While I tend to temper my expectations with more affordable wireless earbuds, those that cross a certain price point raise that expectation. After all, we’re expected to shell out a bit more than usual. Is the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 worth that extra amount you pay for? The short answer is yes. It’s probably one of my favorites in recent memory.
But what makes it worth what you’re expected to pay for premium earbuds? There are three aspects of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 that we’ve definitely loved on these buds.
Great design & excellent comfort
If there’s something I’ve always appreciated about Huawei, it’s the color options they offer for their devices. In the earbuds segment, the red shade of the Huawei FreeBuds 4i remains a personal favorite. Now, that’s being challenged by the new shade the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 comes in. Aside from the standard Silver Frost and Ceramic White options, there’s this lovely shade of Silver Blue that kind of reminds me of mermaid fins. It’s a great mix of the two shades.
I’m not too fond of the reflective Huawei with the Devialet logo on the back because it’s quite the fingerprint magnet. I can say the same for the finish on the earbuds. But it’s less prominent there.
Huawei refines the piano key design of the FreeBuds Pro 2. It’s a flat design with a square-shaped stem and no sharp corners on each bud. The company even reduced the weight of the overall package to 52.1g and each bud weighing 6.1g. I don’t feel any discomfort wearing these throughout the length of a single charge. To ensure you have the correct silicone ear tip, Huawei’s AI Life app has a tip fit test.
The wide stems allow for easily sliding to control the volume. I’m not sure if it’s because I keep long nails, but the pinching gestures for the other functions (like play & pause, changing from Ambient to ANC, etc.) were a bit harder to execute.
Impressive audio performance
Of course for earbuds, your primary concern or top priority would be sound quality. Huawei equips the FreeBuds Pro 2 with an “ultra-hearing dual-driver true sound system.” They come with an 11mm quad-magnet dynamic driver and a voice coil planar unit. These earbuds get a frequency range as low as 14Hz for the low frequencies and as high as 48kHz for the high frequencies. The driver units for bass and treble may work separately here, but with the addition of digital cross-over technology, they work in perfect cohesion.
This translates to getting a pair of buds with impressive bass and great overall sound. The audio quality has made it the buds I reach for when I want to truly enjoy music. I have to thank its support for the LDAC high-resolution audio codec protocol. Because when that setting is enabled and paired with a service and a device that supports high-res audio, it makes for a great listening experience. I’ve been using it with my OnePlus 10T and Apple Music. And the quality of lossless and/or Dolby Atmos-tuned albums on the service is the best I’ve heard when paired with the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2.
Another way that Huawei ensures you get a great listening experience is with its Triple Adaptive EQ. The FreeBuds Pro 2 has Wearing State Adaptive Tech, which uses the in-ear microphone to detect the wearer’s listening condition in real time to compensate for any sound leakage. It considers everything from different ear canal structures, how the buds are worn, the environment, and more.
Speaking of EQs, Huawei has added sound effects to the AI Life app. You can select from the Default mode the brand co-created with Devialet, bass and treble enhancements, vocal clarity, and any other profile you want. You can create custom sound profiles based on your preference with its support for 10 EQ bands.
Huawei also boasts about the improvements to the active noise cancellation on the FreeBuds Pro 2. Its Intelligent Dynamic ANC 2.0 uses a Triple Mic ANC System to boost the average ANC depth by 15% compared to its predecessor. These earbuds also get a wider noise cancellation frequency with up to 47dB of noise cancellation.
It can keep a lot of the noise out, but it won’t completely block all external sound. I’ve worn this pair while commuting on the train, and it won’t silence everything. But, at least, they’ll keep most of the distractions out. I admittedly couldn’t tell the difference, but the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 Dynamic ANC tech can automatically determine the kind of noise it detects from your surroundings and adjusts the noise canceling accordingly. I like that the noise cancellation doesn’t sound as suffocating, which I sometimes feel with ANC. So, if you want to just quiet things down, it comes in handy. And you also have the option to adjust the noise canceling levels yourself. You can choose between Ultra, General, and Cozy.
As I mentioned, I find myself reaching for these pair of earbuds every time I want to listen to music. But I burn through the battery quite quickly. Huawei promises 30 hours of listening time with the included charging case. For quick top-ups, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 supports wired and wireless fast charging. The average battery life seems to be on par with a lot of the earbuds I’ve tested in the past. So, it’s not particularly sticking out in this department.
And if you’re like me who uses these earbuds with ANC enabled, you’ll easily drain that battery in around four and half hours. Thankfully, it takes less than half an hour to charge in the case and around an hour when you recharge the earbuds and charging case. That’s wired charging, though. I don’t have a wireless charging pad on me right now. If I’m not using ANC, I get around six to seven hours on a single charge.
Noteworthy Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 extras
I’m typically wary of call quality on wireless earbuds. They’re passable at best. But the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 leave up to their premium name and surprised me with how clear the call quality is on them. Whether it was a business video call at home with the fan near me or out in a busy grocery store, I could hear and be heard rather clearly with these earbuds.
Huawei attributes this to a four-mic hybrid Call Noise Cancellation system paired with the company’s exclusive deep neural network noise cancellation algorithm. This tech allows the earbuds to pick up human voices accurately. That’s paired with a new wind-proof design that keeps wind noises out with the help of dual outward-facing microphones. If you use Huawei’s MeeTime app, you can take advantage of this clear call quality.
Of course, Huawei also hits the right notes when it comes to the extra features you might expect from premium earbuds. The FreeBuds Pro 2 gets a find my earphones feature. If you’re on a non-Huawei device, you can only “ring the earbuds” to spot them nearby. The more useful “Find My Device” feature is exclusive to Huawei devices.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 also gets smart wear detection, low audio latency, and dual device connection. All features I’ve come to expect. The low audio latency is a nice touch since it prevents choppy audio in environments with high network congestion (like airports).
You already know I think highly of these earbuds right from the jump of this article. The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 threw in the right things to make it an easy audio accessory to recommend. Now, if they can somehow pack in an even better battery into this, it would be harder to recommend anything other than this, especially if you find yourself within Huawei’s ecosystem. These buds would be a shoo-in in your arsenal.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 retails for PHP 9,999 (around USD 178). It will be available for pre-order from September 2 to 8, 2022. Those who pre-order get a free Huawei Band 6 worth PHP 2,599 (~USD 46).
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