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Huawei FreeBuds Lite Review - True wireless design, great performance!

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Huawei now has a "Lite" version of the FreeBuds and it is now available here in the Philippines.
Meet Huawei FreeBuds Lite

Priced at just PHP 4,990, it is one of the most affordable true wireless in-ear earphones that is designed to compete with the pricier Apple Airpods (PHP 9,490) and Samsung Galaxy Buds (PHP 6,990).

Sounds promising? Let's see if it is any good. Here's our review!

Unboxing/Accessories

Everything inside
Everything inside

The FreeBuds Lite comes with a white small box that has the charging case with the earphones inside, 1 short USB-A to micro USB cable, 3 sizes of tips, 1 pair of sport-centric tips, 1 pair of detachable silicon rubber ring, and the paper documents (manual and warranty).

Build Quality/Design

Charging case with the pair button and micro USB port behind
Charging case with the pair button and micro USB port behind

Both the case and the in-ear earbuds are made out of shiny plastic. Most won't mind it, but personally, it isn't on par with the materials used on Samsung's Galaxy Buds. It doesn't feel as premium as other Huawei devices as well.
Case with the earbuds
Case with the earbuds

Since it is plasticky in nature, I won't be surprised if it will get dents or even cracks when dropped. The case and the body are also prone to hairline scratches. Fortunately, it comes with a metallic mesh filter and IPX4 water splash resistance. But still, take good care of it always.
Apple Airpods-like design
Apple Airpods-like design

In terms of design, the FreeBuds Lite is clearly Apple-inspired. It has a stylish white glossy paint finish on the charging case/cradle and the earbuds.

The charging case is capsule-like with the Huawei logo on top, printed information below, LED indicator in front, and a micro USB port/Bluetooth pairing button at the back.

The earbud
 looks similar to the Airpods from afar. The difference is it is using an in-ear monitor type design with a long tail-like mic on both sides. It also comes with left and right markings, IR sensors, hidden touch controls, and noise-canceling microphones on each side. It has four mics in total.

The good thing is it is small and lightweight. It measures at just 60 x 30 x 20 mm and only weighs at 5 grams per earbud and 43 grams with a case.

Comfort/Isolation

Stock eartips
Stock eartips

The FreeBuds is pretty comfortable to wear as it has a half in-ear design with smooth curves. The eartips included in the package are also quite comfortable, but I had a hard time getting the proper seal as its body is a bit too short.

Eartips from the other in-ear earphones I have with slightly longer body gave me a better seal.

The seal is very important as it'll help you reach the full potential of its sound.

For example, the bass is lacking when I used its default tips. But when I used other tips, the bass response became fuller and way better.

In addition, the correct seal will provide better noise isolation.

Speaking of isolation, it is decent enough to outside noise. But, it isn't too strong to make you unaware of your surroundings. Just enough.

Battery

FreeBuds Lite features 55mAh of battery per earpiece and an extra 410mAh battery in the case. In our personal test, battery life is consistent. It can last a bit more than 3 hours on a single charge at around 60 to 70 percent loudness. 

The charging case can charge it for 3.7 times. In total, it can provide around 12 hours of battery life.

3 hours of battery life should be good enough for commutes and workouts. But you cannot continuously use it for 12 hours.

Every 3 hours you will charge it. The charging time inside the case is around 1 hour.

Unlike its competitors, it doesn't have a wireless charging feature. It is understandable for the price. 

Features

Small device, lots of features

Setting up the FreeBuds Lite is a bit tricky at first. You can only pair it with the device of your choice while it is inside the case. All you need to do is open the case, press the function button (pairing button) for around 2 seconds, check if the blue LED light is blinking, and connect. The earphones is compatible with Android, Windows, and even Apple (iOS) devices.

To restore the earphones to the factory settings, hold the function button for 10 seconds. 

Each earpiece comes with a hidden double-tap control tech. Double-tap left to activate voice assistant, double-tap right play and pause music, and double-tap either side to answer or end a call.

Easy to use double-tap control tech!

There's an accurate infrared sensor that detects when you have the earphones in your ear. It will stop the audio you are playing when you remove either the left or right earpiece.

It doesn't have a control for the volume though.

The Bluetooth connectivity of this device is amazing with my Huawei P30 Pro. Bluetooth latency (lag) is hardly noticeable even if you are a few feet away from the audio source.

For example, I can still enjoy music from our second floor (door closed) even if I left my phone on our dining table (ground floor). Not bad for earphones with Bluetooth 4.2 tech.

It doesn't have Sony's LDAC lossless audio tech, but it has AAC for Apple users. For me, audio quality is similar from our P30 Pro and the iPhone XS. Why? Huawei said that it has their own True Wireless Stereo design.

Sound Quality

Titanium-plated 7nm dynamic driver
 Titanium-plated 7nm dynamic driver

Huawei FreeBuds Lite highlights a custom titanium-plated 7nm dynamic driver.

For a wireless earphones, the sound is actually impressive. It can deliver full loudsound with rich and deep bass response. It has a good range of sub-bass too. Just do not expect it to feature the speed and tightness of bass punch from wired multi-driver IEMs.

Mids is surprisingly detailed with clear vocals. Separation of the instruments from the voice is respectable even if it only has a single dynamic speaker setup. There are few songs where the bass might overpower the mids a little though.

Highs also has the sparkle that is not that common at this price point. Hissing is not that evident and it doesn't have annoying peaks.

Soundstage is surprisingly wide considering its small size. No need to use soundstage boosting EQ for an immersive concert-like feel.

Again, its quality is better than most wireless setups. It sounds way fuller and better than the first-gen Airpods for me. The match against the Galaxy Buds is super close, but both me and Neil, FreeBuds Lite's audio is a bit ahead over Galaxy Buds. 

But of course, do not compare its sound with more expensive and audiophile-focused gears.

Pros - Lightweight, strong audio performance with big bass, clear mids, large soundstage, crystal clear mic, easy controls, Google alag-free and wide range connectivity
Cons - Plasticky build, stock eartips could have been better, no wireless charging, no EQ settings in the app

Huawei FreeBuds Lite Specs

Driver: 7mm dynamic driver
Microphone: 4x mic
Battery: 55mAh per earpiece w/o case, 410mAh w/ caseConnectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 AAC
Sensors: IR sensor
Others: IPX4 water splash resistance, Google Assistant key, double tap control
Dimensions: 60 x 30 x 20 mm
Weight: 5 g per earbud, 43 g w/ case
Price: PHP 4,990

Verdict

Huawei's FreeBuds Lite is a strong true-wireless in-ear earphones contender on a budget.

Audio performance is great, microphones for calls are crystal clear, Bluetooth connectivity is stable, and it is feature-rich for a PHP 4,990 in-ear earphones.

Huawei just needs to improve its plasticky build and the stock eartips next time. 

Overall, it could be a great commute and workout buddy that is truly free from wires.

Build/Design - 3.5
Comfort/Isolation - 4
Battery Life - 4
Features - 4.25
Sound - 4.5
Average - 4.05/5
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