A couple of weeks back, Huawei launched their latest TWS headset to date, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro. We’ve unboxed it, played around with it, and even listed down why we feel it is the perfect home companion despite it being designed, initially, with travel in mind.
After weeks of usage, we’re ready to give our full verdict. Is this PHP 7,999 SRP audio surprise from Huawei worth your hard-earned peso? And is it a great fit for your geeky lifestyle?
Find out here in our review of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro.
Design & Fit
One of the key aspects that Huawei improved on with their FreeBuds line is fit. Starting off from this year’s (or fine, late 2019) Huawei FreeBuds 3 and moving on to the Huawei FreeBuds 3i, it seems that the FreeBuds Pro integrated all the best elements from previous generation and infused it in one nifty package.
Rendered with a minimalist geometric design, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro looks more eye-catching than its predecessors. Design-wise it really is coming on its own which is always a good thing since the last 2 versions drew heavy inspiration from pre-existing TWS designs.
Aside from the shape, the finishing is something to marvel at as well. We got our hands on the Silver Frost colorway and the highly reflective chrome body complements a more subdued silver earpiece.
Fit-wise, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro has been angled differently than past TWS so it conforms to your ears better. If that’s not enough, the FreeBuds Pro, similarly to the FreeBuds 3i, utilizes various silicon tips to ensure that earbuds become snug without being uncomfortable.
Harnessing the power of machine learning, the FreeBuds Pro can give you the best fit possible by utilizing a fit test function inside the Huawei AiLife App – an App that you would want to use to get the most out of your Huawei FreeBuds Pro.
In a series of tests, the app can determine if you get Good Fit, or it will suggest you take action like re-adjusting the headpiece or trying a different silicon tip.
Let’s look at the main highlight for the Huawei FreeBuds Pro – it’s Active Noise Cancelation option. Unlike other Noise-canceling TWS, the FreeBuds Pro offers various levels of ambient noise reduction depending on your usage and the environment you’re in. There are 2 main levels with the ANC on or Awareness Mode, where you still get to hear pertinent ambient noises. Under the Awareness Mode, you can tick the Enhanced Voice Mode on or off so that you will get ANC for most things but when someone talks to you, the FreeBuds Pro automatically allows you to hear the person.
We’ve tested this out a couple of times, but we will admit that it needs some polish. A few patches and more samples would help your FreeBuds Pro perfect these attributes. Still, it’s a great addition to the usual noise-canceling on or off options.
The Awareness Mode feature actually reminds me of Sony’s dynamic active noise canceling headset, the WH-1000XM series. However, instead of cupping your hand to your ears to hear people, you have to pinch on the stem of the earbuds to cycle through the various noise-canceling modes.
As for the intensity of your ANC, you can manually set the levels of noise-canceling from (Cozy, General, Ultra) or simply put it on Dynamic and let your Huawei FreeBuds determine the best level for you. I usually just put it at this.
As far as how intense the ANC of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro is, it’s the best from a TWS earbuds that I’ve tried. It’s not the same intensity as an over-ear headset but I find that it drowns a lot of sounds especially when you’re blasting your favorite tracks on Spotify or binging a couple of series on Netflix.
Aside from dampening the pesky ambient noises, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro is also equipped with a 3-mic system that gave us clear vocal clarity when we were using the FreeBuds on various zoom calls and video conferences.
Excellent noise-canceling doesn’t mean much if the overall sound-quality of your earphones are bad. Good thing the Huawei FreeBuds Pro is fitted with large 11mm sound-drivers which, I have to say gives a very balanced output. Most in-ear devices by brands have a heavy-bass-leaning sound profile; the Huawei on the other hand, surprisingly restrained themselves from going that route with the FreeBuds Pro. The bass isn’t too punchy which gives mids and highs enough room to shine through.
While I tested the FreeBuds Pro on a lot of contemporary songs, I usually have 1 or 2 go-to track to truly determine the quality of any headset. The first is a Daft Punk track from their Random Access Memory album called Giorgio by Moroder. The next is Jay-Z and Kanye West’s epic anthem No Church In the Wild featuring Frank Ocean and The-Dream.
For Giorgio by Moroder, we can get ambient noise, spoken words, crisp metal-like hi-hat noises, 70’s disco synth and pop building up to a cacophony of sounds with the use of disc scratch, samplings and modern club mix towards the end. No Church in the Wild tests consistency of bass and if this will interfere with subtle sampling and vocals done by Jay-Z and Kanye and haunting chorus sung by Frank Ocean.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro, for the most part, was able to pick up subtle nuances without drowning details. While this balance is appreciated, I do find that I am missing something with it. Don’t get me wrong, sound reproduction is good overall, it just probably isn’t tuned exactly to my liking.
Aside from the Dynamic Active Noise Canceling equipped on the Huawei FreeBuds Pro, this headset is also the first TWS earbuds to have a Dual-Antenna system to ensure constant connection between the Huawei FreeBuds Pro and your device. We found that the FreeBuds Pro have a distance of about 10-12 meters before things become a bit fuzzy but not completely cutting the sound off.
You can also connect to up to 2 devices simultaneously, something that I truly appreciate. Considering we now live in a more connected world there are a lot of times that may need to jump from my smartphone and then to my laptop or vice versa. Having a seamless experience removes the hassle of pairing, connecting and reconnecting.
As far as battery life is concerned, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro improves upon its predecessors. With the ANC turned on, the FreeBuds Pro can last around 3.5 hours of callback or 4 hours of music playblack on a single charge. With the charging case it can last around 16 hour. Almost double this if you turn the ANC off and that’s a really long time of usage – perfect for when you’re traveling and need to drown out the world around you.
If you’re in the market of a true wireless headset, we heavily urge you to check the Huawei FreeBuds Pro as it is one of the best for a TWS earbuds with a dynamic ANC under the 8,000 peso price range.
The official retail price of this is at PH 7,999 and if you purchase one from now till January 17, 2021, you can get yourselves an entertainment pack worth PHP 2,099.
While there are a lot of TWS devices flooding the market that may have a lower price point that the Huawei FreeBuds Pro, you likely won’t find this combination of innovative tech, seriously sick stylish design and versatile utility, all with a price point that won’t break the bank.