Huawei FreeBuds 5


The Huawei FreeBuds 5 are an entire rethinking of the FreeBuds design language, with a somewhat distinctive look in comparison with the remainder of the true wi-fi competitors. It’s not only a style alternative both, with a cushty open-ear match, spectacular audio efficiency and helpful smarts. It’s only a disgrace the battery life dwindles a lot when the (not fairly profitable) ANC is energetic. 


  • Distinctive, fashionable design
  • Beautifully comfy match
  • Spectacular sound efficiency


  • Middling battery life
  • AI Life app could be tough to put in on Android
  • ANC doesn’t make a lot of a distinction


  • UKRRP: £139.99
  • USAunavailable
  • EuropeRRP: €159.99

  • Distinctive designSports activities a singular design that separates them from the remainder of the competitors

  • Spectacular bass efficiencyExtremely Magnetic driver that goals to ship deep bass

  • Quick charging techTwo hours of use from a 5 minute cost


The Huawei FreeBuds 5 don’t look something just like the FreeBuds 4 that got here earlier than them. In reality, the FreeBuds 5 don’t resemble any of the most well-liked earbuds in 2023, with a somewhat distinctive design that’s greatest described as a cross between natural and metallic. 

It’s a design that works although; the buds not solely look extremely fashionable however the open-ear design permits for a cushty match with out going deep into the ear canal like some ear-tipped options. And, regardless of the open design, bass efficiency continues to be glorious. 

It’s only a disgrace that I can’t say the identical in regards to the Energetic Noise Cancellation (ANC), which doesn’t mix nicely with the open design of the buds and does little to quieten the surroundings.

Nonetheless, with different key options together with wi-fi Hello-Res audio assist, a low-latency mode for gaming and quick charging tech, the Huawei FreeBuds 5 stay a stylish-yet-capable choice that prices lower than Apple’s third-gen AirPods.


  • Distinctive design and end
  • Open-ear design
  • Very comfy to put on

The FreeBuds 5 not solely look fully completely different to the FreeBuds 4, however virtually every other set of true wi-fi earbuds in the marketplace in 2023. An AirPods dupe, these are actually not. 

In reality, I’d liken the oddly organic-yet-metallic look to Terminator’s T2000, trying extra like liquid steel drops than your typical wi-fi earbuds. I like the design and applaud Huawei for doing one thing completely different, and so they’re nonetheless oddly fashionable. Everybody I’ve proven them to throughout my month with the buds complemented the odd design.

Huawei FreeBuds 5 next to their charging case
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It additionally helps that the buds can be found in enticing vibrant finishes together with Ceramic White, Coral Orange and Frost Silver, with the buds sporting a shiny reflective end that provides to the premium look – although it might probably additionally make fingerprints and smudges far more noticeable consequently.

The design isn’t solely targeted on being modern both; the thick stems have the proper groove for gripping the buds, making it a doddle to seize them out of the charging case and modify the match in-ear with out unintentionally toggling the contact controls. 

The open design of the buds means you gained’t discover eartips right here, and which may lead some to imagine that the buds gained’t be as safe as tipped options, however that couldn’t be farther from the reality. 

Admittedly, donning the buds for the primary time, I anticipated them to fall out inside minutes. They don’t really feel like they go within the ear, however somewhat sit completely balanced on the outer fringe of the ear canal. Nonetheless, a lot to my shock, the buds at all times stayed completely in place no matter what I used to be doing, even staying safe throughout a (uncommon, and barely embarrassing) jog. 

Huawei FreeBuds 5 in-hand
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This additionally means they’re a lot extra comfy than tipped options with out that fatigue you’re feeling after lengthy listening periods, and there’s none of that ‘bunged-up’ feeling right here both. In reality, they’re so comfy that I’ve used them to hearken to the sound of rain to go to sleep – and I sleep on my aspect. That’s a feat that has been unique to Apple’s AirPods 3 up till now.

When not in energetic use, the FreeBuds 5 stay in a pocketable egg-shaped cost case, making it immediately stand out from the ocean of AirPod case dupes not solely when it comes to look, sporting a frosted end matching the buds, however the general design. 

The lid lifts simply, the buds are simple to take out due to the strong stems and the lid snaps shut with magnets, serving to maintain them secure when saved in a pocket or rucksack. A single LED on the entrance shows connectivity and obtainable cost, with a small button on the best to set off Bluetooth pairing and a USB-C port on the underside edge for charging. 

