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Honor’s new Earbuds 3 Pro have plenty going for them. For one thing, they are the world’s first coaxial dual-driver design with 11mm dynamic driver and piezoelectric ceramic tweeter (the individual driver units are built concentrically, tweeter inside driver). Then, there’s the AirPods Pro-but-for-Android angle – let’s face it, the design is a proven winner. Quick, iOS-style pairing to your Android phone? An open goal.
And at €199 (around $178 / £238 / AU$367), with four different noise cancellation profiles, a separate ambient aware function, an intuitive app, simultaneous device pairing and boasting one more USP that Apple has been unable to achieve in any set of earbuds to date, they’re stone cold winners, no?
Except that the final promised (and much-hyped) world-first feature is nowhere to be seen. And Honor has confirmed to TechRadar that its latest earbuds will not support it in the UK and EU after all.
Analysis: your earbuds still can’t tell you you’re hot
The feature Honor has actually not beaten Apple to the punch for in a set of true wireless earbuds is the ability to record and monitor the wearer’s temperature.
Speaking exclusively to TechRadar after we couldn’t find the feature and reached out for comment, an Honor spokesperson said: “Since its inception, Honor has always been strategically focused on innovation, product quality and service, and it is committed to developing technology that empowers people around the globe. In every market that Honor operates in, it strictly complies with the local laws and regulations. Considering these factors, the introduction of features and products in markets will also vary, depending on the requirements of the market.
Hence, Honor Earbuds 3 Pro won’t have temperature sensor in the UK and EU markets.”
Disappointing. Upon receiving my pair, I gleefully unboxed the Earbuds 3 Pro, hoping to be able to take my temperature by tapping the earbud three times as promised. Also widely reported (and hotly anticipated by me) was the option to track a continuous measurement over time, and to activate an “abnormal temperature alert”. But none of it was there as I patiently tapped each earpiece and scrolled through the otherwise-intuitive and well designed app.
So why the swift about-turn from Honor? Well, the company previously claimed its AI temperature algorithm had an 80 per cent chance of achieving a ±0.3 Celsius or less error within a lab setting; however, the actual margin of error may vary depending on the individual and environment – and to give Honor its dues, the company always said the product should not be used for medical purposes.
Crucially, when Honor happily told the press its temperature monitor sensors were definitely going to be included in the successors to the Honor Earbuds 2 Lite, it did caveat the announcement with the fact that the tech had yet to receive regulatory approval.
Whether Honor’s temperature monitoring technology will be made available in other markets remains to be seen – the hardware is surely present in the buds’ design, after all.