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HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro Review: Truly Excellent Earbuds With Only One Flaw

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The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro deliver truly excellent sound, and come in a very appealing package.

HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro
€199.90
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Visually very appealing
  • Compact case & earbuds
  • Quality feel
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Rather fast wired charging
  • Wireless charging
  • Good companion app
  • Different ANC options
Cons
  • Small, unresponsive touch sensors

HONOR supplied us with a review unit of the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro, but didn’t have a say in our opinion, nor did they see this review before you. We’ve been using the device for a couple of weeks before forming an opinion.

The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro are HONOR’s new flagship truly wireless earbuds. HONOR did a great job with previous iterations of its earbuds, though most of those aimed at a completely different market segment. With a price tag of €200, they’re basically aiming for the premium market. So, our expectations are higher because of that. Do the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro deliver enough punch to justify such a price tag? Well, they are great, but not perfect.

In the vast majority of ways, HONOR did an amazing job with the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro. These earbuds, spoiler alert, offer great design, and sound, but not everything is perfect, though. I’ve had issues with one specific part that I didn’t expect to have issues with… the touch sensors. We’ll talk more about that later on, though. Just to be perfectly clear, I’ve used these earbuds in tandem with the Google Pixel 4a, Vivo X60 Pro+, and HONOR Magic4 Pro. One more thing, temperature monitoring feature is not a part of the global variant of these earbuds. Let’s kick off the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro review by talking about the design.

Nice-looking, compact & quality-feeling

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The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro are one of my favorite earbuds, when it comes to design. The case is really small, and yet it has a large enough battery in it. It doesn’t feel cheap at all, as even the clasp at the top is well-made. There is a status LED on the front, which will notify you on the status of the case itself. Red, yellow, and green colors are available for battery status, depending on how much charge you have left. It will also indicate when you’re charging the case, and blink in a white color if you push them into pairing mode. That’s something you can do by holding the button on the side of the case, a single button. Now, on the inside of the case is another LED status light, which will show you the charge status of the earbuds themselves.

They have a short stem, and they’re quite light

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Having said that, the earbuds themselves are quite small. The stem is short, and they do remind us of the Apple AirPods Pro. That goes for the design in general, and that’s a good thing. I reviewed the gray-colored earbuds, though you can get the white ones as well. I thought that the shiny color on the earbuds will annoy me, but it did not, it actually looks great in this gray package. The case itself is matte, though, which is something I appreciated immensely. Coming from the Huawei FreeBuds 4, I truly appreciated the non-shiny charging case, as it didn’t collect fingerprints.

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You’ll get several ear tips in the box, in different sizes

In the box, you’ll also get three different sizes of ear tips. Well, one is installed on the earbuds, the medium size. You do have the small and large ones as well, though. In other words, you’ll be able to find your fit, well, most of you will be. The earbuds themselves are also quite light (5.1 grams without a tip). The case weighs 42.6 grams without earbuds, by the way. Once you find the right fit, you shouldn’t have a problem keeping them in your ears, even while you’re running or doing something similar.

Touch sensors are not great

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This is my biggest, and virtually only complaint when it comes to the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro. Unfortunately, it’s a rather major one, for me personally. There is a touch sensor on each of the two earbuds. They do not work as I expected, though. I found that they’re either too small, or not responsive enough. I find myself having to double-tap several times in order to get the audio to play/pause. That is immensely annoying, needless to say. I rely on that action a lot, when I stop to talk to someone on the street, when I’m at a store, and so on.

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They’re small, so that could be a part of the problem

The sensors are physically quite small, so that may have something to do with it. It’s quite odd, though, because swipe up and down gestures work as you’d expect. I can easily use those sensors to lower or increase volume, but when it comes to double-tap action, they just don’t work properly. I often have to do it a number of times, and tap on them with a bit of force. Needless to say, that can destabilize earphones when they’re in your ear. The location of that sensor is not bad, though, as you’re not tapping on the bottom part of the stem. I wish they worked better, though.

Touch sensor issues could be fixed via software

This may be just a software problem, because swipe up and down gestures work great. So, there’s a chance that HONOR will fix this via a software update, but during my testing, that didn’t happen.

HONOR’s companion app is great

In order to customize the way the touch sensor on these earbuds work, you’ll need to download HONOR’s app for Android. The name is AI Space, and it’s similar to Huawei’s app, actually. You’ll be able to edit the actions on the touch sensors, but only to a certain degree. You’ll also be able to see which devices are registered for connection, as these earbuds can be connected to more than one device at the same time. You’ll also be able to switch between regular mode, ANC, and awareness mode via this app. All in all, it’s a good and useful app.

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The sound you’ll get here is truly excellent

So, do these earbuds sound good? They are earbuds after all. Well, yes, they do, they actually offer excellent audio quality. These earbuds come with the world’s first coaxial dual-driver design. They have an 11mm dynamic driver and piezoelectric ceramic tweeter. To cut the long story short, this is built so that they radiate sound from the same point. On top of that, the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro include Bluetooth 5.2.

Sharp vocals, wide soundstage

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The sound coming from these earbuds is excellent, to say the least. I was a bit surprised, I won’t lie. The soundstage is wide, expansive, and the sound sharpness is excellent. The vocal quality in songs is superb, at least compared to a lot of other TWS earphones I’ve used. The sound is also well-balanced between lows, mids, and highs, and you’ll even notice some bass on top of everything, which is not something we see often in truly wireless earbuds.

The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro can compete with the best out there

I was using the Huawei FreeBuds 4 prior to this review, and those earbuds were excellent when it comes to sound. The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro are comparable, at the very least, if not better in some ways. In fact, I find the sharpness to be on a higher level, and the soundstage is also an improvement. That is a testament to these earbuds, to be quite honest, as the Huawei FreeBuds 4 were some of the best truly wireless earbuds I’ve ever used… sound-wise.

Different ANC modes are at your disposal

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You can choose between regular, ANC, and awareness modes either by using the touch sensors on the earbuds themselves, or HONOR’s Android app. In fact, you can even customize noise canceling, if you want. There are intelligent, cozy, moderate, and ultra noise-canceling profiles at your disposal. If you opt for the ‘ultra’ one, you’ll get really good ANC, though there’s only so much noise you can keep out without having proper over-ear headphones, so keep that in mind. Shuffle through the profiles and see which one you like best. The awareness mode is good, but it’s not the best I’ve heard. It will do the job, though.

Really good battery life & fast charging

The battery life is also something HONOR did right here. I can’t really say how much battery you’ll get, as there are a ton of parameters, but I had plenty. I was using these earbuds for days until they required a charge. HONOR claims you can get 6 hours of playback with ANC off, and 4 with ANC on, for each earbud. Those numbers climb to 24 and 16 hours, respectively, if you count in the charging case. This does seem plausible based on my testing, and that’s more than most people will need.

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Wireless charging is also supported

You can even recharge these earbuds rather fast. For a full charge (of each earbud), the charging case will take about 30 minutes. That’s not bad at all. It’ll take you 1 hour to charge the charging case itself, if you’re using a cable. It goes a bit slower if you don’t, as 2.5W wireless charging is supported. The point is, you have options, and the charging is decently fast, for sure. All in all, I don’t have any complaints about battery life or charging.

The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro are easy to recommend

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So, are the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro worth the money? Well, €200 is a lot of money for a pair of earbuds. Considering that I generally have only one complaint here, and that the sound is excellent, I’d say they are. If HONOR manages to improve the double-tap gesture, these earbuds will be superb overall. I loved using them, and there’s a high chance I’ll continue doing so until I get to review something else in this domain. HONOR did a truly great job with these earbuds.