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Huawei FreeBuds 4i Review - Budget ANC powerhouse TWS?

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Huawei
We share our experience with the Huawei FreeBuds 4i after 4 weeks of daily use. Is it worth the PHP 3,599 price tag?
Huawei FreeBuds 4i review time

In our unboxing and first impressions, we celebrated the premium unboxing experience and the premium looking and premium-feeling build and design. Our only concern with the first impressions is that both the earbuds and the case are a big fingerprint smudge magnet and are slippery to hold.

After a month of use, how does the FreeBuds 4i perform in the real world?

Let's dive in!

Multimedia Experience

Huawei FreeBuds 4i in Red
Huawei FreeBuds 4i in Red

Huawei FreeBuds 4i uses the combination of the Polymeric Diaphragm, 10mm Dynamic Drivers, and Bluetooth 5.2 to deliver an improved audio experience. Huawei however never specified the SoC inside the earbuds.

Superb sound for the price!

In terms of audio quality, the earbuds are able to produce a sound with more detail and more pronounced mids and highs. However, we felt it could use more bass and the sound felt thinner than we would like. We like our sound meaty.

The sound stage is decently sized for the price point. Aside from that, the clarity and separation are good and immediately noticeable upon first trying them out.

When watching videos or playing games, we never encountered a situation where the audio and the video were out of sync.

Our one concern is that after a while, the ear cups made our ears feel tired relatively quickly. If you are not used to it, the seal also produces pressure in the ear canal that can only be relieved by taking them off every now and then.

Performance

With cute third-party case
With cute third-party case

You can pair the FreeBuds 4i directly by pressing and holding on the pairing button on the case and by pairing via Bluetooth. Alternatively, you can install the up-to-date Huawei AI Life app from the Huawei App Gallery. After the installation, open the FreeBuds 4i case, and a pop-up notification that prompts the user to pair will appear on the user's phone.
Pairing notification and AI Life main page
Pairing notification and AI Life main page

Once the initial set-up is done, the AI life app details the battery levels of each earbud and of the case. Users have access to the Noise Control modes, Shortcuts, and Updates.
Shortcuts section
Shortcuts section

In the shortcuts section, users can assign different actions for both double-tap and touch and hold action on either Right and Left earbuds. Actions include Play/Pause, Next Song, Previous Song, Wake Voice Assistant, None, Noise Control (Noise Canceling, Off, Awareness mode).

In the future, we hope Huawei expands the controls and customizability of the FreeBuds 4i.

Inside the earbuds is a 55mAh battery while the case has a larger 215mAh battery. Huawei rates over 10 hours of continuous playback without noise canceling with the earbuds and the case and is rated over 6.5 hours of continuous voice call of 6.5 hours without noise canceling.

In our real-world experience, we used the FreeBuds 4i as our daily driver earphones where our activities include both multimedia consumption and video calls. Because we have been mostly at home the past month, we used the Noise Canceling sparingly. We were getting around 8 to 9 hours of continuous use where we had to recharge the buds after 3 to 4 hours of continuous use.

We did try to use the Noise Canceling continuously once and it gave us around 5 hours of use.

Charging the case from 0 to 100 takes around an hour. The earbuds can offer 4 hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charge. This is impressive and can be a lifesaver when on a commute or when traveling. The case charges via USB-C and it does not have wireless charging included.

Pros - Good battery life, decent sound quality, ANC is one of the best at its price range, the attractive price tag
Cons - No wireless charging, Fingerprint smudge magnet, earcups can be tiring after using

Verdict

Box inclusions
Box inclusions

At PHP 3,599, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i offers good battery life, decent audio quality, and good Active Noise Cancellation.

Our concerns are minor and nitpicky, but if you care about wireless charging, fingerprint smudges, quick ear fatigue, and you can spend more, you may want to try alternatives.

Otherwise, we highly recommend the FreeBuds 4i to anyone looking for affordable yet quality true wireless earphones with Active Noise Cancelation.

What do you guys think?

Build/Design - 4.25
Multimedia - 4.25
Performance - 4.25
Average - 4.25/5
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