12.5 C
New York
Friday, October 2, 2020
Home Reviews Huawei FreeBuds Pro review: Keeping up with the competition

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review: Keeping up with the competition

Wireless earbuds are one of the most dynamic product categories in consumer electronics today. From budget players to luxury brands, everyone is releasing their own slightly different take on the concept, giving buyers a dizzying array of choices.

Also read: The best true wireless earbuds

Following last year’s FreeBuds 3 and their cheaper variant FreeBuds 3i, Huawei is back with the FreeBuds Pro. These true wireless earbuds don’t stand out through huge new features, but they do keep up with the competition. And by “competition,” we mainly mean Apple’s AirPods Pro, which are the obvious source of inspiration for the FreeBuds Pro.

So what are the FreeBuds Pro like? Should you buy them? Find out in Android Authority’s Huawei FreeBuds Pro review.

About this review: I used the FreeBuds Pro for around seven days. The FreeBuds Pro review unit, supplied by Huawei, ran software version 1.9.0.102M.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro at a glance

Huawei FreeBuds Pro
Style meets tech

Even if they are slightly expensive, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro are an easy recommendation, as they provide good sound quality and ANC, great battery life, and smart features.

  • €199 at Huawei

The new FreeBuds Pro are Huawei’s highest-end and most advanced true wireless earbuds. They cost €199 and they’ll be available around Europe starting October 2020.

The FreeBuds Pro are the successor to the FreeBuds 3. Huawei also recently launched the FreeLace Pro, which are neckband-style wireless earbuds – check them out if you want a more rugged and flexible alternative to true wireless earbuds.

Huawei’s most advanced true wireless earbuds yet

The most important upgrade to the FreeBuds Pro is their silicone ear tips that insulate your ear canals from outside noises. This allows the active noise cancelling (ANC) to work much better than on the open-fit FreeBuds 3.

Huawei FreeBuds Pro review: Tech and specs

  • Weight: 6.1g (per earbud); 60g (charging case)
  • Colors: Ceramic White, Carbon Black, Silver Frost
  • Processor: Kirin A1
  • ANC: up to 40dB
  • Driver: 11mm dynamic
  • Bone sensor
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2, dual-device connectivity supported
  • Antennas: dual
  • Battery capacity: 55mAh (per earbud), 580mAh (charging case)
  • Battery life (music playback): 7h (ANC off); 4.5h (ANC on). With charging case: 30h (ANC off); 20h (ANC on)
  • Charging methods: USB-C, wireless
  • Charging time: 40 minutes (earbuds); 1h charging case (wired); 2h (wireless)

What do the FreeBuds Pro sound like?

Credit: Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

For the most part, the FreeBuds Pro sound excellent, with no obvious issues that may put the average user off.

Compared to the FreeBuds 3, the new FreeBuds Pro emphasize the lower end a bit more, and seem to downplay vocals. It really depends on your own preferences which sound profile you prefer. Personally I tend to favor the FreeBuds 3, but if you enjoy bass-heavy genres you’ll probably want to opt for the FreeBuds Pro.

The FreeBuds Pro sound excellent

The FreeBuds Pro are miles ahead of the previous generation when it comes to insulation. Using one of the three included pairs of silicone tips, you can shut out a lot of the outside noise, and that’s even before turning on ANC. This mitigates auditory masking, which is the technical term for what happens when you can’t really hear your music because the neighbor upstairs is doing home improvement again.

The earbuds come with “dynamic equalization,” meaning the multiple mics analyze the environment and the media that’s played to optimize the listening experience.

Is the noise cancelling good?

huawei freebuds pro 2

Credit: Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

The open-fit FreeBuds 3 technically had ANC, but it was so weak you couldn’t notice it in most cases. That changes with the FreeBuds Pro, which have the advantage of passive insulation thanks to the ear tips.

Huawei claims up to 40dB of noise reduction, though it’s not clear which frequencies are covered by this claim. Walking down a busy street with the FreeBuds Pro, I noticed a real drop in car noise, especially the deeper hums. That’s even without any music playing. Don’t expect any miracles though. Like all ANC headphones, noise cancelling works on monotone, low-frequency sounds, while voices, car horns, or sirens easily go through.

Using Huawei’s AI Life app (available for all Android devices), you can switch between ANC strength levels, going from “Cozy” (for quiet environments) to “Ultra” (ideal for loud situations like the inside of a plane cabin). In Auto mode, the headphones will switch ANC modes on their own.

Don’t miss: Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review: The best buds in the galaxy

What is Awareness mode?

huawei freebuds pro ai life app 1
huawei freebuds pro ai life app 4
huawei freebuds pro ai life app 2
huawei freebuds pro ai life app 3

Awareness is Huawei’s take on the feature Apple popularized under the “Transparency” name. Basically, in Awareness mode, the earbuds let through certain mid- and high- frequency sounds, allowing you to better hear people talking around you or important announcements while you wait for your plane to board.

