Disguising tech as other everyday items is far from a necessity... but it is pretty cool.
No one needs the Huawei Freebuds Lipstick and they’re not going to top the list of the best true wireless earbuds anytime soon, but in a world where all headphones look pretty much identical to one another, it’s nice to see something a little different even if they're not that different.
What makes them unique is that the case could fool you into thinking that it doesn't house wireless earbuds at all - it looks just like lipstick from the outside. And not just any lipstick, it looks like you’ve splashed out on expensive Chanel or Hermès makeup because it's made from a luxurious shiny stainless steel like you'd see on the beauty floor at Selfridges.
When you remove the lid from the tube, the bright red buds inside are meant to be the 'lipstick'. Very clever Huawei. In actual fact, the earphones are identical to the Huawei Freebuds 4, they just come in a different case and they're a lot more expensive.
Now I don't want to nitpick but the case isn't 100% true to life because it is a little bulkier than a lipstick would be. Measuring 70 x 27.4 x 27.4mm it’s wider and weighs a total of 92g with the buds inside which is a bit heavier too. Not that other people would notice, I’m sure most would glance at it and assume it is a lipstick which is really what matters anyway.
I’m not sure why you would want or need it to look like a lipstick but not everything has to have a purpose I suppose. At a push, it might stop people from nicking it if they had the chance? Really the big idea here is that it’s a striking feminine design that veers away from the standard box-shaped charging cases you’d usually get.
The earbuds themselves are one-size-fits-all, they look like the original Apple AirPods but in classic lipstick red with a glossy silver tip on the bottom of the stem. To be honest, the design of the buds feels a little tackier than the case but I think that's the bright red talking.
Because they don’t come with fitted silicone tips, they’re not as secure as in-ear headphones. I personally like this style of earbud because I find that they’re more comfortable, and these did actually stay put for the most part, although admittedly they fell out once or twice during workouts. I guess you wouldn’t be wearing lipstick while exercising anyway.
But it's not just about looks, what about the sound? Well, these will hardly match up to the likes of the Sony WF-1000XM4 when it comes to audio quality, but all in all, they sound perfectly fine and I enjoyed listening to them - the Huawei Freebuds Lipstick definitely have some energy about them.
Without the seal you get from having the in-ear tips, the sound isn't as powerful as other headphones and they do sometimes get a little distorted when you dial the volume right up. I didn’t think that was too much of a problem though because I don’t tend to listen anywhere near top volume day-to-day.
The Huawei Freebuds Lipstick have a few extra features that make them special too. One such feature is the adaptive sound that analyses your individual ear canal shape and the fit of the earbuds to adjust the audio to you. I have no idea how well it works of course because I can only listen through my own ears.
They also have noise-cancelling technology although it's not quite at the same standard as the top entries in T3's guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones.
Another handy feature is the wear detection which pauses the music if you take them out of your ear, or if one falls out. That way you won’t miss a beat from the track or if you have lost one, you’re much more likely to notice if the music switches off.
I mostly used these throughout the workday. With noise-cancelling switched on the buds’ battery only lasted about 2.5 hours, so I had to switch it off when I was planning on using them for longer than that. That extends the battery life to about 4 hours. It's still not quite long enough though, especially if you're likely to forget to put them back in the case each time.
Despite the extra features, the Huawei Freebuds Lipstick are relatively standard on the inside. I would have loved for Huawei to have put some kind of a twist on the buds themselves as well. But on the outside, the design is definitely distinctive and I think it looks quite cool. It made me feel like I was the female James Bond that everyone has been whispering about, even if the gadget isn’t quite as useful as a pair of x-ray sunglasses.
You can buy the Huawei Freebuds Lipstick now direct from the Huawei store (opens in new tab) for £199.99.