The Huawei FreeBuds 5 are an entire rethinking of the FreeBuds design language, with a relatively distinctive look in comparison with the remainder of the true wi-fi competitors. It’s not only a trend selection both, with a snug open-ear match, spectacular audio efficiency and helpful smarts. It’s only a disgrace the battery life dwindles a lot when the (not fairly profitable) ANC is lively.
- Distinctive, fashionable design
- Fantastically comfy match
- Spectacular sound efficiency
- Middling battery life
- AI Life app will be troublesome to put in on Android
- ANC doesn’t make a lot of a distinction
Distinctive designSports activities a novel design that separates them from the remainder of the competitors
Spectacular bass efficiencyExtremely Magnetic driver that goals to ship deep bass
Quick charging techTwo hours of use from a 5 minute cost
The Huawei FreeBuds 5 don’t look something just like the FreeBuds 4 that got here earlier than them. Actually, the FreeBuds 5 don’t resemble any of the most well-liked earbuds in 2023, with a relatively distinctive design that’s greatest described as a cross between natural and metallic.
It’s a design that works although; the buds not solely look extremely fashionable however the open-ear design permits for a snug match with out going deep into the ear canal like some ear-tipped alternate options. And, regardless of the open design, bass efficiency continues to be glorious.
It’s only a disgrace that I can’t say the identical concerning the Lively Noise Cancellation (ANC), which doesn’t mix properly with the open design of the buds and does little to quieten the surroundings.
Nonetheless, with different key options together with wi-fi Hello-Res audio assist, a low-latency mode for gaming and quick charging tech, the Huawei FreeBuds 5 stay a stylish-yet-capable possibility that prices lower than Apple’s third-gen AirPods.
- Distinctive design and end
- Open-ear design
- Very comfy to put on
The FreeBuds 5 not solely look utterly completely different to the FreeBuds 4, however virtually some other set of true wi-fi earbuds available on the market in 2023. An AirPods dupe, these are definitely not.
Actually, I’d liken the oddly organic-yet-metallic look to Terminator’s T2000, wanting extra like liquid metallic drops than your typical wi-fi earbuds. I like the design and applaud Huawei for doing one thing completely different, and so they’re nonetheless oddly fashionable. Everybody I’ve proven them to throughout my month with the buds complemented the odd design.
It additionally helps that the buds can be found in enticing vibrant finishes together with Ceramic White, Coral Orange and Frost Silver, with the buds sporting a shiny reflective end that provides to the premium look – although it might probably additionally make fingerprints and smudges far more noticeable because of this.
The design isn’t solely centered on being modern both; the thick stems have the right groove for gripping the buds, making it a doddle to seize them out of the charging case and alter the match in-ear with out by accident toggling the contact controls.
The open design of the buds means you received’t discover eartips right here, and which may lead some to consider that the buds received’t be as safe as tipped alternate options, however that couldn’t be farther from the reality.
Admittedly, donning the buds for the primary time, I anticipated them to fall out inside minutes. They don’t really feel like they go within the ear, however relatively sit completely balanced on the outer fringe of the ear canal. Nevertheless, a lot to my shock, the buds at all times stayed completely in place no matter what I used to be doing, even staying safe throughout a (uncommon, and barely embarrassing) jog.
This additionally means they’re a lot extra comfy than tipped alternate options with out that fatigue you are feeling after lengthy listening classes, and there’s none of that ‘bunged-up’ feeling right here both. Actually, they’re so comfy that I’ve used them to take heed to the sound of rain to go to sleep – and I sleep on my facet. That’s a feat that has been unique to Apple’s AirPods 3 up till now.
When not in lively use, the FreeBuds 5 stay in a pocketable egg-shaped cost case, making it immediately stand out from the ocean of AirPod case dupes not solely by way of look, sporting a frosted end matching the buds, however the general design.
The lid lifts simply, the buds are straightforward to take out because of the strong stems and the lid snaps shut with magnets, serving to hold them protected when saved in a pocket or rucksack. A single LED on the entrance shows connectivity and out there cost, with a small button on the proper to set off Bluetooth pairing and a USB-C port on the underside edge for charging.
