The Huawei Freebuds 4i are one of the best pairs of budget ANC earbuds on the market.
- Lightweight design
- Ergonomic fit
- IP54 water and dust resistance
- Brand: Huawei
- Battery Life: 55mAh, 10 hours of continuous playback
- Noise Cancellation: Yes
- Mono Listening: Yes
- Bluetooth : Yes, BT 5.2
- Excellent battery life
- Reliable Bluetooth connection
- Great Active Noise Cancelling
- Touch gestures are finicky and unreliable
- Doesn't support wireless charging
Huawei Freebuds 4i amazon
The market for wireless earbuds has steadily grown over the years, and as companies continue to enter this market, one fact stayed constant; Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) earbuds are expensive. Today, if you wanted to get a decent pair of ANC earbuds, you’re looking to spend at least $ 200-300 for one that offers ANC and decent sound quality. Enter Huawei’s new Freebuds 4i, which are a shockingly good pair of ANC earbuds that only cost $ 100.
The Freebuds 4i has no-frills when it comes to design, and at this price range, that’s not a bad thing. The Freebuds 4i follows suit with most other AirPods clones, but Huawei altered certain aspects of both the earbuds and their charging case.
The earbuds themselves don’t look too bad; they heavily copy Apple’s AirPods design, but there are a couple of differences. For one, you’re going to be getting silicon tips, which are excellent for isolating sound and fitting securely in one’s ears. Huawei includes multiple sizes to choose from to ensure the perfect fit. The stems of the earbuds are also a bit different compared to Apple’s AirPods, with the Huawei Freebuds having a more pronounced stem that has a flattened side for gestures.
Speaking of those gestures, don’t use them. You can find the touchpads on the stems of both earbuds, but they are way too unreliable to use daily. The gestures are fairly common with tap to play/pause, double-tap to get to the next song or answer/end calls, and long press to cycle through the different ANC modes. On paper, the gestures seem intuitive, but in reality, this is the worst aspect of these earbuds. I found myself getting frustrated trying to play and pause my music, and when there isn’t any auditory feedback, you don’t know whether or not you tapped your earbud. The best way for you to play/pause your music is through your phone; a suggestion Huawei should take for these is to have a feedback system like on Samsung’s Galaxy Buds where you can hear when you tap or interact with your earbuds.
The charging case of the Freebuds 4i has a new design this time around; it comes in an egg-like shape that makes it a bit more compact and easier to handle, but certain design elements are slightly cumbersome. For one, the side-mounted pairing button is almost invisible to new users because it’s recessed into the case, making it harder to find. The hinge is also a tad bit flimsy compared to more expensive earbuds, but it is magnetic, so you’re still getting a satisfying click when you close it. The case charges via USB-C, but it doesn’t support wireless charging, which is understandable given the price.
The Freebuds 4i comes in 3 different colorways including, Carbon Black, Ceramic White, and the Red Edition. We have the white model for review, and its high-gloss finish does look quite good, but it does make the earbuds harder to get in and out of their charging case because of their slippery surface.
The Freebuds 4i are IP54 rated for dust and water resistance; this means that a splash of water or sweat isn’t going to ruin your earbuds. These are probably the best inexpensive pair of earbuds you can pick up for the gym.
When it comes to audio quality, the Freebuds 4i offers great value. You’re not getting anything special with these earbuds, but they have many strengths in an inexpensive form factor.
The Huawei Freebuds 4i have 10mm dynamic drivers, which gives these earbuds a decent amount of balanced highs and lows, but they lack a bit when it comes to bass. You can feel the price of these earbuds when you crank up the volume; the sound gets quite distorted once you surpass 70% volume.
Huawei says these earbuds sound best when listening to specific genres like Pop or other vocal-centric music genres, and they would be right; those are the genres where the Huawei Freebuds 4i sound excellent. I also used these earbuds to listen to podcasts and audiobooks, and vocals came out crystal clear.
With the Freebuds’ clean vocal profile, I was keen on recommending it for things like video calls, but these earbuds regrettably lack microphone quality. This is no surprise; most wireless earbuds at this price point don’t tend to focus on microphones, but it would have been nice to see Huawei put more effort into their microphone system here.
For connectivity, the Freebuds 4i use Bluetooth 5.2, which means that you’re going to be getting a reliable connection with your phone as you move from place to place; I had no connection issues with the Freebuds 4i. These earbuds are compatible with both iOS and Android, and there’s a companion app called Huawei AI Life, which lets you adjust the functions of the earbuds.
Onto the main selling point of the Freebuds 4i: Active Noise Cancellation. Going into this review, I was skeptical of the ANC capabilities of these earbuds, but they’re the best feature of the Freebuds 4i. The included silicone tips already do a great job with dampening sound and creating a seal around your ear to mask out sound, but when you turn on the ANC, that sound-dampening gets elevated.
There are two modes to choose from; you can turn ANC fully on, and this will give you the most immersive experience in terms of isolation. This mode works very well, and you’ll only pick up on a low, grumbled sound of the outside world, but if you’re looking to hear people, the other ANC mode allows you to filter out voices so you can be moderately aware of your surroundings while still having ANC on. In practice, this amplification mode is convenient when you’re too lazy to take out your earbuds and want to be able to let in the outside world. Of course, you can turn off ANC altogether, and the silicone tips do a great job at blocking out sound, but it’s suboptimal when you’re trying to talk to someone. You can cycle between these three modes through the Huawei AI Life app or by long pressing on the stems of the earbuds.
The Huawei Freebuds 4i are rated for 10 hours of continuous listening time with ANC on, and surprisingly, I was getting very close to that 10-hour mark. Each earbud has a 55mAh cell, and with typical usage, you can get 7-8 hours of battery life without charging them. The charging case will give you a total of 22 hours of listening.
While the charging case doesn’t support wireless charging, the fast charging on these earbuds is superb. You can get up to 4 hours of continuous playback with only 10 minutes on the charger. It takes about 20-30 minutes to fully charge the earbuds and the case.
If you’re looking for earbuds that will last you a full day of usage without any issues, the Huawei Freebuds 4i are among the best options. Considering these are very affordable, it’s a steal for what you’re getting.
Should You Get the Huawei Freebuds 4i?
Overall, these Freebuds 4i are some of the best budget earbuds of 2021. They have little to no gimmicks and the quality of ANC you’re getting on these earbuds is unmatched at this price point.
We recommend the Huawei Freebuds 4i to people who want reliable earbuds with ridiculously good battery life. These earbuds offer a straightforward experience that is unmatched at this particular price point. If you’re looking for an inexpensive pair of truly wireless earbuds, the Huawei Freebuds 4i are a good option.