In a sea of true wireless earbuds on the market, we haven’t been seeing that many regular wireless earbuds. By ‘regular’ I mean the ones that are connected to each other. Well, a while back, Huawei did announce such a pair, the FreeLace Pro earphones. The company has been doing a great job with true wireless earphones, as the FreeBuds 3 and FreeBuds 3 Pro are excellent offerings. So, what about the FreeLace Pro? Spoiler alert, they’re really, really good, though that doesn’t surprise me.
Huawei has been doing a really good job in the wearables market. The company’s smartwatches are quite popular, as are its audio products. For me, personally, Huawei’s audio products have been especially compelling. I’ve really enjoyed my time with the FreeBuds 3 and FreeBuds 3 Pro, while I still use the former as my daily driver earphones. I’ve spent around two weeks with the FreeLace Pro, and even though I prefer true wireless earbuds, I can see why some people wouldn’t. That being said, read on if you’re interested in hearing what I have to say about them.
The Huawei FreeLace Pro earbuds both look and feel great
The Huawei FreeLace Pro are premium neckband wireless earphones, and you’ll get exactly what you expect out of them in the design department. Huawei used several different materials here, including metal, plastic, and silicone. The end product is really good. These earphones not only look really good, and feel good to the touch, but are also very comfortable. On top of that, you do get some physical buttons for playback control, and a touchpad for ANC on the left earbud, which is something we usually see on true wireless earphones only. More on that later.
Those physical controls are located on the right side, and they include a play / pause button, and separate buttons for volume control (all of which have secondary functions). On the left side, you won’t get any physical controls, but a charging cable. The metallic part on the left can be opened by applying some pressure to separate it. There you’ll find a USB-C charging port, which needs to be plugged into a small charging cable that comes with the device. That is a Type-C to Type-A charging cable, by the way.
You’ll also notice that small wingtips are located on each earbud, for a better seal in the ear. You’ll also get an extra pair of eartips in the box, in case the default ones don’t fit your ears. It’s also worth noting that these earbuds can magnetically connect one with the other while you wear them. That’s a solution we’ve seen before, and a really good one, as that means they won’t flap around while you’re walking.
There are three different color variants of these earphones. We’ve reviewed the Obsidian Black variant, while you can also choose between Spruce Green and Dawn White models. Do note that these earbuds are quite light at 34 grams, which is great, as you won’t really notice they’re around your neck most of the time.
Great audio & call quality, while ANC helps a lot
Before we get down to audio quality, let’s talk about the controls. The activation of the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) doesn’t exactly work perfectly, it takes an extra second or two to register after you try to activate it via the left earbud. This isn’t exactly a big deal, but it’s worth noting. Having said that, once you do activate it, ANC makes a world of difference. In collaboration with excellent sound quality, and those rubber seals, you can really isolate yourself from your surroundings. Do note that this works great, but not to the level or good over-ear headphones, of course.
There is also the Awareness Mode option that you can activate via the earbud, by the way, in case you want to be aware of your surroundings while having these earbuds on. Also worth noting is the fact that they’ll default to ANC off and Awareness Mode off next time you power them on. That may bother some, but at least you always know what setting you’re on. The physical buttons are quite tactile, and easy to spot, as they protrude, so you can easily feel them with your finger and differentiate between them.
Now, the sound itself is… well, great. You’ll get a rich soundstage, not to mention that these get loud, really loud. They’re well-balanced across the spectrum, though lows and mids definitely shine the most. Vocals do not get overpowered by the instruments, or muddy, at any point, which is commendable. Huawei managed to squeeze in 14.2mm drivers inside of these earphones. Truth be said, the Huawei FreeLace Pro are excellent for listening to both music and podcasts, you won’t be disappointed.
One thing worth noting is that they do not offer in-ear detection. So, when you remove them from your ears, the music won’t stop, nor will it start when you put them back in. What will stop the playback is… attaching them one to the other, via magnets. Once you detach them, the playback will continue. This is actually a really good solution, and works great.
Connectivity was not an issue for me, at all
When it comes to connectivity, I didn’t have any issues whatsoever. I’ve connected them initially, and they did that on their own every other time I powered them on. I did not experience any disconnects during my usage, nor any interruptions in audio playback. Full disclosure, I’ve used these with the Google Pixel 4a and Huawei P30 Pro. I’ve used them with the Pixel 4a most of the time, as that is my daily driver at the moment, while I simply wanted to try them out with the Huawei P30 Pro as that is the Huawei phone that I have on hand.
Speaking of connectivity, you’ll need to download the AI Life app from the Google Play Store in order to take full advantage of these earbuds. Connecting them via that app was fast, and without issues. That is the app Huawei uses for its other wearable products, by the way.
Stellar battery life
What good are earphones if they don’t last, right? Well, you’ll be glad to know that the battery life on these is really good. How good? Well, much better than any pair of true wireless earphones out there. Instead of 4-5 hours of play time, you’ll get up to 24. Yes, you read that right. Huawei is claiming you can reach that with these, and we were able to, at about 60% volume. You’ll likely get less with higher volume, but this is excellent battery life… sublime.
If you, by any chance, find yourself in a pinch, and without battery life, but you need to use these earphones soon. Well, don’t fret, as you can charge them quickly. Only 5 minutes of charge time will get you about 5 hours of listening time. It takes about an hour to fully charge these, which is also not that bad. The point is, in 5 minutes of charging, you can get the same battery life as on true wireless earphones, basically. So, no complaints here.
As mentioned earlier, these ship with a Type-C to Type-A charging cable. You’ll be plugging that cable in the earphones themselves, once you separate that metal plate on the left side.
If true wireless earbuds are not for you, the Huawei FreeLace Pro earphones stand as a great alternative
So, are the Huawei FreeLace Pro worth buying at €119? Well, if that is within your budget, then sure, go for it. There’s really not much to complain about when it comes to the Huawei FreeLace Pro. They are excellent to wear, they’re not heavy and are comfortable. ANC works really well, the audio quality is excellent, and so is battery life. On top of all that, they both look and feel good. What you don’t get here is support for a virtual assistant, but if that is not your jam, then there’s really not much to complain about here. The Huawei FreeLace Pro are amongst the best wireless earphones I’ve used.