It’s not easy to stand out in the increasingly crowded and insanely competitive true wireless earbuds space nowadays if your name is not Apple (and perhaps Samsung or Sony), but one way to shine might be replicating the key selling point of the AirPods Pro… at a third of the price.
We’re not talking about no-name TWS (true wireless stereo) headphones from some obscure Chinese startup here either, although the manufacturers of the freshly unveiled FreeBuds 3i are indeed based in the world’s most populous country and largest smartphone market.
Huawei just so happens to be China’s top handset vendor, of course, which allows the company the necessary financial wiggle room to sell these bad boys at a tiny profit. While unlikely to ever be officially released stateside, the Huawei FreeBuds 3i
are headed for British shores on May 20 with a crazy low recommended price of £89.99 attached to their name. That converts to a little over $110, but to put the number in the right perspective, we should probably compare it to the £249.99 MSRP of Apple’s high-end AirPods
Pro in the UK.
That’s almost three times as much as Huawei plans to charge for “Carbon Black” and “Ceramic White” units with, you guessed it, Active Noise Cancellation functionality in tow.
That’s right, the FreeBuds 3i have something to offer that Samsung’s Galaxy Buds+
and the Beats Powerbeats Pro
do not. And at least on paper, the components that make the “ultimate” ANC technology possible sound just as premium as the ones used by Apple on the AirPods Pro, including one inward-facing microphone and not one but two outward-facing mics “accurately detecting ambient noise to actively lower it by up to 32dB”, as well as reduce wind noise by 6m/s.
Of course, Huawei is not ashamed of… deriving inspiration from Apple’s simple yet iconic AirPods designs, revising the look of last fall’s FreeBuds 3
to go with “ergonomic cone-shaped main bodies” this time around. As you can imagine, the battery life of these minuscule and incredibly lightweight headphones (5.5 grams per bud) is not exactly impressive, starting at 3.5 hours of listening time and only going up to a grand total of 18 hours when also taking the relatively compact charging case into consideration.
But you obviously can’t have it all at the equivalent of around 110 bucks, especially as Huawei also promises to deliver a “premium” overall audio experience and “powerful bass”, not to mention an IPX4 water-resistant design.