Most readers will know Huawei for their phones such as the Huawei P40 Pro but they also produce wearables such as the Huawei GT 2 Pro but they have also been getting involved in the audio sector with products such as the Huawei Sound X. In this review we are going to look at their attempt at a pair of overhead headphones in the shape of the Huawei Freebuds Studio.
The Huawei Freebuds Studio cost £199 and are available in 2 colours Black or Gold and after testing these for the last couple of weeks they are really comfortable for long periods of use.
The Huawei Freebuds Studio offer an immersive sound that produced a lovely listening experience if I listened to music, watched a film or listened to a Podcast I was very happy with the audio quality. They also come with ANC technology that did help reduce unwanted noise on a recent train ride to London that was about 50% capacity. The Freebuds Studio also comes with Awareness mode and Hear through mode that I will discuss later in this review. It also has a decent battery life for up to 24 hours of battery life which is reduced when you use ANC.
So taking a more detailed look at the Freebuds Studio they have a premium but minimalistic design and are lightweight for the user. The headband does not give you an impression of cheaper materials used it feels really premium. You get a metallic sheen on the hinges and ear cups adding to the overall design.
Comfort-wise the Freebuds Studio come with plenty of padding on the headband and cups which allows for long periods of use without the risk of headphone fatigue.
When you unbox you get these lovely looking headphones you also get a carry case that has a window for the charging case. The case is a little large but I love a good carry case.
Moving on to the headphones Huawei state 24 hours battery life without ANC or an expected reduction with ANC switched on at 15 hours. In testing they are bang on the 24 hours of use allows for about a week of commuting which for me is about 1hr and a half each way and a little bit of listening during the day. When it’s time to charge these the battery indicator changes from green to yellow. When it’s time to charge you are given fast charging which after a quick 10 min charge it will give you 5 hours of playback with ANC on or 8 hours with ANC off.
Moving to the controls the buttons are ergonomically positioned buttons and touch controls. Everything is located on the right cup and is all via touch controls with a swipe up, down or swipe to the left or the right for the volume or track controls. I found using these controls worked very well but did skip multiple tracks just once but I soon mastered the controls. You also tap the right cup for play/Pause or even when taking or finishing a call it’s all very easy to do.
The first time you use these they connect like any other pair of headphones using the Bluetooth 5.2 offering. They will work on either IOS or Android. However, there is a big BUT! If you want to fully use all the features of these headphones you need a Huawei phone as the AI life app is unavailable on IOS and on an Andriod phone like a Samsung S21 the app on the Google Play Store is an older version and won’t recognise the headphones. I understand that Huawei has had a number of issues with the USA and this has a real impact.
If you’re looking for a way to get past this issue you can download the apk from the Huawei website but it’s still disappointing when it comes to usage. I was lucky that in this review I had a P40 Pro to use. Just because you cant download the app does not mean you can’t use the headphones on an iPhone you just miss out on a few features.
When listening to the Freebuds Studio unfortunately if you want a pair that focuses on a strong bass you just don’t get that strong level of bass especially when the volume is increased. The bonus with these headphones is even at the high volumes you won’t suffer any distortion.
In terms of the overall sound, I found the vocals when listing Bruce Springsteen Dancing In the Dark to be nice and crisp and clean, you can hear what is being said from the boss with ease. When Listening to Alice Merton No Roots the female vocals sound really good as this was even the same for when you have Taylor Swift. The Freebuds Studio did a great job with the high notes.
Where these headphones excel is when instrumental songs like Prince Purple Rain and it’s just such a joy to listen to in these headphones you get a refined stereo experience like nothing else on the market. I got a full air guitar moment in this instrumental like I was at O2 in 2007.
Using these when I had some downtime and watched a film (Yes it does happen sometimes) the Freebuds Studio performed very well they sound great and the dialogue was balanced and clear helping you to really fall into the film your watching like your really there.
These headphones not only come with great audio but a decent level of ANC it’s not the best in the market but you won’t have any real complaints. Even without the ANC on the fit of these headphones cut out a nice amount of nose. When you turn on that ANC via the button on the left cup and it cut out every unwanted noise and let me listen to purple rain uninterrupted. You have different modes such as the hear through mode and awareness mode this is greeted by an announcement for what you switched on.
The awareness mode works best when the volume at 50% and this allows you to listen to your music or podcast but allows for outside volume to come through clear perfect when listening out for a train announcement or listening to a conversation you should not be. You can order lunch when out working without the need to remove the headphones which is always a bonus.
The Huawei Freebuds Studio are perfect for those who love a design that is a very minimalistic design and like that touch control, they tick the boxes. You get a nice amount of features such as Intelligent dynamic ANC, Awareness Mode and dual device connection.
If your looking for a pair of headphones and comfort is a key factor for buying a premium pair of headphones these offer a nice level of padding allowing for long periods of use.
Unfortunately, there are some big negatives in regards to these headphones they are not great when it comes to bass they come with a diminished low frequency so if the bass is important look elsewhere.
The other issue is AI Life app you are unable to change the ANC setting, Check battery life, Pop up pairing and more if you have any phone that is not a Huawei it’s this issue that will put a lot of people off.
If you have a Huawei phone and download the AI Life App you will enjoy these headphones and the £199 is worth the investment but if you don’t have a device from the Huawei phone I feel you would be better off investing in a nice pair of Sennheisers or Sony headphones.
Design: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars
Features: 3.0 out of 5.0 stars
Audio Quality: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
User Friendly: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
Overall rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars
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