Huawei has just unveiled the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 earbuds at a launch event in Berlin, the second iteration of the company's flagship true wireless earbuds. And, of course, they come promising yet further improvements to our audio experience.
Building on the inaugural Huawei FreeBuds Pro, launched in September 2020, the latest earbuds promise "true sound that brings beauty to your ears" and visually, these headphones do a fine job of looking winsome – they come in a 'Silver Blue' colorway, new to the FreeBuds family. Designed to be a "dreamy" finish, Silver Blue is, says Huawei, inspired by the stars in the galaxy. So the sky's the limit, eh?
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 feature a unique ‘Ultra-hearing True Sound Dual Driver’ sound system comprising a quad-magnet dynamic driver with a planar diaphragm, and thanks to their ‘Triple Adaptive EQ’ technology, the earbuds can apparently tune audio according to ear canal structure, wearing posture and volume level automatically, for personalized sound in real time.
You also get LDAC, Sony's higher-resolution audio codec protocol, and the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 are co-engineered with French audio specialist Devialet.
Advanced active noise cancellation is also promised – and given that we said the originals had "excellent noise cancellation" this should catch the ear of noise cancelling earbuds fanatics. The claim is a boost to the average ANC depth by an industry-leading 15% compared to the predecessors, while the "Intelligent Dynamic ANC 2.0" accurately identifies the external soundfield (read: environment) and selects a suitable noise cancelling mode to eliminate noise for comfortable listening – even if that is on a flight.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2’s new Pure Voice call noise cancellation technology promises clear, quiet calls and is based on a quad-mic system combined with a Huawei-exclusive deep neural network (DNN) noise cancellation algorithm. This means that the earbuds should be able to accurately pick up human voices while improving noise cancellation and eradicating wind noise if you happen to be chatting outdoors on a blustery day, say.
Opinion: They look good, but I'm struggling to get excited – but I hope to be proven wrong
Elsewhere, there's IP54 dust- and splash-resistance and seamless connection between two devices for automatic call switching. Said dual connectivity lets users view the last 10 devices connected to the earbuds for easy switching from Huawei all-scenario devices including smartphones, tablets, PCs and watches, as well as with Android, iOS and Windows smart systems.
Battery life is standard rather than exceptional though. With ANC on, you can expect up to four hours playback time and a total of 18 hours with the case. With ANC off, it's a bit better, at 6.5 hours of listening and a total of 30 hours with the case – but it's not much better than the stamina of Apple's AirPods Pro, which it must surely be aiming to beat.
Silver Frost and Ceramic White, which Huawei says are firm customer favorites, are back again for the update, and the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 will be available in the UK from July 6, priced €199 or £170 (roughly $206, AU$300).
The thing is, we've never doubted Huawei's prowess when it comes to noise cancellation. But with ANC fired all the way up, music on the original FreeBuds Pro can sound a tad manufactured – bass is boosted and trebles cap out a tad sharper than the best in class. Layered music has decent levels of separation, delicacy and breadth, but it just falls short of going all the way when it comes to dynamic range.
All things considered, we're sort of scratching our heads to find the newest Huawei flagship earbuds' unique angle, aside from what was already very accomplished levels of ANC in a true wireless design? If it's just superior sound quality in a similar design, we've already been impressed with the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro and their own unique driver tech – we're not sure the Huawei will really best them.
Ultimately, the real questions are: can Huawei finally wow us for sound, and can the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 finally challenge the best wireless earbuds on the market? Check back with us soon for a full, in-depth review…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.