As folks try to better merge their digital and real-world lives, open-ear earbuds are becoming an increasingly popular choice. But most of these products use a similar design: an earhook that positions the speaker over your ear, with a battery portion typically behind your ear.
The Huawei FreeClip take a different approach with a horseshoe shape that wraps around the middle of your ear. The jewelry-like FreeClip come in purple or black and will be available in the U.K. and Europe toward the end of December for 199 euros (about $214). There’s no word yet on U.S. availability.
The clip design is meant to be more comfortable for longer use, and unlike the earhook shape, it won’t interfere with glasses. Huawei says the rear portion (the “Comfort Bean”) and the speaker housing (the “Acoustic Ball”) are both ergonomically shaped and connected by nine-wire strand known as the C-bridge.
The earbuds are also reversible — onboard sensors determine which bud is in which ear, which eliminates the right/left fit of most wireless earbuds. As with other open-ear earbuds, the FreeClip don’t sit up against your ear canal’s opening, so you can still hear the outside world as well as your music, phone calls, or podcasts.
Typically, this results in lowered audio quality and potential sound leaks, but Huawei says it has developed two ways to combat theses problems: a high-sensitivity, dual magnetic circuit moving coil unit, which improves power delivery to the speakers, and a reverse sound waves system, which apparently performs a type of noise cancellation so that any escaping sound is reduced.
Huawei says the FreeClip are rated IP54 for water and dust protection, which should give them the ability to withstand sweat and water spray as long as you clean them after each use. Battery life is rated at eight hours of continuous use, which can be extended to 36 hours via the charging case.
Editor’s note: an earlier version of this article said that the C-bridge has an adaptive sensor that learns and adjusts the clamping force of the clasp mechanism, reducing the strain on your ear cartilage. This incorrect information was provided by Huawei and later corrected.
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