Honor Earbuds 3 Pro review: Features, Sound Quality, and More Details
If you can get your hands on them, the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro is ideal for Android users searching for an AirPods-style construction, AirPods-style features, and better-than-AirPods sound quality. Yes, they resemble Apple’s AirPods Pro, and no Honor Earbuds 3 Pro review worth its Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity can overlook this. Rather than joining the ever-growing pile of shoddy knockoffs, the newer Honor earbuds have taken what was excellent about Apple’s AirPods Pro and improved it in a number of critical aspects. And it’s not only for Honor phone users. So, Honor’s anticipated temperature sensor health monitoring technology never materialized — the company failed to beat Apple to the punch there. But what does it matter? There’s so much to be thankful for if you look past this.
Despite the Earbuds 3 Pro’s familiar headshell and toothbrush-head shape, Honor has taken a risk by using the world’s first coaxial dual-driver design, which includes an 11mm dynamic driver and a piezoelectric ceramic tweeter. The two independent drive units are designed concentrically so that they radiate sound from the same location – or axis – in a tweeter-inside-driver arrangement. And that may have turned out to be a disaster. However, it is the polar opposite. It’s a tremendous success, cementing its place as one of the best true wireless earbuds available.
Honor has taken the AirPods’ shape and added on-device volume control to the stems, a more customizable and enjoyable noise-canceling experience, a new slick and easy app (as long as you don’t own an iPhone), and most importantly, a fuller, meatier bass, a more expansive soundstage, and a better, more detailed sonic experience overall. And it’s done it all at a lower price than Apple’s Pro counterpart.
Honor Earbuds 3 Pro review: price and release date
When compared to Apple’s AirPods Pro, which launched at $249 / £249 / AU$399. Honor’s Pro-suffixed buds are aggressively priced at €199 in Europe and £170 in the UK. Buyers seeking for a similar price to the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite (at $60 / £70) from August 2021 will have to pay a lot more if they want the newest and, frankly, far superior Honor earbuds. But here’s the catch: while Honor separated from its parent company, Huawei, in November 2020, it didn’t appear to fully exclude the now-independent Chinese smartphone maker from the ongoing trade ban imposed by the US in April 2020.
Honor Earbuds 3 Pro review: features
First and foremost, the Honor AI Space app is only available for Android. It is user-friendly, clean, and well-designed. And the incredibly iOS-like quick-pairing feature, in which you merely open the box lid and an image of the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro appears, ready for pairing, is only available if you’re using an Honor handset. However, we tested these earphones with an Honor Magic 4 Pro, a Samsung Galaxy S22, and an Apple iPhone 11, and found that they outperformed the competition in other areas, even without the quick-pairing function (Samsung) or app support (Apple).
That said, these earphones are unmistakably Android-specific. Although you may navigate between the ‘noise-canceling,’ ‘off,’ and ‘awareness’ profiles without using an app – simply long-press either earbud — the Honor AI Space app unlocks four extra noise-canceling profiles. Within this Android-only app, tap ‘noise-canceling,’ and you’ll be given a choice of four modes: ‘intelligent,’ which claims to adapt the level of noise-nixing to your surroundings; ‘cozy,’ which is described as suitable for quiet environments such as an office;’moderate,’ for noisier environments; and ‘ultra,’ for situations where constant noise-eradication is required, such as on a plane They’re also incredibly effective. We’re walking down a city street with ‘intelligent’ deployed and bus engines, frequent automobiles, and the general thrum of road traffic is greatly quelled, but not at the expense of our music.
The buds also include Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity and a battery life of up to 24 hours when used with the charging case – which, conveniently, also provides two hours of playback after just five minutes of fast-charging. The buds’ battery life isn’t particularly impressive, with six hours of playback on a full charge with no noise cancellation and four hours with noise cancellation enabled, but it’s acceptable given the quick-charge feature – and the app displays the remaining battery in each earbud and the case, making it easy to stay prepared for long journeys.
On-ear volume control is another feature worth mentioning. Although it may not seem like a big deal at first, the fact that you can’t control your music with your AirPods Pro, but you can here, becomes a big deal with time. Not having to dig your phone out of your purse to turn down the music on a crowded train is huge.
Last but not least, the promised and much-hyped temperature sensor feature isn’t included. The premise was that by simply touching the earbud three times, you’d be able to take your temperature. The ability to track a continuous measurement over time and activate an “abnormal temperature alarm” was also extensively publicized. However, none of it is available in the app or when you tap the buds. To put it frankly, your earbuds can’t tell you whether or not you’re hot.
Why did you do such a quick U-turn? Honor previously claimed that in a lab setting, its AI temperature algorithm had an 80% chance of achieving a 0.3 Celsius or less error; however, the actual margin of error may vary depending on the individual and environment – and to give credit where credit is due, the company always stated that the product should not be used for medical purposes. When Honor revealed that its temperature monitor sensors will definitely be included in its new earphones (beating Apple to the punch), it did so with the proviso that the technology had not yet received regulatory certification.
Honor Earbuds 3 Pro review: sound quality
The sound quality of the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro is arguably the most significant difference between the AirPods Pro and the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro. Allow that to soak in for a moment. It’s also not a minor or incremental upgrade over Apple’s top-tier offering. We used our iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S22, and Honor Magic 4 Pro to stream music from Tidal and Apple Music. Through the Honor earbuds, the bass floor on Stormzy’s Vossi Bop and Dave’s PSYCHODRAMA is deeper, snappier, and more impactful. Dave’s sad, brooding lyrical stylings shine a little brighter thanks to the extra ounce of depth and realism that the Honor earphones are capable of unearthing.
The soundstage is also a little more broad across the frequencies, though it’s a tight race. In the end, it’s the extra detail – the cleaner leading edges of notes, the expressive quality of vocals – that makes the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro the clear victor.
The Earbuds 3 Pro sound more engaged, energetic, and glittering through the easily handled treble than their AirPods counterparts, thanks to Honor’s innovative (and potentially risky) coaxial dual speaker design, which has been integrated with all the skill of a surgeon’s steadfast hand. Any reservations we had about the driver arrangement are swiftly dispelled as we tap our feet in rhythm to System of a Down’s B.Y.O.B’s persistent and demanding melodic strands, all of which are held in check masterfully by the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro.
Stream Mehahem Pressler’s rendition of Debussy’s Deux Arabesques, and the three-dimensional keys fly up through the registers with enough room surrounding each well-timed treble note to feel both musically appealing and played by lilting, breathing human hands.