Huawei's newest noise-cancelling earbuds are tiny, powerful, and cheaper than the AirPods Pro

Huawei's newest noise-cancelling earbuds are tiny, powerful, and cheaper than the AirPods Pro
It's no big secret that Huawei is going through a very difficult time in the global smartphone market, and according to a couple of recent reports, the Chinese tech giant's tablets and smartwatches aren't exactly selling like hotcakes either, at least compared to the industry-leading Apple Watch and iPad lineups, as well as Samsung's fast-growing Galaxy slates and wearable devices.

But the company will always have its expansive roster of budget-friendly true wireless earbuds to rely on for some decent financial gains... or so it currently seems.

Meet the super-lightweight, presumably comfortable, and "high-res" Huawei FreeBuds 4 (hold the "i")

The newest member of the FreeBuds family, which managed to place fourth overall in the incredibly competitive industry easily dominated by Apple's AirPods last year, may sound familiar, debuting in the UK on June 21 at a reasonable price of £129.99.

That roughly equates to $185, although there's really no point in discussing possible US pricing, as the Huawei FreeBuds 4 are unlikely to ever see daylight stateside. Similar to the FreeBuds 4i, which are an entirely different product, these bad boys are expected to expand across the old continent soon, undercutting the AirPods Pro while integrating state-of-the-art active noise cancellation technology (allegedly).

Following in the footsteps of 2019's very well-reviewed but inherently flawed FreeBuds 3, the FreeBuds 4 go the open-fit style route, once again aiming to strike the perfect balance between lightweight comfort and "high resolution" sound quality.

Judging from their forerunners, it should be relatively easy for Huawei's latest high-end AirPods alternatives to achieve the former goal, especially at 4.1 grams per bud (each AirPod Pro tips the scales at a comparatively heavy 5.4 grams). We also fully expect the overall audio performance to at least be decent (by open-fit standards), but it remains to be seen (or rather heard) exactly what the company has been able to do about improving an active noise cancellation feature deemed "barely noticeable" in our in-depth FreeBuds 3 review.

The noise cancellation should be great, the battery life... not so much

For what it's worth, Huawei is highlighting (multiple times) in its FreeBuds 4-announcing press release how unusual it is for open-fit earbuds to offer ANC functionality. In fact, the company claims these are the world's first true wireless earbuds of their kind to use "dual-microphone noise cancellation technology", which should guarantee "far greater accuracy" in drowning out your surroundings.

Equipped with a 14.3mm dynamic driver, the Huawei FreeBuds 4 allegedly have "greater and more impressive" bass going for them as well. Last but certainly not least, the battery life starts at a wholly unimpressive 2.5 hours of continuous music playback (with ANC turned on), capping off at a stellar 22 hours of endurance when also taking the bundled (wired) charging case into consideration.

If that latter part sounds like a dealbreaker for you, all you need to do is wait until mid-July for a wireless charging edition to launch at a recommended price of £149.99 in the UK. Then again, it might not be easy to resist pre-ordering the "standard" variant when you can get both a £10 discount and a complimentary Huawei Band 4 Pro (normally worth £69.99) if you simply pay a £10 deposit by June 20.

In case you're wondering, the AirPods Pro are typically available for £249 with quite possibly the greatest active noise cancellation technology on the market and slightly better battery life (up to 4.5 hours of listening time to begin with and "more than 24 hours" when also considering what the wireless charging case is capable of).

All in all, the Huawei FreeBuds 4 seem to have what it takes to become a decent and somewhat unconventional alternative for their market-leading rivals, even though they're unlikely to top our comprehensive list of the best true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation available in 2021.

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