The buds are IP54 rated, so use in gentle rain or throughout train shouldn’t be a problem. That doesn’t prolong to the case, nevertheless, with no sort of water resistance on supply.
- Auto play/pause tech
- AI Life app has customized EQ
- Customisable ANC
With regards to smarts, the FreeBuds 5 supply all of the staples of a succesful pair of true wi-fi earbuds, together with computerized play/pause tech when eradicating and re-inserting the buds, contact controls and a companion app for iOS and Android that allows you to customise options and alter the EQ too. It additionally boasts a couple of relatively distinctive options, like a low-latency audio mode nice for cell gaming.
Let’s begin with these contact controls; you possibly can double-tap to play or pause music, long-press to cycle between transparency and ANC modes and swipe up and down to manage quantity. The gesture controls aren’t fairly as delicate as Apple’s AirPods Professional 2, sometimes lacking a swipe enter, however such incidents had been few and much between. More often than not, the buds did precisely what I wished.
If you wish to customise these shortcuts, you’ll must obtain the Huawei AI Life app. It may be a little bit of a ache to put in on Android since its shift from Google Play to Huawei AppGallery, however it’s a one-time inconvenience.
As soon as put in, the app is straightforward to make use of, shortly connecting to the buds and offering the flexibility to not solely customise the gesture controls of the buds however change the preset EQs, or for these with a bit extra data, create a customized 10-point EQ to tailor the sound output to your preferences.
The app can be the place you possibly can allow ANC in addition to choose the ANC profile, starting from Common (most cancellation) to Cozy (minimal cancellation) with Dynamic (computerized switching based mostly on ambient noise) providing the very best of each worlds.
The FreeBuds 5 can even connect with a number of gadgets directly, permitting you to connect with, say, a wise TV and your smartphone and swap between the 2 relying on which display screen you’re presently utilizing. It’s straightforward to do too; simply pause playback on one linked gadget and begin it on the opposite. The buds will immediately swap enter, no guide reconnection required.
Three microphones permit for first rate name high quality too, with the recipients of most calls having no complaints about listening to my voice – a pleasant change from the NuraTrue Professional, which I get complaints about on a regular basis. Nevertheless, it was apparently simply as straightforward to listen to my environment, main me to consider that Huawei has extra work to do on its background noise discount algorithm.
Sound High quality
- Nicely-rounded audio expertise
- Nice bass efficiency regardless of open-ear design
- ANC isn’t that efficient
The FreeBuds 5 are small and mighty, sporting 11mm dual-magnetic dynamic driver items providing a large frequency vary of 16Hz to a whopping 40kHz, far more than the common 20Hz – 20kHz vary you’ll discover on a lot of the similarly-priced competitors.
Listening to Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King, the buds supply a well-rounded expertise with an important steadiness between the bass, mids and treble with a large spatial soundstage. The latter can additional be improved by DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, although that can rely upon the smartphone you join the buds to – it’s not a function of the buds, however relatively the cellphone taking part in the music.
The bass, specifically, is spectacular regardless of the open-ear design of the buds, with highly effective bass often requiring an entire seal across the ear canal – it definitely feels like Huawei’s proprietary Bass Turbo tech and expanded frequency vary are doing their jobs properly. If something, it makes me marvel how splendidly bassy the FreeBuds 5 could possibly be if that they had eartips just like the FreeBuds 5i…
It’s not simply centered on bassy, upbeat tunes although; Bob Marley’s vocals in Buffalo Solider had been clear and crisp with first rate sound separation from the remainder of the monitor, and the enjoyable backing monitor of Tracy Chapman’s Quick Automobile actually showcased how heat the acoustics will be.
It’s an beautiful expertise at a less expensive value level than Apple’s £169 / $179 AirPods 3, full with Hello-Res Audio assist at as much as 990kbps through the LDAC codec, although that’ll require a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-equipped cellphone to make the most of.
