One minute review
There is no shortage of great wireless earbuds these days with fantastic and varied options at all prices. In this crowded market, Huawei wants to differentiate itself from ANC technology with another value proposition at a low and attractive price.
Where previous mid-range Huawei earbuds fell short, the FreeBuds 4i finally seem to hit the sweet spot between price, features, and sound quality, making them a strong consideration for buyers looking for a cheap AirPods Pro or FreeBuds Pro experience search.
They look great, offer a secure and comfortable fit, and have solid audio quality that makes them equally enjoyable for short and long sessions. The only sore point here is the bass performance and the lack of low frequencies that are good to hear but don’t have a satisfactory thump. These earbuds are more suitable for those who listen to pop songs over classic rock and R&B.
The noise cancellation is surprisingly good, blocking out ambient noise enough to keep you immersed in music, movies, and games. This contributes to call quality and improves speech intelligibility at both ends of a call.
The battery life is another strong point. The FreeBuds 4i can easily be used for a full day on a single charge. The charging case provides an easy and quick way to charge when you need it.
The only problem with this is that for the AED50 or AED 100, you can find more wireless earbuds with more premium audio, although they may not include ANC. If audio quality is your priority, then you should look around for a better sounding pair like Cambridge Audio, JBL, and Jabra. However, if ANC is really important to you and you are looking for an easy-to-use pair of affordable wireless earbuds, you can’t go wrong with the FreeBuds 4i.
Prices and availability
The FreeBuds 4i are available now in Huawei Experience stores, e-shops and select retailers in the United Arab Emirates for AED 299. They are available in three color options – Ceramic Black, Ceramic White and a striking red.
That’s considerably cheaper than premium earbuds like Huawei FreeBuds Pro and AirPods Pro, and still cheaper than other mid-range ANC earbuds like Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro and Oppo Enco W51.
Design & fit
The FreeBuds 4i have a slimmer AirPods Pro-esque in-ear design than their cone-shaped predecessors, the FreeBuds 3i. The curves on the buds are smoothed out with long stems and silicone tips to ensure a snug and secure fit.
The earbuds are just big enough to ensure a secure seal and hold the Freebuds 4i in place. Even if you shake your head a little, they won’t fall out. The snuggly fit is also handy for isolating additional noise. A few options for silicone tips are included in the scope of delivery. We recommend testing the different sizes to see which one offers the best fit.
The charging case gets a makeover with a sleek oval shape and flat back that sits comfortably in the hand and is compact enough to fit in your pockets. They don’t support wireless charging, which is disappointing but understandable at the price. The case has the same glossy finish as the earbuds, which looks slick, but also makes the earbuds slippery to use and fiddly to remove from the case.
On the back of the earphones there are capacitive sensors to control playback. You can double-tap to pause / play music or videos, but there’s no way to skip or play previous tracks, which is an odd omission. With a long tap you can switch between the three noise cancellation modes – ANC on, awareness mode and ANC off.
In practice, the controls can be fussy, sometimes rejecting input, or being overly sensitive and leading to accidental or unintentional input. And since the scope of controls is limited, it would be better to control music through your device and only use the touch controls to switch between the different noise cancellation modes.
The FreeBuds 4i are IP54 waterproof up to 1m, which means you can wear them in a drizzle and not have to worry if you accidentally splash water near them. This is also good news for fitness fans that can wear them during sweaty workouts without worrying about water damage.
If you have a Huawei phone, setting up the FreeBuds 4i is quick and hassle-free. When you place the case near a Huawei smartphone, a prompt will appear. From there, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the pairing. As with most Huawei wearables, you can make further settings in the Huawei AI Life app
For all other Android and iOS devices, the setup is similar to all other Bluetooth earbuds. You hold down the small button on the side of the FreeBuds 4i’s charging case to go into pairing mode and connect using your phone’s Bluetooth settings.
