Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Noise Cancellation, Design & Value

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 excels in noise cancellation, featuring intuitive touch controls, a sleek design, and a comfortable fit. However, several issues detract from the overall user experience. The battery life is short, the audio quality falls short of expectations, and the app is challenging to set up.



Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 review
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3: Quick Overview

The FreeBuds Pro 3 is Huawei’s latest addition to their high-end true wireless earbuds lineup. They aim to replace last year’s FreeBuds Pro 2 and offer a premium alternative to the FreeBuds 5. The standout feature is the impressive noise cancellation, which rivals over-ear headphones, especially at this price point.

Impressive Noise Cancellation

The noise cancellation is exceptional. With a simple press of a button, you can block out the clacking of office keyboards, the rumble of busy roads, and even your desk drumming. This level of noise cancellation is rare in non-over-ear headphones.

Consistent Quality with Flaws

When you get a Huawei device, you expect at least one top-tier feature. The FreeBuds Pro 3 delivers outstanding noise cancellation, but other aspects don’t quite match up. This pattern is familiar from Huawei’s other products, like their phones with great cameras but app issues, or smartwatches with health features but odd designs.

App and Battery Issues

The AI Life app required to control the earbuds is not available on the Android app store. Instead, you need to side-load it or download it through Huawei’s AppGallery, which is itself a side-loaded app. Battery life is another downside. With ANC on, you get less than five hours of use, which is barely half a workday. This means frequent charging and dealing with the noise you were trying to avoid.

Disappointing Audio Quality

For the price, the audio quality is underwhelming. The sound often peaks, lacks a soundstage and feels flat. This detracts from the listening experience, especially if you enjoy high-quality music.

Comfortable Fit and Easy Controls

Huawei has nailed the fit, providing four in-box tips and a fit-check function in the app to ensure you’re using the right ones. The on-bud controls are also user-friendly, with simple pinch gestures to toggle functions.

In summary, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 excels in noise cancellation and fit but falls short in audio quality and app usability. While they have some outstanding features, the overall experience is marred by these significant drawbacks.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Price

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3, released in late 2023, are priced at $245 / £179.99 / AU$277. This places them in the mid to high-end earbud market, comparable to the previous FreeBuds Pro 2.

Availability and Pricing

Unlike many other Huawei products, the FreeBuds Pro 3 are available in the US, making them an uncommon find in the American market. Finding a compatible Huawei phone in the US, however, might be challenging.

Released towards the end of 2023, the FreeBuds Pro 3 will be readily available by mid-2024. You can often find them at a 10% discount, especially during sales periods.

Competitive Pricing

Huawei’s pricing strategy places these earbuds in direct competition with several top brands. Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 are only slightly more expensive, with just a $4 difference in the US. Sony’s WF-1000XM5 can be cheaper during sales and only slightly more expensive otherwise. Additionally, Audio-Technica’s ATH-TWX7 offers a competitive price, being lower in the US and just a bit higher in the UK.

Price$245 / £179.99 / AU$277
Release DateLate 2023
US AvailabilityYes
Mid-2024 DiscountAround 10%
Main CompetitorsApple AirPods Pro 2, Sony WF-1000XM5, Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7

In conclusion, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offers a competitive option in the earbud market, especially given their availability in the US and frequent discounts. However, they face strong competition from established brands like Apple, Sony, and Audio-Technica.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Specs

Drivers11mm woofer + planar diaphragm
Active Noise CancellationYes
Battery Life6.5 hours (buds), 31 hours (case)
Weight5.8g (buds), 46g (case)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3
Frequency Response14 – 48,000Hz

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Features

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offers exceptional noise cancellation, possibly the best for the price. Once you wear them, the surrounding noise almost disappears, making even a construction site sound peaceful. They transform a busy office into a quiet space effortlessly.

App and Modes

The accompanying app, AI Life, provides several modes: Off, Awareness, and Noise Cancelling. Awareness mode allows ambient sound with an optional Voice Mode that doesn’t cancel voices. Noise Cancelling mode has intensities from ‘Cozy’ to ‘Ultra,’ with Dynamic mode adjusting based on your environment. The app, however, needs to be side-loaded on Android, which can be frustrating. For iPhone users, the app is available on the App Store.


The FreeBuds Pro 3 excels in noise cancellation, easily muting background sounds. They also include features like an equalizer, battery indicator, and customizable gestures. The buds can connect to multiple devices simultaneously, with the AI Life app simplifying the switch between them.

Battery Life and Charging

Battery life is a downside. With ANC on, the buds last, 6.5 hours, dropping below 5 hours with heavy use. The charging case extends this to 31 hours without ANC and 22 hours with it. Charging is via USB-C, and slow wireless charging is also an option, taking about 2.5 hours compared to an hour with a wire.

