Huawei FreeBuds Pro: Release Date, Price & New Features
Huawei seems to be putting a bigger focus on its wearables and earphones of late. That should come as no surprise considering the company’s phone business is still hamstrung in the West, being unable to use Google services. In fact, it has just announced that it will launch its own HarmonyOS on phones in 2021.
The FreeBuds range has grown rapidly in the past year or two, with the FreeBuds Pro being the third pair of true wireless earbuds Huawei has launched in the past year.
FreeBuds Pro at a glance:
- Flagship true wireless earbuds
- 40dB noise reduction
- Dynamic active noise cancelling
- Pair with two Bluetooth devices simultaneously
- 30-hour total battery life
In an attempt to differentiate them from so many others, the company has gone for a ‘cubic’ design so instead of a circular stalk, the FreeBuds Pro has a square one.
There’s also a new colour: Silver Frost, alongside the glossy white and black options. It’s a chrome-style finish that looks a lot better in the flesh than in images, especially renders like the one above.
Huawei wanted to beat the competition (notably the AirPods Pro) by offering 40dB of noise reduction. The AirPods offer up to 33dB.
ANC is also dynamically adjusted according to how noisy it is around you, which Huawei is claiming as a world first. The system uses ‘dual HD mics’, one placed inside the ear, and another outside.
As these are in-ears with silicone tips, they isolate a lot of noise passively. So there’s an awareness mode that uses the dual external mics in each bud to allow you to hear your surroundings. In the AI Life app you can enable an Enhance Voices setting that’s designed to make speech clearer in this mode.
Like previous Huawei earbuds, there’s a ‘bone sensor’ for phone calls. Instead of relying only on the mics, it picks up vibrations in your ear when you talk to make your voice clearer to callers. And there’s also wind suppression to cut down on wind noise when you’re outdoors.
The other nifty feature (clearly inspired by the AirPods Pro) is that you pinch the stalk – or pinch and hold – to control playback and toggle between ANC and awareness modes, and swipe up or down it to adjust volume.
You can also pair the earbuds with two devices and have those devices connected simultaneously. So if you have laptop with Bluetooth, you can listen to music or a video, but an incoming call from your phone would take priority and the FreeBuds will switch audio sources automatically.
The FreeBuds Pro use a custom 11mm driver that sits on a stabiliser – a bit like the OIS system in a phone camera – which is said to help avoid distortion and deliver better sound quality.
Battery life is 30 hours in total, with up to seven hours’ runtime before the buds need to be put back in the case for charging. If you have ANC enabled, though, you’ll get between 3.5 and 4.5 hours of music / audio playback, and 2.5 hours when using them for phone calls.
In the box is a USB-C cable for charging the case, and two extra sets of ear tips. A neat feature is that the app will run a test and tell you if your chosen tips fit well or not.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro price & release date
The FreeBuds Pro cost €199. No UK / US pricing has been announced yet, but we think it’s likely that they will be £179.99 or £189.99, and probably $199.99, which undercuts the AirPods Pro at £249/$249.
Huawei says they’ll go on sale in October, but as of yet, there’s no specific date.
You can read our full review of the FreeBuds Pro, but if you can’t wait until October, have a look at our roundup of the best true wireless headphones.