Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 Review Rating
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are a superb pair of ANC earbuds and the best-sounding earbuds I have used this year (based on my personal preference). The active noise cancelling remains excellent. However, competing brands are nipping on the heels and at a lower price point.
Overall - 90%
- Outstanding sound quality with excellent EQ options
- LDAC codec improves the sound quality a lot
- Excellent ANC performance
- Now with IP54
- Battery life is on the low end
- Competing brands now have excellent ANC at a lower price
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro were probably my favourite earbuds back in 2020. There was something I just loved about them, and I think at the time they offered an excellent balance of price, ANC performance and sound quality, making them more appealing than premium-priced options from Apple, Bose and Sony. I am also not overly fond of open-fit earbuds like the Freebuds 3, which I reviewed a few months before the FreeBuds Pro, so these were a massive upgrade.
Two years later, we finally have a successor, the FreeBuds Pro 2. Similar to the recent speaker collaborations, the FreeBuds Pro 2 have been co-engineered with Devialet, the famous French audio specialist behind the iconic and insanely loud Phantom speakers.
Devialet is likely responsible for the switch to a new dual driver system which retains the 11mm dynamic driver, but this has boosted the driving force by 30%, delivering 14 Hz of booming bass.
Then you have the new UHF planar diaphragm driver, which apparently provides sky-high transient response and more enriching details.
The end result is another pair of superb earbuds, but the market has become a lot more competitive in the last two years.
|HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 Wireless Earbuds - In-Ears Headphones...||£124.00||Buy on Amazon|
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 vs Freebuds Pro Specification
|Huawei||FreeBuds Pro 2||FreeBuds Pro|
|Driver||11 mm dynamic driver + planar diaphragm driver||11 mm dynamic|
|Freaquncy Response||14 Hz ~ 48 kHz|
|ANC||47 dB||40 dB|
|Microphones||3 per earbud||3 per earbud|
|Music Battery||4 hours playback on 1 charge(ANC ON)|
6.5 hours playback on 1 charge (ANC OFF)
|4 hours (with ANC enabled)
7 hours (with ANC disabled)
|Charging||Wired: USB Type-C|
Wireless: Qi standard (2 W)
|Wired: USB Type-C (5 V/1.2 A/6 W)
Wireless: supported (2 W)
|Sensors||Bone sensor/Accelerometer/Gyroscope sensor/Infrared sensor||Bone sensor supported|
|Audio Codec||LDAC / AAC / SBC||AAC / SBC|
Height: 23.7 mm
Width: 29.1 mm
Depth: 21.8 mm
Weight: About 6.1 g ± 0.2 g
Height: 26 mm
Width: 29.6 mm
Depth: 21.7 mm
Weight: About 6.1 g
Design / Fit
In comparison to the original Huawei FreeBuds Pro, the overall design remains largely the same. There are some small differences in the dimensions, the new model is a bit smaller, but I doubt you would notice. The weight of the earbuds remains the same.
My review sample came in Silver Blue, which I would say is a bit more violet. You then have the same Silver Frost colour from the last generation and a Ceramic White.
With the overall design about the same, so is the fit. For my ears, this is superb, they just fit nicely without generating any earache or constantly needing to be adjusted. I have used these in the gym and for running without issues.
I’d say this stemmed design is the best for me overall, I loved the fit of the Nothing Ear 1 as well. As much as I love the Anker Liberty 3 Pro, I have become increasingly annoyed at how easily they fall out when doing weights.
Talking about fitness, these are IP 54 rated, which basically means they are splash resistant. It is not the best, but about average for many ANC earbuds. The Huawei FreeBuds Pro lacked any official IP rating, so there is an improvement there. From my experience with TWS earbuds, I have not had any break due to liquid ingress, I do a lot of exercise, and I am cursed with being very sweaty. I used to destroy wired Bluetooth earbuds every few months with my corrosive sweat.
AI Life App / Enabling LDAC with Pixel 6
If you have installed AI Life before, I’d recommend uninstalling it and installing it again via the App Gallery or directly from the Huawei website. When I first used these, I ended up with two versions of the app and the working version also lacked the sound effects (EQ) functionality.
My Pixel 6 was also refusing to use LDAC, but the Honor 70 I was reviewing worked with it out of the box, and no AI Life app was installed.
Deleting AI Life and reinstalling it again allowed me to toggle the Smart HD setting and enable LDAC. Then within the Bluetooth settings, my Pixel 6 was correctly showing the LDAC codec.
