The Chinese mobile giant has just released a new set of earbuds and we're impressed.
There are a plethora of really nice wireless in-ear options on shelves today. Tons. Jabra makes superb headphones as do Marshall, JBL, Technics, Supra: Sound by Sweden, Bang & Olufsen, Bowers & Wilkins, Oneplus, LG, and Huawei (apparently pronounced "Wah-Wej" which I had no idea about until two weeks ago). The latest pair that I've been using are the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 and they cost £170, competing with the likes of Jabra Elite 7 Pro, Apple Airpods Pro, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3, Technics EAH-AZ60 and JBL Tour Pro+ TWS, and there's no doubt in my mind that the Chinese mobile giant is at the top of that heap.
The Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 shares a similar design as the Airpods, roughly, with two sticks hanging down below the earlobe where the microphones sit. The difference here, however, is that the Freebuds Pro 2 looks more expensive and feels more lavish in terms of material selection and build quality, if you ask me. The ergonomics are spot on and as always nowadays, three different sizes of the silicone tips are included, which of course allows for a perfect fit in your ear no matter how crooked or narrow your ear canal is. A neat trick built into these headphones is that they, via Huawei's free "AI Life" app, sense and measure how well (or poorly) the fit is in your ears and then give a thumbs up or thumbs down depending on it. A system that is both cleverly and educationally done.
According to Huawei themselves, you need one of their phones to take advantage of all that these earpieces have to offer but having switched between a P30 Pro and an iPhone 13 Pro Max, I can honestly say that I don't really notice any difference, at all. And that's a good thing, I guess, because while I obviously understand the strategy to bring over potential buyers to Huawei's ecosystem, it's only good that more and more manufacturers of different phones, operating systems, cords, apps and handsets are making sure that everything works great across the board. This is of course only positive for us consumers.
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The sound quality that the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 offers is very good. The character is a bit more neutral than in say JBL's headphones, or Marshall's/Technics but not quite as clinical as it sounds in Sennheiser's gadgets, among others. The sound is better than in the Airpods and in the Airpods Pro, which again is astounding considering the budget and the options Apple is actually sitting on. The Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 offers superb instrument separation, very good control, defined bass and a midrange that feels snappy and distinct without swamping the soundstage. They sound excellent, plain and simple, and they do so even when you're talking on the phone. The Freebuds Pro 2 are particularly good at filtering out environmental noise when talking on the phone, such as traffic sounds or background noise at the gym, and they're also very good at eliminating wind noise when riding around out and about.
The only negative I can think of regarding the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 is the battery life where they can't quite compete with class-leading Technics as well as JBL and Jabra. Sorry. You get six hours per charge in the headphones without active noise cancellation and about four hours with ANC turned on, which is about 35-40% less than the market leaders in this price range. For me, it's not a major concern since I only do trips to the gym for an hour a day and then charge them once a week, but it bears mentioning - of course. However, the active noise cancellation itself is brilliant and rivals the likes of Jabra as well as Sony, and of course it should come at a cost in terms of battery capacity. In the end, it's very easy for me to recommend the Huawei Freebuds Pro 2, which I consider to be really good.