Hot (ish) on the heels of the Apple AirPods Pro, it feels like every manufacturer is racing to get a pair of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation into the market. Honor is the latest to join the race. Here are the Magic Earbuds.
Launched at an event in Barcelona today, the Magic Earbuds represent the latest entry into what is becoming a very busy market. The Chinese brand said that they are the ultimate truly wireless earbuds for fitness fans, and we have to admit the ANC technology does look pretty impressive.
Honor is calling this 'Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Technology'. It's a blend of both an in-ear, secure fit designed to survive a workout, and built-in triple microphones that allow for adaptive ambient noise-canceling technology.
Two types of microphones have been used to achieve this. Feedforward microphones catch ambient noise and level one white noise, whilst feedback microphones catch remaining unwanted noise and level two white noise. The company studied three specific environments to fine-tune the ANC: cafes, the merto, and on an airplane. The result is the self-titled Micro-Electro-Mechanical System (MEMS).
During the presentation, Honor threw around some numbers that certainly catch the eye. In a cafe, the noise reduction achieved is -27.76 dB. Apple's AirPods Pro reduce ambient sound by -27.36, apparently, and the Sony WF-1000XM3 by -16.97. The same result is claimed in both the metro and airplane situations, with the Magic Earbuds marginally outperforming the AirPods Pro and massively outperforming the Sony's on noise reduction. We'll have to see if these claims stand up to testing, of course.
The Honor Magic Earbuds are equipped with a 10mm driver unit to deliver bass for music. There are also three microphones in these to help with clear telephone calls. They can also be set up with a single tap, according to the manufacturer.
Each earbud weighs 5.4 grams, and the design is probably even closer that of 'the inspiration' than even the Huawei Freebuds 3. In terms of battery, each earbud has a 37mAh cell and there's another 410mAh in the charging case. That should be enough for 3 hours of voice calls or 3.5 hours of continuous music playback on one charge. In the charging case, you get an additional 12 hours of calls or 13 hours of music playback. It takes around 1.5 hours to fully charging the charging case, and it is wired only.
Automatic earphone detection and rapid pairing are also built-in. Smartphones running EMUI 10.0 will automatically detect the earphones and perform fast pairing when the charging case is opened. You know where you have seen this before. The earphones are also able to detect whether they are being worn and can automatically wake themselves up based on this information. They can also play and pause music based on the wearing status.
There are built-in capacitive touch sensors on both earphones, so you can double tap or press and hold an earphone to operate them. The double-tap operation settings can be configured in the AI Life app. For the tech heads, the earbuds support Bluetooth 5.0, 2DP 1.3, HFP 1.6, and AVRCP 1.5.
The Honor Magic Earbuds will come in either Pearl White or 'Robin Egg Blue' and will be globally available from April 2020 at an MSRP of €129 in Europe.