One of my favorite wireless headphones from last year is the Freebuds Pro and Huawei has now released a cheaper alternative with most of the same features.
There’s no denying that the Freebuds 4i inherit some of their design cues from the AirPods Pro, although I don’t consider them to be clones. On the one hand, the stem is longer and elliptical rather than round like the latter. The speaker head is slightly smaller than the AirPods Pro and I would say it has a better chance of accommodating a wider range of ear sizes, especially those with smaller ear canals.
The Freebuds 4i come with additional ear tips, but unlike standard ear tips, their elliptical shape allows for a good fit in the ear, albeit a bit awkward for headphones. It’s really not a big deal, but I prefer Apple’s more convenient snap-to-fit better.
Unlike Apple headphones, which are only available in refreshing white, the Freebuds 4i are available in Ceramic White, Carbon Crystal Black, and Honey Red. Best brands to Huawei for coming up with such creative color names.
The relatively small housing matches the heads in color and gloss finish. Shaped like a pebble, the charging case has a flat area on the back where the lid hinge closes with a satisfying click. It also opens easily and easily and when you do, a single LED lights up on the front of the case.
The glossy finish of the earbuds is stylish, but it’s difficult to remove them from the case. The first time it took me a little while to remove them and I actually thought they were stuck. During my time of use, removing the buds has become easier thanks to muscle memory and technique. I’m not sure if the fit is too precise or if the magnets holding them are too strong, but it’s a bit of a design flaw as I can see people having trouble getting them out of the case.
The Freebuds 4i have good controls which always work well. You can also customize them using the Huawei AI Life app. A double tap can be set to play / pause, the next / previous track or wake up the voice assistant. Touching and holding can activate noise control and switch between on, off and noise detection mode to let in outside sounds. Unfortunately, just like Apple AirPods Pro, there is no volume control on the Freebuds 4i – instead, you have to use your phone.
The Huawei Freebuds 4i are one of the cheapest wireless headphones to offer excellent ANC and sound quality. Essentially, a good seal here helps provide excellent passive noise isolation or at least that’s my experience. ANC works amazingly well at reducing most external sounds so you can listen to music or podcasts without external distractions.
The combination of long rods and good quality pickups makes the call quality crystal clear. Callers said they could hear me without distortion and I found the same on my end. However, even with the awareness mode enabled, I found that I couldn’t hear my own voice as clearly as I would on AirPods Pro. Considering the price difference, this is not a deciding factor
Huawei claims that the Freebuds 4i adopt the “PEEK + PU” polymer composite diaphragm which is flexible and powerful, providing high sensitivity and rich dynamic response, allowing users to hear more details in their music. I would describe the 4i’s sound signature as brilliant with crisp, crisp detail. The soundstage isn’t as extensive as the Huawei Freebuds Pro nor the bass as loud, but it still handles a punchy bass with decent instrument separation and the vocals are never muddy like I’ve found on some of the headphones from similar prices.
The overall sound quality is excellent and well balanced although I have found that the mid tones sometimes get lost in the music in more complex tracks. That being said, I don’t think the majority of listeners will be disappointed with the performance of the Freebuds 4i and especially their asking price.
Battery performance is great with up to 10 hours of playtime on a single charge on the headphones with this expansion up to 22 hours total when you factor in the charging case. Of course, it goes without saying that with ANC enabled and higher volumes, the battery life will be less than advertised.
Charging is only available through the USB-C port of the box without an option to charge them wirelessly. Again, that’s okay when you factor in the price. A bonus is that just ten minutes of charging should provide up to four hours of playtime.
What I noticed with older Huawei earphones is that if you don’t use them for a while, the battery will drain. This is not the case with the Freebuds Pro but with the Freebuds 4i.
Exclusive to FreeBuds 4i customers, Huawei Music is offering a free six-month subscription to new Music users so they can listen to old favorites, discover new artists, and create the perfect playlist for every mood. For those who want to test HuaweiFreeBuds 4i battery, Huawei Music has created a 100 song playlist for music fans.
It’s a fantastic deal and Huawei Music is a feature-packed streaming service that is as good if not better than some of the other major streaming services. However, to benefit from the service, you will need a Huawei smartphone.
Much like Apple, Samsung, Oppo, and others, the Freebuds 4i have a proprietary connection with Huawei smartphones using EMUI 10.0 or higher. Connect them to the P40 Pro like I did for the first time and you will see a pop-up animation asking if you want to connect. After the initial pairing, every time I open the case near the P40 Pro, I get the same animation showing me the charge level on both headphones and the charging case.
They will connect to any bluetooth device and I have used them on multiple phones including the iPhone.
The Freebuds 4i are exceptional for the price offering a compact body with excellent battery life. They have a broad sound signature that will suit the majority of music genres and offer stellar ANC performance, making them an easy recommendation for most users.
Huawei FreeBuds 4i are now available at € 79 Huawei