In just a few years, Huawei has become a popular and well-known brand around the world, especially in Canada.
While the company’s focus in Canada has been primarily smartphones, the past year brought a wider variety of technology north. This includes laptops, smart watches, wireless headphones, and even a Wi-Fi router.
Earlier this year, Huawei released the FreeBuds 3 true wireless earbuds, and now it’s enhancing its headphone set with the FreeBuds Pro.
These new headphones are comfortable, sound great, and include top-of-the-line noise cancellation. Huawei’s FreeBuds Pro cost $ 268, putting them in competition with headphones like Apple’s AirPods Pro, Samsung’s Galaxy Live Buds, and Google’s Pixel Buds (2020).
Surprisingly premium design
The FreeBuds Pro are available in ‘Frosted Silver’ and both look and feel very premium and solid. They are also available in ‘Ceramic White’ and ‘Carbon Black’.
I like the design of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro, although it is not my absolute favorite. The bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live take that award as far as I’m concerned. However, while the ergonomic shape and design of the FreeBuds Pro may seem a bit bulbous, it feels great in your ears.
I found that even while walking or biking around town, I was rarely worried about any of the headphones falling off. It still happened a time or two, but this is still much better than my experience with other wireless headphones.
The FreeBuds Pro aren’t the most comfortable truly wireless earbuds I’ve tried. Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live somehow win out with their odd bean shape, but the FreeBuds Pro are definitely superior in terms of comfort compared to the Pixel Buds (2020).
I can use FreeBuds Pro during an hour-long subway ride with no problems, but having them in my ears for an entire working day is not that feasible. The comfort issue is probably related to the big head and weight of the FreeBuds Pro, but wearing them for half a day and taking a break while having lunch and then putting them back on isn’t too bad.
In comparison, I can’t keep the Google Pixel Buds in my ear for more than an hour, and instead, I can wear the Galaxy Buds Live in my ears all day and often forget they’re there.
The FreeBuds Pro weigh 6.1g, making them heavier than the Live Buds, AirPods Pro, and Pixel Buds. While I’ve never used the AirPods Pro, the slight difference in weight is noticeable compared to the Pixel Buds and Galaxy Buds Live, but it’s by no means bad. That said, if you’re looking for the lightest wireless earbuds, the FreeBuds Pro are not for you. If you’re okay with a little extra weight, Huawei’s new wireless earbuds make up for this shortcoming in other ways.
Impressive sound quality
Having comfortable wireless headphones isn’t everything.
The FreeBuds Pro feature ultra-magnetic 11mm dynamic drivers, and using them to listen to podcasts, YouTube videos, and music is impressive.
I found the bass of the headphones shocking, heavy and full-bodied. With that in mind, playing music with heavy bass that is too loud causes the FreeBuds Pro to reverberate, but this doesn’t happen often. For the most part, the FreeBuds Pro are excellent when it comes to bass. The headphones also have dynamic equalization with the headphone microphones.
They analyze the environment and try to optimize the listening experience. I find this changes the listening experience a bit. I found that there were slight differences when I was outside walking compared to when I was at home. For example, the bass seemed a bit more powerful outside. With active noise cancellation, the sound becomes a bit artificial, but it is comparable, if not better, than the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. I thought the Sony WF100XM3 produced more articulations and sounds, but would not suggest using those headphones due to their bulky design.
Huawei’s FreeBud Pro offers 40 dB of noise reduction, and for the most part, the headphones are really good at cutting out outside sound.
I wore them while watching TV and the headphones completely cut out the sound from the TV. I even have to take them to the supermarket to talk to the cashiers; there is a voice mode so I can better hear the people around me available, but I like to block out as much sound as possible. They also significantly reduce the sound of a busy city like Toronto.
That said, noise reduction doesn’t block out sounds like I’m opening the sliding door or snapping my finger. Generally, noise cancellation seems to ignore the higher frequencies of sound waves and blocks the lower ones.
I found all the controls on the headphones available with the Huawei FreeBuds Pro to be quite intuitive. You can do things like turn the volume up and down, pause music, change the degree of noise cancellation, skip tracks, and more.
In fact, it can do so much with gesture controls that I often had to refer to the app again. It’s worth noting that I really liked the AirPods Pro-like pinch gesture, compared to just tapping on an earbud like with other wireless earbuds.
- Here’s a quick list of FreeBuds Pro gestures:
Squeeze the sides of the earbuds once to answer or end calls and play or pause music.
- Pinch twice to reject a call or skip tracks
- Pinch three times to go back to the previous song.
- Pinch and hold to control noise
- Swipe up and down to adjust the volume.
The Galaxy Buds Live and AirPods Pro also offer various controls and even a way to activate digital assistants like Siri and Bixby. Unfortunately, the FreeBuds Pro don’t have a way to connect to Huawei’s Celia or other voice assistants.
Battery and holder
I have about six hours of battery life per charge without the case and with noise cancellation turned on. Huawei says you can get 30 hours of battery life with the case, and this estimate seems correct. Trying to figure it out myself, I can get a little over 30 hours of battery life out of the case. The headphones themselves also charge from zero to 100 percent in less than 30 minutes.
The worst part about Huawei’s FreeBuds Pro is how they are compatible. The FreeBuds Pro are quite easy to connect to your smartphone – press and hold the single button on the case and start the pairing process. In a few moments, you will be connected to your phone. Where the problem lies is in the use of FreeBuds Pro with your application.
I had to download the AI Life app from Huawei’s own version from the Play Store, called AppGallery. To do this, I needed to download the AppGallery from the Huawei website. This means that your smartphone will ask you if you want to download from an unknown source. After allowing and downloading the AppGallery, you can download the AI app, do a couple of updates and then it will work with your Huawei FreeBuds Pro. The AI Life app is on Google’s Play Store, but when downloading this version of the app, it was unfortunately not compatible with FreeBuds Pro.
This process is incredibly annoying for someone using a non-Huawei phone. Huawei phone users will have no problem, as AppGallery is now available on their device. Just download the AI Life app and connect it to your Huawei Pro FreeBuds.
On the other hand, iOS users will not be able to download the AI Life app and will be forced to use FreeBuds in a limited capacity.
Without the AI app, users will lose access to three versions of noise cancellation and software updates.
Decent pair of headphones
After using Pixel Buds for a few weeks, moving to the more comfortable FreeBuds Pro has been a pleasure thanks to their noise cancellation and excellent sound quality. While the FreeBuds Pro offer some of the best noise-canceling features I’ve found in a pair of wireless earbuds, their fit isn’t as nice as the Galaxy Buds Live and their sound quality doesn’t match that of Sony’s WFH100XM3. .
Also, if you’re someone who just wants easy-to-use headphones, the Pixel Buds don’t require any additional apps, and as soon as you open their case, they are ready to pair. I found the hassle of downloading the supported apps for FreeBuds Pro as a hassle. However, if you are using a Huawei smartphone, this should not be a problem.
Overall, I liked the FreeBuds Pro; They feel premium and come with high-end specs, but these headphones aren’t for everyone.