The wireless headphone market has gotten a bit crowded as of late. It feels like there are new wireless earbuds coming out almost every week, so it can be hard to see what is worth the money, and what is not. With so many options, new offerings need to deliver something new, and while that can be a tall order, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 rises to the occasion.
The second iteration of the range, the FreeBuds Pro 2, are the newest in Huawei’s flagship range of wireless earbuds. Looking fantastic in any of the colour options (Silver Blue, Silver Frost or Ceramic White), these are headphones that are made to not only stand out when you are out and about, but also deliver some of the best audio you can find south of $300 — $268.99 to be exact.
The Look of the Earphones & Battery Life
While the FreeBuds Pro 2 may look very similar to last year’s HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro, Huawei has made some notable changes that improve the overall experience. Once unboxed, you will find the FreeBuds Pro 2’s case looks very similar to many of the other wireless earbud cases on the market. Once you open the case up, and actually try the FreeBuds Pro 2, you will see the improvements.
The new stem blends well into the earbud, making a more comfortable fit when compared to last year. It also is remarkably light, with each earbud only coming in at 6.1g. Even the case managed to be one of the lightest I have used, with it only sitting at a total of 52g with the headphones charging inside. As with most modern wireless headphones, FreeBuds Pro 2 come packed with additional ear tips, so you should have no problem finding one that provides a good fit.
Despite their small size, the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 manages to offer six hours of audio playback with the active noise cancellation turned off, and four with it on. The case will charge up the headphones around five times, before it needs a charge, giving you around 30 hours with ANC off, or 18 hours with it on. This is fantastic for people that are constantly on the go, since power outlets are not the easiest thing to find while travelling. Thankfully the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 allows for wireless charging or via USB-C, giving options to fit your lifestyle. The buds are also IP54 dust-proof rated now, so you need to worry a bit less when in dirty environments, an added bonus.
Audio, Call Quality & true adaptive EQ
Similar to Apple’s AirPods Pro, each of the FreeBuds Pro 2 boasts an 11 mm audio driver. Huawei did not stop there, and also added a secondary planar diaphragm that gives a much wider range of frequencies While most wireless earbuds offer 20Hz to 20kHz, the dual driver design in the FreeBuds Pro 2 allow it to reach ranges of 14Hz to 48kHz. Beyond this, Huawei’s “True Adaptive EQ” tech can automatically tune the earbuds to your ear canal structure, wearing posture, and volume level to make the sound truly stand out.
What this means for audio is the FreeBuds Pro 2 brings a much richer, fuller sound to the table over most standard buds on the market. The clarity of the audio, and the warmth to the music, helps it stand out among a crowded market. For people that love the rich sound from Apple’s AirPods Pro, the FreeBuds Pro 2 feels very close to what you can expect there. Music playing through the headphones gives the needed separation, along with depth of audio to make them a joy to listen to my favourite artists with.
“Despite their small size, the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 manages to offer six hours of audio playback with the active noise cancellation turned off, and four with it on.”
With the clear sound of jazz, to the vocals from an acoustic set, the FreeBuds Pro 2 manage to impress on all fronts. I threw on everything from Rage Against the Machine, to Ed Sheeran, and was impressed every time. Even throwing on some Master of Puppets from Metallica sounded rich, with the baselines and guitar coming through crystal clear, despite the small size.
While you can control the volume directly on the phone, the FreeBuds Pro 2 also allow you to change levels by pinching and swiping the stems of the earbuds. It may sound a bit convoluted at first glance, but I found myself using it consistently to manage the volume control, something I did not expect. It also works on both earbuds, something I don’t know why more brands don’t look to implement. The touch controls also work for turning on the ANC, switching to awareness mode, or just controlling the playback of your music.
One of the more interesting aspects of this year’s earbuds is the new devialet partnership. HUAWEI has worked with the French audio company to bring a more refined EQ and profiles look to make the earbuds more clear, and rich sound compared to the bass heavy fallback many brands resort to. Honestly it is hard to say how much the partnership has changed the sound of the FreeBuds Pro 2, but thanks to the dual driver design I never had an issue with any music i listened to.
“While you can control the volume directly on the phone, the FreeBuds Pro 2 also allow you to change levels by pinching and swiping the stems of the earbuds.”
Call quality was just as impressive as the audio. While using the FreeBuds Pro 2 during a call, my voice sounded great, with no issues of echo-filled audio from anyone I dealt with. The audio from the call is also very good, ranking them at the top of the in-ear headphones I have used to date. The microphone on offer in the FreeBuds Pro 2 is one of the best I have seen in wireless headphones, making them a treat for people that need to be on the phone constantly throughout the day.
Active Noise Cancellation
With the FreeBuds Pro 2, HUAWEI has tried to go above and beyond with the noise-cancelling on offer. Not only do they offer the choice for ANC on, transparency mode, and off, they give different levels for what the ANC will do while out and about. The AI detection technology will adjust the level of ANC based on the outside world, with it doing much more while on a busy street, and much less while walking around a standard office.
While it may sound like a gimmick, the FreeBuds Pro 2 managed to impress me, so much so that I had to check the settings as I walked from my office to the outside world, with the stark change being noticeable. It did not just amp the volume up but worked to deliver sound that feels good while out, or even when on a plane.
Of course, you can go beyond the Dynamic mode, with the headphones allowing a Cozy, General and Ultra profile you can switch to within the AI Life app. I never found the Dynamic an issue, but it is good to see Huawei give the option to adjust to the best suit your needs.
The transparent or Awareness mode is also something that goes well beyond other brands. I am a big fan of blocking out the world when out and about, letting my podcasts or music fill my ears as I avoid the world, but that is not always the smart move. Sometimes it is important to hear what is going on around you, for safety or just to deal with people, and the FreeBuds Pro 2 excel in this area. With the mode on, it lets in enough outside noise to make it seem natural while still letting your audio play clearly as you go about your business. It worked well for when I went to order something at the local office shop, and when I had to deal with people at work, letting in just enough background noise to make it useful without getting annoying.
Being a HUAWEI product, you will want to download the AI Life app to take full advantage of what the FreeBuds Pro 2 have to offer. This will be where you go to adjust all the ANC settings, sound effect controls, gesture settings, and how you update the buds when they need new firmware. I am not a fan of needing new software for headphones, but the AI Life app is relatively unobtrusive for Android users and gives enough adjustments to make it worth downloading.
Granted, you can use the FreeBuds Pro 2 without any additional software, although to get the most from the more advanced features from your true wireless earbuds, it is recommended The buds will also work on iOS, so don’t worry, even if you have an Apple product, you can still enjoy some excellent sound quality without needing to pay the Apple Tax.
With fantastic audio, and a great look, the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 are a breath of fresh air for people that want their music on the go. These headphones are comfortable, have some of the best ANC I have seen on earbuds, and the Silver Blue is striking to look at. For anyone on Android looking for new wireless earbuds, few compare to the HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2.
This content was originally published here.