The FreeLace Pro are Huawei’s latest wireless earbuds that build on the original FreeLace in almost every way. They sport the same neckband style and the clever integrated USB-C port for convenient charging that we loved on the FreeLace.
There’s an upgraded design with wingtip earbuds for a tighter fit and textured buttons on the in-line remote. The neckband, made of nickel-titanium alloy memory metal is lightweight and feels soft against skin. The back of the earbuds are touch sensitive and can be used to put the earbuds into one of the three listening modes available. Once you’re done listening you can drop the earbud and they’ll snap together to pause playback and conserve battery.
The hardware inside touts several upgrades including a 14mm dynamic driver and active noise cancellation (ANC) of up to 40dB. Audio quality is great on the FreeLace Pro with natural, clear and bass-heavy sounds. Passive isolation and ANC work well to mute the outside world but don’t expect it to be perfect.
We also appreciated the microphones on the FreeLace Pro that did well to keep outside noise from seeping into phone calls making them a great choice for video conferencing or taking calls while you’re out on a run.
Battery life is another strong point where we were able to get close to 19 hours from a single charge but mileage varies depending on how often you enable ANC. With ANC on the battery stamina drops noticeably. The FreeLace Pro’s 150mAh battery requires just under 20 minutes to full charge. And since recharging the FreeLace Pro is just a matter of plugging them into a nearby device with USB-C, you can use them as extensively as you want.
Overall, the Huawei FreeLace Pro are superb pair of neckband earbuds that are easy to use and pack in a considerable amount of tech for the price. If you’re looking for an affordable and comfy pair of earbuds to workout with or just to use around home, you can’t go wrong with the FreeLace Pro.
Huawei FreeLace Pro price and release date
The Huawei FreeLace Pro wireless earphones were unveiled globally on September 10, 2020 and are available to buy now in the UAE from the Huawei Store and select retailers for AED 399.
The earphones are an update to the FreeLace buds launched just over a year ago, bringing some extra features, such as active noise cancellation, for a slightly higher price. They’re available in three colors including Graphite Black, Spruce Green and Dawn White (a somewhat bizarre pastel pink/beige-like color).
- Comfortable and elegant looking
- Clever charging mechanism
- Weird color options
The FreeLace Pro have a practical look about them and a sturdy design all around. Like the previous FreeLace, the Pro version follow the same neckband design featuring a nickel-titanium alloy “memory metal” that fits around the shape of your neck. It’s finished off with a smooth matte texture that feels soft against skin and its lightweight (34 grams) keeps it from feeling too cumbersome. The band is stiff out of the box this time around and tends to stick to the sides of your face, which feels unpleasant, though it did relax a bit after a few days of use.
Just like with the FreeLace, the Pro version’s neckband is thickest in the middle, which keeps its anchored around your neck especially when you’re using just one earbud for listening. The earbuds are covered with smooth textured silicone that feel soft and comfy and have non-detachable wingtips to ensure a snug fit during workouts. I have relatively small ears so the wingtips fit in just fine, if a little too snug, but those with larger ears might find the wingtips too small to serve their purpose.
On the outside, the earbuds house matte finished metal backs with a small red accent on the edge. These magnetic backs snap together when you’re not using them and conveniently disconnect any bluetooth connection to save battery. You can tap the metal back on the left earbud to switch between the three listening modes present on the FreeLace Pro: ANC, no ANC and an awareness mode. The controls work well for the most part but since the surface is so sensitive, accidental input is inevitable and can be annoying.
The in-line remote controls are housed on the right side and protrude out to help identify which controls are which and work as expected. They also house the inventive USB-C port that’s exposed when you detach the remote. This can be plugged into a USB-C port on a compatible smartphone or laptop for convenient charging. It’s something we loved on the original FreeLace and it’s even better on the Pro.
We do wish the FreeLace Pro were more water-resistant. With just an IP55 rating, the FreeLace Pro is vulnerable to water damage, however, they can handle light drizzles of water or a sweaty workout session.
