Huawei had a big event in mid-September, where the star of the show was the Watch GT4, but we also saw the new Freebuds Pro 3 TWS earphones. We reviewed the smartwatch, and now we are also ready with the review of the new earphones.
We tried the Green earphones, which is the hero color in the current lineup. The paint job is new, but otherwise the Pro 3 look identical to their the predecessors, the Pro 2. If you look closer tiny differences start to appear, but even Huawei itself says the real changes are inside the buds. And having spent a few weeks with the earphones we are now ready to share our impressions.
The case is ever so slightly shorter than the previous generation and overall 4.5% smaller, with Huawei still written on a small reflective plate. There is a small button on the side for reset purposes, while the buds sit comfortably inside. The case supports Qi wireless charging, but can also be charged through the USB-C port on the bottom.
Huawei changed the touch sensor on the stem and lowered the weight by 5% compared to the previous generation. The touch area is now a tiny indentation, allowing gestures to feel more natural – no more unnatural pinching. Software-wise, nothing changed – you can set features for one, two and three taps while swiping up and down controls the volume. The rubber tips attached are size M, and Huawei provides three other sizes for different types of ears.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 3 can connect via Bluetooth to two devices simultaneously. We found out that the switch between the two was unreliable when the devices are not Huawei-branded.
Our tests included a Huawei smartphone, a Samsung smartphone, a Huawei tablet, a Samsung tablet, and a Bluetooth dongle for desktop PC. The Freebuds Pro 3 was having a major issue connecting to the desktop, dropping seemingly for no reason, even in the middle of a song or video.
Connectivity to mobile devices was slightly better, but still not ideal when two audio sources were playing simultaneously. On the upside as long as the Freebuds are used for listening to music on one device and take occasional calls (audio or video) on another, dual pairing will work without issue.
There are also controls in the AI Life app, which you need to download from Huawei’s AppGallery to get the latest version. The Freebuds can automatically pick the preferred device, but there is a widget for Android and HarmonyOS to let users control which audio source to use even without opening the app.
The buds themselves are fairly comfortable. There is no practical way in which they can be put incorrectly in the ear, and while Huawei offers a tip fit test, it merely validated our natual choice with each size of tips.
The buds stayed in our reviewer’s ear all the time, to the point of him forgetting they were there. The stem is also short enough so it doesn’t interfere with mask straps – yes, we are now also testing with facial protection; welcome to the new normal.
Huawei further improved the output of the Freebuds Pro 3, and for the third generation in a row, audio is incredibly impressive, while noise cancellation is also generally improved.
Huawei’s buds feel and sound as natural as it gets in this form factor, more than any other competitor we’ve tested. This is helped by Hi-Res audio streaming support through the LDAC (for supported Android phones) and L2HC 2.0 (for Huawei devices). Music just sounds crisp with clear treble and well-defined bass that doesn’t overpower the mid-tones.
Audio is well-balanced with all sorts of genres we tried, and while the Freebuds Pro 3 sound is not the loudest on the market, it is definitely among the most accurate.
Like most other premium buds these days Huawei Freebuds Pro 3 have three microphones, enabling Active noise cancellation. There are four modes of noise canceling – Dynamic, which adjusts automatically based on the surroundings, and three different strength toggles that you can manually select.
The Awareness mode, which lets external noises through comes with a new Voice Mode. If you enable that it will amplify voices, picked up by the mics. It could be useful in smaller offices, but we do not recommend using this outside, because it can get loud and confusing.
Freebuds Pro 3 have the same batteries as the previous generation, with 580 mAh capacity of the case and 55 mAh in each bud. We tested the battery life in all three modes and you can find the exact numbers in the table below.
|Mode on a single charge||Advertised Playtime||Real-life Playtime|
|Noise cancelling (Dynamic)||4 hours||215 minutes/
3 hours 35 minutes
|Off||6.5 hours||360 minutes/
3h 30 min
Obviously, the case has enough power for nearly 5 full recharges after accounting for charging losses, so you can extend the overall endurance significantly. The average charging of the buds was about 45 minutes – from 0% to 100%, which we do not expect to happen often in everyday life.
The case without the buds filled in 70 minutes over a USB-C cable. Using a wireless charger takes up to three hours for the whole set to get from 0 to 100%.
The Freebuds Pro 3 are undoubtedly the best earphones Huawei has produced yet. They have some of the best sound in the market, great design and competent noise canceling. You also get solid battery life with both wired and wireless charging support.
The €200/£180 price is definitely not low, but you are getting a no-compromise experience and some rivals to deliver that cost even higher. More so if you consider various deals Huawei is running – right now you can get the Freebuds bundled with a Band 8 smartband for €20.