These buds look remarkably similar to the first gen AirPods. Huawei calls it Dolphin Bionic Design, inspired by the natural curvature of a dolphin’s vocal cavity.
The FreeBuds 3 are elegantly designed. The stems are marginally longer than the AirPods, the buds are feather light and sit easy on your ears. The other design element that caught our attention is the pebble shaped case. This smooth, circular case doesn’t just fit into your tightest jeans but also stands out among the scores of square and rectangular cases that house ear buds. The buds pair effortlessly with your smartphones and other Bluetooth enabled devices.The pairing process is almost seamless with Huawei smartphones — the prompts will remind you of an iPhone connecting with AirPods. It works equally well with other Android devices; all you have to do is grab the Huawei AI Life App. It offers controls that includes adjusting the noise cancellation levels and also drill-down battery data. The iPhone experience is almost similar to using your AirPods with an Android device with limited customisation and menu options.
Noise cancellation is a key win for this device. A simple tap activates or deactivates this feature and it’s quite effective. Despite not possessing the same ear seals (with different size buds), as the AirPods Pro, it still does an effective job. Sound quality is a key consideration for buyers and an area where the FreeBuds 3 scores. It packs a lot of thump but misses out slightly in the ‘deep bass’ sweepstakes. The other strength is call quality. My callers could hear me clearly whether I connected from indoors or the street. The battery won’t let you down. Huawei claims four hours for the buds and about twenty hours with the case. Our tests validate that claim. Wireless charging is a useful add-on; one more reason to consider the Huawei FreeBuds 3 (Rs 12,990).
OPPO A31: OPPO has launched the 6GB variant of the A31. The device is now available in two storage versions - 4GB+64GB and 6GB+128GB. Internal storage is expandable up to 256GB through a dedicated memory card slot. The smartphone is equipped with a 12MP triple rear camera setup (with Macro and Portrait mode) and an 8MP front camera that snaps sharp selfies. Heavy duty users will appreciate the robust 4230 mAh battery, that should comfortably last a full day. The A31 features a 6.5-inch waterdrop display (1600 x 720 pixels / 269 PPI) with an impressive 89% screen to body ratio. The display is secured by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The A31 comes with OPPO’s latest spin on Android - ColorOS 6.1.2 (Rs 14,999)
(Ashwin Rajagopalan is a lifestyle writer and consumer technology expert. Catchthe latest digital and tech updates in this weekly column.)