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HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 Review - They listened and delivered!


At a glance

The box of the FreeBuds Pro 2

Pros - The buds are now easier to remove from the case, IP54 water and dust resistance rating, good comfort, stellar sound quality for wireless buds, ANC is strong and doesn't affect audio quality, decent microphones, a lot of cool and easy-to-use features 
Cons - Fingerprint smudge magnet body, only 3 tips to choose from (like most TWS buds), ANC battery life is not on part with the competition


With the FreeBus Pro 2, HUAWEI addressed most of our comments on the first FreeBuds Pro.

It now has some sort of water and dust resistance and the company made it more pro-like by adding the 11mm quad-magnet dynamic + planar diaphragm—a first in the industry. Its HWA and Hi-Res Wireless audio certifications also seem legit as it sounds just as good or even better than most of the pricier heavy-hitters.

Despite having a few minor weak points, HUAWEI clearly listened to our previous comments. The FreeBuds Pro 2 delivered. This is one of the best TWS that we have tested this year.

Build/Design - 4.25
Comfort/Isolation - 4.75
Battery Life - 4.25
Features - 4.75
Sound - 4.75
Average - 4.55/5

Here's our full review:

The HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro last year is one of the better TWS devices from a mobile brand. They are well-built, have a strong noise-canceling performance, stable connectivity, and an attractive price tag.

However, it has a few weak points such as the lack of water-resistance rating and lossless codec support.

Fast forward to 2022, it appears that HUAWEI is listening with the release of the FreeBuds Pro 2. They addressed its weak points and added even more promising features making it more "Pro-like" on paper.

To make it even more exciting, the Chinese tech giant will soon make this device available in the Philippines.

Let's have a look.


What's inside the box?
What's inside the box?

As usual, HUAWEI kept the packaging of the FreeBuds Pro 2 simple yet elegant looking. They also slapped it with logos of HWA and Hi-Res Wireless audio certifications. You will also see the Devialet logo, the company's partner in making this device possible. On its back, you will see the key features of the device.

Inside, you will see the case with the earbuds in the interior, two more earbuds sizes, USB-A to USB-C cable, and the paper documentation.

There is no USB wall charger as expected. You can simply plug its cable into the USB port of your PC or low-powered power bank to charge the device though.

Build Quality/Design

The case

The FreeBuds Pro 2 is mostly using plastic for the case. It is available in  Silver Blue, Silver Frost, and Ceramic White colorways. The case has a more matte-like finish with mirror-like chrome paint in the center. Only the part with a chrome finish is prone to smudges.
USB-C port
USB-C port

The case has a USB-C port underneath and a pairing key on the right side. When opened, you will see the contact pins below and the LED indicator in the middle part.
When you open the case
When you open the case

Of course, you will also see the buds as well. It is also made of plastic with a chrome finish. It also has some black parts for the mesh and there are holes for the microphones.

This also has IP54 of water and dust resistance which means that it can be used for workouts and survive accidental water splashes. HUAWEI just noted that the protection is not permanent, so it is still better if you will be careful with your unit.

Similar design, but slightly smaller, lighter!

Its shape and design are identical to the first FreeBuds Pro with subtle differences in dimensions and microphone holes. Both the case and the buds are also a bit smaller.

The buds measure just  29.1 x 23.7 x 21.8 mm each and while the case is 67.9 x 47.4 x 24.5 mm big. This is clearly smaller than my personal unit, the Sony WF-1000XM4.

We also noticed that HUAWEI addresses the issue that makes the buds a bit hard to remove from the case. The magnets are not as strong as before so you can easily lift the buds from the case.
The tips and the mesh
The tips and the mesh

It is also comfortable to hold without sharp edges. The tips, it has the same oval shape and it has a filter to prevent your earwax from entering the buds. This is aside from the main mesh filter.

The stem is not that long compared to other buds. Again, it looks premium and its size is pocketable.


Comfortable to the ears
Comfortable to the ears

Since the device has no sharp edges and a soft type of silicone ear tips, comfort is great on the FreeBuds Pro 2. It easily competes with my more expensive Sony WF-1000XM4. Only my Nothing ear (1) is slightly more comfortable among all the 10+ TWS buds I have at home.

This simply means that it can comfortably seat in your ears for hours with minimal fatigue over time.

Strong ANC performance!

For the best fit, choose from the 3 tip sizes included in the package. It is using an oval bore instead of the traditional circular one, so it might be hard to find on aftermarket tips.

