Huawei’s recently launched FreeBuds Lipstick earbuds aim to bring style and flair to a crowded true wireless market. Resembling an actual lipstick case when stored in the charging capsule, the FreeBuds Lipstick make a unique fashion statement.
But with a premium $300 price tag, stylish looks alone cannot justify the FreeBuds Lipstick. In this hands-on review, we evaluate how these flashy earbuds stack up on sound quality, ANC performance, comfort, controls, and overall usability. Read on for an in-depth assessment of whether the FreeBuds Lipstick live up to expectations beyond the initial novelty of their design.
Out of the Case Impressions
Let’s begin by examining the Huawei FreeBuds Lipstick from the outside:
– The charging capsule indeed highly resembles a cylindrical lipstick case with metallic finish and ridged accent. The buds themselves are tucked away when closed.
– Opening the case reveals the earbuds magnetically held in a vertical orientation. The buds feature glossy stems with inlaid touch panels.
– The stems protrude at almost a 90 degree angle giving an unique inverted look compared to traditional wireless buds with forward jutting stems.
– While visually striking closed, the open case and earbuds look somewhat awkward and bulky from an ergonomic standpoint.
– The capsule features USB-C charging and an LED battery indicator on the ‘lipstick cap’ that glows through the translucent red accent.
Overall, the FreeBuds Lipstick achieve their goal of delivering a fashion accessory-like charging case. But the earbud design is decidedly form over function.
Comfort and Fit Testing
The unusual shape and design of the FreeBuds Lipstick buds leads to a mixed experience when testing comfort and fit:
– The angled stems don’t conform naturally to the ear shape, leaving the buds awkwardly tilted outward. This required constant readjustment to maintain a proper seal.
– Despite multiple included eartip options, the buds never felt fully stable or comfortable over extended wear. The rigid body tends to press outwards.
– Given the top heavy capsule-like design, the FreeBuds Lipstick quickly feel heavy and fatiguing during wear.
– On the plus side, their relatively short stem design makes them low profile when viewed in a mirror.
– But overall, the odd shape and unbalanced weight distribution reduced fit consistency and long-term comfort versus better contoured models.
For all day wear, the FreeBuds Lipstick’s stylistic design compromises quickly grow tiresome. Stability and weight distribution remain unideal.
Audio Performance Assessments
Testing the audio quality of the FreeBuds Lipstick yielded underwhelming results:
– Sound lacks detail and clarity across frequencies – heavy low end muddiness, recessed mids, and sibilant highs.
– Instrument separation proves extremely poor – guitars, vocals, drums all congeal into a blobby mass.
– Soundstage and imaging is highly congested, failing to convey space or directionality.
– Listening at louder volumes exacerbates the boomy, uncontrolled bass.
– While Bluetooth codec support includes AAC, the incohesive tuning negates any resolution benefits.
For $300 earbuds, sound quality falls decidedly below par compared to rivals. The FreeBuds Lipstick seem tuned more for thumping bass over fidelity.
Testing Noise Cancellation and Awareness Modes
Like most modern wireless earbuds, the FreeBuds Lipstick offer active noise cancellation and transparency/awareness modes:
– The ANC provides mild dampening of ambient noise but struggles to block constant frequencies like engine rumbles or fans. Voices still cut through clearly.
– Cycle through off/ANC/awareness by tapping and holding the stem touch controls.
– Awareness mode pipes in external sounds using the mics but hisses and artefacts are audible, degrading incoming audio.
– Microphone call quality is also noticeably compressed and distorted, affected by the angled bud microphones.
– Wind noise rejection when outside remains poor as well.
The noise cancelling and transparency implementations feel subpar and tacked on, rather than carefully engineered like better models.
Functionality and Controls Testing
Rounding out the hands-on review, we evaluated the FreeBuds Lipstick’s features and controls:
– The earbuds support single bud mono listening by removing one, automatically routing audio to the remaining bud.
– Single, double and triple taps on the touch panels control playback, volume, call answering, and ANC toggling. But taps frequently go unrecognized.
– Decent 5 hour battery life at 50% volume, stretching to 22 hours with the case. No wireless charging.
– IP4 water resistance rating enables exercising but avoids heavy sweat exposure.
– Bluetooth 5.2 provides stable connectivity but no advanced codecs like aptX.
– Case shows real time individual bud battery levels when open.
Overall, the tap controls remain too finicky while battery life and wireless connectivity mirror competitors. The software offers no customization, which could have improved the touch inconsistencies.
The Huawei FreeBuds Lipstick achieve their bold aesthetic vision reimagining wireless earbuds as chic accessories. For the fashion conscious, the lipstick case design offers impressive visual flair. However, audio performance, comfort and ANC fail to keep up with more conventional models. Significant ergonomic issues also mar the experience. Thus, style trumps substance across the board.
Priced at $300, the FreeBuds Lipstick simply lack the full feature set expected at this premium tier. Flashy design draws the eye, but better sound, comfort, and ANC ultimately prove more important in daily use. As such, the FreeBuds Lipstick are perhaps best considered on the merits of their charging case innovation rather than a well-rounded wireless earbud contender.
For those prioritizing performance over looks, traditional true wireless models like the AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 outshine the FreeBuds Lipstick substantially on pure audio fidelity and usability. Fashion-forward users open to the unusual charging case aesthetic may find the FreeBuds Lipstick blade-like buds endearing. But make no mistake – these earbuds spotlight style over sound.