It’s likely because of the company’s phones that you are familiar with the name Honor. But, Honor also produces excellent laptops, and the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro show that the firm is equally adept at producing excellent headphones.
Design of the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro
Although the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro don’t precisely have a distinctive style, it might be challenging to make earphones stand out. Huawei’s FreeBuds Pro had a more angular shape, while Samsung’s Galaxy Buds achieved something else. Except from that, they all essentially have the same appearance, and this is also true here. That’s just an observation; it’s not a terrible thing. About this colorway, I’m a huge lover of the darker appearance. It distinguishes it from products like Apple’s AirPods, but it’s also just a matter of taste.
Each earbud has a proximity sensor and an AI temperature reader in addition to other sensors. It’s challenging to create an original earphone design, and from my experience using numerous truly wireless headphones, many of them do share a similar appearance.
Due to the earbuds’ tiny stem, the touch controls are tricky. They operate and you ultimately get the hang of them after some time, however they can be occasionally tricky to use and occasionally misinterpret touches.
Apart from that, they have a practical design and are cozy to use while listening for extended periods of time. The silicone tips fit my ears comfortably, and unlike other earphones, like the OnePlus Buds Pro, I didn’t need to size up or down. The box has two sets, one smaller and one larger.
Price and availability
When you consider that Apple’s AirPods Pro were released for $249/£249/AU$399, Honor’s Pro-suffixed buds are aggressively priced at €199 in Europe and £170 in the UK. However, purchasers expecting for a price comparable to the $60/£70 Honor Earbuds 2 Lite (released in August 2021) would need to fork out quite a bit more money if they want the most recent and, quite frankly, significantly superior Honor earbuds.
But here’s the rub: although Honor split from its parent firm, Huawei, in November 2020, that didn’t seem to totally extract the now-independent Chinese smartphone maker from the current trade restriction instigated by the USA, against Huawei, in April 2020. All of this is a long way of stating that it’s possible that you won’t be able to purchase them in the US, which is extremely unfortunate.
First things first: the Honor AI Space app is only available for Android. It is user-friendly, clean, and well-designed. The incredibly iOS-like quick-pairing feature, in which an image of the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro appears when the box lid is opened and is prepared for pairing, only works with Honor devices. Yet even without the quick-pairing feature (Samsung) or the app compatibility (Apple), we discovered that these earphones more than held their own against the competition in other categories when we tested them with an Honor Magic 4 Pro, a Samsung Galaxy S22, and an Apple iPhone 11.
Having said that, these earphones are undeniably designed for Android. Even while you can navigate between the “noise canceling,” “off,” and “awareness” profiles by just long-pressing either earbud, the Honor AI Space app gives you access to four additional noise-cancelling profiles. Within this Android-only app, selecting “noise canceling” gives you a choice of four “modes”: “intelligent,” which promises to adapt the level of noise-nixing to your surroundings; “cozy,” which is said to be appropriate for quiet environments like an office; “moderate,” for environments with more noise; and “ultra,” for situations where constant noise-eradication is required, like on a plane. Also, they are quite effective. We walk down a city street with “intelligent” bus engines deployed, continual autos, and little to no traffic noise—importantly, not at the expense of our music.
The Honor Earbuds 3 Pro sound far superior to the AirPods Pro, which might be the biggest difference between the two. Let the idea fully register for a time. It is also not a minor or incremental enhancement over Apple’s premium product.
Using our iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S22, and Honor Magic 4 Pro, we streamed music via Tidal and Apple Music. With the Honor earbuds, the bass floor of Stormzy’s Vossi Bop and Dave’s PSYCHODRAMA is deeper, snappier, and more powerful. Moreover, vocals sound more emotive; Dave’s wistful, melancholy lyrical prowess shines a little bit brighter as a result of the additional depth and realism that the Honor earphones can unearth.
Although it is a more competitive field, the soundstage is also slightly wider across the frequency range. The Honor Earbuds 3 Pro is the undisputed champion over the course of our listening because of the additional detail, such as the smoother leading edges of notes and the expressive sound of vocalists.
The Earbuds 3 Pro sound more engaged, more aggressive, and more glittering via the easily handled treble than their AirPods counterparts thanks to Honor’s innovative (and potentially risky) coaxial dual driver design, which has been integrated with the skill of a surgeon’s steadfast hand. We tap our feet in time to the relentless and difficult musical strands found in System of a Down’s B.Y.O.B, all of which are held masterfully in control by the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro, swiftly dispelling any concerns we might have had about the driver setup.
Mehahem Pressler plays Debussy’s Deux Arabesques live, and as she does so, the three-dimensional keys soar up into the registers with just enough room around each perfectly timed treble note to make it sound like both lilting, breathing human hands were actually playing the piece.
If what you want is a robust pair of earbuds with good sound, then these are the earphones to get. Since the feature isn’t available in Ireland, it would have been nice to test the AI temperature tracking and compare it to a real thermometer. Honor claims that it is unavailable in the “United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech, Finland, and Romania,” but given that it is also unavailable in Ireland, I have a hunch that it may not be functioning across the entire European Union. But the sound quality is what really important, and I’m in love with these earphones for it.