At the end of last year, Huawei began to actively develop its line of fully wireless headphones with active noise cancellation. Our editorial office had impressive FreeBuds 3 earbuds and then a model with a similar name – FreeBuds 3i, but with an in-ear fit. Both models proved to be good sounding and good “noise reduction” for their form factor, so it was interesting to see what the company can offer in a more advanced model. And Huawei was not long in coming, releasing the FreeBuds Pro TWS headphones, promising even better sound quality and “a new level of noise cancellation.” In this review, we’ll see if this is the case.

HUAWEI Freebuds Pro Active Noise Cancellation Earbuds Bluetooth 5.2 Headset 3-mic System for iOS Android – Ceramic White

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Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Box

The headphones are sold in a compact white box with their image, which also contains a charging case in FreeBuds Pro color, replacement silicone earpads, and a USB Type-C charging cable.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Design

FreeBuds Pro is quite different from previous Huawei models; headphones with in-ear fit received drop-shaped emitters attached to rectangular “legs.” The latter look unusual and turned out to be larger than in similar devices, but this is not so much a design whim as a functional necessity.

The fact is that on each “leg” of the headphones, there is a touch panel that is used for control. Therefore, on the one hand, FreeBuds Pro looks more extensive than we would like, but on the other hand, their size, oddly enough, has a positive effect on comfort during use. I will dwell on this in more detail, but for now, I note that these headphones implement the most convenient control scheme that I have seen in similar models.

But even without that, I’m sure the designers had the task of emphasizing the Pro prefix, and in the world of modern gadgets, it is most often associated with the word “more.” Therefore, in this regard, the dimensions play into FreeBuds Pro’s hands. The headphone housing is entirely plastic with a glossy finish, while the manufacturer offers three color options: white, silver, and black.

As for me, it is silver that looks the most advantageous; firstly, it is rarely found in headphones, and secondly, in this color, the complete case has a matte finish, which is quite difficult to scratch.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review

In contrast to the design of the earbuds, the case is rounded. Its upper part can be folded back; for this, there is a small metal insert on the completely plastic case, to which the lid hinge is attached. There is an inconspicuous button on the right side of the case; with its help, the headphones can be switched to pairing mode. On the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port, and next to it is a charging indicator.

The FreeBuds Pro case is relatively large; its dimensions are 70×51.3 mm, with a thickness of 24.6 mm and a weight of 60 grams, it is not very comfortable to carry in jeans or shirt pocket, but it will fit in a jacket or jacket pocket without any problems. Perhaps the only serious complaint about the case is the rather deep fit of the headphones, which, together with the emitters’ glossy surface, does not always allow them to be removed on the first try.

Read also: AirPods Max Review: Are they actually worth $549?

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Connection, Control, and Functionality

To connect with other devices, Huawei FreeBuds Pro uses a Bluetooth 5.2 module, backward compatible with previous protocol versions. For the first connection, you need to open the charging case’s lid without taking out the headphones, press and hold the button on the side edge for a few seconds. Also, on Android, the system reports that an app is required for the headphones to work properly.

This is the AI ​​Life program known to users of Huawei devices, which is necessary not so much for the operation of FreeBuds Pro as for the first setup and subsequent firmware update. Unfortunately, it is only available for Android; also, the version that supports the new Huawei headphones is now, possibly due to sanctions, not published by the company on Google Play, and it can be installed either through the browser or from the App Gallery. In any case, you need an Android smartphone to update the headphone firmware.

But otherwise, FreeBuds Pro connects seamlessly to other Bluetooth-enabled audio sources and remains fully functional. Not least, thanks to the successful control system. As mentioned above, each headphone contains a touchpad on the “foot” that allows you to perform various actions.

For example, if you slide your finger up or down on the panel, you can increase or decrease the volume; if you press once – playback is paused, twice – you switch to the next song, three times – to the previous one. One long touch switches the modes of the noise reduction system, and you can activate the “transparency” to hear the surrounding sounds, completely turn off the “noise reduction,” or, on the contrary, turn it on. At the moment, this is perhaps the most convenient control system in TWS headphones.

The only thing, through the AI ​​Life application, it is also possible to adjust the operation of the noise reduction mode, choosing between dynamic, which independently adjusts to ambient sounds, as well as minimum, medium, and maximum. By default, FreeBuds Pro will use dynamic mode.