It would have been better if HUAWEI included different types of tips including foamies to fit the ears of those with unusual ear holes.

Naturally, even if you don't use the ANC function, the in-ear design of the device is enough to block the noise coming from my air purifier. If you turn on the ANC, it will block noise at greater heights.

The FreeBuds last year can block noise up to 40dB, and the FreeBuds 2 this year can block as high as 47dB based on HUAWEI's laboratory tests.

We do not have the equipment accurately test that, but it is a little stronger than both my FreeBuds Pro. It even has different modes like Dynamic (which can adjust automatically depending on the surroundings, Cozy (ideal for places with less noise), General (designed for noisy places), and Ultra (for extremely noisy situations).

The UItra mode is among the strongest ANCs we have ever tried. Only the WF-1000XM4 is a bit better than it.

This also has an Awareness mode and it is one of the best we have tried. It is the mode that I will recommend using if you want to listen to music while walking in the streets while keeping aware of your surroundings. It even has a voice mode that will allow you to hear the person talking beside you better. Compared with my XM4, this is better.

But, we hope that next time HUAWEI will copy the Sony WF-1000XM4 tap-to-hold feature for that can access Awareness mode as long as you are holding 

The company achieved this by using 3 highly-sensitive microphones.


The battery, it has the same 55mAh on each side and 580mAh on the charging case. If the ANC is disabled, it has an advertised 6.5 hours per bud. With ANC, it will drain the battery faster for up to 4 hours of playback. The charging case could provide 18 (ANC off) to 30 (ANC on) hours of extra battery.

Battery life is alright, but it could be better!

HUAWEI's claim is mostly correct. I'm getting almost four hours with ANC and more than  6 hours without ANC at 60 to 70 percent loudness.

My issue here is the rated battery life is 1 hour lower than the original FreeBuds Pro. 4 hours (same with Nothing ear (1)) is not bad. But AirPods Pro (4.5 hours with ANC) and the WF-1000XM4 (8 hours with ANC) all have better battery performance.

This is likely due to its use of a dual-driver configuration that is more power-hungry than most single-driver setups.

For charging, it is about 40 minutes from 0 to 100 percent in the case. The case itself without the buds needs 60 minutes to be fully charged. 
Wireless charging needs more than 2 hours.


Plenty of features!
Plenty of features!

Using the FreeBuds Pro 2 is very simple. All you need to do is open the case and it will automatically pop up and pair with your HUAWEI device. For non-HUAWEI users, all you need to do is open the Bluetooth of your device, press the pairing button on the case of the buds (while the buds are in the charging case), and pair once you find the device.
AI Life app
AI Life app

It connects via Bluetooth 5.2 which performed quite well. It is stable and can pass through doors and not-that-thick walls easily. It would have been better if it uses Bluetooth 5.3 though.

On my PC, there is lag on the first try, but that problem was gone after updating the buds to HarmonyOS 3.

It can be connected to the HUAWEI AI Life app that works on HUAWEI, Android, and even iOS devices. On PC, HUAWEI has yet to come up with an app to access its control.
Gestures and Fit test
Gestures and Fit test

On the app, you can see its battery percentage, where it is connected (up to two devices seamlessly), noise canceling/awareness settings, and different sound effects (you can even customize the EQ here).

In the Sound effects tab, it even has an option to access Smart HD to automatically adjust the bit rate it is transferring adaptively. This is good if you want to save battery life as higher bit rates drain the battery faster. From there, you can also enhance the clarity of voice at the expense of increased battery consumption.

I also like that you can customize the gesture controls and access the likes of find earphones, fit test, update, and other settings like smart wear detection, and low latency audio.

The ear tip fit test determines if you are getting the right fit on your ear with the help of its hardware and AI.

It can be used to access your voice assistant, even Google Assistant if you are not using a HUAWEI phone.

The controls:

Easy controls on the stem
Easy controls on the stem

Speaking of controls, it has the pinch, pinch & hold, and swipe gesture controls. You can use it to answer or end calls, reject calls, play or pause music, the next song, the previous song, access noise control, and wake up the voice assistant. Again, this is customizable to your liking.

The swipe and down on either bud are for volume control. Versus my first-gen FreeBuds, it is more responsive as well. The result is it doesn't fall off my ears when adjusting the volume.


With plenty of microphones
With plenty of microphones

The FreeBuds Pro 2 has plenty of microphones. In particular, it has a 
Bone conduction mic and 3 more microphones. If I'm correct, the bone microphone is the one responsible for voice pickup.

