For many people, listening to music is as vital as breathing. For those with long subway/bus journeys that means wearing headphones. If you are one of those who listen to music with loudspeakers on public transport, know that you are not welcome in this analysis.
Returning to the topic at hand. Analyzing headphones is increasingly complicated. This market has specialized at very high levels in the high range, while the entry models have been gaining in features, to the point where the ranges are blurred.
Today we have with us the Huawei FreeBuds SE, the new cheap TWS wireless headphones from the Chinese company, which want to gain a foothold among all those customers who, although they want audio quality, they cannot afford to spend more than 50 euros.
As always, before going into the analysis in depth, let’s see the technical specifications of the Huawei FreeBuds SE:
|specs||Huawei FreeBuds SE|
|Dimensions and weight (headset)||38.1 x 20.6 x 20mm | 5.1g|
|Dimensions and weight (case)||598mm diameter | 27.5mm height | 35.6g|
|sensors||Microphone sensor, wear detection sensor|
|Active noise cancellation (ANC)||Nope|
|Drums||Headphone: 37 mAh, up to 6 hours of autonomy | Case: 410 mAh, up to 22 hours of autonomy|
|Compatibility||App on iOS and Android|
As you can see, the headphones are the little brother model of the Huawei FreeBuds 4, which have much more technology and better finishes. Even so, these have their weapons to convince customers who are looking for a cheaper option.
Analysis of the Huawei FreeBuds SE by sections:
A very ergonomic case and slippery design
The earphones arrive in a small, soft, round-edged box. With a led on the front that tells us if the FreeBuds SE are charging or the battery level of the case (green light first, orange light second), and a USB-C port at the rear.
Once we open the box we find the classic magnet that will be the one in charge of keeping the lid closed (there is no option to open it by a blow, it closes very well), and more magnets inside to fix the headphones and charge them satisfactorily.
In the physical and design section we can highlight that they are really light headphones (barely 5 grams each), so shortly after putting them on it’s normal for you to forget them… if it weren’t for the music that comes out of them.
With a small “pin” as the most remarkable element (in the image of the first AirPods), the FreeBuds SE stand out for their simplicity. They are beautiful, they are discreet and they fit perfectly in the ear. And yes, they come with three sizes of silicone, to fit each user.
Using them for sports and with some walking, the helmets have not come out of our ears at any time. So, although they have not been designed for sports, they can do the job without problems (although there are better options in terms of support on the market).
oh and has the IPX4 certificate resistance to splashes, water and dust. So while we can’t dive or swim with them, they can get wet with sweat or rain without fear of breaking.
As a negative point, the only one to be honest, is that they are very slippery. The smooth, rounded-edge design makes them very easy to lose in your fingers. During the weeks of testing there have been many times that they have fallen on us once we took them off.
And we would also highlight the controls, which are tactile and, although they pick up the gestures perfectly (based on tapping on the sticks), the signal arrives with a lot of delay and it is common to give stop and then play often because you think they have not taken your order. Until you have caught the trick the trick -a few days- it does not stop being something annoying.
A lot of talk to say that these controls could be more reactive, well, since doing sports, for example, the delay is somewhat annoying.
A Plug & Play manual
There is a good thing about these headphones: using them is very simple. We just have to take them out of the box, put them on and look for them on our smartphone. No need to download third-party apps or anything like that.
If you can’t find them with your mobile, the box has a Bluetooth search button that will help you solve the ballot. In our experience we have not had a connection failure during the two weeks of testing.
For those who want to download the proprietary application, it is called AI Life and it is Huawei’s generic application for almost all its smart devices.. With it you can customize the headphones a bit, update the firmware if you need it and change the gestures (yes, it has touch buttons to skip the song or stop the music).
They work through Bluetooth 5.2 so the quality of the signal is more than assured, same as the effective range (we have measured up to 14 meters without obstacles in between in a gym full of people and wireless signals).
Correct sound and without boasting
Here we have to be clear about one thing: they are headphones that are worth less than 50 euros. For this price, no brand offers sound quality worthy of HiFi users looking for sound excellence. What’s more, for less than 150 euros there is no TWS that gives professional sound.
So what are we looking for? A good audio quality that does not clash. Some correct basses, good mids and highs are not shrill. In this sense, the FreeBuds SE fulfill perfectly.
Great for listening to music without deep bass (Bad Bunny loses a lot, but Springsteen sounds great), they also do a great job playing podcasts. For these two reasons, we would say that they are quite off-road.
As a negative point, the volume and insulation. The headphones don’t sound too loud even at full volume. Which means that, if we don’t fit them perfectly in the ear, noises from outside sneak in. In closed environments (gym or subway), ambient noise may spoil the moment.
More than five hours nonstop listening to music
Autonomy in wireless headphones is just as important as sound quality or compatibility with Android and iOS. In this case, the FreeBuds are average with about 5 long hours of uninterrupted music playback.
Although we have called little, the main use has been to play music and podcasts while doing sports. And there they have given a very good autonomy. With one hour sessions every day, we used to arrive at Friday with a bit of drums. And look how loud the volume was.
The autonomy drops a bit when the microphones come into play (in calls). This is because the headphones spend a little more battery power to power the two microphones and the noise cancellation technology. With a mixed use, we go to 4 hours of autonomy.
Later, the case (410 mAh) has allowed us to charge them up to five times without having to plug it into the mains. So we are talking about a total autonomy of about 24 hours without much problem. So it is ideal, even for very long trips.
Good team for those who do not want to mortgage
We come to the most important point of the analysis: Are Huawei FreeBuds SE worth it? If you don’t want to leave more than 50 euros, they are one of the best headphones in the sector right now for features and design.
They are elegant, they have two microphones with noise cancellation, the autonomy is more than enough for any daily commute (and without counting the case), they sound quite good and the connectivity does not give a single failure, even in environments saturated with wireless signals.
It is true that the audio they give can be craving something flat and lacking in bass, but we are talking about a mid-range -entry range for Huawei-, so we cannot say that this is a defect. Actually, their biggest problem is how slippery they are (something that can be remedied if you’re not too clumsy or careful).
With all this exposed, it is your decision to decide if the new Huawei FreeBuds are your next headphones or not. If you are looking for mid-range, few better options you will find for less than 50 euroswe can assure you of that.