Huawei have adopted a frustratingly familiar design to the AirPods Pro. I don’t see the need to do this, they are more than capable producing amazing products without copying designs. The shape puts more of the weight closer to your ears, mitigating the annoyances of the open fit earbud from last year. I prefer them as close to the inside of my ears as possible, so I don’t have to worry about them sliding out when I’m on the go. The squat design also seems to help anchor them and I never had to worry about them moving, even when thrashing my head around.
The FreeBuds Pro also ship with small, medium and large tips to help ensure they fit all types of ears. In addition, the companion app — which at the time of publication we were unable to try — will be able to tell you which will improve your fit.
There is a visible sensor on the outward-facing side of both buds that you’ll use to control playback and volume. As usual, taps pause playback and swipes alter the volume, while a good pinch — much like the AirPods Pro — cycles through the active noise cancellation options. One pinch activates active noise cancellation (ANC), while a second switches you to “awareness” mode, letting certain sounds, like voices, bleed through to help you stay tuned to your surroundings.
Huawei has said that the FreeBuds Pro’s ANC can now drown out up to 40dB of ambient sound (up from 15dB on the open-designed 3), and I can attest to that. Over a big family dinner, I asked everyone to have a loud and animated conversation in front of me. And, to my surprise, it managed to dull the chat well below the point of it being distracting.
One thing that hasn’t changed from the FreeBuds 3 is the internals, which are still using Huawei’s Kirin A1 chip. The company has, however, managed to get the total battery life up to 30 hours before you need to head to a charger. And you’ll get four and a half hours of listening out of each bud with ANC enabled, and closer to seven with ANC disabled. Thankfully, a full recharge takes just 40 minutes inside the case (and the case itself only needs an hour, anyway).
- Single 11mm ultra-large amplitude dynamic driver
- Up to 40dB noise cancelling
- Different ANC modes and transparency mode
- Mechanical audio stabilisation
- 3-mic system with 2 outward facing mics
- Bone sensor to improve the quality of voice calls
- Bluetooth 5.2
- Dual anti-wind noise design with 2-mics on the top and bottom of the stem
- 30 hours battery life (case+earphones)
- 4 hours batter with ANC, 7 hours without