As leading technology consumer electronics brands, Apple and Huawei have also created top-level flagship products in the TWS headset market to meet market demands and provide users with a better experience. Among them, Apple’s latest generation of flagship product AirPods Pro 2 was officially released in September 2022, three years after the previous generation, and brought a number of major upgrades. Huawei’s flagship product – HUAWEI FreeBuds Pro 2 launched on July 28, 2022, and it also bring a full range of experience upgrades.
In terms of appearance, Apple AirPods Pro 2 continues the design of the previous generation, and the whole machine looks simple and stylish. In terms of functional configuration, the newly upgraded H2 chip is adopted to support Bluetooth 5.3. The powerful computing power greatly enhances the noise cancellation ability, and a new adaptive transparent mode has been added. On the other hand, the charging case ushered in a major upgrade, with new speakers and a built-in U1 chip to provide more accurate charging case finding. At the same time, a lanyard hole is added to improve portability. Of course, dynamic head-tracking spatial audio cannot be missing to provide users with an immersive audio experience.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 also continues the classic design in terms of appearance, but has been greatly optimized. The size and weight of the charging case are reduced, and the curve of the earbuds is smoother. In terms of functional configuration, the sound quality has undergone a systematic full-link upgrade, obtained HWA and Hi-Res dual certification, and added a new spatial audio function. The smart dynamic noise cancellation 2.0 has also been newly upgraded to automatically switch the noise cancellation mode. Equipped with the Harmony system, it can be used with products that support HarmonyOS to provide convenient use in all scenarios.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 have previously made detailed dismantling reports. This time, based on the dismantling report, I will share with you the difference between the two in appearance design and internal structure configuration.
01/ Product Appearance
In terms of appearance design, both products continue the family-style design, each with its own brand characteristics. Apple AirPods Pro 2 inherits the pure white simple body, the charging case adopts a rounded square appearance, and is designed with a lanyard hole to enhance portability. The earbuds adopt a handle-shaped in-ear design, and the headset stem and the earphone cavity are integrally formed with smooth curves. The pressure-sensitive areas on both sides of the cylindrical headset stem are plane-cut to improve the accuracy of blind operation.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 continues the business-oriented design, and has more colors to choose from than AirPods Pro 2. The Freebuds Pro 2 charging case is approximately oval in shape, with excessively rounded edges, compact in size, and more portable when going out. The earbuds adopt a handle-shaped in-ear design, the square headset stem is more three-dimensional, and the side of the fuselage is a pressure-sensitive area, providing precise human-computer interaction.
Charging Case Port
In terms of power input, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 still uses the Apple Lightning port, which can be used in common with the Lightning cable of other Apple devices. At the same time, it supports magnetic charging function, and can use Apple Watch charger and MagSafe charger for wireless charging.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 uses a Type-C port, which has a wider scope of application and can be used in common with the Type-C cable of mobile phones, tablets, notebooks and other devices. It also supports wireless charging, but does not support magnetic suction.
In terms of weight of the two products, the overall weight of Apple AirPods Pro 2 is about 61.4g, and the weight of a single earbud is about 5.3g. The overall weight of Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 is about 64.5g, and a single earbud weighs 6.2g. Compared with the two products, Apple AirPods Pro 2 is lighter.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 is equipped with a newly upgraded SiP package H2 chip, which integrates a variety of different components and chips with different functions into one package, and has more functions. Using computational audio algorithms, it brings more intelligent noise cancellation performance, excellent three-dimensional sound effects and more efficient battery life.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 is equipped with the latest generation of BES ultra-low power consumption, highly integrated bluetooth audio SoC – BES2700YP. It adopts 12nm process technology, integrates dual-mode Bluetooth 5.3, and supports BT&BLE. The main processor has a built-in Arm Cortex-M55 CPU and Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP, which greatly improves the computing performance of the chip. The sensor hub subsystem has a built-in STAR-MC1 MCU and BES self-developed neural network processor BECO NPU, which realizes rich application processing capabilities while significantly reducing power consumption.
In-Ear Detection Sensor
Apple AirPods Pro 2 is equipped with a skin recognition sensor inside, and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 uses an optical in-ear sensor. Both can realize the function of automatically pausing music playback when taking off the earbuds and automatically resuming music playback when wearing earbuds by sensing the wearing status.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 both use pressure-sensing solutions for interactive control. Precise control of various functions is achieved through pinch-pinch, which avoids the problem of easy accidental touch of touch buttons. At the same time, it supports sliding control mode, which can more conveniently control volume +/-, previous/next song switching, etc. The specific solution of Apple’s pressure sensing is unknown, and Huawei has adopted the pressure sensing solution of NDT technology.
In terms of the pressure sensing IC that cooperates with the pressure sensing sensor to realize the control of various functions, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 is speculated to be integrated in the H2 chip. Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 uses the AWINIC AW86862 chip for pressure sensing signal acquisition, amplification and processing.
Acceleration Sensor (Six-Axis Gyroscope)
Both Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 support dynamic head-tracking spatial audio. Based on the spatial audio algorithm and the internal 6-axis gyroscope sensor, real-time mapping of sound field changes provides users with immersive surround sound effects.
The six-axis gyro sensor inside Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 failed to capture details. Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 uses ST LSM6DSV16BX 6-axis IMU and bone conduction two-in-one chip inside. 6-axis IMU is used for spatial audio function, and bone conduction is used for noise cancellation of uplink calls. At the same time, the software can support head tracking and VAD algorithm.
