Huawei FreeBuds 4i Assessment: Low-cost ANC Earbuds

Huawei has now made numerous completely different pairs of headphones and the agency’s newest funds wi-fi earbuds are the FreeBuds 4i. They value simply £79 however have lively noise cancelling (ANC).

Wi-fi earbuds with ANC at below £100/$100 nonetheless stay fairly elusive so though they’re not good, the FreeBuds 4i are an honest alternative if you need a pleasant stability of sound high quality, noise cancelling and battery life.

Design & Construct

The buds themselves are your typical wi-fi earbud form with stems, much like the AirPods. They give the impression of being good within the Carbon Black color I examined however you can too get them in Ceramic White or Pink, too.

Nonetheless, I’ve some qualms about another design decisions, specifically across the case.

This tiny egg-shaped housing for the earbuds is a clumsy form to deal with and the shiny end makes it very slippery. A flat part on the again means you may place it down on a flat floor to make use of the USB-C charging port on the underside, however you may’t have the lid open with out holding the case.

Contemplating the lid must be open whereas urgent the button on the aspect to get the buds into pairing mode (except you’ve got a Huawei telephone with EMUI10 for good ‘Pop-up’ pairing), it will get a bit awkward. And it’s additionally not apparent that the buds want to stay within the case for pairing, with little info within the provided paperwork.

Whereas a small case could be fascinating, it seems to have come at the price of the earbuds dealing with the improper manner. So, they want rotating 180-degrees earlier than they’re dealing with the precise strategy to insert into your ears.

And that’s for those who may even get them out of the case. As we’ve discovered with earlier FreeBuds, it’s very onerous to grip the earbuds and take away them from their magnetic caverns with the identical ‘high-polish’ end because the case.

As soon as I had them out, rotated and inserted, I discovered the FreeBuds 4i snug with out swapping the information all the way down to the small measurement like I usually should do – there are three sizes included.

As per the FreeBuds 3i, there are contact controls on the surface of every bud. By default, they do the identical factor; double-tap to play/pause or long-press to vary the noise cancelling mode. You’ll want the app to customize the controls (extra on that later) however it’s a disgrace that there’s no possibility for a single or triple-tap making management restricted.

Whereas the FreeBuds 3i have an IPX4 water resistance score, fundamental because it could be, the 4i specs make no point out of this.

Sound High quality & Options

With 10 mm dynamic coil drivers and ‘delicate polymer composite diaphragms’ the FreeBuds 4i provide first rate sound high quality. They’ve the most recent Bluetooth 5.2, though Huawei doesn’t listing the codecs accessible past mentioning AAC in some small print.

The sound high quality is spectacular for an reasonably priced pair of headphones, with first rate bass and mid-range. The highest-end is nothing to put in writing house about however this shouldn’t hassle most listeners. The FreeBuds 4i sound good for a spread of music genres from bass-heavy dance to guitar-led people.

As with every earbuds, a superb match is vital to get the most effective sound however assuming you do there’s good passive noise isolation and an immersive sound. You needn’t pump the quantity up too excessive both, and for those who do then distortion is minimal.

You’re in all probability going to purchase them for the lively noise cancelling although. That is first rate sufficient, in a position to block out sounds round you to a superb degree – even the sound of my loud keyboard was diminished to small clicks.

There’s no means to regulate the extent of ANC, you’ll have to purchase costlier earbuds for that however you do get an Conscious mode. This purposely allows sound so you may have a dialog with somebody with out eradicating the earbuds otherwise you simply have to be protected close to busy roads and many others.

It really works properly however once more there’s no person adjustment so that you both use it or not.

There’s little in the way in which of different options, maybe unsurprisingly contemplating the reasonably priced value. Huawei does tout low latency which I can verify retains issues like video properly in sync with the earbuds.

There are first rate sufficient microphones to make use of for calls and there’s additionally a put on detection function. This implies the FreeBuds 4i know once they’ve been taken out of your ears however it didn’t pause my music. I solely acquired a sound when putting them again in my ears.

Oddly, there’s no point out of this function within the app or the primary web site web page for the earbuds, simply the spec sheet.

App woes

Whereas the efficiency is nice, Huawei nonetheless must type out the software program expertise. The agency has its AI Life app which lets you management many various merchandise out of your telephone however the present model accessible for Android and iOS doesn’t help the FreeBuds 4i.

It’s the identical factor I discovered with the Huawei Sound speaker, so customers should get it from the Huawei App Gallery as an alternative, which in flip must be straight downloaded and put in.

That is overly advanced, particularly when AI Life is offered on the official app shops so any person will count on to have help.

You need to use the headphones with out the app – it doesn’t do very many issues – however you’ll be restricted to the default contact controls.

Battery life

Battery life is massively improved in comparison with the FreeBuds 3i, which might solely final 3.5 hours per cost or extra like 2.5 with ANC.

Now, the FreeBuds 4i can last as long as 10 hours, in accordance with Huawei. That’s at 50% quantity with ANC turned off.

In my testing beginning at full cost, they’d drop about 20-30% after 2-Three hours utilization with ANC on. That’s roughly 10% per hour making Huawei’s claims maybe a bit conservative. Embrace the case they usually can go for a theoretical 22 hours, which isn’t dangerous.

There’s additionally fast charging so you may rise up to 4 hours of utilization from a 10-minute cost.


As talked about on the high, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i are priced at simply £79.99. Effectively inside our £100 cap for funds headphones and £10 cheaper than the FreeBuds 3i once they first launched.

Though you could be trying to spend much less, wi-fi earbuds with ANC at below £50 are very uncommon.

You would possibly think about the Enacfire A9 however Huawei’s deal is nice and on the time of writing, you get some freebies too. There’s a £39 Huawei Band four together with a free case price £19.99.

The FreeBuds 4i’s major competitors is the Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC that are additionally £79.99 however you may see extra rivals in our greatest low cost true wi-fi earbuds chart.


The Huawei FreeBuds 4i are an honest step up from their predecessor with longer battery life at a lower cost.

Even having lively noise cancelling at below £100 helps them stand out in a really crowded market and the efficiency, together with sound high quality, is first rate. There’s no management over the ANC however there may be an conscious mode.

They’re cozy and final an honest period of time, if nothing particular, together with quick charging. Nonetheless, there are some points to concentrate on together with the awkward case and restricted contact controls.

Then there’s the actual fact the damage detection talked about within the specs doesn’t do something and also you’ll must have Huawei’s App Gallery to obtain the AI Life model that helps the earbuds.

All these items imply that you simply’re higher off with a Huawei telephone to make use of the FreeBuds 4i with. Even for those who do, the identically priced Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC are very comparable earbuds that supply a greater all-round package deal.

If these are each too costly, take a look at the Enacfire A9.

Huawei FreeBuds 4i: Specs

10mm dynamic drivers

Lively noise cancelling with conscious mode

Bluetooth 5.2

Pop-up pair with EMUI10 or above

Put on detection

Contact controls

USB-C charging

10 hours battery (earbuds)

22 hours battery (whole)

5.5g per earbud

36.5g case

Ceramic White,Carbon Black,Pink


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