Huawei FreeBuds 4 Review: Real In-Ear Noise Reduction Earphones


It is precise because of the company of earphones that people can escape the visual intrusion from the outside world, or devote themselves to work or immerse themselves in the world built by music. In recent years, noise-canceling earphones have become a must-have technology for many people.

As we all know, wearing headphones to increase the volume to combat noise is not wise. After all, it will cause some damage to the ears. Therefore, headphones with active noise reduction functions have become popular in recent years. However, most of the in-ear headphones that support active noise reduction on the market are in-ear headphones. For those who cannot live without headphones, wearing them for a long time will also cause a sense of stuffiness and a foreign body in the ears. Therefore, semi-in-ear headphones that are out of the traditional in-ear and over-ear form have become the choice of many ear-sensitive consumers. They can not only reduce the feeling of stuffiness, foreign body sensation, and stethoscope effect, even if they are worn for a long time. Will not feel particularly burdensome.

However, the semi-in-ear shape and the noise reduction function have long been an alternative relationship between “fish and bear’s paw”-after all; the former lacks the conditions for physical sound insulation.

Until the emergence of Huawei FreeBuds 3 in 2019, Huawei successfully combined the two seemingly impossible to coexist, creating the world’s first semi-open active noise reduction headset.

The main method is to use algorithms to complete the noise reduction digitally. Based on a large number of real human ear canals, according to the combination of different ages, genders, ear sizes, wearing tightness habits, etc., 9 categories of features are summarized and extracted to generate 9 sets of noise reduction parameters, which also include Improved comfort and active noise reduction capabilities.

Once released, Huawei FreeBuds 3 has been highly valued by consumers and the previous one. After two years of continuous R&D and innovation, Huawei FreeBuds 4 will debut on May 19, 2021. It still maintains a semi-open form. The momentum to carry the semi-in-ear active noise reduction to the end, and there are many upgrades at the same time:

Semi-open active noise reduction comes to 2.0 technology, supporting AEM human ear adaptive noise reduction and dual microphone hybrid noise reduction technology; through 10,000 ears experiments and ergonomic simulation design, it meets the needs of many people for comfortable wearing; 4.1g lightweight body and specially designed radian to achieve a comfortable air feel; upgrading LCP liquid crystal composite diaphragm, 14.3mm diameter dynamic coil, low-frequency enhancement engine, etc. seems to be a breakthrough in sound quality; 48 kHz sampling rate high fidelity Huawei’s smart gameplay is richer, such as recording, close and connect, and instant sharing of pairing information.

Noise reduction experience

Active noise reduction

Today, semi-open active noise reduction headphones other than Huawei FreeBuds 3 and Huawei FreeBuds 4 are still rare. Almost all products on the market that support active noise reduction are in-ear headphones or closed-end headsets.

The reason behind this is that there are many difficulties in realizing such products, and there are quite high technical thresholds. In the author’s opinion, there are mainly the following two points:

1. The earphone needs to fit enough to the ear to ensure the airtightness and stability required for noise reduction. Therefore, the design of the noise reduction structure is complicated. The external microphone should avoid wind noise interference, and the noise pickup of the internal microphone is close to the actual hearing sense.

2. The design of noise reduction parameters is difficult. The same set of noise reduction parameters cannot allow everyone to achieve the best noise reduction experience. It requires multiple noise reduction parameters to match different ear types.

In response to such problems, this generation of Huawei FreeBuds 4 has been iteratively upgraded compared with the previous generation of single-microphone noise reduction solutions-using dual-microphone hybrid noise reduction with stronger noise reduction performance, so that Huawei FreeBuds 4 can be generated more accurately Reduce noise waves, thereby improving active noise reduction performance.

Because the semi-in-ear structure of Huawei FreeBuds 4 cannot completely isolate the air at the physical level to form a confined space, the semi-in-ear earphones are sensitive to the size of the ear canal and the position of the ear earphone. The degree of difference is large, so if only one type of noise reduction parameter is set, the noise reduction effect will be very different, which obviously requires more investment and effort at the algorithm level.