- Clear, natural-sounding playback
- Great audio quality for the price
- Reliable Bluetooth connectivity
The FreeLace Pro are easy to set up with any device. If you have a Huawei smartphone, pairing is as easy as plugging the FreeLace Pro in. For others, you simply put the earbuds in discoverable mode by pressing and holding the power button for a few seconds and pair them via the Bluetooth settings on your device.
Once the FreeLace Pro are paired they are quick to connect to a device, usually within the time it takes to unsnap and place them in your ear. They also have the ability to switch connections to a previously connected device by double pressing the power button. However, in our experience this was usually a hit or miss and oftentimes required manually disconnecting from a device.
In terms of audio quality, the FreeLace Pro sounded a lot better than we thought. Considering the FreeLace Pro’s price, they almost sound premium. They support AAC codec for higher resolution audio. Sounds are clear and well balanced with a natural resonance to them that’s very pleasant to your ears.
They also sound punchy across a variety of music genres with potent mids and vibrant bass. The lower frequencies aren’t as weighty as more expensive earphones, but the FreeLace Pro does enough to ensure thump bass. The volume, again, doesn’t get as loud as top-range earbuds but it works in favor of the FeeLace Pro making them feel comfy to wear for extended listening sessions.
- Just under a day’s use on a full charge
- 15-minute charge time
With average daily use, we would get about 18-20 hours of use from the FreeLace Pro before they needed to be recharged, edging out the original FreeLace and FreeBuds 3. your mileage may vary depending on how you use the FreeLace Pro. On days with frequent ANC use, battery life was significantly lower, but even then you’ll likely be satisfied with the battery stamina.
When you run out of juice, the FreeLace Pro’s 150mAh battery can be charged from zero to full in just under 20 minutes. When you’re in a hurry, a quick 5 minute charge can give 4-5 hours of playback without ANC. If you have a USB-C phone that supports charging, this comes in super handy alleviating battery anxiety or worrying about charging cables or cases.
Noise cancellation performance
- 40dB active noise cancelling
- Impressive performance
One of the highlight features of the FreeLace Pro is the inclusion of ANC that uses dual-mics and dynamic drivers to create a convincing anti-noise sound for effective noise reduction. The earbuds’ in-ear design achieves decent passive noise isolation that’s made even better with the on board ANC.
Tapping on the left earbud’s touch surface allows you to switch between the three noise cancellation modes available on the FreeLace Pro. These are ANC off, Cozy or Awareness mode that will reduce all environmental noise around you except human voices and Ultra mode, which turns on maximum ANC.
The ANC worked remarkably well during our daily use effectively drowning out the humdrum of the outside world. It's even great indoors when you’re listening to music and a noisy appliance goes off. It was able to noticeably keep such noises out while keeping the music punchy.
While the ANC on the FreeLace Pro is great for its price, it’s not perfect, if you want even better noise cancellation you might want to check out Huawei’s true wireless buds, the FreeBuds Pro.
Should I buy the Huawei Freelace Pro?
Buy them if...
You want a pair of earbuds that stay put during workouts
The FreeLace Pro’s neckband design make them comfy and easy to use, especially for those with active lifestyles or for those who are prone to misplacing their earbuds. The wingtip design on earbuds make sure that they fit in snugly in most ears and stay put even through vigorous activity. And the IPX5 rain means they’ll be able to handle a sweaty gym session.
You’re looking for earbuds that can do it all on a budget
While most budget and mid-range headphones compromise on features or cut corners, the FreeLace Pro packs everything you’d want in a decent pair of Bluetooth earphones and deliver great quality across the board from battery life, sound to ANC.
Don't buy them if...
You want excellent sound quality
As great as the FreeLace Pro sound, they still fall short of the top-notch audio quality found in some of the more expensive neckband earbuds like the Beat Powerbeats and Bowers & Wilkins PI3.
You want waterproof earbuds
With just an IP55 rating, the FreeLace Pro are vulnerable to water-damage so don’t expect to take them swimming and be sure to tuck them away during heavy rain.
- The best wireless earbuds of 2020