Should I buy the Huawei FreeBuds 4i?
If blocking out ambient noise is a priority and so is that extra $ 100 you typically pay to get active noise cancellation (ANC), then Huawei’s FreeBuds 4i will do the trick. Music lovers won’t be blown away by the brilliant sound, but they will get a decent reading. Users will also be impressed with the FreeBud 4i’s ability to deliver clear conversations, even in the presence of ambient noise.
Price after examination
In Australia, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i are priced at AU $ 159.
You can buy them in the Huawei Experience Store online and in-store in Chatswood, World Square and Hurstville, as well as on MobileCiti and Amazon.
Design and build
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i are available in two colors, Carbon Crystal Black and Ceramic White. I had the carbon crystal black and found its glossy smooth finish to be exceptionally stylish.
The headphones are compact and lightweight. However, those who want an understated in-ear look won’t find it with the FreeBuds 4i, as they have a 3.5cm shank that extends from each bud. The function of the rod is to allow the microphone system to better detect your voice, even when the background noise is high. I found this feature to work well, and for that reason I was happy to overlook the less understated design.
The charging case is also smooth and shiny. It is oval in shape and about the size and proportions of a pebble. For convenience, it lays flat on a desk or table and fits perfectly into the curve of your hand. I found it quite amusing to place it in my hand: like picking up a perfectly balanced stone in a river bed and admiring its weight. Huawei said the pebble-shaped design was inspired by Iceland’s black sand beaches, which earned it points for its originality.
Inside the case are two sizes of cutting edge accessories, Small and Large, to customize your comfort setting. The headphones are a comfortable fit. I didn’t feel the lingering pressure build up in my ears that I sometimes do when wearing headphones for long periods of time.
Features and sound quality
By far the most interesting feature of the Hauwei FreeBuds 4i is its ANC technology. It’s not easy to find ANC headphones under $ 200, so I couldn’t wait to give them a try and see how well they performed.
ANC tends to work differently in different headphones. In the FreeBuds 4i, the ANC detects ambient noise through two microphones in each of its headphones, then generates inverted sound waves to reduce that noise. By doing this, Huawei claims that it can make your audio the hero, even in environments that typically have a lot of background noise.
How does this statement correspond? Well, for all intents and purposes, the FreeBuds 4i’s ANC performed reasonably well at reducing most low and mid level ambient noise, like the constant chatter you hear in malls. However, the ANC struggled to dampen higher-level ambient noise like the roaring engines of buses taking off nearby, which meant that I sometimes needed to pause my podcasts at crucial times.
Switching between ANC mode and Awareness mode, which lets you hear sounds from your surroundings, is as easy as a long press on your headset. There is no chance that you will be confused as to which mode you are in, as the voice assistant clearly updates you when you change. Pausing and starting music is also very easy and is done in much the same way with a few simple taps of headphones. Unfortunately, there is no option to change the volume or skip tracks on the device itself and users will have to do so through the Huawei app.
As for the audio quality for playing music, I thought the Freebuds 4i did a decent job playing music with a range of high and low frequency sounds. I especially liked the way he delivered the vocals and the piano, which seemed to contain the most consistent timbre. That said, the Huawei FreeBud’s 4i doesn’t deliver the kind of audio depth that I’m used to hearing playing music from some high-end headphone models.
On the other hand, the audio clarity of conversations is exceptional and this is where the FreeBuds 4i really come into its own. Our conversations were crisp and clear even when surrounded by ambient noise. Huawei claims to have achieved this by incorporating three technologies – a slot microphone design, beamforming technology, and AI noise reduction technology, which work together to reduce interference and wind noise and emphasize your voice.
Pairing with our Bluetooth enabled device was also easy and took less than a minute. The long Bluetooth range surprised me. I have tested the FreeBuds at distances of 10 and 15 meters from my phone and they have consistently provided clear audio clarity in voice calls – a feature I have found incredibly useful for hands-free meetings around the PCWorld office. .
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i battery test was performed while listening to music at full charge through our Bluetooth enabled device. The FreeBuds 4i lasted almost 8 hours. Huawei says the headphones can last even longer, up to 10 hours of continuous music playback and 6.5 hours of voice calling when the ANC feature is turned off.
If your FreeBuds are powered off, you won’t find yourself waiting too long for power. I found that 10 minutes of juice was enough to recharge them for almost 4 hours of play.
The bottom line
Huawei was clearly ambitious in bringing headphones with ANC technology to the market and for just $ 159. But the FreeBuds 4i serve most of their purposes, offering reasonably good sound quality, passable ANC, and a very attractive price tag.
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Wireless TagsbluetoothavisHuawei AustraliaViewHeadphones In-Ear Headphonesearbuds Active Noise CancelingHuawei FreeBuds 4i