Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 Review: Earbuds Like AirPods

Reviewing the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2, a set of high-end true wireless earbuds equipped with dynamic ANC (noise cancelling) and a dual-driver design for exceptional bass, alongside water resistance. I having tested these earbuds for nearly two weeks.

Design and Comfort

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 Review: Design

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 boast a shiny and glitzy appearance with a distinctive short, stubby design, referred by Huawei as its piano key design. Unlike some competitors with full-on dangly profiles, the FreeBuds Pro 2 are relatively compact, though they emit a somewhat plasticky vibe. A noticeable seam disrupts the shiny surface in the middle, but this flaw becomes inconspicuous once the FreeBuds are snugly in your ears. Available in Silver Frost (a silvery gray), Silver Blue, and Ceramic White, they offer variety in color choices.

In comparison to the original FreeBuds, which were prone to slipperiness, the FreeBuds Pro 2 surprisingly exhibit a bit more grip. Despite their appearance, they haven’t slipped from my grasp, even during handling in and out of the case. Comfort-wise, I’ve found them to be quite comfortable during my use over the past few days, equipped with standard compact and lightweight silicone ear tips, they provide a snug fit.

My only qualm pertains to the right earbud, where I struggled to find a silicone tip for a perfect fit. Luckily, the box includes a selection of three different sizes, allowing for adjustments to ensure proper functionality of the ANC and other features. Overall, the FreeBuds Pro 2 have proven comfortable and user-friendly. With an IP54 rating, they can withstand moisture, making them suitable for workouts at the gym without worry.

Pairing and Ai Life

Ai Life App

Connecting your smartphone to the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 is a quick and straightforward process, simply press the small button on the side of the case with the buds still inside, and they’ll promptly be detected by your smartphone. The entire pairing procedure typically takes around 20 seconds, making it a hassle-free experience. Once paired, it’s advisable to download the Huawei AI Life app, which is accessible on the Google Play Store or directly from the Huawei website. The app offers a range of tools for customizing your buds.

Within the Huawei AI Life app, you can monitor the battery levels of both the buds and the case, ensuring you’re aware of when a recharge is needed. The app provides controls for the active noise cancellation (ANC), a sound effects section functioning as an equalizer with various presets, and a tip fit test designed to assist you in finding the optimal size of silicone tip. However, the accuracy of this test may vary, as it deemed my right bud perfect even when it was not quite right. Additionally, the app allows customization of touch controls, though the options are rather limited – for the most part, you can only choose to turn them off.

Touch Controls

The touch controls on the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 left a positive impression on me, they were remarkably intuitive and easy to use, especially when compared to the original FreeBuds Pro. Managing music playback is straightforward – a single pinch pauses or plays music, a double pinch skips forward, and a triple pinch skips back. Additionally, a long squeeze cycles through various noise-canceling modes or activates the smartphone assistant. Swipe gestures worked seamlessly as well – swiping up increases the volume, while swiping down lowers it, maintaining a simple and user-friendly interface.

The auto-pause feature, a familiar convenience, functions seamlessly. If someone interrupts with a conversation, removing either of the buds triggers an immediate pause in audio playback. Placing the bud back into the ear promptly resumes the audio, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted user experience.

Audio Quality

Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 Review: Audio Quality

Now, the FreeBuds Pro 2 supports a dual-driver setup. It essentially consists of an 11mm driver and a flat-voice, called a planar unit, packed inside each of buds. The output and frequencies range from a super-low 14 hertz all the way up to 48 kilohertz. The result is pretty respectable bass, actually, for a pair of true wireless earbuds, especially ones this size. You also get nice, crisp, clear audio across the entire range, with full-bodied sounds. You can hear all the individual elements of a composition, and it’s further enhanced by the LDAC feature on this buds.

If your smartphone supports LDAC, you can enjoy some really nice sound and tracks from services like Deezer and truly appreciate that full-bodied audio. As I mentioned before, Huawei’s AI Life app includes a variety of sound presets that you can play around with to find your preferred setting. And, there’s a full-on equalizer tool if you want to manually tweak the output. Personally, I stuck with the default sound settings, which were apparently co-engineered with DBLA, so they obviously know what they’re doing. They sounded the best to my ears, but everyone’s different, so it’s good to have the option to experiment and change the output if desired.

ANC and Mic

As for noise cancellation, the ANC has been improved on the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 compared to the original version. It features dynamic ANC, which can boost or decrease based on your environment and the level of noise. Each bud has a triple mic setup, with two facing outward and one facing inward. In my testing, the FreeBuds Pro 2 did a pretty good job of boosting ANC when I was in noisy places like a high street or tunnel, and then lowering it when I was in a quieter environment to preserve battery life.

However, like most earbuds with dynamic ANC, there can be some annoying flickering between two different levels of ENC when walking along a road with intermittent traffic, for example. To avoid this, I ended up keeping them in the ultra mode via the AI Life app for the entire time when I was out and about, just to ensure maximum ANC. I did experience slight wind feedback in ENC mode with the FreeBuds Pro 2 when walking at a fast pace or in windy conditions, but it wasn’t too bothersome or distracting. The awareness mode is definitely handy if you want to listen out for announcements while enjoying a podcast or audiobook.

I made a recording with the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 to give you an idea of how good the microphones are when it comes to voice calls or using the voice assistant. The recording is taking place in an absolutely silent studio. There we go, noisy traffic in the background, simulating walking down a busy high street right next to the road. This will help you assess how well the buds cancel out background noise and keep your voice as the central focus.

Battery life

As for the battery life, the initial drop-off is quite slow when you first start using the buds. In my experience, during the first half an hour of playback, they only tend to lose around five to six percent of battery life. However, after that, it becomes a solid ten percent drop every 20 minutes, giving you roughly four hours of playback on a full charge. This usage includes utilizing LDAC and having ANC turned on to the ultra mode. I found that if I turned ANC off entirely, I tended to get closer to five to five and a half hours of use per charge. It’s not bad at all, but it is slightly below average compared to many other ANC true wireless earbuds I have recently tested.

When you put the buds back into the compact charging case, you can expect to get just over three full recharges from the case before it needs to be refilled. The case supports Type-C USB connectivity for charging, and it also offers wireless charging capabilities. If you have a phone that supports wireless charging with the reverse charging feature, you can simply place the case on the back to phone and power them up on the go. When the buds are inserted into the case, they charge up quickly. Just a few minutes is usually enough to provide around a half charge, making it convenient for a commute. While the case is not as compact as some other rivals, it has a smooth and pleasantly shaped design, allowing it to easily slip into pockets without any concerns. It also has a sleek appearance.

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