Huawei Freebuds SE Review | Very comfortable and basic phone

The Huawei Freebuds SE is the most affordable wireless headset in the Freebuds family. It doesn’t have active noise canceling (ANC) like the more expensive ones, but it promises crystal-clear sound and a comfortable design. Is it good? I tested the Huawei Bluetooth headset and I tell you everything in this review!

Before we start, I always warn you that in case you are interested in Redmi Buds 4 Pro at the end of this review, I will leave reliable purchase links for you to purchase it. Here we go.

Huawei Freebuds SE Pros and Cons

Pros

  • design and construction
  • Connection
  • The sound quality in pop songs
  • Drums

Cons

  • AI Life is not available in the app stores
  • Over-bass and sub-bass

Huawei Freebuds SE construction and design

The Freebuds SE is a basic wireless headphone, but it doesn’t disappoint in design. It’s another one on the market with stems for playback and microphone controls, escaping the discretion and elegance of the Redmi Buds 4 Pro and AirPods Pro, for example. However, it is friendly and extremely light, almost impossible to feel in the ears.

For those looking for a basic and comfortable wireless headset to work or travel for long periods, this model is certainly one of the most suitable in the category. It goes up a notch over the JBL Tune 220TWS Bluetooth headphones, although it does save on the choice of materials.

One detail that caught my attention about the Freebuds SE was the so-called “semi-in-ear design”, which, as the name implies, does not completely enter the ear canal. It’s a solution that promises to reduce pressure in the ear canal while allowing for a tighter fit.

It was the first phone I tested with this solution and I found it interesting. Of course, there’s not very effective passive noise isolation here, like in-ear headphones, but it scores points for comfort.

Even though it’s basic, there are playback controls on the outside of the headset. Two taps pause and resume a song, and answer and hang up a call. We don’t have many possibilities here, but it is possible to change the command of each action in the Huawei AI Life APP.

The commands work, but it takes a little more than a second to be performed, which I found annoying. If someone is going to talk to you while you’re listening to music, it’s much faster to take the headphones out of your ears than to pause playback with two taps.

The headset and charging case is available in the same colors, white or pastel blue. The charging case is very compact, longer, and flatter than most TWS headphones I’ve tested, but it still fits in the palm of your hand and easily in your trouser pocket.

Huawei Freebuds SE Connectivity and app

Huawei makes the AI ​​Life app available for the Freebuds SE. The software is not exclusive to headphones, and it is possible to connect to other Chinese smart devices if you have them at home.

The AI ​​Life app is not available on the Play Store or App Store, so you need to scan the QR Code that comes in the box to access AppGallery, Huawei’s app store. The process is very simple on Android, the cell phone system used in the tests.

But there’s not much you can do with the headset other than check the battery percentage of the earbuds and the charging case. You can also change the action of the “double tap” command and check for software updates.

Even more basic, Freebuds SE has Bluetooth 5.2, which brings a fast and stable connection. I tested the phone with a Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G and had no problems with pairing.

There are also some very interesting features, such as usage detection, as with more expensive headphones, and low latency mode. Unfortunately, the latter only works with Huawei smartphones with EMIUI 11 or above.

The charging case has a USB-C port, great for faster charging.

Huawei Freebuds SE Sound Quality

The Freebuds SE left me with the “flea behind my ear” regarding its sound quality. First, I can prove that the headphones deliver a great experience for those who enjoy pop, as promised by Huawei.

“Up”, by Cardi B, “Levitating”, by Dua Lipa, and “Envolver”, by Anitta, have intense beats, synthesizers, and very present vocals. Particularly, I like this profile of sound more pulled to the bass, but I believe that it can sound exaggerated to some users. It reminded me a lot of the JBL Tune 225TWS with Pure Bass technology.

However, rock songs and the like can suffer with this phone precisely because of the exaggeration in bass and sub-bass, going over the cymbals, guitars, and vocals. “Blow To The Head”, by Lightning Bolt, for example, has very opaque hi-hats, almost disappearing.

Overall, I had a good experience with Freebuds SE. In pop variants such as synth pop and indie pop, the Huawei headset was pleasant most of the time. Nothing a quick EQ can’t fix.

Huawei Freebuds SE battery and charging

The Freebuds SE has a battery for up to six hours of uninterrupted music, which is ok for Bluetooth headphones, but nothing impressive, especially since we don’t have noise cancellation here.

In my tests, half the battery was consumed in two hours and thirty minutes, with volume at 80%. It was a nice duration for my use, but it might as well last longer considering there is no extra resource draining the load in the background. The Galaxy Buds 2, for example, go past five total hours even with ANC on.

At the very least, in case you run out of battery during a longer trip, the charging case can give the Freebuds SE up to an extra 24 hours, which is great.

Huawei Freebuds SE Direct Competitors

The Huawei Freebuds SE officially started to be sold in Brazil on September 27, at a suggested price of R$ 299. It is a great price for what it offers, very similar to the JBL Wave 200TWS, JBL’s basic phone, which also in comfortable design and powerful bass.

The battery of the Wave 200TWS case is inferior to that of the Freebuds SE, promising 15 hours of extra power, but the pair of headphones alone guarantees five hours of playback, which is very close to the one achieved by the Huawei model.

Another detail worth mentioning is the sound, being a little more crystalline and balanced on Huawei’s Bluetooth headset. However, the Wave 200 may please users who enjoy thicker bass.

Is it worth buying the Huawei Freebuds SE?

The Huawei Freebuds SE is one of the best entry-level wireless headphones I’ve tested lately. It has a good build, connectivity, drums, and sound, especially if you listen to pop.

The fact that it does not have active noise cancellation can be a hindrance since many ANC-compatible headphones around R$500 are already sold in Brazil. But if you don’t want to pay a lot for a Bluetooth headset, and find the Huawei headset in the R$300 range, it’s worth it.

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