We’ve seen Awareness mode on the FreeBuds 3i before, but Huawei has added a Voices mode that does what the name says. I was kind of skeptical initially, but it really does work. The effect is almost eerie, amplifying voices almost like a hearing aid.

How do you control the FreeBuds Pro?

huawei freebuds pro 12

FreeBuds ProCredit: Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

For the first time on Huawei true wireless earbuds, you can control volume through touch gestures. Simply slide your finger up or down over the front-facing side of the earbud’s stem. This changes the volume in 10% increments; it’s a bit annoying that you may need to repeat the gesture several times, but it’s still a great option to have.

Playlist navigation is controlled through pinch gestures. Pinch the earbud stem once to pause/resume, twice to skip to the next song, or three times to jump to the previous song. It’s pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it.

I prefer this new (again, Apple-inspired) control system over other earbuds’ taps-based controls. Tapping on an in-ear bud is not exactly pleasant.

Do the FreeBuds Pro have good battery life?

huawei freebuds pro 9

Credit: Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

Huawei rates the FreeBuds Pro at 7h of battery life (music playback) with ANC turned off, and 4.5h with ANC on. That’s a big jump from las year, when you could expect around 4-4.5h wit ANC off. It’s clear Huawei managed to stuff more battery in the two earbuds, which are noticeably heavier than on the FreeBuds 3.

7h of continuous playback on one charge is a big jump from last year

If you take the charging case (also heavier than last year) into account, total battery life can reach 30h of music playback with ANC off, and 20h with ANC on.

If you only use your earphones for calls, you should expect shorter battery life: up to 18h with the charging case included and ANC off.

In my experience, you can definitely get close to the rated battery life, especially if you don’t listen at a high volume. At their rated battery life, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro rank in the upper section of SoundGuys’ ranking of true wireless earbuds.

What I like about the FreeBuds Pro

  • Great battery life: Seven hours of battery life and charging in 40 minutes are more than enough for most users.
  • The controls: Once you get the hang of it, the touch controls become second nature.
  • The insulation: ANC and silicone ear tips insulate you from the world.
  • Dual device support: You can connect the FreeBuds Pro to your phone and your PC at the same time. While you can’t play media at the same time, you can listen to music on Spotify and take calls from your phone. Furthermore, the FreeBuds Pro will automatically connect to your last two used devices when you take them out of the case.

What I don’t like about the FreeBuds Pro

  • The charging case is cramped: The design of the charging case makes it difficult to remove the earbuds from it. It can be a nuisance on the move or when your hands are wet.
  • Less comfortable: Compared to the open-fit FreeBuds 3, the FreeBuds Pro are a little less comfortable to wear for hours and hours at an end.
  • Some features are exclusive to Huawei: This is becoming an issue with more and more manufacturers – you’ll only get to enjoy all the FreeBuds Pro features with a recent Huawei device.

Should you buy the FreeBuds Pro?

huawei freebuds pro 4

Credit: Bogdan Petrovan / Android Authority

As mentioned in the intro of this Huawei FreeBuds Pro review, the market is flooded with true wireless earbuds, and many of them are quite good.

Huawei obviously followed Apple’s lead here. From the shape of the buds, to the feature set, the software integration, and even the name, the FreeBuds Pro aim to be Huawei’s AirPods Pro. If you care about originality, there are more unique designs out there, like the Galaxy Buds Live or the Google Pixel Buds. That’s personally not a huge deal for me – product quality comes first, and the FreeBuds Pro deliver that.

If you’re invested in the Huawei ecosystem, the FreeBuds Pro are an easy sell, as they provide wearing detection and quicker connections, on top of their good sound quality and rich features.

Other Android users should also give the FreeBuds Pro a shot if they’re after good sound quality and ANC, great battery life, and smart features.


€199
.00

Huawei FreeBuds Pro

Buy it Now

Huawei FreeBuds Pro

Buy it Now


€199
.00

Besides the AirPods Pro (the default choice for Apple users), our current recommendation for the best noise-cancelling earbuds are the Sony WF-1000XM3, which retail for around $230. We also really liked the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus, which feature very accurate sound, but have a showy design and a high price tag of $300. The Galaxy Buds Plus are probably the best option for Samsung phone users. For something cheaper, look into the Mobvoi TicPods Free, which go as low as $80.

Read more: The best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds

That wraps up our Huawei FreeBuds Pro review. Any questions about this product? Let us know in the comments.

Latest

Electric Bike Mental Health Benefits

Your mental health is a big part of your overall wellness and happiness. There are many different strategies for improving mental health,...

Top 15 WordPress Plug-ins for Your Small Business Website in 2020

Ecommerce businesses are always looking out for the best tools to enhance their website functionality. And the WordPress content management system is...

