As we gravitate slowly towards the world of TWS earbuds, there are some who still prefer more traditional wireless designs - usually active and sporty individuals who prefer the security of some wires to keep the earphones secure and within reach, should they have to yank 'em out of their ears at some point.
HUAWEI FreeLace Pro
Enter the HUAWEI FreeLace Pro, the successor of last year's HUAWEI FreeLace. With ANC as a new feature, these earphones have certainly received an upgrade compared to its previous iteration.
The HUAWEI FreeLace Pro's design is perfect for runners and outdoorsy people - it consists of the earphones attached to a soft neckband with playback controls on the band itself.
This means that you can scroll through their playlist without having to look at their wrist or pull out their phone while jogging. The positioning of the buttons take a while to get used to, but thanks to their size and tactility, you won't be fumbling around for long.
Another good feature of the FreeLace Pro are the magnetic earbuds, which snap together neatly when out of your ears, preventing them from swinging around.
When they snap together, they will also disconnect from your phone or PC. However, they will automatically reconnect once you separate them, and by the time you place them back in your ears, it will be up and running again. You might have to manually press play to start the music again though.
Do note that there isn't wear detection either, so if you pluck 'em out from your ears, your music will continue playing until you snap both sides of the earphones together.
Comfortable and lightweight
The FreeLace Pro is extremely light, making them perfect for extended use as they won't way you down or feel annoying on your neck.
The earphones are pretty solid with detachable rubber eartips. These eartips are angled and provide a delightfully comfortable fit. I found that they sat in my ears very naturally and provided great passive noise cancelling, which complements the ANC feature of the FreeLace Pro.
There are tiny little wingtips, but unless your ears are really tiny, they probably won't fit. I didn't find them a hindrance though. As usual, there are spare eartips in different sizes for you to find a better fit.
ANC and audio quality
The main upgrade from the 2019 FreeLace is of course, the addition of active noise cancelling. For the price, I was expecting something mediocre, but the ANC on the FreeLace Pro was surprisingly good.
Turning it on brought environmental noises to a nearly inaudible hum, and other irregular sounds sounded much more muted. The controls are located on the left earbud - you'll have to touch and hold it for 2 seconds to cycle between normal, transparent, and ANC modes. The transparent mode uses the external noise-cancelling microphone to pick up the surrounding sounds and direct them back into your ear, so you can have a conversation (or eavesdrop on people) without having to remove the earphones from your ears.
In terms of audio quality, it's pretty decent for the price. They definitely aren't audiophile quality, but otherwise did a decent job for what it is. The bass isn't super heavy, but it's definitely present; vocals sound clear and undistorted, definitely good enough for your casual jogs and workouts.
Battery and charging
HUAWEI claims that the FreeLace Pro provides 24 hours of playback on a full charge, while 5 mins of charging can give you up to 5 hours of playback. While we didn't get to push the earbuds until its tank was empty, we certainly found that they lasted a couple of days without needing a top-up.
To charge, you'll have to tug on the little connector here to reveal a USB-C connector. The header is then plugged into the adapter provided, so you can hook it up to a power bank or charger. If your devices support reverse charging, you'll be able to plug it directly into the USB-C port to juice it up as well.
Buy or no buy?
For just RM399, the HUAWEI FreeLace Pro is a nifty little gadget. It's lightweight and comfortable with excellent ANC for its price point. Functional design features like the magnetic earphones and built-in charging head are bonuses.
Sound quality and battery life are decent, and will definitely serve you well, be it for casual jogs around the neighbourhood or listening to music during commutes.
To purchase a pair, head on over to the official product page here.