Design, control elements.
Many call FreeBuds a clone of AirPods from Apple, and a certain similarity is obvious here, although, in my opinion, Huawei tried to combine the best of both worlds. The shape of the headphones is clearly taken from AirPods, although they added silicone pads to fit them under any ears.
The charging box is clearly taken from IconX of the second generation, the word “taken” is interpreted here in the sense of what they spied. See what the IconX box looks like.
And here is a box from FreeBuds.
On the other hand, who cares? Everyone copies each other, and that’s fine. From the point of view of the headphones, it is rather difficult to do something exclusive and at the same time convenient. I’ll start with the design of the headphones, they are small and well located in the ear canal, the passive isolation is average, it all depends on your anatomy and how you picked up the earplugs. The feeling that they designed headphones with standard silicone inserts, since with size L they simply do not close in the charging case, it is impossible to slam it! Bad luck when the product is not fully tested. On the other hand, the first pancake is lumpy, and this is understandable, this often happens.
The headphones are available in two colors. white and black (the same AirPods, only white, IconX in different colors, even in pink).
Depending on the color, the box with additional charge differs. The case has IP54 protection, which in theory should protect against sweat and splashes, but I would not really count on it. The design of such headphones is such that when you remove them on the street, you will drop them from time to time, losing them is easy. In New York, he had the opportunity to say goodbye to his left earphone a couple of times, he strove to escape to the local sewer for permanent residence. This is not a FreeBuds problem, it is a problem for the entire category of such headphones.
Each earphone has a sensor that shows that it is in the ear. This is also a standard story, there is nothing surprising. The weight of the earphone is almost 6 grams, it is not felt in the ear, it does not interfere in any way. When running, or if you shake your head, the headphones do not fly out. But here it should be noted that many incorrectly insert the headphones, do not push them deep into the channel. In this case, they hang funny in the ears, stick out in different directions. Look at the photo, how the headphones should be inserted, the stems along the cheek.
Operating time. up to three hours, in reality, at maximum volume, they last for two hours with a little. This restriction is not felt, because during breaks I hide the headphones in the charging box. The manufacturer claims that in 15 minutes they are charged for 90 minutes of use, there is no reason not to believe. The charging box is capable of fully recharging the headphones twice (each earphone has a 55 mAh battery), that is, it gives up to 6 hours of additional work plus the initial three hours. For some reason, many people think that charging in the box gives plus 9 hours, this is not so. The battery in the case is 410 mAh, the full charge time is about 1.5 hours with headphones included.
The design of the box is simple, there is an indicator on the front panel, it is constantly on during charging, changes to green when it is finished. Mating occurs when the lid is open, you can press the button on the back of the box. At the first pairing it is possible not to press, it will happen like that.
The control of the headphones is touchy and very simple: double tapping on the right earphone is the play or pause in the application that you used last; in the left earphone, double tap calls the assistant (in iOS it is Siri, in Android. the assistant from Google). No rewinding of songs, no equalizers or anything complicated.
In the Play Market, you can find a companion application for FreeBuds, in fact this is an instruction, as well as the ability to update the firmware of the headphones.
I updated all the firmware, and there were several for a month of testing, but I did not find any particular improvements. The Bluetooth version in the headphones is 4.2, which suggests that they have been developed for a long time.
Work with Huawei P20 Pro, Galaxy Note 9 and other smartphones
At FreeBuds, I was not initially embarrassed by the sound quality, it is quite comparable to the same AirPods, the sound, to put it mildly, averaged and far from something interesting (do not throw stones at me, but people who adore AirPods for sound are victims of a big name , it can’t release something in between, right?). The problem with FreeBuds is that these are ordinary headphones in which they have not implemented anything at all. Each earphone has two microphones, which in theory should be responsible for noise reduction, in fact, this mode is not de facto, it just uses the earphone that better picks up sound at the moment, this creates interesting collisions, for example, sometimes your interlocutor hears external noise better than you. But this is not so bad.
Let’s say you only listen to music. I had an artistic reappraisal of many works, because when I listened to them on FreeBuds, I realized that they were either slowing down or speeding up. Headphones simply can not cope with a rather sluggish stream with a low bit rate (128 Kbps, not higher). The lack of sufficient memory for the buffer (both in AirPods and IconX) is a cruel joke, someone simply did not provide it in the design, this happens when the product is created in a hurry. Another problem is that the left ear often loses connection and a desync occurs. This happens almost constantly, and there are no exceptions, regardless of the model of smartphone. This happens with the flagships of Huawei, Samsung, finally, with the iPhone. And this puts an end to these headphones as a device that does not fulfill its main role. Around similar problems when talking on them, the sound often becomes metallic, interrupted. If you carry the phone in your pocket, then this is enough to interfere. Everything is somewhat better indoors, especially if you put up the phone in the center of the room and walk around with headphones, but who uses wireless headphones in this scenario? I definitely don’t. Any turn of the head, and communication may be interrupted, so I walked around with these headphones, always looking forward for centuries and afraid to move, they quickly taught me the correct posture. None of those who wrote reviews of these headphones on this “trifle”” I did not pay attention, did not sharpen, they described the sound and its quality. Apparently, in ideal conditions, when the phone was centimeters from the headphones and no one moved.
And here we can talk about a simple thing, it is not so important the lack of other functions that competitors often have. It is important that these headphones do not know how to work with sound at all. And a lot of comments from “happy” customers prove it. Companies often have problems with the first product in a new category, for example, IconX in their first version had a number of flaws, I rather did not like them than they liked them. But there are too many such flaws. As far as I know, Huawei has already faced with headphone returns and are concerned about a design change, in 2019 an updated version will be released that will take into account all the disadvantages of the first pancake. And these headphones are a rare case when you can confidently say that the product does not cost at all, since you will not get anything from it. On the other hand, I’m sure that those who praised the product will come up with a lot of explanations why this text is incorrect, I have the wrong headphones and so on. By the way, I tried different headphones, including from retail, everywhere the same problems. Huawei will fix the product, learn how to make good ears, I have no doubt about that. But what to do with IT journalism, which cannot be so easily fixed, I have no answer.