical when doing wireless charging. You can easily identify which side should be facing upwards (wireless charging coil facing down) when charging.
For the earbuds, it has the usual shape as compared to FreeBuds 3. It has chrome dark silver color which is pretty nice.
Here is the specs of the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4.
- Height: 41.4 mm
- Width: 16.8 mm
- Depth: 18.5 mm
- Weight: About 4.1 g
- Diameter: 58 mm
- Height: 21.2 mm
- Weight: About 38 g (Without Earbuds)
- Per earbud: 30 mAh (min.)*
- Charging case: 410 mAh (min.)*
- Music playback on 1 charge: 4 hours (with ANC disabled)**
- Music playback on 1 charge: 2.5 hours (with ANC enabled)**
- Music playback with charging case: 22 hours (with ANC disabled)**
- Music playback with charging case: 14 hours (with ANC enabled)**
- About 1 hour for the earbuds (in the charging case)**
- About 1 hour for the charging case (wire, without earbuds)**
*Typical value. Actual capacity may vary slightly. This capacity is the nominal battery capacity. The actual battery capacity for each individual phone may be slightly above or below the nominal battery capacity.
**Based on the test results of HUAWEI lab, for reference only.
- Press and hold controls
- BT 5.2
Simultaneous Bluetooth connection with dual devices:
*Requires smartphones running EMUI10 or above.
- Wear detection sensor
- 14.3 mm
- Open-fit active noise cancellation
- Call noise cancellation
Splash, Water, and Dust Resistant
- IPX4 – Earbuds
In The Box
- Charging case
- Quick Start Guide, Safety Information, and Warranty Card
- Warranty certificate
- USB-C cable
Here is the wordy version.
If you own a Huawei phone, connection is pretty simple. One you open the cover of the casing, it will automatically detect the earbuds and pairing will be a touch of the screen. Based on observation, the FreeBuds 4’s graphics is nicer compared to FreeBuds 3.
There is an app for it. You can download it at Huawei’s AppGallery (aka Huawei app store). The name of the app is AI Life. Previously, I already installed one version for the FreeBuds 3 from Google App Store. However, it could not detect the FreeBuds 4. I have to download the latest version from AppGallery to detect it.
On the appearance, the FreeBuds 4 and FreeBuds 3 are very similar. However, when I wear it, I can immediately feel that the FreeBuds 4 fits more nicely in my ears. When I go for runs with FreeBuds 3, I always have that fear that it will drop off. For FreeBuds 4, it just fit nicely. I don’t have that feeling that it is going to drop off. I had use it on four of my 10km runs and it sits well on my ears.
So, what are the major changes to the FreeBuds 4. I believe it is the hardware and software. For hardware, the driver is 14.3mm. In terms of battery life, it is quite short at 4 hours with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) turned off and just 2.5 hours with ANC on.
And for the software, it has more controls. For example, it has sound quality, Find my Earphones and etc.
For Noise Cancellation, you can select “Cosy” or “General” mode. General mode is for noiser places and Cosy mode is for quieter place.
For Sound Quality, you can choose HD calls, Record with earphones (use earphones microphone when recording audio), Pickup Mode (Choose between Voices or Surroundings) and EQ effects (Choose between Bass Boost or Treble Boost).
There is a new Find My Earphones feature where it will emit a loud sound from the earbuds. DO NOT wear it when you test out this feature.
Gestures-wise, You can Double-tap, Press & hold and Swipe. I find that it is limited because I would like to have Previous Song, Next Song and a Play/Pause altogether. It is not possible. Please introduce Tripe-tap for more controls.
And there is one thing that I missed that can be found on FreeBuds 3 but not on FreeBuds 4. It is the Noise Cancellation control.
According to the information, this FreeBuds 4 has ANC 2.0 which is an enhanced version of the old one.
HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 takes Open-fit Active Noise Cancellation to new heights, incorporating all-new adaptive ear-matching technology for even greater audio immersion. The open-fit design allows air pressure to stay equalised, while ensuring important environmental sounds can still be heard — for a safer, more comfortable wearing experience even after long hours of use.
However, sometimes, I just miss adjusting it myself. So far, the FreeBuds 4 ANC is doing OK but sometimes I do feel different pressure on each ear.
Finally, on Software update, it is similar to any of Huawei’s earbuds – Simple.
Here are my conclusion after using the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 for a few weeks.
I love: –
- the open-fit concept as it is easier on the ear (no pain at all with prolong earing).
- the fit of the earbuds on the ear.
- the ease of connection.
- the availability of the controls in the app.
- the design – Simple and elegant
- the color and weight (or lack of weight) of the earbuds and casing.
- that it has cable charging and wireless charging features, plus it charges fast.
So far, there is only one. I do not like the short battery life
Finally, price-wise, it is subjective. This FreeBuds 4 is retailing at less than S$200 during launch which to some people, might be on the high side.
Thank you Huawei for letting me have the opportunity to test out the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4 even it is officially launch. If I compare with FreeBuds 3, there is definitely an improvement. However, I do think that Huawei needs to compare it with the competition as most of us (consumers) will be comparing every single one in the market. Overall, nice experience using the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4.