Honor Earbuds 2 Lite review
Honor is now an independent brand that is free to launch its own products without the supervision of a parent company like Huawei.
We recently received their 2 Lite earphones for review, and they came with lots of promises – Active noise reduction, 32-hour battery life and a low price.
We got the accessory in Glacier White color, tested all its main features and are ready to report what impressed us and what did not.
Honor Earbuds 2 Lite comes with a rectangular case that has a USB-C port on the bottom and a physical key on the side that is used to connect to new devices. As expected, no wireless charging is available, but Honor supplies 5V / 3A cable in the retail box.
When we take the buds out of the case, we see that they look like Huawei Freebuds 4i, even though these companies are no longer together, at least in theory. Upon further investigation, we found that they are not just lookalikes, they are exactly the same, down to the millimeter.
What Honor did not do so well is the way the earphones fit into the case. Both companies have a magnet in place at the bottom to guide the trunk in its slot, but Honor’s positioning feels unnatural with the knob facing the user while the trunk is further away. We would love to see the earphones sit closer to the case, but it would have compromised the internal design and enabled the huge battery increase.
Huawei Freebuds 4i vs Honor Earbuds 2 Lite
It would require heavy training and lots of muscle memory to be adjusted because there is no easy way to put the bud from the ear into the case with a single hand movement.
At the very least, the 2 Lite earplugs are extremely comfortable in the ear, of course when combined with the right pair of rubber tips. They have a touch sensor on the outside for movements and plenty of microphones to ensure that calls are effortless on both sides of the call.
There is also a sensor in the inward-facing microphone that detects when one of the buttons is removed and pauses music or video.
The earbuds are a standard Bluetooth accessory, which means that they can be connected to almost any other device. However, to get all the extra features, users need to download the Huawei AI Life app.
Since this is a fairly new product, we found that we needed the newer app version available on Huawei’s AppGallery to make them work. But we assume that the app version on Google Play will soon catch up.
The difference that the app brings to Earbuds 2 Lite is motion control – Double-Tap can be customized to any of the knobs, while the other available shortcut is Touch & Hold, which by default is Noise Control.
Speaking of noise control, this is where Honor did a good job – implementing the ANC. Users can cycle through “Awareness”, “Off” and “Noise canceling”, and any of them can be removed from the list via the app.
While the first is obvious – it activates the external microphones to help users navigate short interactions, but the second option “Off” is standard. Noise reduction does a good job, and a big competitor to Earbuds 2 Lite is its twin – Freebuds 4i. We must point out that the ANC works if the bud sits comfortably in the ear canal – if it moves, it compromises the whole experience.
Another strong point of Earbuds 2 Lite is the battery. Each button has a 55 mAh cell, while the case adds 410 mAh more. Honor calculates the total battery life of 32 hours of listening experience. Of course, this does not include the time it takes for the buds to recharge while this is the case. Charging the knobs is really fast and the case itself can also get juice quickly, provided the cable is connected with the appropriate adapter.
Continuous playback on a single charge is announced after 10 hours with ANC off and 50% volume. We do not support listening to music for such a long time, but did so for the sake of this review. We were impressed that Earbuds 2 Lite matched expectations on a non-Honor smartphone – almost 10 hours.
Turning on the ANC and increasing the volume will result in lower battery life, as everything maximized still gives us over 4 hours of audio fun. Recharging is also fast; our suggestion, based on experience and testing of multiple TWS earphones, is to charge the case whenever possible, instead of spending all battery life until the last power drop and then struggling to find an electrical outlet.
The big question about non-expensive earphones is always about sound quality. Honor Earbuds 2 Lite comes with 10 mm dynamic coil drivers that bring a nicely clear sound that matches the price category.
Casual music listeners, podcast enthusiasts and workaholics on the go would love these buds because of the stable connection and satisfying sound. Unfortunately, AI Life does not provide any equalizer at all, so the user is dependent on the built-in, provided the device has one. Speaking of stable connection, Earbuds 2 Lite can connect to two different devices and can easily switch from one to the other, depending on which one is playing. This is thanks to the Bluetooth 5.2 connection, which also enables easy setup from one user to another.
Even though the battery occupies most of the internal parts of the earplug, there is enough hardware to provide good enough treble and low level. And since we live in a pandemic, there is always a mask in front of our mouths – Earbuds 2 Lite still picks everything up, and the trunk is not too long to get in the way of the masking ribbons.
We were already impressed with the Huawei Freebuds 4i, and Honor Earbuds 2 Lite just reinforced our verdict. These earphones are good because they provide a decent sound, one of the biggest ANC in this price range, and the battery life along with the charging features are top notch.
There is only one major problem with Earbuds 2 Lite, which is also sold as Earbuds 2 SE in China – their availability. Honor is still developing its independent sales network, and we had a hard time finding the earplugs for sale online. Eventually we found them in Malaysia for MYR299 (or MYR269 for the early birds), which translates to around $ 70, and that sounds like a reasonable price for what you get.