The result is it has one of the better microphone qualities for calls. Most of the time, even outdoors in windy situations, my voice is said to be bearable by the other party. 

For recordings, dedicated microphones are still superior. But, this is usable for TWS buds.

Have a listen to our sample recording below:

Not bad!


Apple Lossless + FreeBuds Pro 2 is FIRE!
Apple Lossless + FreeBuds Pro 2 is FIRE!

The HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 has all of the right ingredients on paper to perform amazingly in the audio department. It is using a HUAWEI custom-made 
11mm quad-magnet dynamic driver and a voice coil planar unit. So, technically, this is a dual-driver setup.

The first TWS buds with premium planar magnetic tech!

This is also the first TWS buds with the planar magnetic tech. I'm not sure if this is similar to the tech of my few Hifiman full-sized headphones, but it is an interesting tech.

HUAWEI said that this planar diaphragm boosts the driven area by about 6 times versus standard driver units for "sky-high transient response and more enriching details."

Meanwhile, the other driver boosts its driving force by 30 percent versus the previous FreeBuds Pro. It is also designed to deliver 14Hz of bass.

This is also the first TWS buds with both HWA and Hi-Res Wireless audio certifications. This allows streaming of high-resolution audio over Bluetooth connections at up to 990 kbps at 32-bit/96kHz.

But before we start, ensure that your audio setup has:

1. Your smartphone or any music player should have LDAC support
2. The audio that you will play must be lossless in quality (Try Apple Music, extract lossless offline audio files from your old CDs, or download paid lossless audio files)
3. If you are using audio streaming apps like Apple Music, make sure that your internet connectivity is fast and stable as lossless audio is heavier in data consumption.

Note: If you are using an iPhone or PC, you will only enjoy the standard AAC or SBC codecs at 320 kbps.

The sound signature of the FreeBuds Pro 2 is "warm" and rich similar to my WF-1000XM4. This means that bass and vocals are slightly more emphasized. It'll shine at about 60 to 70 percent loudness. It is a bit harder to drive There is no noticeable distortion as well.

A solid all-rounder!

At least to my ears, it appears that HUAWEI's claims are correct. This has the arguably deepest bass among all the wireless buds I've tried. It is fast, tight, and clear with enough soothing sub-bass in some cleaner tracks. The decay is even present and I particularly enjoyed it on bass guitars.

The mids are also extra-clear. Microdetails are even present and that's rare for wireless buds.

This means that even the opening of lips or the imperfections of the track could be noticeable at times. It is definitely full-sounding. Instruments and vocals are also very well separated and the soundstage is WIDE for buds this small. Don't get me wrong, it is not headphone-like wide, but it is wide for buds.

Passable wireless audiophile quality!

We said earlier that HUAWEI's emphasis is on the bass and vocals, but they didn't forget the highs. It is clear and detailed, and it sparkles. The highs are enough and it is not fatiguing.

The EQs I'm using are the default adaptive EQ of HUAWEI co-created with Devialet and a custom flat EQ. Surprisingly, the default EQ that is designed to bring out "crystal" sound is quite good and HUAWEI managed to keep all the details while not making it sound too flat or boring versus other audiophile-centric wired IEMs.

Listening to classics like Hotel California and Nina Live! album made the earbuds shine even brighter.

My WF-1000XM4 will still win in some tracks (highs with cymbals), but in most scenarios, I slightly prefer the FreeBuds Pro 2. That's a HUGE deal as it is the more affordable offering.

Most will enjoy these buds very much after updating them to the latest OS.

On PC and iPhones, the quality will degrade a little, but this is normal. But, if you have a Hi-Res Bluetooth DFAC. ENJOY.

Note: Make sure to update to the latest software to enjoy its best possible sound and connectivity experience.

HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 Specs

Driver: 11mm quad-magnet dynamic + planar diaphragm
Frequency response: 14Hz to 48kHz
Microphone: Bone conduction, 3x microphones
Battery: 55mAh (per earbud), 580mAh (charging case) w/ Qi wireless charging
Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, infrared
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 (LDAC, AAC, SBC)
Others: ANC, tap/swipe control, pop-up and pair, IP54 water splash and dust resistance, USB-C, Colors: Silver Blue, Silver Frost, Ceramic White
Dimensions: 29.1 x 23.7 x 21.8 mm (per earbud), 67.9 x 47.4 x 24.5 mm (charging case)
Weight:  6.1 g (per earbud), 52 g (charging case)
Price: PHP 9,999

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