With the FreeClip, Huawei offer delicate open-ear earphones that do things differently from what we might be used to. This applies not only to the design and wearing comfort but also to the handling; these headphones can be used on both sides, and they have a large touch control area. The open design is intended to enable both perception of the outside world and an intensive listening experience.
- Outstanding wearing comfort
- Lightweight, innovative design
- Speech intelligibility during phone calls
- Automatic Left-Right Recognition
- Support AAC, L2HC and LC3
- No EQ
- No volume control
- No manual on/off switching
- No USB adapter supplied
As their name suggests, the Huawei FreeClip are worn like an ear clip, making them very easy to use. The spherical front part of the headphones automatically fits “correctly” in the outer ear. Behind the ear, the end piece known as the “bean” ensures stability, providing a sports-compatible hold without exerting pressure.
These open-ear headphones, which are available in shimmering pearlescent black and purple, are dust, water and sweat-resistant by IP54 and, with a weight of 5.5 grams per side, they are quite light, which ensures excellent wearing comfort. Within just a few seconds of clipping them on, they become almost imperceptible to the wearer. The open, C-shaped design does not shield you from the outside world in the same way as true wireless in-ears that sit in the ear canal, but this improves your safety and allows you to interact with your surroundings.
These open-ear headphones achieve a run time of seven and a half hours at a high playback volume when using the AAC format. In their handy case, which weighs 45 grams, the FreeClip can also be fully charged three times and once more to reach a further capacity of just under four hours, providing a total runtime of almost 34 hours.
The headphones are fully recharged after 40 minutes, while a ten-minute quick charge provides capacity for a good two hours. The case can also be supplied with power wirelessly via a charging pad or wired via USB-C port. The wired charging cycle takes just 50 minutes, and a USB-C charging cable is included in the package. However, a USB adapter is not included.
The Huawei FreeClip can be worn on either the left or right ear, which makes no practical difference, as the side is automatically recognised and the stereo channel adjusted accordingly.
These Bluetooth headphones have a large, touch-sensitive area for device control, which extends from the “bean” over the connecting “C-bridge” to the “sphere”. This means you can freely select which sub-area is to be used for double and triple tapping. Playback control, skipping to the next track and making phone calls are provided in the factory settings, and this can be supplemented by using the voice assistant. Skipping back through tracks can be done via the AI Life app (see below).
However, this is the extent of the options offered by the touch control, meaning that there is no volume control. There is also no option to switch the headphones on and off manually. However, you can use the wearer detection function, which reacted reliably but with a slight delay when you took them off; this can be switched on or off as required. It is also possible to use them one-sided in single mode.
The Huawei FreeClip support Bluetooth standard 5.3 as well as multipoint connections with two devices simultaneously and they provide a range of more than 30 metres in open spaces. Inside buildings, it was possible to maintain a stable connection while crossing several rooms and changing floors. The headphones are equipped with the audio codecs SBC, AAC, the high-resolution variant L2HC and LC3.
Huawei AI Life App
Three preconfigured settings are available for sound customisation via connection with the app (iOS and Android via AppGallery or as an APK file from the Huawei homepage), and these can amplify the bass range, the upper-frequency spectrum or voices. A desirable addition that is not currently provided would be an EQ section for customised settings, such as on the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3.
In addition to firmware updates, adjusting the touch controls and activating and deactivating wearer detection, the app functions include latency optimisation for playing mobile or computer games. Here, it is also possible to switch on automatic detection of which ear side is which, and you can also switch off acoustic feedback from the charging case if required. There is a search function that can be used on iOS devices, and this can help you locate an earpiece by playing a sound sequence. On Android devices, there is a connection centre, which lists devices that have already been paired and displays multipoint connections; this can also be deactivated.
Voice clarity when making calls
What works very well with the Huawei FreeClip is communicating. They create a pleasantly realistic conversation situation, as your own voice can be heard through the open-ear design. In addition, the multi-channel DNN (Deep Neural Network) algorithm, in combination with the three microphones on each side, manages to block out all disturbing noises. This means that wind noise and strong gusts of wind, as well as loud ambient noise, are effectively filtered out so that only your voice is transmitted. This ensures flawless speech intelligibility for the person on the other end of the line, regardless of your surroundings. However, it should be borne in mind that it can be difficult for you to understand them if the surroundings are too loud.
Thanks to their open-ear design, the Huawei FreeClip headphones offer an appealingly spacious, airy sound reproduction, which, while playful, definitely has enough assertiveness for mobile use. However, you should not expect a rich, powerful bass output. Due to their design, there is no low bass and the slim, wiry bass reproduction is characterised by a rapid response. Even if these open-ear headphones are not necessarily recommended for bass-orientated productions, the playback is not completely powerless.
According to the manufacturer, the Direct Sound technology uses a system for reversing sound waves, which enables targeted alignment to the hearing channel, and this is particularly noticeable in the low to medium frequency range.
Despite the open construction of these headphones, percussion and lead instruments, as well as vocals, are able to convey a very direct, engaging impression that is still quite compelling and does not neglect the fun factor. It was noticeable that the presence in the upper registers increased at higher volume levels, and this could be perceived as harsh. In the normal listening range and even at moderate volume settings, however, the tuning was extremely harmonious and was characterised by a very clear, smooth reproduction.
The smart C-bridge design of the Huawei FreeClip offers several advantages: they are easy to clip on and off, they are suitable for sports and exert no pressure, which means that these lightweight open-ear earbuds are not noticeable when worn. The open design also increases your own safety and allows you to interact with your surroundings. Conversations on the phone also felt very natural, especially as the microphone technology completely blocks out wind and ambient noise. Due to their design, compromises have to be made in terms of sound reproduction due to the loss of (low) bass; whether this suits you will depend on your listening habits. There is no EQ section for customised adjustments, nor is there a volume control.
Tip: Last-minute buyers will receive a free Huawei Band 8 worth EUR 59 when purchasing the FreeClip before 31 January 2024.
- Ear couplingOpen-Ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Weight without cable5.5 g each, Case 45 g
What's in the box
- USB-C charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in black and lilac
- BT version: 5.3
- BT codecs: SBC; AAC, LC3, L2HC