The FreeBuds 5 additionally sport ANC capabilities – a little bit of an oddity contemplating the open-ear design employed by the buds encourage exterior sound to leak in. Actually, I’d argue that it’s probably not that noticeable in on a regular basis use and, as such, I had it disabled for many of my testing in a bid to get as a lot battery life from the buds as potential.
I did hear a slight dulling of sure low frequencies, just like the hum of a close-by fan, however I might nonetheless fairly clearly hear most of what was happening round me.
Personally, I don’t discover that a lot of a problem as I really like the truth that open-ear buds just like the FreeBuds 5 and Apple’s AirPods 3 permit me to nonetheless concentrate on my environment whereas listening to my favorite tunes, although it does change into a problem utilizing the buds in exceptionally loud environments with out cranking the amount up.
Should you actually do need one thing that’ll boring the sounds of the morning commute, you’ll discover significantly better outcomes from in-ear buds just like the AirPods Professional 2 or Sony’s common WF-1000XM4.
- Common 5-hour battery life
- ANC brings playback down to three hours
- 30 hours of battery life inc. charging case
With regards to battery life, the FreeBuds 5 do little to face out from the competitors with a relatively customary 5 hours of playback earlier than requiring a top-up from the charging case, nevertheless that does drop to round three hours in the event you’ve acquired ANC lively – virtually half of what you’ll get from Apple’s second-gen AirPods Professional with ANC enabled.
That’s greater than sufficient for almost all of my wants, be it listening to music on my hour-long commute to work or chatting on the cellphone with my different half, however it won’t suffice in the event you intend on, say, listening to music for a whole 8-hour shift at work.
The one saving grace is that the charging case has quick cost tech that’ll present two hours of use after simply 5 minutes within the case in keeping with Huawei – however once more, that is with out ANC lively.
The case itself holds a further 25 hours of battery life, bringing the entire to 30 hours, with a reasonably brief cost cycle of round 45 minutes through USB-C. Qi wi-fi charging is supposedly on supply for extra handy case charging, however I discovered it relatively finicky to make use of throughout testing and principally opted for the cable connection.
Must you purchase it?
You desire a pair of fashionable, great-sounding earbuds: The FreeBuds 5 not solely look distinctive however sound nice, full with wi-fi Hello-Res audio assist.
You need headphones that’ll quieten the background: Whereas the FreeBuds 5 sport ANC, it’s not as efficient as in-ear or over-ear rivals with an open-ear design leaking environmental noise.
The Huawei FreeBuds 5 set themselves other than the competitors with a novel, modern design that’s each pleasing to the attention and fantastically comfy to put on, even over longer intervals of use. The contact controls are responsive, the auto-pause tech is responsive and the low-latency audio mode is a pleasant contact for cell players.
It’s the audio efficiency that basically cements the FreeBuds 5 expertise, with a large 16Hz – 40kHz frequency response vary and assist for wi-fi Hello-Res audio playback through the LDAC codec delivering a well-balanced audio expertise with beautiful element. The ANC isn’t that efficient at quietening the surroundings, however that’s no actual shock contemplating the open-ear design of the FreeBuds 5.
I simply want the battery lasted somewhat longer as 3 hours with ANC lively isn’t fairly as much as the usual of premium opponents just like the AirPods Professional 2.
How we take a look at
We take a look at each pair of headphones we overview totally over an prolonged time frame. We use industry-standard assessments to check options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to overview a product.
Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage.
Examined the earbuds for one month
Drained the battery absolutely
Listened to a combined number of songs
The buds themselves supply IP54 water resistance, however the case provides no sort of resistance in any way.
You’ll get 30 hours inc. the charging case, although solely round 3-5 hours on a single cost.
First Reviewed Date
Huawei FreeBuds 5
17.6 x 22.8 x 32.4 MM
11 mm dual-magnetic dynamic driver unit
Frost Silver, Ceramic White, Coral Orange
16 40000 – Hz
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LDAC is an audio know-how from Sony that enables for larger high quality audio streaming over a Bluetooth connection, with bit-rates of as much as 990kbps
ANC (Lively Noise Cancellation) makes use of an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming on the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any undesirable exterior noises.