Huawei introduced the Freebuds Pro earlier this month as the company’s most premium true wireless earphones and they are already on sale at some markets. We got a pair from Huawei to spend a few weeks with and review all the new features, including the active noise cancellation.
Design and comfort
Unlike its Freebuds 3 earphones that followed the Apple AirPods’ design, the Freebuds Pro provide a fresh take at what TWS should look like.
Yet, the boxy “stem” was as much design as it was an engineering decision as Huawei crammed a lot of hardware inside to enable all of the “Pro” features.
However, due to the design, the buds are a bit harder to take out of the charging case, partially because they are harder to grip and partially because the magnet that helps them stay inside is a bit too strong. Putting them back in is also a bit of a hassle, but you get used to it fairly quickly.
While the design may or may not be your cup of tea, you’ll certainly appreciate the Freebuds Pro’s comfort. There are three sizes of rubber tips, and Huawei even lets you easily test the tip fit through the AI Life app (available both on Google Play and the Huawei AppGallery).
The Huawei Freebuds Pro have three settings for the noise control, but that only works with the proper app. The options are Off, Awareness, and Noise canceling, with the last one having four intensity settings.
Dubbed Dynamic, Cosy, General, and Ultra they are just fancy names for how strongly you want the noise canceling to be.
The Awareness feature amplifies the surrounding noise letting you hear essential sounds like a car horn behind you or someone speaking at a higher volume trying to get your attention. There’s an additional sub-feature called Enhance voices, which does precisely what the name says.
As all true wireless earphones, the Freebuds Pro also support gestures, but they aren’t like anything you’ve ever seen. Instead of tapping, you have to pinch the bud with two fingers. Once you get the hang of it, the various pinch combinations work effortlessly.
The Freebuds Pro come in a White, Black, or Silver oval charger case with a button on the side. There is a 580 mAh battery inside, supporting wireless charging, and each bud carries a 55 mAh cell. Huawei promises 4 hours of music playback with the ANC enabled or 7 hours with the feature turned off – easily among the longer-lasting earphones out there.
The charging case also can be charged with a USB-C cable that’s provided in the retail box. A full charge from 0 to 100% for both the case and the buds took around 75 minutes in our real-life test – that is a decent result for completely drained batteries. But supporting wireless charging you are unlikely to need to do full charges as it makes it so easy to top them up quickly from time to time.
Also, if you have a Huawei phone, the battery percentage comes up every time you open the case to know whether they need to be plugged in soon.
The Freebuds Pro themselves have dynamic 11mm drivers, an additional dynamic equalizer that adjusts the sound regardless of the posture and how the audio enters the ear canal.
Two outward-facing microphones take care of picking out your voice from the surrounding sound, and there is a Bone Voice Sensor that strengthens human voices in your ear. That way, any conversation is as easy as they come.
There are four vents on each earbud stem that are actually anti-wind microphones that eliminate any surrounding noise and they work marvelously – the Freebuds Pro do a better job of it than any other pair we’ve tested.
The Huawei Freebuds Pro can be the best true wireless ANC earphones on the market, but the unusual design and the relatively high price tag will be held against them by some. The Huawei AI Life app is not available on App Store, meaning Apple users are missing a big chunk of the fun.
Even so, the Freebuds Pro come as one of the better choices if you are a Huawei owner or at least on the correct side of the Android/iOS division line. And when you think about it €179 is not only cheaper than the Samsung and Apple rivals, but can also be brought down further as Huawei has some spicy deals on its website with various market-dependent bundles.
If you want proper noise-canceling experience, top-notch audio and you don’t mind the design – this is the way to go.