Huawei FreeBuds Studio Review: A Musical Renaissance

What are the first full-size headphones from a company that has established itself as a great music accessories manufacturer?

Huawei is now undergoing what can be called a musical renaissance. Several of the company’s headphones have turned out to be surprisingly good. For example, in the relatively budget sector, the company offers excellent FreeBuds 3i TWS headphones. It’s a perfect choice for Android users.

There are more expensive headphones. FreeBuds Pro is also great for Android users. 

For musical fans, who like listening to music on headphones with extensive drivers, Huawei has released FreeBuds Studio. Let’s not find fault with the name – even without listening to headphones, we can say that they have nothing to do with studios. However, this does not mean that the headphones do not stand up to our expectations. So, let’s get into details.

Appearance and equipment

Unfortunately, the headphone box was lost somewhere in our studio, but it is not of particular interest: just a white box with an illustration of FreeBuds Studio themselves. But in the box, you will find a case. It is made of nice soft plastic:

On its front, there is a chrome square with the Huawei logo. It quickly collects fingerprints and scratches if you carry the case in your bag along with other things. That’s why my sample got scratched:

The cover is large but thin. We must see how it shows himself on the journey. I liked that it has a dedicated section for the USB Type-C to Type-A charging cable. Usually, they make some frivolous pocket for the wire, but here a separate area is in the form:

The cover is large but thin. We must see how it shows himself on the journey. I liked that it has a dedicated section for the USB Type-C to Type-A charging cable. Usually, they make some frivolous pocket for the wire, but here a separate area is in the form:

Outwardly, the headphones resemble several products from other brands at once. For example, I found references to the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95. See for yourself:

There are three buttons and a touchpad to control FreeBuds Studio. On the left cup, there is a button to turn on and off the active noise control:

On the right is the headphone and Bluetooth button. Also on the right is the touchpad:

Swipe up – the volume will increase, forward – the next song will play. Holding your finger will call the voice assistant, and double tap on the touch panel will turn on the music, pause it or answer the call.

FreeBuds Studio has a wearable device detection function: take them off, and the headphones automatically pause the music being played. Here’s the cool thing: you are watching a video and decide to show it to friends next to you. Take off the headphones and press the play button – in this case, the sound does not come from the removed headphones but the smartphone. Real, this only works on Android. The iPhone still plays the sound of the video in the headphones.

The earbuds sit on your head without any problem. The ear cushions provide enough room for even large ears, and the headband is soft enough, so you don’t have to worry about your skull.

Applications

If you want to make the most of your headphones, then Android is your choice. You can download the required apk-application to it.

Here you will be able to set up the controls, and turn on voice amplification in the “Sound Permeability” mode, as well as update the headphones:

This story is similar to those described in previous reviews: for use on iOS or Windows, you need to have an Android device at hand that will allow you to set up and update your headphones. Fortunately, they support dual connection, and you can switch from Android to iOS without any problems.

It’s effortless to connect headphones to Huawei smartphones and tablets: turn them on and bring them to your smartphone. They will determine themselves and offer you to pair both devices:

It’s comfortable. But I want Huawei to make a headphone app for iOS.

Problems with connection during use happened only twice – the sound disappeared in turn in both headphones. But after the next update, I did not face this problem. Plus, it’s worth remembering that I test these headphones before opening pre-orders. So if you have a similar situation, connect them to your Android device and update.

Noise Cancelation

The active Noise Cancelation has three operating modes: on, off, and transparency. In the latter, you can also activate the voice amplification mode. In this case, you will hear much better what the people around you are saying. At the same time, directly at the activated noise cancelation, there are four options for working at once:

As in Huawei FreeBuds Pro, Studio promises 40dB noise absorption in Ultra mode. All this is in theory – on my pre-sale sample, the noise reduction only cuts the low frequencies, and the mids and highs remain either at the same volume level as with the noise gate off or even for some reason become louder. I assume that Huawei has not finished it yet, so I expect an improvement in the active noise reduction mode with the release firmware.

Sound

We are often asked how the headphones work in headset mode. The answer is reasonable. My interlocutors heard me without any problems. And if I hadn’t asked them, they wouldn’t even have paid attention to the sound – that is, how the FreeBuds Studio headset works perfectly.

Now to the sound. I wanted to listen to rock and heavy music in general. Deezer immediately turned on the Falling in Reverse song Drugs for me (the case when the track is so wrong that it’s even good). In this song, I noticed the mix’s solidity and the tremendous sounding rhythm guitars, and the chorus’s full sound wall. The music sounds very cool, except for the bridge, which starts at 2:37, but here the sound engineer cheated, and the boundaries of the stereo mix are very overloaded, which can be heard on any headphones:

At the same time, it was unexpected for me that there is no excess bass. I miss it even a little, although I’m a fan of balance in the mix. The headphones pleasantly surprised me with the readability of the drum toms.

All instruments are in place. Nothing distracts, the double bass pleasantly, the piano beats out the rhythm—cool and pretty simple thing. I also noticed a slight boost in frequencies in the 1-3 kHz range. This is the standard method for improving the readability of vocals.

In general, the only thing I would like to fix in the sound of Huawei FreeBuds Studio is the volume of the stage. For my taste, it is not wide enough, which makes it challenging to achieve that enveloping sound.

Outcome

Huawei has done a great job on its music over the past few months – the company produces excellent headphones that will appeal to the vast majority of listeners.

FreeBuds Studio is an excellent continuation of this concept. The company first tried the large format. I cannot yet judge how the active noise reduction works, but now we can assume that these headphones will compete with the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM of the third or fourth generation. And at least in terms of sound, Huawei has made decent headphones. They definitely sound better than the Bose, and they are also very different from the Sony sound, about which I can only say one thing: it is very amateurish (which is neither bad nor good, but I am not one of them).

To the disadvantages, I would attribute the lack of full-fledged work with iOS: Huawei, about the application for the iPhone, where I can update the headphones and adjust their sound, I have been asking for six months already! 

Huawei FreeBuds Studio is available for pre-order today. The price in the official Huawei online store is roughly $353. Every customer who pre-ordered will receive a Watch Fit smartwatch.

8.5 Total Score
Excellent

FreeBuds Studio is an excellent continuation of this concept. The company first tried the large format. I cannot yet judge how the active noise reduction works, but now we can assume that these headphones will compete with the Bose NC 700 and Sony WH-1000XM of the third or fourth generation. And at least in terms of sound, Huawei has made decent headphones. They definitely sound better than the Bose, and they are also very different from the Sony sound, about which I can only say one thing: it is very amateurish (which is neither bad nor good, but I am not one of them). To the disadvantages, I would attribute the lack of full-fledged work with iOS: Huawei, about the application for the iPhone, where I can update the headphones and adjust their sound, I have been asking for six months already!

Design
8.5
Sound
8
Value for Money
8
Active Noise Cancellation
8.5
User-friendly
7.2
PROS
  • Good Active Noise Cancelation
  • Powered Features
  • Good sound
  • Decent Pricing
CONS
  • Lack of full-fledged working with iOS
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