The successor to the earlier FreeBuds Pro launched in 2020, the new Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 teams up with French audio outfit Devialet and crams in a ton of audio tech to make it their best pair of wireless earbuds ever made but does it live up to the hype? Our Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 review puts it to the test to find out!
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 review – Build and Design
Our FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample is done up in an understated Silver Frost finish on the charging case while the earbuds feature a contrasting silvery chrome paint job.
Overall build quality is excellent without it feeling plasticky though the chromed finish on the earbuds themselves does tend to attract fingerprints easily while also being slightly slippery to the touch which makes fishing for them with your fingers an irksome task. Fortunately, the Silver Frost colourway resists fingerprints nicely and the textured, rounded case makes pocketing it and opening it one-handed a simple affair.
@hitechcentury Unboxing Huawei’s slick new FreeBuds Pro 2 wireless earbuds with enhanced ANC! #huawei #freebudspro2 #huaweismartoffice #techtok #sembanggadget #tech #fyp #unboxing ♬ How You Like That – BLACKPINK
Designed in collaboration with French audio outfit Devialet, the FreeBuds Pro 2 has both brand names prominently emblazoned on the hinge of the charging case. Much like its predecessor, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 has a lozenge shaped charging case with rounded corners that make it easier to pocket and easier to open one-handed. A pairing button hidden on the right side of the case, a USB-C charging port at the base and a subtle charging coil on the rear for wireless charging round out its otherwise understated appearance.
The earbuds feature a bulbous housing that contains a surprisingly comprehensive setup that consists of a quad-magnet 11mm driver and a dedicated UHF planar diaphragm driver to enable it to achieve a much broader frequency range of 14Hz to 48kHz which is a bit beyond the range of human hearing. This performance envelope also exceeds what most other mainstream earbuds are typically capable of offering which typically range from a mere 20Hz to 20kHz.
Added to this is a compact battery, a trio of two outwards and one inward facing microphones for active noise cancellation and calls as well as a chunky stem at the base of each earbud that also acts as a control surface of sorts. Rather than the usual single and double taps to get about, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 instead uses a series of pinches by grasping the stem between the thumb and forefinger.
Of note is that the earbuds themselves have an IP54 splash resistance rating which means they’re able to handle sweat from a workout and the odd rain shower or two though actual immersion in water is out of the picture. As you’d likely surmise, the charging case lacks any water resistance and needs some measure of care to ensure that it stays out of the rain.
Out of the box, our Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample comes with the usual assortment of kit with a USB-C charging cable, the charging case and earbuds, a set of smaller and larger eartips as well as the obligatory quick start manual. Here’s how it stacks up on paper…
|Drivers||11mm dynamic driver + planar diaphragm driver|
|Frequency response||14Hz – 48kHz|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.2 w/ simultaneous 2-device connection|
|Battery||55mAh [per earbud] 580mAh [case] / 6.5 hours ANC off, 4 hours ANC on / 30 hours playback with case ANC off, 18 hours with case and ANC on|
|Size/Weight||29.1 x 21.8 x 23.7 / 6.1g [per earbud] / 67.9 x 24.5 x 47.5mm / 52g [charging case]|
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 – Setup and Performance
We’ve had the new Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 for a while since their grand regional launch in Bangkok several weeks back and put it to the test across a variety of scenarios. Getting it paired up and running is a simple task with any Android phone and it also plays nicely with iOS phones as well. Once paired, you’ll also have to download the Huawei AI Life app on the Google Play store and Apple app store to enjoy greater functionality.
In order to ensure maximum comfort, you’ll have to check the fit of the earbuds and the accompanying ear tips to ensure a proper passive sound seal when worn and also to ensure it remains comfortable for extended wear.
Our FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample was installed with the medium sized ear tips by default and offered an excellent fit out of the box though you can swap them out for the smaller or larger ear tips if you have smaller or larger ear canals. To further guarantee a proper fit, you can use the AI Life app to run a ‘Tip Fit Test’ diagnostic that plays a short jingle and determines if your selected ear tips fit properly with immediate results.
Once you’ve gotten a proper fit sorted out, the AI Life app offers additional options expected of a flagship pair of wireless earbuds. You are able to tweak your own custom equaliser settings or select from the predefined default ‘tuned by Devialet’ setting or go for Bass Boost, Treble Boost or Clear Vocals as needs warrant it.
Unlike other competing brands, you’re also able to dial the intensity of active noise cancellation on demand from the default Dynamic mode that adjusts based on ambient noise, the Cozy mode for a quiet indoors setting,the General mode and the Ultra mode if you’re in a noisy area like a train station. You can also opt for an ‘Awareness’ mode that disables ANC and enables you to listen to ambient external noise which is crucial if you’re walking in the streets.
Belying its bulbous dimensions, the earbuds sit neatly and unobtrusively just outside the ears and are pleasantly low profile when you’re out and about. Even after several hours of use, the FreeBuds Pro 2’s earbuds remained comfortable to wear, helped in part by the light 6.1g weight and also because of the comfortable ear tips. They also fortunately proved to be relatively secure as well and did not so much as budge even with an enthusiastic sprint for the last train home.
Over several weeks of testing across a variety of music genres, our Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample performed like a champ with the ability to offer balanced audio with great sound staging, excellent bass and delightful treble. Recent tracks like Cyberpunk Edgerunner’s titular track ‘I Really Wanna Stay At Your House’ allowed me to listen to subtler aspects of the track that would not have been heard on a lesser pair of earbuds.
The active noise cancellation on offer is on par with the best the competition can offer and was able to comfortably mute out the majority of background audio when it was tested on a train that included engine noise, background conversations and the rattle of the train tracks. It also performance wonderfully on a flight to Bangkok and nullified much of the ambient engine noise and muted out much of noise of a wailing baby too.
@hitechcentury Live field test of the active noise cancellation offered by the new Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2! #freebudspro2 #huaweismartoffice #techtok #sembanggadget #fyp #hitechcentury ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral – WZ Beat
It lacks some of the more sophisticated niceties like voice recognition to temporarily kick in Ambient mode; you’ll still have to manually trigger it but it’s not a deal breaker.
While the control system of pinches is functional, it also requires a learning curve versus the classic, tried and true series of taps. You can modify the controls in the AI Life app to some degree but it mostly involves enabling or disabling certain commands. Over the course of the review, there were several instances where a command had to be repeated several times for it to trigger.
In terms of battery life, the FreeBuds Pro 2 were middling at best. On a full charge, Huawei has quoted 4 hours of usage with ANC on. Under practical use, our FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample achieved a few minutes short of the official stated 4 hours. Charging the earbuds to full from zero in the charging case itself takes about 40 minutes which is a relatively fair speed.
Should you buy the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2
he Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 punches above its weight class and price point, delivering excellent ANC and superb audio quality through masterful tuning by Devialet and the addition of beefy drivers though its middling battery life means that it’s best for short excursions.
If you’re looking for a brand agnostic quality pair of wireless earbuds with delightfully balanced audio and great ANC, this is it.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 review sample courtesy of Huawei Malaysia. To purchase, please visit Huawei’s online store at https://consumer.huawei.com/my/headphones/freebuds-pro-2/buy/
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 true wireless earbuds are a surprising gem that punches above its weight class with rich, detailed audio quality and good active noise cancellation capabilities.
Rich detail with deep bass
Great sound staging
Pinch style controls need a learning curve to master
Modest battery life