Review of the Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2

I've gotten to review a few of the FreeBuds in the past, and I've always enjoyed them, just never a Pro model.

Now, the way they're shaped I've never had the full confidence to use them how I use my Pixel Buds, when I go running or biking; however, I do love how they handle noise cancelling and that lends itself to more passive activity.  Swinging in the hammock in the backyard to kill the road sounds, or mowing the lawn, or... something relaxing I want some silence for (biking, it's generally not a good idea to kill all the potential warning noises).

So let's dive into these FreeBuds Pro 2; at $269CDN they are priced in the same realm of some of its competitors, and there's a deal on right now where you can get a free Huawei Band 6.

So, not that you need to know many 'specs' for wireless earbuds, but:

  • 11mm driver
  • 14Hz - 48kHz
  • 55mAh battery in each bud
  • 580mAh battery in case with Qi charging available

It's a different shape than the other Buds I've tried, in case and in the form of the actual earbuds.  Notably (aside from the chic/sleek metallic look) is that the 'stem' is pretty short, and I'll get to that in a bit.

It sticks in the ear and stays put by the rubber/silicone fitting.  But that's it.  No other assistance to ensure it stays put where it needs to while using it.  I've never had that much luck with things staying put in my ears, but at least the cap helps provide some extra friction (compared to the 3, which have none and those can be slippery).

Now, to use them, you could just hold the little button on the case to put it in pairing mode and do Bluetooth, but then you'll miss out on many of the customizable features and any future firmware updates (I've had 2 since I got them); so to get the most out of the pair, you'll want to get the Huawei app to pair with it.

To do that you first can go to the Play Store and download Huawei AI Life.  Except, as it's a newer device it'll tell you that you'll have to download the updated version of the app, either from Huawei's AppGallery, or it'll send you to a place to download the APK and sideload it on your own.  

Now, you'll have 2 AI Life apps in your app tray, remember which one was the first?  Delete it.

Now that it's in, you can then pair up the earbuds to your device; and then now see all the settings you can play with for it.

Primarily, you can play with the EQ settings, adjust the Noise Cancellation (between OFF, Awareness and ON) as well as play around with what the gestures you can do.

The EQ and the Noise cancellations are pretty straightforward, the gestures are the ones you need to pay attention to.

Now, over the past few years any 'gestures' with buds are done by touching and swiping.  With these they are done by 'pinching' and swiping.

Okay, so pinch is different.  You have to grasp the bud with front and back of it and pinch the end of it.

This is where the crux of the use of the unit starts to come through.

Because the 'stem' is so small, it's a little difficult as it's so close to the ear/side of your head.  Not too bad, but it's just a new mode to get used to.  

It takes a bit of practice to find the right way.  Luckily, the devices plays a little 'click click' sound, to let you know, and it really sounds like you pinched some piece of plastic that it feels almost physical.

The swipe gesture, now this is something I'm used to...

...except, usually you swipe the outside of the bud.  It took me a while to figure you have to swipe the 'front of the side'... again it's a new space, and because it's so close to your head in the ear it's a little tricky to get your finger in the right spot to slide.

I have to admit it's pretty tricky and could be way better.  It feels awkward honestly.

Outside of that I like these earbuds.  Once being used the sound is great and the noise cancellation is a dream.

Battery life is good too, it's about an hour or so before it'll need to be charged again.  Seems low, but I never really need anything longer than an hour anyways.

The case will charge them up in about 40 minutes.  With a single case you should be able to do that 4 - 5 times.  But, neatly, you can charge the case on a Qi pad, so it's easy to always keep things charged (just that gap in between).

Overall, I like the sound, I like the quality of the build; just the 'usability' is a bit off.  If I'm just watching Netflix or something it's great.  If I want to listen to music and skip or adjust volumes between different tracks, it can be a bit of a pain.  I don't know why they changed the tap to a pinch, or where the swiping happens, why did they change?