When experiencing the previous generation of Huawei FreeBuds 3, the noise reduction parameters need to be manually adjusted by the user with the “Smart Life” App. Each set of preset noise reduction parameters is simulated based on different real ear canal models, corresponding to different ages, genders, and genders. Although this coping strategy is practical for ear size and wearing habits, manual adjustment is always troublesome.

This generation of Huawei FreeBuds 4 has a considerable jump. It has realized automatic matching of noise reduction parameters by carrying Huawei’s self-developed AEM human ear noise reduction adaptive technology. When the user turns on noise reduction, the headset will automatically detect the user’s ear type and wearing conditions and match the best noise reduction parameters from more than 10 noise reduction parameters, equivalent to customizing a dedicated noise reduction for the user’s ears. Noisy parameters have since eliminated the trouble of manual adjustment.

In fact, looking at the upgrade from Huawei FreeBuds 3 to Huawei FreeBuds 4, we can see Huawei Audio’s persistence and pursuit of semi-in-ear active noise reduction technology. We are eager to continuously upgrade semi-in-ear active noise reduction technology for consumers through continuous innovation, research, and development. The experience it brings, while achieving half-ear noise reduction, opens a new track of truly wireless earphones with comfortable noise reduction.

Sound reduction and noise reduction

If you use Huawei FreeBuds 4 as a microphone, you can still get the addition of its sound and noise reduction effect. Huawei FreeBuds 4 is equipped with a high-sensitivity microphone. You can record high-fidelity sound with a sampling rate of up to 48 kHz by turning on the “real live mode” in your smart life, preserving sound details, and you can also use “clear voice” to enhance the human voice, Weaken the noise interference of the current environment.

The author often uses the “clear voice” mode. During use, I can clearly feel that the sound reception effect is better than the noise reduction effect of mobile phones. In terms of hearing, the recorded sound is purer, and the background noise is suppressed. , The human voice is amplified. To let everyone more intuitively understand the difference between it and the mobile phone, we used a mobile phone and Huawei FreeBuds 4 with a “clear voice” to record the same audio.

According to the sound wave information, it can be clearly seen that Huawei FreeBuds 4 exerts a better noise reduction effect during the sound reception process.

Wearing experience

Generally speaking, to achieve a perfect physical noise reduction effect for in-ear headphones, high-density materials are used in the earplugs to fill the ear canal. The advantage is that it creates a natural sound insulation condition. Still, the disadvantage is also obvious: it is easy to cause discomfort in the ear canal after wearing it for a long time, such as the feeling of fullness and pain.

As a semi-in-ear headset, Huawei FreeBuds 4 has a natural advantage in this respect-the semi-in-ear style makes it unnecessary to press the ear canal and wears like air without feeling.

As we have said before, although the overall outline of Huawei FreeBuds 4 is similar to that of the previous generation, it has actually made considerable adjustments. In the experience, you can appreciate the changes brought about by this adjustment: the earplugs part allows Huawei FreeBuds 4 to fit the ears more perfectly. You don’t even need to use force when wearing it; just put it gently.

Wearing the ear canal for a long time can hardly feel any pressure, and it will not be sultry in the north of the late spring and early summer, and sometimes even hesitate for a while whether there are any earphones on my ears.

Huawei FreeBuds 4 is available in three colors: ceramic white, frost silver, and honey red. What we got is the classic frost silver version.

The headphone handle of Huawei FreeBuds 4 adopts a fully curved design. Although the overall profile is similar to that of the previous generation, many adjustments have actually been made. The first is to fine-tune the curvature of the sound mouth, ear concha cavity, and other parts, which increases the wearing comfort and increases stability. It brings good acoustic airtightness to active noise reduction. This is the “micron-level” adjustment that Huawei’s R&D team has achieved by striving for perfection.

Compared with the previous generation of Huawei FreeBuds 3, Huawei FreeBuds 4 has also carried out 13 size optimizations, reducing the size of the earphones and ear stalks, reducing the weight of each ear to only 4.1g, which is lighter than AirPods Pro’s 5.4g More than grams.