As soon as the connection is established, the FreeBuds 4i maintain the connection reliably and the latency is also high. We didn’t experience any noticeable lag while watching movies or games on our phone. Since the ANC works very well on these, you can use them to watch movies in crowded places and still stay submerged.
The tight fit of the earbuds, accompanied by silicone tips, provides a secure seal around your ears, which helps provide passive noise isolation. Combined with the FreeBuds 4i’s microphones, which detect noises in your surroundings and generate inverted sound waves, you can do a solid reduction in background noise.
It doesn’t completely cancel out noise, but it does attenuate the noise around you very well. The outside world still crawls like a low murmur, but not enough to interrupt your immersion. Noise canceling is especially useful on calls where we were told our voice was clear to people on the other end on busy roads and in crowded places.
If you want to adjust to your surroundings, you can switch to awareness mode with a long finger tap on the earbuds to filter out important noises such as announcements and human voices. If you want to use the FreeBuds 4i as normal headphones, you can deactivate both modes.
For audio quality, the FreeBuds 4i 10mm dynamic drivers are good at creating neutral tones with balanced highs and lows. This makes for a really comfortable and solid listening experience. The only sore spots are bass and low frequencies that are not picked up enough. You still get enough bass from a song, but it just doesn’t grab that satisfying punch.
The FreeBuds 4i sound best when listening to pop, folk, and music that revolves around singing. Treble and vocals glow flawlessly, and if the FreeBuds 4i can balance the mids, you get a crisp sound that is punchy and lively.
However, songs like Bjork’s hyperballad and classic rock cannot be fully appreciated as atmospheric low frequency notes and guitar riffs fall flat. When you hear Bill Wither’s Ain’t No Sunshine you can see the bass line clearly, but it doesn’t clap like more premium earbuds do.
When listening at high volume, the FreeBuds 4i can maintain distortion-free audio without getting too mushy. So if you want to turn up the volume of your favorite music, you still get decent clarity.
Huawei claims that with ANC you can get 10 hours of playback on a single charge of FreeBuds 4i. In the real world with a volume of over 80% this was more between 7 and 8 hours. The charging case adds another 21 hours. And if you die of the FreeBuds 4i, a 10 minute quick charge can set it up for 4 hours of operation.
In most cases, seven to eight hours of battery life should be enough, and the pocket-friendly charging case is easy to use for a quick charge. If you need more miles, you can turn ANC off to reduce battery life. All in all, you shouldn’t have any problem spending a day or even a few days with the FreeBuds 4i without reaching for the charger.
Should I buy the Huawei FreeBuds 4i?
Buy them when …
You’re looking for uncomplicated radio buds
If you want a straightforward and easy-to-use pair of wireless earbuds, then you should definitely have the FreeBuds 4i on your radar. They’re easy to set up, deliver solid audio and great noise reduction, and can be worn for hours without clenching your ears.
You want good battery life
The FreeBuds 4i can be used for around 8 hours on a single charge with noise cancellation activated, and you can extend that for an additional 22 hours with the charging case. If you don’t use ANC that often, you can get even more kilometers out of it.
You are looking for earphones for mild sports and fitness activities
One of the best things about the FreeBuds 4i is their fit. The silicone earbuds hold them firmly in your ears and ensure that they stay in place.
Don’t buy them if …
You want premium audio quality
The FreeBuds 4i offer solid audio quality for their price. However, the bass lacks punch and genres like classic rock fall a little flat.
You want absolute noise cancellation
The ANC on the FreeBuds 4i does a good job of dampening the noise around you, especially at this price point, but the outside world is creeping in. If this isn’t acceptable to you, you may want to save up for more premium earbuds from Sony or Bose.
You have an iPhone
While the FreeBuds 4i is connecting to your iPhone or iPad, you cannot use Huawei’s AI Life app for finer tweaks.
Source link : https://www.techradar.com/reviews/huawei-freebuds-4i/