(Pocket-lint) - Huawei has taken the wraps off a new product at IFA 2019, and it's not a flagship smartphone: it's a pair of wireless earbuds with noise cancelling built in.
They're called the FreeBuds 3 and come in both black and white, with matching glossy cases shaped like a puck.
While they might look like another pair of AirPods-lookalikes from the outside, Huawei claims they offer a better experience and better performance than Apple's popular earphones.
It starts with the Kirin A1 chip which Huawei has developed not just to go inside earphones, but also speakers, headphones, smart glasses and smartwatches.
Paired with Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth LE 5.1, the H1 chip powers what Huawei calls Isochronous dual channel connection, which essentially means the phone connects to each individual earphone, rather than have one as a slave to the other.
Typically this is a pretty inefficient way to do things, but Huawei has managed to optimise the performance, and so you can still get four hours of music playback from the earbuds before needing to plonk them back in the charging puck.
While you can use a Type-C connector to charge up the cases and the earphones inside them, they're also equipped with wireless charging support. That means you can make use of Huawei phones' reverse wireless charging feature.
With the battery inside the cases, you can get a total of 20 hours playback between charges, essentially meaning the case holds three extra full recharges on top of the four hours of playback.
Of course, this is nowhere near as long lasting as what we've seen from the likes of the Powerbeats Pro, or the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1, but it's certainly good enough to get you through your work week.
The big feature here though is ANC. It's rare to find active noise cancelling inside a product this small and completely wire-free. Especially one with a relatively open fit within the ear. Without a tip that seals the ear canal, the ANC has nowhere to hide.
Still, Huawei claims a noise reduction by up to 15dB, which is enough to notice the difference, although we doubt it's as effective as some of the high end over ear headphones out there.
What's more, there's a duct at the end of the FreeBuds arms that act as a wind shield. That should mean wind doesn't interrupt your phone calls, and with the Kirin A1 chip's ability to detect when your talking through bone vibrations, it offers crystal clear voice calls.
Keen to stress these are better than AirPods, Huawei also states that the case charges at double the speed of the AirPods case when plugged in via cable, and 50% faster wireless charging.
As for sound quality, Huawei put a relatively large 14mm driver inside the FreeBuds 3, which should mean loud, bass-rich sound.
At time of writing Huawei hasn't said when the FreeBuds 3 go on sale, how much they'll cost or which markets they'll be sold in. Once we have that information, we'll be sure to update this post.
We'll have to wait to find out if they're good enough to make it on to our list of the best wireless earbuds. Specs and features certainly look good, but testing is required to see if the bite matches the bark.