In summary, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offers outstanding noise cancellation and useful features through the AI Life app, despite some issues with battery life and app installation on Android.

These earbuds are a solid choice for those prioritizing noise cancellation and customization but be prepared for some app-related hassles and limited battery life.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Design

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 maintains a similar design to its predecessor, with the addition of a new color option: Green, joining Silver Frost, Silver Blue, and Ceramic White.

Compact and Lightweight

The case is a pebble-shaped plastic disc, measuring 4.7 x 6.6 x 2.5 cm and weighing 46g. Despite its size, it’s quite light. The design is minimalist, featuring an LED light indicator and a USB-C charging port.

The earbuds are light at 5.8g each, slightly lighter than the previous model. They feature a tip connected to a short stem, making them more compact compared to rival devices. The shorter stem gives the buds a sleek appearance.

Comfortable Fit and Controls

The FreeBuds Pro 3 comes with four different-sized tips to ensure a comfortable fit. The medium tips worked well for me, but the variety allows for customization. The AI Life app includes a fit test to ensure you’re using the best tips for your ears.

The touch controls on the stems are intuitive and easy to use. Instead of physical buttons, these haptic-like areas are activated by pinching the stems. This design prevents the discomfort of pressing a button directly into your ear.


The earbuds have an IP54 rating, protecting against small particles, sweat, and light splashes of water. They can handle a light rain shower or sweat from a quick run to catch the bus but aren’t ideal for heavy exercise. The charging case, however, lacks any IP protection.

Case Dimensions4.7 x 6.6 x 2.5 cm
Case Weight46g
Earbud Weight5.8g each
Touch ControlsPinchable stems
Fit OptionsFour different-sized tips
Waterproofing (Earbuds)IP54
Waterproofing (Case)None

In summary, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offers a sleek and comfortable design with easy-to-use controls and adequate durability for daily use. However, they may not be suitable for intense workouts due to their limited water resistance.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Sound Quality

The sound quality of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 is primarily balanced, with no significant bias towards bass or treble. However, despite featuring high-end components like dual drivers and LDAC codec support, the overall sound quality is disappointing.

Issues with Sound Quality

Music often experiences peaking, resulting in tinny drum hi-hats, acoustic guitars, and sibilance in vocals. This diminishes the listening experience, making the buds perform more like cheaper alternatives. Additionally, there’s a noticeable lack of soundstage, with instruments blending and lacking energy.

Equalizer Performance

The AI Life app’s equalizer offers six presets and customization options, but the changes are barely audible. Whether it’s an app or hardware issue, the promised “triple adaptive EQ” fails to deliver, leaving users with a subpar audio experience.

In summary, while the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offer balanced sound, they fall short in delivering the high-quality audio expected from their premium features and components. The lackluster performance of the equalizer further detracts from the overall sound experience.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Value

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 offers impressive noise cancellation but lags behind competitors in audio quality, making their value proposition somewhat questionable given their price.

Noise Cancellation vs. Audio Quality

While the noise cancellation is exceptional, the audio quality doesn’t match up to rivals in the same price range. If noise cancellation is your top priority, these earbuds justify their cost. However, for overall value, there are better options available.

Should You Buy the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3?

Buy Them If:

  • You prioritize excellent noise cancellation.
  • You own a Huawei phone, as the tie-in app is readily available.
  • A comfortable fit is important to you, thanks to the range of in-box ear tips and AI Life fit test.

Don’t Buy Them If:

  • You need long battery life, as these buds won’t last for extended journeys.
  • You’re concerned about security issues related to sideloading Android apps.
  • You prioritize audio quality, as other earbuds offer better sound performance.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 Review: Also Consider

FeatureHuawei FreeBuds Pro 3Apple AirPods Pro 2Sony WF-1000XM5Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7
Drivers11mm woofer + planar diaphragm11mm8.4mm Dynamic driver5.8mm
Active Noise CancellationYesYesYesYes
Battery Life6.5 hours (buds) 31 hours (case)6 hours (buds) 30 hours (case)8 hours (buds), 24 hours (case)6.5 hours (buds) 20 hours total (with case)
Weight5.8g (buds) 46g (case)5.3g (buds); 50.8g (case)4.2g (buds) 40g (case)4.7g (buds) 47.5g (case)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.1

In summary, while the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 3 excels in noise cancellation, they face tough competition in terms of overall value and audio quality from other earbuds in the market. Consider your priorities carefully before making a purchase decision.

Recent Articles

Related Stories

Discover more from NewForTech

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading