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The Apple AirPods’ New Nemesis


Until Apple’s own event later this year, the AirPods won’t be the world’s best true wireless stereo headset anymore. Huawei took another punch at Apple and crowned the new FreeBuds 3 with a range of noise cancelling features. But with its competitive advantage in the US, Apple might still beat them to the punch by bringing their new AirPods model to the market sooner.

In the meantime, let’s drool over the amazing product Huawei has announced. During his IFA 2019 Keynote, Huawei’s CEO Richard Yu wasn’t shy to stress Huawei’s achievements. Terms like “the world’s first”, “the world’s best”, or simply “the best” rolled off his tongue like tweets pulse through Trump’s hands. And the FreeBuds 3 deserve all the praise.

Huawei’s latest generation of true wireless stereo earbuds are powered by the company’s new Kirin A1 processor. It’s the world’s first Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 5.1 chip for wearable devices, and it’s 5% smaller than Apple’s H1 chip. The Kirin A1 supports dual channel Bluetooth connections, which enables lower latency and lower power consumption than its competitors.

Interestingly, the slides highlighting how the Kirin A1’s speed compared to the competition omitted Apple’s H1 performance. Could it be that this point goes to Cupertino?

What makes the FreeBuds 3 stand out is their intelligent noise cancelling technology. In fact, they are the world’s first open fit earbuds with active noise cancellation. You can tune the adaptive noise cancellation to achieve up to 15dB of ambient noise reduction.

Huawei FreeBuds 3 with nondescript display stand at IFA 2019

Huawei didn’t stop at optimizing your personal experience with their product. They also implemented “uplink noise cancellation”. A bone sensor will aid the microphone in capturing pure vocal vibration and eliminating ambient noise. Moreover, Huawei has designed an aerodynamic microphone duct that shields the microphone from noise created by winds of up to 20 kmh (12.4 mph). With Huawei’s FreeBuds 3, even your conversation partners will enjoy a crystal clear sound, regardless of what you’re up to.

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Last but not least, the FreeBuds3 come in a stylish pebble-like case with fast-charging technology. It will extend the earbuds’ 4 hours of battery life by an additional 16 hours to 20 hours total. And whether you charge wirelessly or using a wire, you’ll be topped up 50-100% faster than your AirPods owning friends.

Huawei FreeBuds 3 case with earbuds displayed at IFA 2019

Clearly, the FreeBuds won’t be free once they come to market. But sadly, Huawei was not ready to share a release date or price. We might not see them until CES next year. Or Huawei might surprise us and trump Apple once more.

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