The headphones’ in-ear fit already cuts off external noise well in itself. Still, the active noise cancellation system allows you to enhance this effect in noisy environments, such as the subway, FreeBuds Pro-cut off some of the external sounds. This is not complete isolation, as in over-ear headphones, but it makes it more comfortable to listen to music on the street, in a cafe, or transport.

In general, it is important for this type of noise cancellation that there is a correct fit. To do this, AI Life has automatic detection of how well the user-selected ear cushion size fits. The headphones play a short melody and, due to the internal microphone, try to identify external sounds; if they do not pass, then the ear pads are sitting tight.

Separately, it is worth noting that Huawei FreeBuds Pro uses a dual antenna for Bluetooth. This positively affected the stability of the connection and allowed the headphones to connect to two devices simultaneously. This feature is often found on full-size models but is new to TWS. And it is very convenient. When you are working on a laptop and listening to music, and there is a call to your smartphone at that moment, you can receive it without removing the headphones, and they will switch automatically. And after that, they will return to playing music in the same way. By the way, both the connection and switching of FreeBuds Pro between devices is very fast. And what is pleasant, during video playback, lag with sound is not felt.

Infrared sensors are built into each earphone, which allows them to understand when the user reaches one of the ears. At this point, playback is paused. And interestingly, this works on both Android and Windows with macOS.

Read also: Kokoon Relax and Amazfit ZenBuds- will they help you sleep?

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Sound FreeBuds Pro

The FreeBuds Pro is based on an 11 mm dynamic driver, thanks to which the headphones form a rather wide imaginary scene. And unlike most TWS models, they do not try to sound too flat; on the contrary, highlighting both low and high frequencies well. This makes the sound more lively, even if it loses some of the small details, such as the performer’s aspiration. After all, these are compact headphones, and for their size and format, FreeBuds Pro sounds excellent.

There are two popular A2DP codecs for sound transmission via Bluetooth in headphones: AAC and SBC. The latter can provide up to 1500 Kbps bitrate, but most modern operating systems limit it to 328 Kbps. For AAS, the bitrate is at about the same level – up to 320 Kbps. Music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, or YouTube Music provide audio quality to just 320 Kbps.

Read also: Sennheiser CX 400BT Review (True Wireless): Great Sound

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Microphone quality

Huawei FreeBuds Pro is equipped with two external and one internal microphone complemented by a bone conduction sensor. The latter does an excellent job of capturing a voice since it is well transmitted through the skull tissues, in contrast to external noise. Besides, the two external microphones have a unique windproof design and also capture less noise. All this made it possible to improve the quality of voice transmission during calls; at least, my interlocutors noted good sound as if I were speaking directly into the microphone of my smartphone.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Autonomy FreeBuds Pro

Each FreeBuds Pro has a built-in 55 mAh battery, which is enough for 4.5 hours of music playback with active noise canceling or about 7 hours without it. The case has an additional 580 mAh battery, which provides three more recharges of completely discharged headphones, which takes about 40 minutes. The case itself can be charged wired and wirelessly; in the first case, it takes 1.5 hours, in the second – 2.5 hours.

Read also: Harman Kardon Fly ANC Review: Predictable Quality

HUAWEI Freebuds Pro Active Noise Cancellation Earbuds Bluetooth 5.2 Headset 3-mic System for iOS Android – Ceramic White

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Huawei FreeBuds Pro review – Conclusion

Huawei Freebuds Pro is excellent fully wireless headphones with active noise canceling system, high-quality sound, a convenient control system, and the ability to connect to two devices simultaneously. They have an unusual design that you either like or not, but otherwise, they are quite comfortable to use. And it is worth noting that, first of all, they should be considered for purchase by Android users since there is no proprietary AI Life application for other platforms yet.

PROS: unusual design; convenient control; simultaneous connection to two devices; fast connection and instant switching; no lag; active noise cancellation; good sound quality as for TWS; voice transmission quality; good autonomy

CONS: unusual design; it is not always possible to quickly get it out of the case; Android app only

Huawei FreeBuds Pro

$189.99
8.6

Design

8.5/10

Battery

9.0/10

Sound

9.0/10

Price

8.0/10

Pros

  • Slick volume controls
  • Comfortable fit
  • Clever noise-cancelling

Cons

  • Sound lacks detail
  • Dynamics could be better
  • Rhythmically unsure

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