Huawei has revealed the FreeLace Pro, an updated take on its wireless neckbuds that throws in bigger sound, better battery, and active noise cancellation.
The addition of ANC is the biggest change, allowing the FreeLace Pro to mute the outside world entirely. The neckbuds can reduce noise by up to 40dB, averaging at 25dB, with performance that Huawei claims makes them comparable to Bose’s on-ear equivalents.
That’s a big claim, but noise-cancelling on earbuds is getting better and better, and once you factor in the silicone ear tips that will block some outside noise on their own, the company could be onto something. We weren’t hugely impressed by the noise-cancelling on the company’s FreeBuds 3, but perhaps the upgraded tech will improve things.
It probably helps that the earbuds are powered by sizeable 14mm dynamic drivers – a huge jump up from the 9.2mm drivers in the regular FreeLace. That should mean more volume, deeper bass and improved clarity, and the larger drivers should also be better suited to delivering the low frequencies required for noise cancellation.
Finally, battery has had a boost too. The original FreeLace headphones weren’t bad in this department regardless, lasting for 18 hours on a single charge, but the Pro version ups the ante and will deliver a full 24 hours of music playback before needing to be plugged in again. A 5-minute charge should get you back five hours of listening time.
Making a welcome return is the built-in USB-C plug, so that you can actually connect the headphones themselves directly to a USB port for charging, or straight into a phone for instant pairing. The FreeLace Pro also support pairing to two devices, with a simple button press to switch between them
One oddity is that it looks like the FreeLace Pro have dropped the IPX5 waterproof rating included on the originals, making these a slightly less friendly option for anyone looking for headphones to use outside or while working out, as it also means they aren’t officially sweatproof.
Huawei hasn’t yet announced European pricing or a release date for the FreeLace Pro, but we’ll find out at the company’s Developer Conference next Thursday, 10 September. You can see them on the company’s Malaysian site however, where they’re listed with a price of RM399 – which works out to just over £70.
The original FreeLace neckbuds started from £69.99 (though have now dropped to just £40), so it sounds like the FreeLace Pro won’t have too steep a price bump when they finally arrive. They’ll be available in three colours: Graphite Black, Spruce Green, and Dawn White.