The buds are IP54 rated, so use in gentle rain or throughout train shouldn’t be a difficulty. That doesn’t lengthen to the case, nonetheless, with no type of water resistance on supply. 

Huawei FreeBuds 5 in the charging case
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  • Auto play/pause tech
  • AI Life app has customized EQ
  • Customisable ANC

In relation to smarts, the FreeBuds 5 supply all of the staples of a succesful pair of true wi-fi earbuds, together with automated play/pause tech when eradicating and re-inserting the buds, contact controls and a companion app for iOS and Android that permits you to customise options and alter the EQ too. It additionally boasts just a few somewhat distinctive options, like a low-latency audio mode nice for cellular gaming. 

Let’s begin with these contact controls; you possibly can double-tap to play or pause music, long-press to cycle between transparency and ANC modes and swipe up and down to regulate quantity. The gesture controls aren’t fairly as delicate as Apple’s AirPods Professional 2, sometimes lacking a swipe enter, however such incidents have been few and much between. More often than not, the buds did precisely what I wished. 

If you wish to customise these shortcuts, you’ll have to obtain the Huawei AI Life app. It may be a little bit of a ache to put in on Android since its shift from Google Play to Huawei AppGallery, but it surely’s a one-time inconvenience. 

As soon as put in, the app is easy to make use of, rapidly connecting to the buds and offering the power to not solely customise the gesture controls of the buds however change the preset EQs, or for these with a bit extra information, create a customized 10-point EQ to tailor the sound output to your preferences.

Huawei FreeBuds 5 earbud in the palm of a hand
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The app can also be the place you possibly can allow ANC in addition to choose the ANC profile, starting from Common (most cancellation) to Cozy (minimal cancellation) with Dynamic (automated switching based mostly on ambient noise) providing the most effective of each worlds. 

The FreeBuds 5 can even hook up with a number of gadgets without delay, permitting you to connect with, say, a wise TV and your smartphone and change between the 2 relying on which display screen you’re presently utilizing. It’s simple to do too; simply pause playback on one related system and begin it on the opposite. The buds will immediately change enter, no handbook reconnection required. 

Three microphones enable for first rate name high quality too, with the recipients of most calls having no complaints about listening to my voice – a pleasant change from the NuraTrue Professional, which I get complaints about on a regular basis. Nonetheless, it was apparently simply as simple to listen to my environment, main me to imagine that Huawei has extra work to do on its background noise discount algorithm. 

Sound High quality

  • Effectively-rounded audio expertise
  • Nice bass efficiency regardless of open-ear design
  • ANC isn’t that efficient

The FreeBuds 5 are small and mighty, sporting 11mm dual-magnetic dynamic driver models providing a large frequency vary of 16Hz to a whopping 40kHz, far more than the typical 20Hz – 20kHz vary you’ll discover on a lot of the similarly-priced competitors. 

Listening to Ex’s & Oh’s by Elle King, the buds supply a well-rounded expertise with an important steadiness between the bass, mids and treble with a large spatial soundstage. The latter can additional be improved by DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, although that can depend upon the smartphone you join the buds to – it’s not a function of the buds, however somewhat the cellphone taking part in the music. 

The bass, specifically, is spectacular regardless of the open-ear design of the buds, with highly effective bass often requiring an entire seal across the ear canal – it actually seems like Huawei’s proprietary Bass Turbo tech and expanded frequency vary are doing their jobs nicely. If something, it makes me surprise how splendidly bassy the FreeBuds 5 may very well be if they’d eartips just like the FreeBuds 5i… 

It’s not simply targeted on bassy, upbeat tunes although; Bob Marley’s vocals in Buffalo Solider have been clear and crisp with first rate sound separation from the remainder of the monitor, and the enjoyable backing monitor of Tracy Chapman’s Quick Automotive actually showcased how heat the acoustics could be. 

Huawei FreeBuds 5 in-ear
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It’s an beautiful expertise at a less expensive value level than Apple’s £169 / $179 AirPods 3, full with Hello-Res Audio assist at as much as 990kbps through the LDAC codec, although that’ll require a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-equipped cellphone to reap the benefits of. 

The FreeBuds 5 additionally sport ANC capabilities – a little bit of an oddity contemplating the open-ear design employed by the buds encourage exterior sound to leak in. In reality, I’d argue that it’s probably not that noticeable in on a regular basis use and, as such, I had it disabled for many of my testing in a bid to get as a lot battery life from the buds as attainable. 

