As 2022 draws to a close, the market for true wireless earbuds is still growing, and consumers have a wide range of choices to consider. Huawei’s latest attempt is further proof that the Chinese tech giants are more than capable of competing with the so-called ‘big boys’.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are a step up from the well-received Huawei FreeBuds Pro earbuds. The new model is both smaller and lighter and features an improved IP54 waterproof rating, as well as clearer call quality, thanks to the introduction of an additional microphone on each earbud. There is also a dual driver design which allows you to connect to two devices at the same time.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are really easy to set up. All you do is push and hold the solitary button on the side of the charging case, and it should pop up in your device list. Like most earbuds, these come with a couple of differently sized tips to help optimise comfort. You can even help find the perfect fit by downloading Huawei’s AI Life app, which has a mode to help you choose the right size.
The app can also help with personalising your listening experience in different ways, such as playing with sound settings or customising the touch controls.
The FreeBuds Pro 2 are very similar looking to their predecessor – they are shiny, modern, and slick, and overall look great in your ears. The sleek looks aren’t dissimilar to those of the Apple AirPods Pro. The good looks do come with an operational downside, however, which we’ll get to a bit later. The charging case follows the same design queues as the earbuds but with a matte finish.
Our test device was in the Silver Blue colourway, which is more like a very light lilac. The FreeBuds Pro 2 come in a total of three colours, with Silver Frost and Ceramic White completing the threesome.
The FreeBuds Pro 2 are, without a doubt, one of the best-sounding devices currently available for the price. The richness of the sound surprised me – the bass is just right, and vocals sound crystal clear.
The earbuds really come into their own in an on-the-move environment. Being connected to two devices like a laptop and a phone during the working day really comes in handy when you need to do things like quickly jump onto a Teams call on your laptop when you’re listening to Spotify on your phone. The ANC 2.0 works really well – so much so that I found myself having to turn it off even when I was wearing just one of the earbuds to do things like order a coffee.
The downside to the design is that the touch controls are quite fiddly to use, and it’s easy to conduct the wrong input if you’re trying to skip a track or alter the volume. Pinching the earbud pauses a song, and swiping either up or down toggles the volume. Thankfully, these are customisable.
The battery life is good, as long as you don’t have ANC always switched on. With it on, each earbud can last about four hours (or 18 hours of feedback with the charging case). With it off, each earbud lasts for 6.5 hours (or 30 hours of feedback with the charging case).
The charging case takes around one hour to charge via the USB-C cable, and the earbuds take around 40 minutes to charge fully inside the case. If you opt to charge the case wirelessly, the charging time doubles.
For those leading an active lifestyle, the FreeBuds Pro 2 are the perfect companion. Call quality is great even when you’re cycling or running – and this is down to the additional microphone on each earbud, as well as the improved ANC. The design of the earbuds also gives you confidence that they aren’t going to fall out when you’re out and about. The IP54 water resistance rating is also a great addition for those who like to keep fit and healthy and helps to maintain performance during a light shower or a particularly sweaty workout.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are great all-rounders, and they certainly challenge the Apple AirPods 2 in terms of both performance and looks. They also stand out from the crowd in a market where many products look similar.
There are a couple of things that could be improved, the battery life being one, but this isn’t a huge issue if you have the case with you or if you don’t need to use the ANC.
If you’re after a new pair of ANC earbuds this Christmas, it might just be worth taking a punt on Huawei.