Recently, the headset market has ushered in an explosion of new products. Manufacturers such as Huawei, Xiaomi, vivo, OPPO, etc. have concentrated on updating their own true wireless headset product lines this month.
And under the lively new wave of true wireless earphones, there is an "obscure" news that has almost been overwhelmed: the traditional earphone manufacturer Sennheiser announced that its consumer business unit has been completely acquired by Swiss hearing aid manufacturer Sonova, and finally reached The price is about 200 million euros, and the business transfer is planned to be completed by the end of 2021.
If you set the time back a few years, no one should believe that Sennheiser, one of the top acoustic manufacturers, will be knocked down by the humble Bluetooth headset.
While people are still arguing about the superiority of thermal power and hydropower, an ear revolution that has nothing to do with sound quality is quietly proceeding. To everyone’s surprise, true wireless earphones have grown to challenge the dominant position of earphones from the birth. It took five years.
Consumers have shifted from traditional headsets to true wireless headsets, indicating that consumers generally have more demand for listening to songs than sound quality. A more comfortable and convenient listening experience has become a demand for more people. Sennheiser is the Representative traditional headset manufacturers have not kept up with the changes in consumer tastes.
In the era of true wireless, what consumers' ears want to listen to, maybe we can find some new understanding of music by the headset "new players" from Huawei's newly launched FreeBuds 4.
Lightweight and comfortable, FreeBuds 4 has it all
I believe that there are many friends who have similar habits like me. Every time before going out, they will touch their pockets again and make sure that they are wearing headphones again.
For me, headphones have a meaning beyond ordinary electronic products-they can open up an invisible, private space dedicated to me from the sound dimension, which makes me feel safe. Even if I don’t listen to songs, I like to wear headphones. Enjoying the feeling of "being alone", the headset has become a pendant that will not be easily removed from my ears.
Therefore, in my opinion, the uniqueness and comfort of the headset design are very important. This is also the part that I pay most attention to before experiencing Huawei FreeBuds 4.
From the appearance design point of view, FreeBuds 4 continues the natural and rounded design language of FreeBuds 3. The same round body makes it seem at first glance that it is not much different from the previous generation.
However, after careful comparison, you will find that the volume and weight of FreeBuds 4 have been improved compared to the previous generation. You can feel FreeBuds 4 becoming thinner and lighter when you hold it in your hand. Put it in the jeans pocket, and it won’t be ugly. Swelling or uncomfortable squeezing feeling.
The color scheme of FreeBuds 4 is more obvious. Huawei has launched three color schemes: ceramic white, frost silver and secret language red. The new color scheme of frost silver this time can be said to give me the biggest surprise in appearance.
Compared with the carbon crystal black color of the previous generation of shiny material, the FreeBuds 4 Frost Silver earphone box is made of frosted material, so that even if it is frequently taken out of the pocket and plugged back, it will not easily leave unsightly scratches. And use traces, this obsessive-compulsive disorder patient wants to give a good review to the scrub shell.
The box can be opened by gently pushing the magnetic top cover with your fingers. The damping force of the rotating shaft is very strong, and there will be no "dropping" shaking.
As the charging indicator that was moved to the front of the fuselage lights up, the frosty silver-colored earphone body reveals its true colors. The earphones are wrapped in shiny silver with metallic reflections, giving people a strong visual impact.
The color scheme of Frost Silver is undoubtedly radical and bold. If you are tired of the monotonous white or black design, the flowing shiny silver will indeed break the dullness on the ears, and if you are more obsessed with the pure shell texture, Then ceramic white may be more suitable for you.
This is because the smooth shiny surface also means it is easy to get fingerprints and grease. In order to maintain a clean appearance, I will habitually wipe it after wearing it.
Taking the headset out of the box, the first feeling is that the weight of the headset "does not match" its size-it is much lighter than it looks in the hand.
FreeBuds 4 weighs only 4.1g per ear, which is almost the same as the AirPods (4g) without noise reduction. It is light and comfortable to wear on the ears, and it does not burden the ears for a long time, which is the "feel of air" in the title. , Very suitable for me who hang headphones all day long.