Apart from the EQ and LDAC control, you also have the ANC control, battery information, find my earbuds and the ability to program the gesture control. Within the settings, you can enable low audio latency, and you can disable smart wear detection.
One thing I immediately liked about the AI life app is that you don’t have to sign in just to control your earbuds. You can do this optionally, but it is not a requirement. Too many brands force you to do this, and I just don’t see why I need an account to control the ANC on my earbuds.
The sound quality is superb. There is a noticeable improvement in bass response without it becoming too overwhelming. In comparison, the Anker Liberty 3 Pro are a good example of where the company has taken the bass a little bit too far.
The dual driver design seems to make quite a bit of difference. Allowing the earbuds to achieve those deep lows while still being able to provide accurate mids and highs.
I am quite sensitive to sharp highs, and I find it makes a lot of earbuds fatiguing, but I have not experienced this at all with the FreeBuds Pro 2. I’d say the upper highs are perhaps recessed, but maybe it's just because the new driver design allows them to achieve the highs without the penetrating sharpness of competing brands.
Huawei now has a sound effects section within the AI Life app, which is just a different name for EQ. There are four presents with the Devialet tuned option as default. I found that there was very little difference when switching to the bass boost mode, showing Devialet’s preference for bass. The treble boost is a good option for anyone wanting a more neutral sound, or you can create your own.
Once I had worked out how to enable LDAC on my Pixel 6 with these earbuds, I found there is a noticeable improvement in the overall quality. The higher bitrate just seems richer and more detailed. I experimented with best audio and balanced, and I didn’t notice any connectivity issues with the best audio.
Overall, I’d say these are the best-sounding earbuds I have reviewed so far this year, based on my personal preferences.
Active Noise Cancelling
I thought the ANC performance of the original Huawei FreeBuds Pro was one of the high points. They may not have been quite the best on the market, but the price-to-performance ratio was superb.
Since then, lots of good and affordable earbuds have come out with ANC.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 still have good ANC, I’d say it is fractionally better than the original model, but I am sceptical of the 40 dB to 47 dB improvement that Huawei claims.
I tested them against the Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro whilst playing a YouTube video of airplane cabin white noise. I am tempted to say the Soundcore do a touch better, it is a close call and difficult to objectively say which is better. It is a bit like sound quality, the ANC tuning is a little different on each. They both do a very good job of blocking out the loud low-end hum, but they both leave a moderate amount of the high-pitched hiss.
Either way, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 do have superb ANC. It is just that there are now other more affordable options that also have superb ANC.
The battery life is one of the weaker points of these earbuds. The battery performance has been fractionally reduced since the last model, I’d expect this is due to the new, more powerful 11mm driver and additional planar diaphragm.
Four hours of playback with ANC on is bordering on poor. Off the top of my head, the AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 85t, Nothing Ear (1) and Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro all have superior performance.
It is not uncommon for me to listen to earbuds for 4 hours at a time, too, especially with exercise. So, in these scenarios, you will want to switch ANC off.
Price and Alternative Options
|HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 Wireless Earbuds - In-Ears Headphones...||£124.00||Buy on Amazon|
|QNAP TS-932X-2G 9 Bay Desktop Hybrid NAS Enclosure - 2 GB...||Buy on Amazon|
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are priced at £169.99 direct from Huawei or £165 on Amazon.
The original Huawei FreeBuds Pro are just £89.99, which is an absolute bargain.
The Anker Liberty 3 Pro are £120 and has a £10 voucher available.
The popular Nothing Ear (1) are just £90, but nowhere near as good as the FreeBuds Pro 2, in my opinion, and I’d probably buy the original FreeBuds Pro over these too.
I loved the Huawei FreeBuds Pro when I first reviewed them, they were my go-to earbuds for well over a year, and they worked perfectly with the Huawei P30 Pro.
I also love the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 and have found that I have used them more than a lot of the other options on my desk in recent weeks.
There is nothing major I can really critique them for, the battery life could be better, but it is not the end of the world.
The problem is that in the 2 years since the original Freebuds Pro launched, there have been a lot of other amazing ANC earbuds launched. I am quite fond of the Anker Liberty 3 Pro, they are perhaps a touch too bassy, and they don’t fit in my ears as well as the FreeBuds, but they are quite a bit cheaper, and I would say the ANC is better and superior EQ control.
Then you have the original Huawei FreeBuds Pro for just £90 or even the Nothing Ear (1), they are not as good, but that’s a big price difference.
I’d still say these are the best-sounding earbuds I have used this year, and the ANC is excellent, therefore, I would highly recommend them even if there may be some tempting options at a lower price point.
Last update on 2023-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API