Both Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 earbuds use steel shell button batteries inside. The former battery is from Samsung SDI, model: A2731, rated capacity: 49.7mAh/0.182Wh, rated voltage: 3.66V. The latter battery model: HB1160ECW, capacity: 55mAh, nominal voltage: 3.82V, charging limit voltage: 4.4V.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds built-in charging chip failed to obtain detailed information. Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 uses the Cellwise CW6305B low-power linear charging chip. The chip inlet has a maximum input current limit of 500mA. It supports a maximum charging current of 470mA and a minimum charging cut-off current of 1mA. The charging parameters can be dynamically adjusted by the I²C interface. When the lithium battery is powered, the quiescent current of the chip is as low as 7uA.
Both Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 are equipped with three MEMS microphone units, including one in-ear microphone and two out-of-ear microphones. It is mainly used for ANC/transparent mode, call noise cancellation, and voice control function pickup. The in-ear microphone of Apple AirPods Pro 2 is also used for adaptive equalization, which is responsible for detecting the audio effect of listening content to adjust low and mid frequencies in real time.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 earbuds also use a bone voiceprint sensor inside, which is used for call noise cancellation, bone voiceprint recognition and other functions. Apple AirPods Pro 2 realizes the noise cancellation function of bone conduction calls through the voice acceleration sensor.
The Apple AirPods Pro 2 is equipped with an Apple-customized high-amplitude drive unit with a size of 11mm. With a customized high dynamic range amplifier and H2 chip, it can provide low-distortion sound effects, achieving deeper bass and crisper treble at various volumes.
Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 is equipped with TWS’s world-first four-magnet dynamic driver+micro-planar tweeter, which achieves a low-frequency extension of 14Hz and a treble rise of 48kHz. It has sound frequencies beyond the range of human ear perception, presenting richer sound details.
03/ Charging Case
In terms of charging case, there is a big difference between Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2. Compared with the traditional charging case of Huawei Freebuds Pro 2, Apple AirPods Pro 2 has been upgraded in many aspects to solve the problem of user charging case loss. A new speaker and UWB chip are added to help users find the location of the charging case more quickly and accurately.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 uses a parallel connection of two lithium batteries, which can make better use of the internal space of the charging case. Battery model: A2798, nominal voltage: 3.82Vdc, charging limit voltage: 4.35 Vdc, rated capacity: 523mAh (PS: total capacity of two lithium polymer batteries connected in parallel), from Sunwoda.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 charging case built-in lithium battery model: HB781937ECW-A, rated capacity: 580mAh, rated voltage: 3.82V, charging limit voltage: 4.4V. Cell model: ATL 771934, from ATL.
To charge the built-in lithium battery of the charging case through a wired connection, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 uses the NXP 610A3B USB charging IC. Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 failed to get details.
To charge the built-in lithium battery of the charging case through a wireless connection, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 uses the BROADCOM 59356A2KUBG wireless charging management IC. Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 is equipped with a wireless charging receiver chip with silk screen WP5101GC.
The MCU microcontroller used for the overall control of the charging case, Apple AirPods Pro 2 uses ST STM32L496WGY6P ultra-low power Arm Cortex-M4 32-bit MCU+FPU.
Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 is equipped with a Nations N32G4FRHE chip. The N32G4FR series uses a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 core with a maximum operating frequency of 144MHz and supports floating-point operations and DSP instructions. Built-in cryptographic algorithm hardware acceleration engine, integrated up to 512KB encrypted Flash memory, 144KB SRAM, which can be used to securely store fingerprint information. Support mainstream semiconductor fingerprint and optical fingerprint sensor. Supports up to 18 channels of capacitive touch keys, and integrates rich U(S)ART, I2C, SPI, QSPI, USB, ADC, DAC, SDIO and other general peripheral ports.
AirPods Pro 2 charging case “Find My” function configuration
The bottom of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 charging case is provided with a speaker and a built-in speaker. When searching through the “Find My” search function, it can make a sound, so that users can quickly know the location. At the same time, you can also give feedback on the completion of bluetooth pairing and low battery reminders through the ringtone.
The built-in speaker of the charging case is fixed by a metal bracket and uses an oval dynamic driver.
The speaker is equipped with a Maxim MAX98357B Class-D audio amplifier to drive the voice coil.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 charging case is equipped with NORDIC nRF52832 multi-protocol Bluetooth 5.0, ANT/ANT+ and 2.4G private protocol radio frequency SoC chip. It is used to realize the long-distance positioning of the charging case and the information reading after it is lost, as well as the automatic reminder when it is out of the range of the bluetooth connection.
The Apple-customized U1 ultra-wideband chip with silk screen 2ZRT is used for precise positioning at short distances. The ultra-wideband chip has the characteristics of strong anti-interference ability and high positioning accuracy, and the transmission distance is about 10 meters. As far as I know, Apple has widely used UWB chips in iPhones, HomePod Mini smart speakers and AirTag wireless trackers, and will become an important part of Apple’s product ecosystem in the future.
Apple AirPods Pro 2 and Huawei Freebuds Pro 2 have continued their respective brand characteristics in terms of appearance design. In terms of functions, they also cover the main application scenarios of the current TWS headset market. With flagship configuration and performance, it can provide users with a high-quality wireless audio experience.
Among them, the dynamic head-tracking spatial audio supported by both, brings a more immersive sense of hearing with immersive surround sound effects. In the future, it will gradually become another must-have function of TWS earbuds after the ANC function. In addition, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 charging case helps users to find more quickly and accurately through innovative applications implemented by equipped with speakers and UWB technology. At the same time, more functions have been expanded to further enhance the user experience.
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