Launched Huawei FreeBuds 5 with open “Droplet” design
Huawei is in a rich vein of form when it comes to wireless headphones. The new FreeBuds 5 look set to go on, although they won’t look like their siblings, or almost every other true wireless bud.
The Chinese company recently launched the FreeBuds 5i, a budget option, and the similar-sounding FreeBuds 5 sit between those and the premium FreeBuds 2 Pro.
It’s hard to think of wireless headphones with a similar design, partly because open earbuds aren’t common and Huawei’s approach is – quite simply – different. Huawei says the FreeBuds 5 are “droplet-shaped” with “double-C curves”.
The design is designed to create more contact with your ears for a “reduced strain” and “breathable wearing experience”. There’s a shallow in-ear section, a reduced height, and the upper has a 32-degree angle to achieve a comfortable fit and ensure that the pressure created when you press a bud is more evenly distributed.
Huawei says the design is the result of “tens of thousands of ergonomic simulations and hundreds of optimizations”. The closest rival would probably be the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, aka the Galaxy Beans.
There’s a lot more to the FreeBuds 5 than the unusual design which, by the way, comes in Ceramic White, Frosted Silver and Coral Orange and is IPX4 water resistant.
Noise cancellation doesn’t tend to work too well on open-back design headphones – due to the lack of a good seal with the ear canal – but the FreeBuds 5 have intelligent dynamic ANC with three mics on each bud, so can adjust the noise cancel for you in real time.
Chris Martin / Foundry
Another real-time adjustment is via Triple Adaptive EQ which can apparently optimize sound based on things like the shape of your ear canal and volume.
It operates from 100 to 2000 Hz, but the headphones can produce frequencies as low as 16 Hz thanks to ultra-magnet dynamic drivers.
Like the FreeBuds Pro 2, there’s Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification here thanks to the inclusion of the LDAC codec, with 96kHz/24-bit audio at 990kbps. There’s also the L2HC codec, covering more Hi-Res bases.
The charging case has a textured surface and ‘matte glow’ finish and, combined with the buds’ own batteries, provides a total of up to 30 hours of listening time (with ANC off). A short five-minute charge will get you two hours of listening time, an improvement over the FreeBuds 4.
The headphones are compatible with iOS and Android devices and support two-device connection.
You can buy the FreeBuds 5 from April 17 for £139.99 / €159 and UK Huawei Store newsletter subscribers (before April 16) can get 10% off as long as you redeem them before April 16. April 27.
We’re testing them right now, so watch this space for a full review and to find out if they make it into our chart of the best wireless headphones.
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