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Huawei FreeBuds Pro Review - Superb noise-canceling, seamless connectivity, powerful sound!

OPPO
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro is currently the company's top TWS offering. Out of the box, it impressed us due to its set of features and audio quality.
Best for the price?

Now, after a few months of using it as the primary TWS, here's our full review.


Battery

The charging case
The charging case

Per earbud, the FreeBuds Pro goes with 55mAh of juice and an extra 580mAh using the charging case.

At about 50 percent loudness, if you are using a Huawei EMUI 11 device, it lasts for around 8 hours without ANC. With ANC, it has up to about 5 hours of playback time.

If you don't own a Huawei device, playback will be a bit shorter as Huawei clearly optimized this one for Huawei users. Still, playback can last up to 7 hours without ANC and up to 4 hours with ANC. Still not bad.

For charging, it is fast. At just around 40 minutes, it can fully charge the earbuds in the charging case. Usually, you'll need an hour to fully charge a TWS from other brands. 

The charging case can charge the earbuds a little over 4 times.

The charging case without the earbuds will need 1 hour to fully charge via USB-C cables. With the use of a wireless charging pad, 2 hours is needed. It works with all of the Qi wireless charging pads we have.

You can even charge it using the reverse wireless charging feature of your phone.

This works for premium Huawei mobile devices like the MatePad Pro, Mate 20 Pro and above, P30 Pro and above, or any other smartphones with a Huawei-like reverse wireless charging solution.

Features

There is a button on the right side of the case that you can use pop-up and pair didn't work
There is a button on the right side of the case that you can use pop-up and pair didn't work

Connecting to your device is a breeze. Especially if you are a Huawei user. 

It comes with a pop-up and pair for your phone and tablet. For PC, you may have to resort to the traditional "Add Bluetooth" on the Bluetooth settings of your computer to connect it.

But after that, everything is super seamless. It connects instantaneously with all of the devices where it was paired. YES, it can be connected to your phone, PC, and tablet all at the same time. Then, it'll intelligently detect which is the device you are using at the moment.

For example, you can play a song on your PC. Then it will stop when you use your phone for calls. After dropping the call, you can easily resume the playback on your other devices. There's no need to reconnect the earphones on the device you are using each time.

As expected, connectivity is very stable. It just works.

Likely, this is the power of Bluetooth 5.2 enhanced by Huawei's Kirin A1 audio processor.



Easy controls
Easy controls

To recap, this device also has easy-to-use smart controls. All you need to do is Press (once/twice/three times/long press) and Swipe (up/down) on the stem of the buds to enable ANC and Awareness mode, control volume, play or pause music, answer or end calls, and access the next track or previous song.

Easy controls!

Unlike most TWS earphones, you do not need to press the buds to your ears. I personally find this method to be more comfortable.

Also, as mentioned, this comes with an easy swipe up and down for volume controls. This is a feature that you won't even see on the much pricier AirPods Pro.

Hands down, this has better controls than a lot of TWS buds in the market today.

To nitpick, you might accidentally pull the earbuds out of your ear adjusting the volume of your music. My tip, swipe up and down it gently. No need to do the swiping with force. Do not treat the buds like it has physical buttons to prevent it from falling from your ears.

Best-in-class ANC!

Speaking of ANC, this has up to 40dB of optimized noise cancellation also known as the intelligent dynamic noise cancellation, and an improved 3-mic system with dual wind noise cancellation.

The noise cancellation is superb and it blocks outside noise very well. In fact, this is probably the strongest type of noise-canceling solution we have experienced on TWS buds yet. By default, its ear tips alone block outside noise decently, but when you turn on the ANC, you will hardly hear anything.

In fact, even this can even block the person shouting next to you. This mode is ideal if you want to concentrate on whatever you are doing or listening to.

But, at times you also need to be aware. Use the awareness mode. This will allow you to hear better and be aware of your surroundings even if you don't take the earbuds off your ears.

This allowed us to hear outside noise even better than when the ANC is turned off (ANC turned off mode still has natural noise isolation).
AI Life app
AI Life app

It even has a feature in the AI Life app that could "Enhance voices" and it somehow works.

For microphones, no problem. This works very well for calls and has pretty good noise canceling. As advertised, it can even block wind noise somehow.

Huawei also highlights that this has a Wireless High-quality Recording that covers a frequency range up to 20Hz with stable transmission, a feature that is ideal for vloggers.

This provides decent mic quality from afar. However, if you have a wireless lapel mic for your cameras, it will still perform better. But at least, Huawei is trying to address this issue. Frankly, those who aren't picky with microphone recordings will find the voices it records to be decent.

The mic is also good enough to accurately use Voice Assistants like Celia.

Audio

Good fit, nice audio performance
Good fit, nice audio performance

For audio, the FreeBuds Pro only supports the standard SBC (320-345 kbps) and AAC (mostly 256 kbps) audio codecs. For PC use, it is only SBC. These audio codecs are good enough for most listeners, but we would have liked it better if it supported other types of lossy codecs as well.

Solid audio performance with strong mid-bass and clear vocals!

This is a good all-rounder adequate and snappy mid-bass. Sub-bass is present, but it is a bit recessed. The mids are the main strength of this IEM. It is very impressive. It is optimized for voices. Highs are also present, but discreet. It has decent cymbal crashes. The soundstage is considered reasonably wide or well-spaced for an in-ear monitor.

Even if the ANC is turned on (audio performance degrades a little on ANC), audio quality is still decent. 

It has no noticeable distortion as well. As expected, it is very easy to drive. We only needed 50 percent to 60 percent loudness to make it shine.

For our full audio analysis, read this article: Can the Huawei FreeBuds Pro impress picky audiophiles?

Pros - Stylish build, best-in-class ANC, ultra-stable connectivity, volume control, good audio quality
Cons - It takes a little bit of effort and practice before you can easily remove the earbuds from the charging case, no lossless audio codec support, lacks water resistance for workouts

Huawei FreeBuds Pro Specs

CPU: 356MHz Kirin A1 audio processor
Driver: 11mm dynamic driver
Microphone: 3-mic system
Battery: 55mAh (per earbud), 580mAh (charging case) w/ wireless charging
Sensors: Proximity, bone, IR
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Others: ANC, touch control, pop-up and pair, dual-antenna, USB-C, Colors: Silver Frost, Carbon Black, Ceramic White
Dimensions: 29.6 x 26 x 21.7 mm (per earbud), 70 x 51.3 x 24.6 mm (charging case)
Weight: 6.1 g (per earbud), 60 g (charging case)
Price: PHP 7,999

Verdict

The TWS buds to beat?
The TWS buds to beat?

We are very pleased with what the Huawei FreeBuds Pro presented at this price point. As advertised, it has best-in-class ANC, sound quality is good to great, connectivity is strong, battery performance is impressive, and it goes with plenty of features.

It has a few weak points like the lack of water-resistance rating and lossless codec support, but it won't take the fact that this is arguably the best for the price. If noise-canceling is your priority, this is even better than a lot of pricier TWS buds like the AirPods Pro.

Build/Design - 4.25
Comfort/Isolation - 4.85
Battery Life - 4.5
Features - 4.75
Sound - 4.5
Average - 4.57/5
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