The front of the headset battery box is a complete circle, and the back of the shell also carries a “HUAWEI” logo nameplate. At the bottom is the Type-C charging port, and the only physical button in the body is hidden on the left.

It is worth mentioning that Huawei FreeBuds 4 reduces the weight of one ear to not only 4.1g, but also the volume of this charging box is lighter than the previous generation. The thickness of the Huawei FreeBuds 4 headset box is only 21.2mm, and the weight is only 21.2mm. It is also only 38g, which is 6.3% less than Huawei FreeBuds 3, and the weight is reduced by 20.8%.

When the box is opened, it is divided into two like a pebble, and the round and smooth lines make it feel more comfortable.

Use experience

The connection between Huawei FreeBuds 4 and peripheral devices is still fast and simple. Based on short-range Bluetooth connection technology, the first connection and pairing only need to open the headset box’s cover, and the headset will automatically enter the Bluetooth pairing state. If you are using a Huawei EMUI device, They will automatically discover the headset and prompt to connect on the screen, and the user can complete the pairing in just one step.

It is worth mentioning that this pairing method not only supports Huawei mobile phones, Huawei tablets, and other devices, this time with the arrival of FreeBuds 4, Huawei will also give it to Huawei PCs.

In addition to the initial pairing pop-up display, as long as the charging box is turned on, the headset will resume the connection with the device, and a pop-up window will also prompt the current headset power. Traditional PCs often don’t display the power of the headset being connected. At the same time, Huawei PCs cooperate with Huawei FreeBuds 4 to know the current power of the headset and charging box, which is more convenient.

Once the headset is paired with the Huawei device, the device will synchronize the headset pairing information to all devices under the current Huawei account. After changing the phone in this way, there is no need to connect the headset to the device after entering the initial pairing state. Just find the current headset directly in the Bluetooth list of other devices, and click to complete the pairing process.

Huawei FreeBuds 4 also realizes the dual connection of mobile phones, tablets, PCs, watches, smart screens, and other devices in the full scene of Huawei’s wisdom. It also supports dual connections with smart devices between Android, iOS, and Windows systems. This means that users can keep two different systems and smart devices of different brands connected simultaneously, breaking the “gulf” between smart devices and making smart life more efficient and convenient.

For example, if you use a tablet to listen to a song or watch a drama, when another mobile phone calls in, the tablet will automatically interrupt the playback content, and the headset will switch to the phone to answer the call. One mobile phone uses the headset to make a call, and the other mobile phone makes an incoming call, and you can also receive an incoming call reminder simultaneously.

We noticed that Huawei FreeBuds 4 has an additional “Audio Connection Center” function in the “Huawei Smart Life” APP. Users can see the 10 devices recently connected to the headset in the Audio Connection Center. To switch devices, click on the target. The device can be switched, and there is no need to reset the pairing again and again.

Delayed Experience

Whether it is a headphone fan or not, it is often inseparable from the discussion of headset delay when talking about wireless Bluetooth headsets. So what are we actually talking about when we are talking about headset delay? Latency is the time taken by the signal from the source to the destination. For headphones, the signal delay is the delay between the time node when the audio is played and the time node actually heard through the earbuds.

Because wireless earphones need to rely on a wireless connection for data transmission, they generally have more obvious delays than wired devices, and you can’t feel the influence of signal delay when listening to songs or talking. Once it’s time to play games or watch movies, you will feel the impact when you encounter a situation where the sound and picture are out of sync.

Thanks to the new game audio coding, if Huawei FreeBuds 4 is combined with EMUI system equipment, the game delay can be as low as 150ms. In the mobile game experience, the author can feel that the special effects of the skills and ults released are triggered by my operations, fisting to the flesh. The sound of gunshots when eating chickens is also issued immediately following the vibration of the muzzle of the screen. It will not become a box early during the game because of not hearing the enemy’s footsteps in time.

Sound quality experience

Sound quality is sometimes a metaphysical thing, the benevolent see benevolence, and the wise see wisdom. But with a good speaker and a good sound source, the sound quality will inevitably be very different.

