If you’re on the market for a good pair of wireless headphones, there’s a good chance that Huawei has something for you. Whether it’s a pair of truly wireless earbuds or neckband style wireless earbuds, Huawei has a product in every segment.
Today we’re looking at the Huawei FreeLace Pro – premium neckband wireless headphones with active noise cancellation, an IP55 rating, 24 hours of battery life and promises of impressive sound quality.
We received the Green model, which strikes the best balance between casual and eye catching. There’s a creamy white model and a matte black model as well.
Spruce Green, Obsidian Black, Dawn White
Priced at the reasonable €119, the FreeLace Pro come with three sets of different-sized eartips and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable.
You can also charge the headphones by plugging them directly into a USB-C charger or a USB-C phone with reverse charging support.
Design and fit
The Huawei FreeLace Pro are very light at just 34g. They’re made of a soft rubber material that doesn’t catch on your clothes or skin. The bud itself doesn’t protrude from the ear much and fits very tight thanks to the wingtip, which secures it in your ear.
Try as I might, I couldn’t dislodge the earbuds from my ears without actually reaching over and taking them out.
Placing the buds correctly took almost no time and no practice. Just insert the eartip into the ear and then slide the wingtip to secure it. I was comfortable with the medium-sized eartips but there are smaller and larger in the box, which should cover most people’s ears.
Removing the eartip is very easy but there is a latch on the earbud itself that keeps the rubber eartip from falling off, meaning you can’t easily replace the eartip with a custom one (not that you’re likely to need to).
The Huawei FreeLace Pro measure 862mm with 814mm of that taken up by the cables. They feel very long, but don’t hinder your movement in any way. Each end is interrupted by a small plate, housing the batteries. On the right side you have four buttons – the power button, the play/pause button and the volume up and down buttons.
Controls on the right, nothing on the left
The left earbud has actionable taps to enable the Active noise cancellation and the Awareness mode – more on those later. For now here is the entire control scheme of the Huawei FreeLace Pro.
Controlling the FreeLace Pro
The controls are nicely thoughtout for the most part. However the tapping function on the left bud isn’t always working perfectly. It takes a good 3-4 seconds before the headphones toggle between ANC on, Awareness Mode and ANC off, which is cumbersome. And the headphones won’t remember the setting for the next time you turn them on, doubly cumbersome.
Sound quality, noise cancelling, battery life
Moving into the meat of the matter – sound. Put simply, the Huawei FreeLace Pro offer a powerful and rich soundstage. They’re very loud, thanks to the 14.2mm drivers, and have a strong low end, which lends music a solid foundation, without spilling over and muddying the vocals.
Like most wireless earbuds the FreeLace Pro have a most pronounced midrange. It gives music, especially instrumental music a strong presence. Most music feels alive with a nice response from the low end and good volume, wrapping up an overall lovely package.
There’s no in-ear detection to pause and play music when you take the headphones off. But when left to hang, the two buds will magnetically attach to each other and automatically stop playback. Once you detach them again, they’ll automatically reconnect to your phone and start playing.
Now let’s talk about Awareness mode and Active noise cancellation. Awareness mode is something I’ve never enjoyed using, but I can appreciate that it’s very good on the FreeLace Pro. It’s handy when you need to have a conversation with someone, without taking off your headphones.
It amplifies voices, basically giving you super-human hearing. The trouble with this mode is its slow initiation. You need to tap and hold on the left earbud to enable Noise cancelling, then again to go into Awareness mode – that’s a slow process. Even if you are in Noise Cancelling mode, it’s still 3-4 seconds to enter into Awareness mode.
Noise cancelling on the FreeLace Pro is functional, if not magical. It lessens the surrounding noise, especially low-frequency noises like the humming of the fan from your loud gaming laptop. But it will do next to nothing for constant human chatter. It’s very much a case of having the right expecations – ANC is designed to drown out predictable and unchanging low-frequency noises and the FreeLace Pro do a good job at that. The in-ear nature of the earbuds helps with outside noise isolation too. But we have tested headphones with better ANC – Apple’s AirPods Pro and Sony’s WF-1000XM3.
Now let’s discuss battery life, which is one of the strong suits of this neckband pair of headphones. Huawei claims up to 24 hours without ANC on, which is achievable at half volume. We got 19 hours of music playback at full volume out of the Huawei FreeLace Pro, which is a superb result.
Charging back up the FreeLace Pro’s takes an hour, but Huawei claims just 5 minutes on the charger will give the headphones 5 hours of listening time.
So are the Huawei FreeLace Pro a good purchase? Put simply, yes, they’re great. If you’re looking at neckband wireless headphones with powerful sound, that can go for days on a single charge – these are hard to beat, even at their full price of €119. With Black Friday and Holiday deals kick in, Huawei’s promotions might make them a proper bargain.
Be mindful that in choosing the Huawei FreeLace Pro, you’re paying extra for premium features like the active noise cancellation and IP55 rating. If you’re here for the sporty element of these headphones, you could find similar sound and build quality at a lower price.
If you’re fine with paying north of €100 for headphones, the Huawei FreeLace Pro don’t disappoint in any way and will last a long, long time.