UPDATE: PRICING AND AVAILABILITY AVAILABLE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST.
Another launch for Huawei today was audio related. Huawei has gone ahead and updated the FreeBuds 3 and the FreeLaces to “Pro” variants. What does Pro entail in these? Well for starters much improved Active Noise Cancelling, and in the case of the FreeBuds Pro, a much sleeker design.
Start with the FreeBuds Pro, Huawei is calling this new design “Cubic Iconic” so the outer part of the earbud is a very small rectangle stem, whereas the inner section is contoured to fit in most peoples ears. Unlike the FreeBuds 3 from last year, the FreeBuds Pro is back to having silicone ear tips that are replaceable, as good as the ANC on the FreeBuds 3 was for them being rigid open earbuds, the silicone seal does take it to another level, how much? Well, with the improved seal, better microphones and processing, the FreeBuds Pro (and FreeLaces Pro) can cancel out 40dBa of external noise!, for reference Huawei States that the Bose QC35s, a fan favourite for many years can cancel 25dBa, and those are over the ear cans, I’m incredibly impressed here and hope to get a pair as soon as I can.
Getting the important stuff out of the way, we can talk about the rest of the earbuds. Much like the Apple AirPods Pro, Huawei has fitted an FSR (Force-sensitive resistor) in the stem which you squeeze, and it enables or disables the ANC, but unlike the AirPods Pro, you can slide a finger up or down the stem to raise or lower volume, which is a godsend as there have been many times when the mastering between tracks have been off and the levels are completely out of whack, one track sounds perfectly balanced whereas the other is trying to melt my ears with amplitude.
The driver has been updated and is now an 11mm dynamic driver, but much like optical image stabilisation in cameras, the driver here is stabilized so only the vibrations from the driver reach your ear not any of the other ones, that’s neat. The Freebuds also have dual antennas and can finally be paired to 2 devices at once, meaning a phone and a laptop, use the earbuds on your laptop, you get a call on your phone, answer the call and it comes through on the earbuds without you having to do anything. Not brand new by any means, but new to Huawei and I’m happy to see them catch up to others in this regard.
Next is the Dynamic ANC, which Huawei calls a first, whether that’s first in a consumer product or first shipping I’m not sure, but we’ll go with it. This Dynamic ANC can be altered for situations you’re in. on a plane? You’ll likely want to block any and everything out, in a coffee shop? You likely want to hear your barista but not the drone of everyone writing their screenplay. And you can do all of this for up to 30 hours, which I really hope is true because one of the few weak points of the FreeBuds 3 where it is longevity over time.
The FreeLaces Pro are an update to the Huawei FreeLaces from last year. These are still the “neck buds” style with the neat idea of having an integrated USB-C jack on one end, this allows you to just plug into your phone to pair (if it is a Huawei phone) or charge them, this also means you don’t need a separate USB-C cable, just a spare USB-C port, one less cable is never a bad thing. The FreeLaces Pro also get Huawei’s new 40dBa noise-cancelling solution from the FreeBuds Pro, and this is paired with a new 14mm Dynamic driver, though I don’t know if these also come with the same driver stabilization tech as seen in the FreeBuds Pro.
The FreeBuds Pro comes in 3 colours, Graphite Black, Ceramic White and Silver Frost. Silver frost is the coolest and it’s a metallic gunmetal chrome and I want them already. The FreeLaces Pro also comes in 3 colours, but those are Graphite Black, Dawn White and Spruce Green. As with the other articles, pricing and availability of these devices is not yet known, but we will update when we know those details.
UPDATE: Huawei have provided us with pricing and availability for both of these devices. the FreeBuds Pro will be available next month (October) for €199, whereas the FreeLaces Pro will be available later this month (September) for just €119.