Huawei FreeBuds 3 review - sexy case, style - lacks some basic function

Yeah, the title of the article kinda gives you the TL;DR of these buds.

Love the case, love how simple they fit in and charge up.  Love the app actually, very intuitive, versus trying to find something in the Google settings for my Pixelbuds.

However, being able to simply change volume, skip songs, etc... you can pick one, or 2, but not more than that.  Kinda defeating the purpose of truly wireless earbuds in my mind.

So, to set it up, you have to find the Huawei AI Life app on either the Play Store or Huawei's AppGallery.  iPhone folks, sorry, you're SOL.

I love the app, very intuitive.  Connecting to the device was as simple as tap the 'add button' and then opening the case and you're connected.  If you want to connect to more than one device, manually disconnect from the 'main' device, then hold the button on the side of the case to put it in pairing mode then load the app up on a second device and you'll connect.

The main device it'll auto connect to when opened... the secondary one you'll have to open the app and then tap 'connect' (or at least for me that's the way).

While in the app you get to see the battery level of both buds AND the case.  Love that.

And so much better than what the Pixelbuds have... if you can find it.

Actually, sound quality is pretty good.  Bass isn't too bad, it's not THUMPING, but I don't find it really lacking or taking away from the sound.  Same with the top end treble.  It's a little 'thin' the higher volumes in the ears, but it's not detracting from the overall quality.  It's got a real good sweet spot in the mid range.

In my basement, quiet at night, it's loud.  Out on the street, I wish it could have been louder... 

The Noise Cancellation is good... I don't know how 'noticeable' it is.  I've tried it with the 3D printer going in the background... with my washing machine or while washing dishes, even out for a walk.  I think the music is definitely 'louder', but the switching between the 2 there's a lag as the buds say "noise cancelling ON" that it's hard to get that comparison for real.

Now music control.  I don't know about you, but it's rare that I can put on some tunes, go for a walk and just leave it.  I want to skip music, turn up or down volume, pause, answer the phone... not exactly possible with these altogether.  

Your controls are you can double tap the right, or you can double tap the left.  Each will have a different control.  Neat enough that actually when I was out for a walk today with a light toque on over my ears, I could tap the bud through the hoodie and it still did it's deed.  Neat.

So, you can set the double tap to play/pause or skip, or start assistant, or turn on/off noise cancelling.  So, pick which 2 you want.  I have it set where right is SKIP, and left is Noise Cancelling.  I should set it to be right is PAUSE and left is SKIP.  As when I'm walking around if I get a call, I have to grab my phone to answer... I can't answer from them.  

When I'm done my walk, taking them out of my ears they're still playing so I have to take out my phone and pause the music etc... It feels pretty limiting.

You can't even adjust the volume with them.  I think that was a huge missed point.

As for battery life, I tried out a little over an hour walk today and used them the entire time.  Odd how the left was at 60% and the right was 50%.  Earlier on the difference was 15%.  Had I been taking out just the right now and again, or is hitting the right to skip causing more drain?  Or is positioning my phone in a different pocket... I dunno.  Just odd.

After about 30-40 minutes back in the pod, they had charged back up to 100% and the case lost only about 20%.  (might have been less time, I forgot to time)

Doing some simple back of the envelope math I figure you really can recharge them both fully about 3x before the case needs a recharge.  Giving the overall usage time about 8 hours of playback (mind you that's after 3 recharge cycles).

Well, how do I like 'em?  

I do like 'em, I still have this fear that they'll fall out.  However, I did tempt fate and went for a bike ride yesterday with them (it wasn't too cold so I was only going a shorter distance and just on roads, so if they fell they should be easily spotted) and they stayed in.  I would check every km or so and make sure they were in snug, but they didn't ever feel like they were going to fall out.

Not too shabby.

Sound overall, I like, ... I don't LOVE... for $260 I should love them.  But I definitely will keep them in rotation.  I just wish that for that price point they would have included more functionality and interaction; having essentially only 2 'buttons' on these really feels a step backward on something that should be a leap forward.  I hate comparing them to my Pixelbuds, because even those have 3 gestures (vol+/-, play/pause, long press) and the voice features are pretty meh at best, but because I can with them, the do win over.