Huawei Freebuds 4 review: do they live up to the hype?

What's The Best reviews the Huawei Freebuds 4.

A woman listening with her Huawei Freebuds 4

by Isabel Martins |

The Huawei Freebuds 4 has the hallmarks of a pretty impressive product, with ANC, Adaptive Ear Matching noise cancellation and plenty of other features. These include some very easy-to-use and intuitive touch controls, wireless charging, ANC 2.0 technology, and up to 22 hours of listening time with the case.

All of these functions sound great in theory, but did they impress our audio and tech expert Isabel Martins? Keep reading to find out.

Specifications
Connection Bluetooth 5.2
Features ANC 2.0 technology, call noise cancelation, IPX4 rated
Run time 4 hours before needing to charge, 22 hours total
Weight 4.1g
Pros Cons
• Impressive quality • Expensive
• Incredibly lightweight • Connection issues
• ANC is very effective

Verdict: Superbly sleek and very light, these could easily be worn all day quite comfortably. The active noise cancellation is impressive, and seriously reduced outside noises, the only disappointing issue is that it can easily disconnect from your smart device, especially if the battery is low.

Build

 Huawei Freebuds 4
©Huawei

• Almost weightless

• IPX4 rated

• Comfortable

They may only weigh 4.1 grams each, but don't let that fool you, the Huawei Freebuds are pretty powerful and carry a sturdy build.

They're IPX4 rated for dust and water resistance, so you can feel free to take them on hikes, to the beach, or any other outside activity. In general, these earbuds are pretty tough, so if knocked, or dropped from a small distance, they won't really get scratched or scuffed.

In terms of usage, simply place the earbuds into the ear, ensuring that the tip is facing forward. They sit quite snuggly but they do not pressure onto the ear canal.

The Huawei FreeBuds 4 comes in either Ceramic White or Silver Frost. I tested the Ceramic White. Their open-fit style may not seem or feel very secure, but let me assure you, they are. I tested them at the gym doing resistance training, on a walk, on a run, and not once did it feel like they were going to slip out.

While feeling secure, they are also superbly lightweight and comfortable, so much so that if I paused my music, I would actually forget that I was wearing them. This is a significant advantage, as you'll be able to use them for hours without ever feeling any discomfort.

In relation to their design, they are impressively sleek and ultra-portable, and aesthetically, their resemblance to the Apple AirPods is uncanny. The circular case is also pretty small and it seems a lot like you're carrying around a pack of dental floss.

Usability

The Huawei Freebuds 4
© Huawei

• Easy to use controls

• Excellent ergonomics

• 4 hours battery life without ANC, 2 with ANC

Although they are an incredible pair of earbuds, they fall short on battery. Lasting only two hours with ANC or four hours without ANC, there not ideal for long days at work, and if you're going to be out all day you'll definitely need to bring the charging case with you.

In terms of the controls, they are incorporated into the earbuds so you'll simply have to tap the earbud, or swipe the stem of the earbud, to start or stop a track, control the volume, as well as activate voice assistant and ANC.

These are the full touch controls:

• Tap twice - Answer/end call, start/stop song, skip song, enable voice assistant

• Swipe up/down - Increase or decrease volume

• One long press - Start or stop noise cancellation, reject call

Overall the controls are intuitive and fairly easy to navigate. Although they are pretty sensitive, and I found myself accidentally pausing a podcast or ending calls if I so much as grazed them.

You can also pair two devices to the Freebuds 4 simultaneously, i.e, your smartphone and your laptop, which is a pretty cool feature. And you can switch pretty seamlessly between each device too!

Performance

The Huawei Freebuds4
©Huawei

• Effective Adaptive Ear Matching technology

• Excellent bass

• Great ANC

According to Huawei, these earbuds "use a Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) composite diaphragm, which supports a frequency range of up to 40kHz, delivering high-resolution sound quality."

From my testing, I can definitely conclude that the audio quality is superior to other, cheaper earbuds. The bass delivered is very defined and crisp, as is any of the low pitched sounds, so any heavy metal, drum and bass, rock, or jazz fans will be very pleased.

The ANC was pretty effective too, significantly reducing outside noise, once activated it created an almost vacuum sensation, and it was definitively challenging to hear background noise, including fans, people talking, or even cars. Of course, they are open-fit earbuds so they can't completely deliver on the noise cancellation front so while noise is dulled out, it isn't completely muted. If this is truly important to you, then we'd recommend investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Any gamers will be happy to know that the earbuds also boast a game audio coding technology, which seriously reduces latency. I decided to put this to the test and they certainly delivered, I tried them whilst playing Call of Duty Mobile and the lag was minimal.

Another top feature is the Adaptive Ear Matching noise-cancelling technology, as this automatically adapts to your ear canal, so you'll be getting personalised audio.

I especially loved the ear detection characteristic, this essentially detects if an earbud falls out and instantly pauses your song or podcast. The connection range is also pretty incredible, I found myself in and out of rooms, without it so much as faltering. Huawei claims it has a connection range of up to 10 metres, and from my testing, I'd say that's pretty much spot on.

As much as I loved these earbuds I did find myself with some connection issues, not from being far away from the earbuds, but rather they'd just sporadically pause, or start a song. I found that this problem became significantly worse when they were low on battery. Once fully charged this only occurred a handful of times.

Price

Coming in at £129.99, these are fairly expensive wireless earbuds. However, when you consider the myriad of features they offer, from low latency to ANC to Adaptive Ear Matching noise-cancelling technology, you'll note that the Huawei Freebuds 4 price tag is pretty average.

If you're looking for earbuds with true ANC, from my testing I'd say that the Apple Airpods Pro are your best bet, they're also the main rival to the Huawei FreeBuds 4.

Verdict

With a combination of intuitive controls, precision audio, and effective ANC mode, and ear matching technology, there's very little these earbuds can't do.

Ultimately, Huawei has done a great job with these earbuds when it comes to audio. It delivers impeccably clear and distinct components of music, from the lowest to the highest-pitched sounds, everything was crisp.

However, this is not for anyone who wants an all-singing-all-dancing set of earbuds - if you're looking for something completely noise cancelling, you'll need to spend a bit more and look at some of the other best wireless earbuds.

Score: 3.5/5

Pros Cons
• Impressively lightweight design • Connection issues
• Rich, precise audio • ANC could be better
• Low latency technology is ideal for gaming

How we tested it:

I tested these earbuds over a period of three weeks, taking them with me everywhere. I used them for runs around parks, to the beach, to go to the gym for resistance training, as well as any errands I had to do. Throughout these activities, I listened to a myriad of different genres of music, podcasts, answered calls, and used voice assistant. All in all, they provide rich and clear audio, and if fully charged, you'll find there's very little they can't do.

Isabel Martins is a Commercial Content Writer for What's The Best, specialising in technology.

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