In order to verify the comfort and stability of FreeBuds 4 during exercise, I took it out for running, standing jumping and other sports. After a round, I was sweating profusely, and it still fits my ears steadily. Road, and the semi-in-ear structure will not make an ear sweat like the in-ear type, and you can have a comfortable listening experience during exercise.
However, the fly in the ointment is that FreeBuds 4 does not support waterproof function, so in this sweaty season, in order to avoid being wet with sweat, it is not recommended to use FreeBuds 4 as a pair of sports headphones.
How is the experience of semi-in-ear noise reduction?
True wireless headsets are more convenient than wired headsets in most cases, except when switching connected devices.
Unlike wired headsets that are unplugged and plugged in, wireless headsets need to turn on Bluetooth on another device, select the headset to reconnect, sometimes the connection is wrong, and you need to put the headset back in the box, press and hold the button to pair again, and wait for pairing On it, the enthusiasm for listening to songs has cooled by half.
But now, manufacturers are working hard to solve the problem of multi-device connection management. Huawei has added multi-device connection support to FreeBuds 4, which can connect two playback devices at the same time, and supports switching between devices such as Windows, Android, iOS, and Mac.
The experience improvement brought by flexible switching is significant. I often encounter situations where I suddenly need to use my computer to watch videos while listening to music on my mobile phone. It is very troublesome to reconnect the mobile phone after watching the video every time.
The solution of connecting two devices at the same time can erase the steps of switching back and forth between the two devices: After watching the video on the computer, click on the phone to play and then listen to the song. The whole switching process is seamless, and the experience is more than that of a wired headset. Be convenient-you don't even need to do it.
When you connect Huawei FreeBuds 4 wireless headsets with the Huawei Smart Life app, you can better manage multiple devices. The app will display the 10 devices you have recently connected to. You only need to click on the corresponding device to quickly switch. It is expected that the Huawei FreeBuds 4 wireless headset will support the simultaneous connection of 3 or more devices in the future, bringing more convenience to multi-device parties.
In addition, the Huawei Smart Life app can also manage the noise reduction, recording sound quality, and gesture control of the headset. It is not uncommon for gesture control functions such as sliding on the headset handle of Huawei FreeBuds 4 wireless headset to adjust the volume and double-tap to control playback. , I want to focus more on the noise reduction capability of Huawei FreeBuds 4 wireless headphones.
Many friends around me will have a difficult decision before choosing headphones: whether to buy in-ear or semi-in-ear headphones (semi-open headphones), among which the noise reduction function is an important factor that affects the tendency of the balance.
Choosing semi-in-ear headphones means that you need to give up the "clean ears" brought by in-ear noise reduction, while choosing in-ear headphones has to face the foreign body sensation brought by in-ear earplugs. For some friends with relatively small ear canals , Semi-in-ear headphones are almost the only option.
Huawei FreeBuds series are one of the few headphones that pay attention to semi-in-ear noise reduction technology. For good noise reduction effects, passive noise reduction (plug ears) and active noise reduction (reverse sound waves cancel noise) are indispensable. The structure of semi-in-ear headphones is destined to be unable to resist noise into the ear very well. Therefore, it is not only difficult to study noise reduction, but also has little benefit.
This also made me accustomed to in-ear noise reduction not expecting much before the audition, but after the upper ear, I found that Huawei has actually done more on noise reduction than expected.
First of all, whether it is on the noisy commuter road or the lively street, FreeBuds 4 can't shut out the noise well. After the noise reduction is turned on, it mainly filters the low-frequency noise of the air conditioner, blower, etc. However, the mid- and high-frequency noise can only be slightly weakened. The noise of passerby conversations, business hawking, and road noises from cars roaring by is still audible.
And when I entered the office, FreeBuds 4's noise reduction capabilities were more fully utilized. After turning on the air conditioner in summer, the constant humming of the air conditioner has become a lingering background sound in daily work. Turning on the noise reduction of FreeBuds 4 can effectively suppress this medium and low frequency noise, allowing people to concentrate on work.