Invest in your personal growth with this 5-course eLearning bundle

One of the best things to do for yourself is to do something today that pays off later. Whether that’s eating healthier, getting more exercise, or knocking out that longstanding task list, you’ll appreciate tomorrow what you’ve accomplished today.When it comes to personal growth and business, there’s no time like the present to invest in yourself. What are you doing with all of that newly found free time with the stay-at-home restrictions in place?The weather will be cooler before you know it and the days will be shorter. Why not take that opportunity to put some time into becoming a more well-rounded person. Invest in your personal and business self.The Complete eLearning Lifetime Membership Bundle, on sale for just $99 in the AG Deals Store, is a 5-course bundle of eLearning that helps you grow in business, programming, languages, management, and general entrepreneurship.Spanning more than 6,000 lessons, this bundle puts forth 4,000 hours of content available in both desktop and mobile format. It’s yours for life, and many of the courses come with certificates. Use them for your next yearly review or add them to your resume.School of Game Design: Turn Your Love of Gaming Into a Career with This Extensive Training Library of 200+ Hours of Video TrainingCudoo: 800+ Courses on Languages, Professional, Computer & Soft SkillsCyberTraining 365: 3,000+ Lectures on Real-World Cyber Attack & Defense Techniques and Become an Industry-Recognized ITSkill Builder Pro: Grow Your Skills with 300+ Business, Personal Development & Microsoft CoursesUpskill: Be a Job-Ready Web Developer by Learning the Fundamentals of ProgrammingSign Up Today!Valued at more than $12,000 if you were to go about signing up for each of these services on your own, we’re helping readers get the 5-course kit for just $99.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

Verizon Buyer’s Guide (October 2020)

Verizon Wireless is the the largest wireless carrier in the United States, serving approximately 120 million subscribers. You’ve surely seen more than your share of advertising and promotion for the brand, but how much do you truly know about Verizon?Did you know, for instance, that it provides prepaid service? It sure does. It also license its network to other companies for usage as Mobile Virtual Network Operators.Here, we’ll help spell out some of the details worth knowing as it pertains to Verizon. Read on for information about the carrier’s rate plans, features, 5G, and phones.Rate PlansGone for the most part are plans with set amounts of data. Verizon now offers a number of “Unlimited” options, each of which includes unlimited talk and text and access to 4G LTE and 5G nationwide network.Verizon describes each of its plans in the following way:Start Unlimited – Get started with unlimited talk, text and data and never worry about overage charges again.Play More Unlimited – Our best plan for streaming, with tons of shows, movies and sports and premium network access—all included.Do More Unlimited – When productivity is your top priority, get it all done with premium data and a discount on a connected device plan.Get More Unlimited – Experience our ultimate in performance on our best plan with extra features, including more music and entertainment.Just Kids – Manage screen time, filter content, track location and get Unlimited data on your kid’s first phone, so you get peace of mind.Select plans include access to the Ultra Wideband 5G network which is much faster and features ultra-low latency. Verizon also offers extra features on its different plans, including Disney+, Apple Music, and cloud storage. As of today a single line costs at least $70 per month.Customers with multiple lines can mix and match the various options, giving each user their own specific features. The more lines you have on an account, the cheaper each one is per month.Device PlansVerizon offers a few options for customers who need coverage for their smartwatch, tablet, hotspot, or laptop. These device plans start as low as $10 per month for wearables and go as high as $30 per month for laptops, hotspots, and tablets.ExtrasVerizon rate plans are not just about minutes, messages, and data. Indeed, customers can save money on other services just by signing up for Verizon. Here are some of the extras available on plans; features vary by plan.Disney+Apple MusicDisney+, Hulu, ESPN+Cloud StorageDiscounts for device plansMobile hotspot (available on most plans)5G NetworkVerizon’s 5G network is steadily making its way across the country, hitting major markets, stadiums, and arenas. Its “5G Ultra Wideband” is an incredibly fast network with lighting quick downloads and uploads and very low latency.Unfortunately its signal does not travel as far as other carriers and their network. It can also be impacted by buildings and obstacles and often relies on line of sight with a cell. The reason that Verizon’s network differs is because of the mmWave-based technology used.In the future Verizon will turn to a technology called dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) that lets it share spectrum between 4G and 5G.5G PhonesVerizon has a rapidly growing list of phones designed to support its 5G network. Some of the devices are exclusive to Verizon, including the Motorola Edge Plus.Models which are available through other carriers are sometimes more expensive through Verizon. This is because of the hardware maker having to include support for the mmWave bands. Examples include the LG Velvet and OnePlus 8 which are about $100 more than at other service providers.Smartphone SelectionVerizon has one of the widest selections of smartphones with models from entry-level devices aimed at first-time users all the way up to flagships. It also has a couple of phones that fold or have unique designs. Examples here include the Motorola Razr and LG Wing.It’s also possible to bring your own device to Verizon, provided it is a CDMA phone or universally unlocked device.Check out our guide on which are the best phones at Verizon.