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Huawei FreeBuds 4 Unboxing and First Impressions

Tech giant Huawei has recently released the FreeBuds 4 as a part of its growing ecosystem of smart devices.
Meet FreeBuds 4i

Priced at PHP 7,999 (Some got it for an introductory promo of PHP 5,999), the wearable is boasting improvements in design, comfort, sound, connectivity, and noise cancellation coming from the FreeBuds 3.

We have the said device, let's unbox it, and here's what we initially think about it.


The box

The packaging is similar to the FreeBuds Pro with a more squarish look not a rectangular one like the FreeBuds 3. It has a simple-looking gold print of the company logo and the model name along with the key features of the device.
Inside the box
Inside the box

Under the hood, it is straightforward. You get the case with the earbuds inside, USB-A to USB-C long charging cable, and the paper documents including the warranty card.

There's no power brick included in the package like all of the TWS earphones we unboxed in the past, so it is not a big deal.

Huawei and those other wireless earphones makers likely assume that we have a USB-A charger lying around our house. It would have been nicer if it has one though as many mobile and laptop makers today are starting to omit USB-A in favor of USB-C.

Remember, the other end of its USB cable is USB-A. It is not USB-C all the way.

Let us also note that the FreeBuds 4 has no wireless charging like the FreeBuds 3 last year which is a bit of a bummer.

Build Quality/Design

Open-fit design
Open-fit design

The FreeBuds 4 uses a lightweight polycarbonate material for buds with no sharp edges and a smooth chrome finish. It comes with black-colored mesh filters as well preventing your earwax from entering the buds and block the sound.

Note: The mesh filter also helps in preventing the buds from sounding harsh most of the time.

Like the FreeBuds 3, it also has an IPX4 water splash resistance which means that it is safe to use during workouts. This should be able to resist splashing water like light rain.
The body of the case
The body of the case

The case? It is using a more solid type of plastic and an anti-fingerprint magnet matte-like paint finish which is close to the materials used on the FreeBuds Pro except for its rectangular part with a glossy finish where you will see the Huawei logo.

The company probably opted for this finish to fully prevent it from getting annoying fingerprint smudges.

In general, the materials used by Huawei are quite good and it feels just as durable as my nearing 2-year-old FreeBuds 3.

To nitpick, I would have liked it better if Huawei opted for a higher type of water resistance similar to what its competitors are doing.

For example, Samsung's pricier PHP 9,990 Galaxy Buds Pro has IPX7.

If you will say that the said higher water resistance is reserve for more expensive buds, the JOYROOM JR-TL with a promo price of PHP 990 has IPX7 as well.
Easy to open lid and an LED indicator in the middle of the case
Easy to open lid and an LED indicator in the middle of the case

Design-wise, it is similar to the FreeBuds 3 with an open-ear design with extended stem for the mic and rounded case, but more refined. It now has a smaller and lighter body with improved mold to match or fit most human ears comfortably.

So far, we think that what Huawei claim is correct as it feels lighter and more comfortable than the previous-gen FreeBuds.

The case is also smaller, slightly slimmer, and lighter. AND, it retained the very easy to open lid with a magnetic lock.

But, it is at the expense of the wireless charging support. Personally, I don't mind if the case is a bit big as long as it retained the Qi wireless charging support which I find convenient as I always have a wireless charger installed on my desk and a portable one.

Like what we mentioned above, you can only charge it via USB-C. 

Fortunately, it has a super quick charge function. Huawei claims that gives around 2.5 hours of music playback in 5 minutes of charge. AND, we think that it is fairly accurate.

In general, this has one of the best builds and designs regardless of price. It is very comfortable to wear so far as well.

Huawei FreeBuds 4 Specs

CPU: 356MHz Kirin A1 audio processor
Driver: 14.3 mm LCP dynamic driver
Microphone: Dual-mode 48 kHz HD sound recording, call noise cancellation
Battery: 30mAh (per earbud), 410mAh (charging case)
Sensors: Wear detection sensor
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
Others: ANC, tap/swipe control, pop-up and pair, IPX4 water splash resistance, USB-C, Colors: Ceramic White, Silver Frost
Dimensions: 41.4 x 18.5 x 16.8 mm (per earbud), 58 x 21 mm (charging case)
Weight: 4.1 g (per earbud), 38 g (charging case)
Price: PHP 7,999

As of the moment

Pop-up and pair!
Pop-up and pair!

Out of the box, the FreeBuds 4 is just as easy to use similar to most Huawei wearable we tested in the past. The tap and swipe controls work well and it even adapted and improved the swipe up and down function from the FreeBuds Pro making it easier to adjust the volume.

For connectivity, we are not having any issues here. It connects with two devices at the same time and it doesn't have noticeable playback delays.

Sound-wise, thanks to its use of a larger driver (speaker) which boasts a frequency range of up to 40 kHz, it has a fuller sound while retaining most of the sound characteristics we loved on the FreeBuds 3. Bass is more noticeable this time, but it is still not overpowering.

Also, we are enjoying its Open-fit Active Noise Cancellation 2.0 technology that uses adaptive ear-matching technology that detects your unique in-ear shape and how your wear the earbuds. 

Huawei claims that it intelligently selects a variety of noise cancellation modes to achieve optimal low-frequency sound reduction. So far, it works and this has a slightly better ANC than the FreeBuds 3.

That's impressive and rare for an open-ear type of earbuds.

So far, there is a lot to admire on the 
FreeBuds 4 even if it has noticeable weak points like the lack of wireless charging and the slightly lower listed battery life when ANC is turned on.

Stay tuned for our full review.

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