And thanks to the semi-in-ear structure, I will not rudely miss a colleague's conversation because my ears are blocked, which makes it the headset I most like to wear at work.
So, is the "light" noise reduction of FreeBuds 4 tasteless?
In my opinion, this answer is not necessarily true. As mentioned above, for many friends who can only accept semi-in-ear headphones with narrow ear canals, FreeBuds 4 can provide good low-frequency noise reduction, which can be achieved without the burden of foreign objects. Clearer music experience.
For friends who can accept in-ear headphones and value noise reduction, in-ear noise reduction headphones such as FreeBuds Pro are a better choice.
FreeBuds 4 is a rare compromise. It provides a more user-friendly noise reduction headset wearing experience, which is a rare choice for some user groups.
Consumers need "story" other than sound quality
Sound quality is a topic that cannot be avoided before choosing headphones. FreeBuds 4 uses an LCP liquid crystal composite diaphragm with a diameter of 14.3mm, which is intuitively reflected in its low frequency performance to be more powerful.
The genre I usually listen to is mainly rock and roll. Take Queen’s "Another One Bite the Dust" as an example. The low frequency of the song’s intro is full, and when it reaches its climax, the vocals and instrumental music can also have a clear sense of separation, which is more suitable for listening. Some songs with a strong sense of rhythm.
This does not mean that FreeBuds 4 is a low-frequency high-profile student. According to Huawei, its frequency response range can reach 40kHz. When listening to the AC/DC "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap", the high-frequency details of the electric guitar are also It can be well retained, and there will be no uncomfortable burr feeling.
In terms of the spatiality and resolution of the sound, FreeBuds 4 performed fairly well. I believe this has something to do with the AAC transmission standard it adopts. As more and more opponents get on the fast train with high sound quality encoding such as LHDC, I don’t know Huawei. Will OTA updates keep up with this trend in the future?
In general, FreeBuds 4 is a pair of entry-level headphones with excellent low-frequency performance, a bit like the "low-frequency enhanced version" of AirPods.
It is worth mentioning that FreeBuds 4 is equipped with a high-sensitivity microphone that can record sound at a sampling rate of 48kHz. With the "clear voice" noise reduction algorithm, it can also make clear calls and record Vlog in outdoor noisy environments. , The pickup can restore more details.
Finally, let’s talk about the battery life of the headset. When I use it, I have been using noise reduction and connected two devices at the same time, using AAC standard connection, the volume is 40%, and the power consumption is basically full. In this case, FreeBuds 4 It can last 3.5 hours for a single use, and it can last about 15 hours with the earphone box. It takes about 40 minutes to charge the earphone box from 0% to 100%.
There is no difference between wired and wireless charging in FreeBuds 4 this time. It also supports wired and wireless charging with USB-C interface. If your phone supports wireless reverse charging, you can charge FreeBuds 4 in emergency and buy some time for music.
After the experience, maybe we can answer the question at the beginning of the article: Why can true wireless headphones beat traditional wired headphones?
Sound quality is the strong point of wired headsets. It is not an exaggeration to describe it as "sound quality for a penny". A pair of wired headsets priced at 999 yuan should provide a thousand yuan-level sound quality performance, but in addition to the need With careful perception of "better sound", what else can a wired headset use to impress people?
If you look at the true wireless headset, you will find that it can provide more: a pair of fashionable and beautiful "hangings", a "bridge" connecting the computer and the mobile phone, and a high-quality portable "recording studio".
True wireless earphones defeat wired earphones, never relying on sound quality, but more intelligent and scene-oriented experience beyond sound quality. Under this new demand, if earphones are still purely the carrier of sound, it is really difficult to arouse Consumers’ desire to buy.
In fact, compared to sound quality, mass consumers need an even more senseless listening experience. This is also the main driving force for Walkman to replace recorders and streaming music to beat CDs, while true wireless headsets replace wired headsets. Probation is a new chapter in the revolution.
Earphones such as FreeBuds 4 continue to evolve and experience, just to make music run through our lives like running water one day, grabbing it at hand, every time I open its lid, I look forward to this day even more.
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