Huawei has announced the launch of its latest flagship true wireless stereo (TWS) earphones, the Huawei FreeBuds Pro. Huawei says its new product is the world’s first intelligent, dynamic noise-cancelling earphones. What does that mean? Well, first of all, Huawei claims to have upgraded its noise-cancelling experience to 'Pro' level here, and it promises to achieve a class-leading 40dB of noise cancellation – a bold claim indeed.
Furthermore, using mics plus a machine learning algorithm, the buds support three different modes of extraneous noise elimination: 'Cozy', 'General' and 'Ultra'. If you're in a relatively quiet spot such as a library, you’ll want a lower level of ANC to avoid a locked-in feeling, where as on a plane you’ll want to switch to Ultra. And the best bit? The headset does this dynamically – so the AI understands it’s on a plane, say, and will switch to Ultra mode for you.
There's a Natural Awareness mode too, so no need to remove them when ordering a coffee first thing, and even a Voice Enhancement mode via a simple pinch of the stem.
In addition, Huawei says the FreeBuds Pro are the world's first smart dual-antenna Bluetooth earphones. Each earphone is equipped with two Bluetooth antennas that offer 360-degree omnidirectional Bluetooth signal coverage for a more stable connection.
The FreeBuds Pro feature larger 11mm ultra-large amplitude dynamic drivers alongside a new audio stabilisation system that promises to improve the uplink audio quality. For voice calls, a three-mic system and bone voice sensor (it reverberates from your cheek – as seen in Buds 3) are claimed to make for a precise, "wind-proof" pickup via beam-forming mics.
In terms of stamina, Huawei says to expect 4.5 hours with ANC deployed, 7 hours if you're going ANC-free; a little underwhelming, then. There's no news yet on how much battery-charging juice the case holds.
The Huawei FreeBuds Pro come with three sizes of silicone earplugs and the company claims that the fit detection feature – available in the Huawei AI Life app – should allow users to find the perfect fit. They're available in the UK from 5th October in three finishes (carbon black, ceramic white and silver frost), and will cost £170 (€199).
How do they sound? Watch this space…
While the FreeBuds Pro will doubtless take centre-stage, there's another 'Free' Huawei headset in town – and yes, despite the prefix, Huawei still wants you to part with money for them.
Meet the FreeLace Pro (note: 'Lace', not 'Laces'), a neckband design that the company says has also been elevated to 'Pro' status and is "like a music necklace".
Building on the previous generation, Huawei FreeLace Pro includes a new ANC feature. With two built-in high-sensitivity microphones, the feed-forward microphone picks up the noise outside of the ear and the feedback microphone picks up the residual noise in the ear canal.
Huawei also claims this setup can accurately generate noise cancellation and reduce unwanted noise by a maximum 40dB – which, if true, could actually better the noise cancellation found in the Bose QuietComfort 35 II over-ears.
The Huawei FreeLace Pro can switch to Awareness Mode with a press and a two-second hold of the left earbud. In this mode, users can hear ambient sounds without taking out their earbuds.
In addition to dual-mic active noise cancellation, the Huawei FreeLace Pro has noise cancellation capabilities for phone calls using a three-microphone adaptive system. This promises to weaken interference from ambient noise or wind noise, retaining all the characters of the human voice.
There's also a larger 14mm dynamic driver unit in each bud, featuring improved materials over its predecessor including a high-strength, lightweight magnesium-aluminium alloy diaphragm, as well as an independent bass tube for more detailed three-band sound.
Huawei's HiPair feature means that the FreeLace Pro can be used with any smartphone, PC or tablet to fast-charge at any time. When the earphones are plugged into a smartphone or tablet, the device will automatically open a pop-up window to prompt Bluetooth pairing, which is more convenient than traditional Bluetooth pairing and charging methods.
The Huawei FreeLace Pro's built-in 150mAh 3C lithium-ion polymer battery can apparently last a whopping 24 hours on a single full charge, too, and even if you are caught short, you could use a PC, tablet or smartphone with a USB-C port to fast charge the Huawei FreeLace Pro, with five minutes of charging adding up to a claimed five extra hours of music playback.
Huawei FreeLace Pro comes in three colours, (spruce green, dawn white and graphite black) and will be available for purchase from 16th September from the Huawei Store and selected retailers, priced £120. When we know pricing for the US and Australia, so shall you.
Best headphones for running 2020
5 things to consider before buying running headphones