I did hear a slight dulling of sure low frequencies, just like the hum of a close-by fan, however I may nonetheless fairly clearly hear most of what was happening round me. 

Personally, I don’t discover that a lot of a difficulty as I like the truth that open-ear buds just like the FreeBuds 5 and Apple’s AirPods 3 enable me to nonetheless pay attention to my environment whereas listening to my favorite tunes, although it does turn into a problem utilizing the buds in exceptionally loud environments with out cranking the amount up. 

If you happen to actually do need one thing that’ll uninteresting the sounds of the morning commute, you’ll discover significantly better outcomes from in-ear buds just like the AirPods Professional 2 or Sony’s well-liked WF-1000XM4. 

Battery life

  • Common 5-hour battery life
  • ANC brings playback down to three hours
  • 30 hours of battery life inc. charging case

In relation to battery life, the FreeBuds 5 do little to face out from the competitors with a somewhat normal 5 hours of playback earlier than requiring a top-up from the charging case, nonetheless that does drop to round three hours in the event you’ve acquired ANC energetic – nearly half of what you’ll get from Apple’s second-gen AirPods Professional with ANC enabled.

That’s greater than sufficient for almost all of my wants, be it listening to music on my hour-long commute to work or chatting on the cellphone with my different half, but it surely won’t suffice in the event you intend on, say, listening to music for a whole 8-hour shift at work.

The one saving grace is that the charging case has quick cost tech that’ll present two hours of use after simply 5 minutes within the case in keeping with Huawei – however once more, that is with out ANC energetic. 

The case itself holds an extra 25 hours of battery life, bringing the whole to 30 hours, with a reasonably brief cost cycle of round 45 minutes through USB-C. Qi wi-fi charging is supposedly on supply for extra handy case charging, however I discovered it somewhat finicky to make use of throughout testing and principally opted for the cable connection.

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Do you have to purchase it?

You need a pair of fashionable, great-sounding earbuds: The FreeBuds 5 not solely look distinctive however sound nice, full with wi-fi Hello-Res audio assist.

You need headphones that’ll quieten the background: Whereas the FreeBuds 5 sport ANC, it’s not as efficient as in-ear or over-ear rivals with an open-ear design leaking environmental noise.  

Ultimate Ideas

The Huawei FreeBuds 5 set themselves aside from the competitors with a singular, modern design that’s each pleasing to the attention and fantastically comfy to put on, even over longer durations of use. The contact controls are responsive, the auto-pause tech is responsive and the low-latency audio mode is a pleasant contact for cellular players. 

It’s the audio efficiency that actually cements the FreeBuds 5 expertise, with a large 16Hz – 40kHz frequency response vary and assist for wi-fi Hello-Res audio playback through the LDAC codec delivering a well-balanced audio expertise with beautiful element. The ANC isn’t that efficient at quietening the surroundings, however that’s no actual shock contemplating the open-ear design of the FreeBuds 5. 

I simply want the battery lasted slightly longer as 3 hours with ANC energetic isn’t fairly as much as the usual of premium opponents just like the AirPods Professional 2. 

How we take a look at

We take a look at each pair of headphones we evaluate totally over an prolonged time frame. We use industry-standard assessments to match options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluate a product.

Discover out extra about how we take a look at in our ethics coverage.

Examined the earbuds for one month

Drained the battery totally

Listened to a combined choice of songs


Are the FreeBuds 5 waterproof?

The buds themselves supply IP54 water resistance, however the case affords no type of resistance in any respect.

What’s the battery life like on the FreeBuds 5?

You’ll get 30 hours inc. the charging case, although solely round 3-5 hours on a single cost.





IP score

Battery Hours

Wi-fi charging

Quick Charging

Dimension (Dimensions)



Launch Date

First Reviewed Date

Mannequin Quantity

Audio Decision

Driver (s)

Noise Cancellation?



Frequency Vary

Headphone Sort


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Jargon buster


LDAC is an audio expertise from Sony that enables for increased high quality audio streaming over a Bluetooth connection, with bit-rates of as much as 990kbps


ANC (Energetic Noise Cancellation) makes use of an array of microphones in a headphone to detect the frequency of the sound coming on the listener, with the ANC chip creating an inverse wave (i.e. opposing sound) to suppress any undesirable exterior noises.