Thursday, 08 April 2021 15:01

Huawei FreeBuds Pro redefines noise cancellation for ultimate in-ear experience

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Chinese technology company, Huawei, has released its premier earbuds, the FreeBuds Pro, complementing its existing FreeBuds range. Huawei has stepped up its game to bring real enhancements in design, sound, active noise cancellation, and connectivity.

Huawei is well-known for its technology across many areas from mobile phones to enterprise routers. This includes its in-ear earbuds, the FreeBuds, which has now been expanded with the high-end FreeBuds Pro. Among other enhancements, the FreeBuds Pro includes intelligent dynamic active noise cancellation for the ultimate in-ear experience for music, audiobook, voice calls, and more.

However, before we come to sound, it's important to note the effort and care Huawei has put into crafting these Pro earbuds. The design has been reshaped to create a new geometrical aesthetic, fitting comfortably in your ear while looking good, and looking solid. The stalks are small enough to be lightweight and look natural, but yet thicker and robust enough they offer touch controls to allow you full control over your audio with a simple squeeze or tap. For example, swipe up or down to change volume, or long-press your earbuds to enter awareness mode so you hear your surroundings.

FreeBudsProGestures

 

A USB-C charging case is included, which weighs only 60g and fits nicely in your pocket or bags, charging the earbuds while also protecting them from harm. The earbuds and case come in colour choices of ceramic white, carbon black, or silver frost, with the first two being glossy and the latter matte.

Huawei's design work isn't simply about looking good; the ear tips are supplemented by curved in-ear support on the main body of the bud, relieving in-ear pressure and airflow to maximise comfort over a long period. This contrasts against other earbuds where the pressure is only on the tips, and which can leave you feeling stuffy or squeezed over time.

The box includes three different sized ear tips to help you find the right one for your body, and you can download the free companion Huawei AI Life app for iOS and Android to test how well the tip fits, ensuring an immersive audio experience.

They look great, but what we really want to know is how they sound. Here, the FreeBuds Pro stand out with, well, professional specifications. Each earbud includes an 11m ultra-magnetic dynamic driver, producing stunning audio with rich bass and natural sounds. An inner microphone tunes the dynamic equaliser to ensure great balance and ideal frequency, no matter if you are walking alongside traffic, sitting in your quiet home, or sitting in a noisy workplace.

Even with these features, it's the noise-cancelling Huawei touts as especially standing the FreeBuds Pro apart from the rest of the FreeBuds line. Here, the FreeBuds Pro brings the world’s first intelligent active dynamic noise cancellation, switching the noise cancellation depending on your environment. The options range from cozy, general, and ultra noisy - and while you can manually set the noise-cancelling mode via the AI Life app, you can also leave the earbuds on auto mode to do the work for you.

Noise cancellation is powered by a three microphone system and by bone voice sensors, along with a custom Huawei algorithm. Huawei's lab test results show up to 40dB of noise cancellation depth, providing greater coverage than competing products. This includes active wind cancellation, which is most helpful when out and about.

FreeBudsProSensor

FreeBudsProANC

As well as providing great sound, the FreeBuds Pro actively detect voices from other ambient noises. It enhances voice to help you pick up every word during conference calls and broadcasts. For business users - or anyone, really, who needs to talk with others - this is tremendous. I’ve tried other headphones and earbuds in the past which played music nicely but made conferencing difficult. Either the other party sounded like they were far in the distance, or underwater, or sometimes like a Dalek. By enhancing voice, Huawei truly demonstrates the depth of thought put into the FreeBuds Pro to make them truly a professional device. Once you hear the enhanced voice it seems so sensible and helpful you wonder why it is actually so rare. It’s a great addition that makes the FreeBuds Pro an excellent choice, in my mind.

Both earbuds include dual Bluetooth antennas, making the FreeBuds Pro the world's first dual-antenna true wireless earbuds.

The earbuds can be paired with two devices simultaneously, meaning you can listen to music from the computer while taking calls from your phone, without any disruption or delay.

Overall battery life is calculated by Huawei as up to seven hours of music playing with noise cancelling disabled, and up to 30 hours when using the charging case. This reduces to 4.5 and 20 hours with noise cancellation on. For voice calls, the numbers are four hours and 18 hours with noise cancellation off, and 3.5 hours and 16 hours with noise cancellation on. Even if you do find yourself on 3.5-hour phone calls during the day, you’ve still got enough charge to last the day.

The earbuds charge in the case, which supports fast charging. Within 10 minutes it can be charged up to 30% when plugged in via USB-C, or up to 18% when using a wireless charger. Within 30 minutes that increases to 55% and 32% respectively.

The FreeBuds Pro is certified by SGS-CSTC Standards Technical Services for using environmentally friendly and sustainable materials. They use a Kirin A1 processor, support Bluetooth 5.2, are water and dust resistant to IPX4 and have a 55mAh battery per earbud and 580mAh in the case.

The Huawei FreeBuds Pro carries an RRP of $329, but are currently on sale for $259, and work equally well with Android and iOS.

 

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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