Today is the day Huawei unveiled the P30 and the P30 Pro after licking a lot and speculating what the phones might mean. As a good technology company, he took the opportunity to launch an additional product in the world: headphones called "Freelace". Headphones that have a rather bizarre charging system, and I'm not convinced how practical it is.
The good news is that Huawei did not try to launch his own proprietary charging port, or something crazy. The thing about Freelace is that they are designed to be connectable by users directly to the phone's USB-C port for power. In other words, while almost all devices use a female USB-C cable, Freelace uses a connector as follows:
Right: Charging port. Left: Where it lives when the earphones are used.
Huawei's argument is not having to carry the cable to charge the headphones. That's all well and good, but it's not that USB-C cables are a hassle. Everyone needs a phone to charge their cell phone. Apple users, who would not buy these devices anyway, are excluded. It suggests that Huawei also does not believe in the specified battery life of 18 hours. You do not have to refill headphones with decent battery life.
Of course, the plug also offers some logistical problems. For example, Huawei admitted that you needed a phone that offered power sharing, and there are not many. I connected the Freelace buds to a OnePlus 6 and nothing happened that disregarded the purpose and limited the consumer base. Plus, the missing cable means you'll need to plug the earphones directly into a USB-C power adapter or pay for a male-to-female extension cable.
They almost purposely appear to be designed to leave some room between the charged device and the plug. The longer the cable, the more freedom you have. With no cable Freelace must dangle directly from the port and probably sit on the ground. To be honest, I think if Huawei wanted to offer phone-to-ear charging then reverse wireless charging would have been the way to go. Adding wireless charging to earphones in the gym would not have been very easy, if possible.
However, this type of charging offers an advantage. Huawei has promised that connecting a Freelace pair to a Huawei phone will immediately pair the two devices – much like many NFC headphones use to bypass the standard Bluetooth pairing system. Not that it's actually that difficult, assuming you're not surrounded by visible Bluetooth signals.
But if the weird charging system appeals to you, you should know a few things. The first is that Huawei has a magnetic lock on each earphone so you can plug it together to turn off the earphones and all media playback. Of course, it will pull them apart if they are torn apart. They also have a "metal-silicone" memory metal cable on the back, as well as the ability to invoke a speech assistant and IPX5 water resistance. So they are not waterproof, but they are splash-proof.
Prices and availability are still TBA.