The Huawei FreeBuds Lite want to score top marks by delivering an ultimate experience thanks to True Wireless technology, impressive sound and an ingenious dual microphone design with integrated noise reduction capabilities for enhanced communications over the phone. Or at least they claim so in their advertising campaigns. At first glance, you’ll quickly note a distinct design inspiration sourced from the Apple AirPods, but Huawei thankfully keep a little safe distance in these stakes due to some wholly unique characteristics and a distinct black colourway. Is this enough to warrant all that bold talk the brand was throwing around, however?
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable11 g
What's in the box
- 3 pairs of ear tips (S, M, L)
- 1 pair of sports ear tips
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and white
- Weight (charging case with earphones): 56.5 g
- BT version: 4.2
Lifting the Huawei FreeBuds Lite out of the narrow charging case, I carefully hang them for safekeeping before selecting a suitable earpiece. Sizes ranging from small to large are on offer here. After selecting my preferred size, I slip the earpiece into the auditory canal for a fit that isn’t seal-tight, but rather a comfortable, airy sensation that doesn’t cause concern with any worries of things feeling loose or that things might fall free. Should you require even more openness and airiness, you can put to use the silicone tip accessories that are also included with these headphones, which are recommended for sporting activities and workouts, reducing the so-called stethoscope effect of many headphone models. Pairing is quick and easy via Bluetooth 4.2 standard, with all these steps taking place while the FreeBuds Lite itself remained safe and sound in its charging case.
Soon, music is flowing through the dynamic 7mm drivers and into the ear. Unfortunately, the bass is lacking somewhat, although this might be in part due to the looser fit of the earbuds. What’s more, the highs sound a little too pointed and shrill. The louder the volume is set, the more unpleasant the sound can become. Unfortunately, the advertised equalization capabilities fail to impress. If it was a colour, the sound of the FreeBuds Lite would certainly occupy the grey field. More complex music just doesn’t have the broad stage to deliver the goods, with deep audio penetration into the auditory canal simply impossible. I next move onto some rock music to see if there’s any change for the better. Again, things are lacklustre, with an absence of bass and a muddled middle meaning tracks like “High Flying Bird” by Noel Gallagher suffering particularly badly, with the highs also suffering from sounding completely overblown.
In short, you could consider the sound of the FreeBuds Lite is anchored more on the central frequency ranges, with little attention on the lower, bass-centric levels. The result is a more diffused overall sound. That advertised “ultimate experience” certainly wasn’t enjoyed during the process of this test. I decided to discuss the findings with the editors, calling them up on the phone with the FreeBuds to hand so I could carry out further inspection of their telephony applications. With dual microphones, these headphones are supposed to enable ambient noise suppression, which should ultimately improve overall speech intelligibility and call quality. The receiver of my call, however, described my voice as sounding very centred in the mid-frequency, which is in turn pushed into the background when audible wind noise factors into play. The noise suppression capabilities of these headphones clearly don’t operate with any subtle nuance. On the plus side, voices are reasonably well perceived and aren’t too diminished when you hold the performance in this field against other True Wireless in-ears.
The Huawei FreeBuds Lite have sensor surfaces at the rear, allowing you to control a selection of key functions and features. Chief amongst them would be Start and Stop at the right-hand side, while Virtual Assistant and Call Acceptance can be initiated at the left. Should you decide to take an incoming call, any music currently playing will pause until you’re done talking. That’s about it as far as sensor control capabilities are concerned. To access the rest of the device functions, you’ll need to call up the assistant for help. The sensor surfaces are very sensitive, with even a slight touch of the FreeBuds to adjust the fit in my ear often proving enough of a contact to trigger an unwanted function. To conclude, there’s too few functions available and too high a sensitivity at work with the sensors for you to have an easy time of things here..
Battery Performance & Other Applications
The FreeBuds Lite run for around three hours after a full charge. Once the battery has drained its juice, it’ll need to go back into its charging case. A fully charged case itself provides four full charging cycles for your FreeBuds. It’s not amazing, but it’s more than decent when you compare this to what similar models on the market offer in the way of charging and runtime. Worth noting is that these in-ears are protected against waster damage and excessive sweating by the wearer, with protection provided in accordance with IPX4. With this in mind, even the rainiest of days isn’t reason enough to stop you from braving the outdoors and kicking off a workout.
The Huawei FreeBuds Lite True Wireless In-Ears might initially seem stylish, sophisticated and something more akin to high-value headphone models, but there’s a lot of disappointment to brace for in the sound department. Not that’s even mentioning a rather lacklustre set of controls that work against user intuition. Sound is too unbalanced for my liking, with an image that doesn’t have anywhere near enough substance. This can is nullified to a minor extent when audio is equalized, but it’s too little to distract away from the ultimate experience that never really was. An overly sensitive control interface and too few functions make these a foe to user-friendliness. Ultimately, I’m left with a mixed bag of feelings after taking the time to test these FreeBuds Lite in-ears. If that attractively low RRP has caught your attention and refuses to let you shake it off, it’s definitely worth taking some time to trial these in-ears before you delve in at the full asking price.