Huawei FreeBuds 4 has done quite well in this regard. It uses a dynamic speaker structure and uses an LCP liquid crystal composite diaphragm to improve rigidity and improve mid-and-frequency performance. In the free field test, the frequency response range of this moving coil unit with LCP diaphragm is as high as 40kHz, and the quasi-professional quality is undoubted.

The 14.3mm super-diameter diaphragm on Huawei FreeBuds 4 is almost the largest size among true wireless headsets. The larger the diaphragm of the moving coil unit, the greater the vibration amplitude of the diaphragm, and the greater the amplitude, the stronger the low frequency. There is again to the bass effect.

Even if enough has been done, Huawei FreeBuds 4 is still eager to improve the sound quality again. Huawei FreeBuds 4 has also added a low-frequency enhancement engine, which forms a highly airtight independent sound cavity through the low-frequency tube and the rear mainboard, which is more airtight than the previous one. It also increases the vibration pressure, and the volume of the brass tube is also increased by 15%, which makes the resonance effect generated by the air and the diaphragm more intense. Larger diaphragm amplitude brings more pronounced bass.

How the sound quality is, after all, we need to test the performance of the tri-band. Everyone may feel different about the tri-band. The author is talking about his own feelings here.

Listening to “Hotel California” is mainly to experience the low-frequency performance. Huawei FreeBuds 4 does not bang your head and maintains a certain depth of diving; “Just like your tenderness” and “Forgotten Time” are songs used to feel the human voice, Huawei FreeBuds 4 has a clear and powerful interpretation of the human voice; listening to “Jiuer”, the high-frequency human voice is clear and unambiguous, and even overtones can be clearly displayed.

In the author’s opinion, although Huawei FreeBuds 4 has a gap with professional HiFi equipment, it is not suspenseful that its materials and the final sound quality experience dominate the semi-in-ear active noise reduction headphones.

Read Also: Xiaomi Mi Headphones Pro Review: Sound Quality, Noise Reduction is the Strongest


Today, when active noise reduction technology is widely used, we have obtained quiet space from in-ear headphones and benefited a lot. However, with upgrading user needs, the disadvantages of in-ear headphones that are not suitable for long-term wearing are also emerging. Although comfortable to wear semi-in-ear headphones have natural wearing comfort, they cannot achieve active noise reduction.

Therefore, a truly wireless headset that can provide excellent noise reduction functions and bring comfort to wear and headphones may be the ideal work that most people want to pursue.

The Huawei FreeBuds 4, in my hand, can meet such contradictory needs.

First of all, Huawei FreeBuds 4 brings its semi-open active noise reduction technology to the 2.0 era: AEM human ear adaptive noise reduction technology and dual-microphone hybrid noise reduction technologies are used on semi-in-ear headphones semi-in-ear active noise reduction technology is used. Technology has reached a new level. And in the process of research and development, after a lot of experiments and repeated adjustments, Huawei FreeBuds 4 realizes the air feel and comfortable to wear; with the application of high-resolution sound quality, smart connection mode, high-definition recording, and other emerging scenes, Huawei FreeBuds 4 It can better meet the daily use of consumers and the market demand for semi-in-ear active noise-canceling headphones, complementing the ecology of the TWS headset industry.

If Huawei FreeBuds 3 two years ago was just a groundbreaking exploration attempt, then the FreeBuds 4 generation has reached a mature stage, enough to challenge any similar products in this field. It is undoubtedly half of the Huawei mobile phone users. The best choice for in-ear noise reduction headphones.

It is reported that the pre-sale of Huawei FreeBuds 4 wireless headsets will start at 16:08 on May 19, 2021, priced at 999 yuan. During the pre-sale period, the online Huawei mall and major e-commerce platforms Huawei official flagship stores will be booked with a deposit of 100 yuan to 200 yuan. Yuan, and there will be a gift event waiting for you to participate in the exclusive leather case of this product. The sale will be officially launched at 00:00 on June 1, and users can purchase through Huawei Mall, major authorized e-commerce, Huawei experience stores, and retail licensees.


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