If there was ever a physical embodiment of the ‘there’s always an Asian who’s better than you’ trope, it would probably be summed up in Huawei’s takes on mobile gadgets. They’ve launched two new True Wireless Stereo (TWS) Bluetooth earbuds for this season: the flagship FreeBuds Pro 2 and the budget-conscious FreeBuds SE. While these earbuds clearly took inspiration from their peers, the big difference is that Huawei takes souping up to the next level.
FreeBuds Pro 2
The FreeBuds Pro 2 is a collaborative effort with French audio wizards Devialet. Huawei says that users can expect bright and precise treble with overtones without having to sacrifice a punchy bass response, thanks to an ‘Ultra-hearing True Sound Dual Driver’ (what?) that can deliver an astonishingly extensive frequency range of 14Hz to 48kHz via an LDAC HD transmission stream of at least 960kbps (max. up to 990kbps). This is almost lossless audio on a wireless connection, though it remains to be seem how well it can maintain peak bitrates in everyday situations with a multitude of interfering signals around us.
Other sound-shaping tech includes ‘Triple Adaptive EQ’, which tweaks the audio response according to your ear canal structure, posture and volume level to maximise clarity and definition; ‘Intelligent Dynamic ANC 2.0’, which switches between three optimal noise cancelling modes in real-time by identifying your ear canal structure, external sound field environment and wearing status.
The FreeBuds Pro 2 is also rated for IP54 splash resistance and it has a 4-hour battery life with ANC switched on (a total of 18 hours including the charging case). The ANC circuit also features an aircraft noise cancellation curve to remove roaring aircraft engine noises on flights, while the wind-proof 4-microphone system has Pure Voice noise cancellation to improve voice clarity.
And if you’re using a supported Huawei device, you can use Audio Connection Centre to view the last 10 devices connected to the earbuds and switch between them easily.
To say that the FreeBuds SE is pretty well-specced for its (promotional)
price must surely an understatement. These earbuds were designed around a large 10mm dynamic driver featuring a PEEK+PU+PET titanium dome for improved sensitivity. Huawei says that high compliance of the PU and toughness of PEEK help the dome reproduce music with powerful bass and bright treble.
The semi-in-ear form factor was designed to make hours of listening comfortable, and Huawei includes three sizes of silicone tips in the package so you can get the best fit possible. The FreeBuds SE also features environmental noise cancellation (ENC) and dual-mic beamforming technology to pick up the user’s voice over ambient noise.
Despite the budget status, these earbuds are specced with energy-efficient Bluetooth 5.2 as well as sensors that detect when the earbuds are taken off or put back. The FreeBuds SE offers six hours of continuous music playback (up to 24 hours with case) or four hours of calls.
Pricing and Availability
The HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 (Silver Frost, Ceramic White, Silver Blue) are priced at $268 (UP $298) and will be available from Shopee and Lazada from 1 September 2022. The HUAWEI Freebuds SE (White, Blue) are priced at $48 (UP $88) and will be available on Shopee from 1 September 2022 and on Lazada from 15 September 2022.
Both earbuds will be available from Huawei Authorised Stores from 3 September 2022. The FreeBuds Pro 2 will be available at all Huawei Authorised Store locations, while the FreeBuds SE is only available at 313@Somerset and Westgate.
Customers will also receive a complimentary protective earbuds case worth up to $38 while stocks last.