Huawei FreeBuds 4i Review: Midrange TWS Champ

The Huawei FreeBuds 4i is just the latest entry in the brand’s expanding lineup of audio devices. It is a direct upgrade of last year’s FreeBuds 3i and improves on several aspects like active noise cancellation, battery life, design, and sound performance.

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

Driver Size 10mm Dynamic Driver
Battery 55mAh per bud, 215mAh Case
Playtime Up to 10 Hours, Up to 5.5 Hours (ANC)
Connection Bluetooth 5.2, Wear Detection
Charging USB Type-C
Weight 5.5g per earbud, 36.5 charging case
Others Active Noise Cancelling, Awareness Mode
Colors Red, Ceramic White, Carbon Black

Unboxing

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

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The FreeBuds 4i is encased in a simple white box with golden accents. Inside are the FreeBuds 4i themselves, a charging case, USB Type-C cable, small and large replacement silicone tips, documentation. Pretty much everything you need to operate the TWS earphones are included in the box.

Design and Features

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

In terms of looks, the FreeBuds 4i doesn’t really do anything distinct compared to other TWS earphones in the market. It still comes with straightforward design that should cater to most people that like wireless audio solutions.

Despite the rather plain design, the 4i is comfortable to use. Its curved design is inoffensive to the ears and is lightweight at around 5.5g for each bud. Its tips are replaceable to give you a bit of control for the fit and noise isolation you like.

A 55mAh battery are allotted for each earbuds, which Huawei claims should last around 10 hours with ANC turned off and in AAC mode. Fortunately, that number seems to be true with the FreeBuds 4i lasting around 9 – 10 hours of non-stop usage on one charge. Battery life is greatly reduced to around 5 hours with ANC turned on. Still, its longevity is fairly decent for a budget-oriented TWS with noise cancelling.

Active noise cancelling on the 4i is one of its heavily marketed feature. It does a good job of dampening outside noises but louder noises will still be able to come through. Awareness mode allows some noises like voices come through. Both can be toggled by long pressing one of the earbuds at their sides.

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

The buds are can be topped off via the charging case. It is slightly smaller compared to the FreeBuds 3’s case but the battery has been slashed down to 210mAh and reverse wireless charging has been removed. Charging the TWS earbuds should take around 30 to 40 minutes while charging the whole device including the case will take about an hour.

Software

All the settings of the FreeBuds 4i can be tuned via the Huawei AI Life app or through the settings menu of select Huawei smartphones. You can turn switch to ANC and Awareness Modes quickly or turn off its noise cancelling abilities altogether to preserve battery life.

You can also change controls of the 4i through the app. By default, double-tapping the left earbud is for Play/Pause while holding controls the ANC mode. The device has aware mode so removing them will automatically pause any media that is being played.

Audio Performance

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

The Huawei FreeBuds 4i packs a 10mm Dynamic Driver and a PEEK+PU diaphragm. The latter promises stronger bass while the former allows for dynamic responsiveness to reproduce more audio details. Huawei has also said that the TWS has been tuned to focus more on pop music.

The focus on pop music does show while listening to some tracks using the FreeBuds 4i. They offer decent highs while midtones are fairly neutral. Soundstage isn’t particularly wide but is broad enough to reproduce some space on songs.

Listening to Aimer’s wide selection of tracks brings about the strength of the TWS. Highs are well-defined and does not sound tinny, while vocals and treble are placed at the forefront of songs. Bass, however, is lacking punch and its weakness appears on heavier songs like Sabaton’s Bismarck.

Its microphones does decent job of picking up the user’s voice while calling. Voices come through crisp and clear although some background noise can still be picked up by the TWS. People speaking a good distance away won’t be picked up but factors like wind might still be recorded on calls.

Conclusion

Huawei FreeBuds 4i

With an asking price of PhP 3,599, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i is a pretty solid contender for an ANC TWS. It has a long battery life of around 10 hours in one charging (which surprisingly long for a TWS), fast charging, and good audio reproduction all wrapped in an easy to swallow price point.

Huawei is also right to focus on pop music for its sound quality as most people that might get a TWS will be listening to pop. The bass does lack a bit of power for more aggressive tracks but it’s not too much o a deal breaker for casual listeners. Active noise cancelling also does adequate work of sealing your listening experience from outside distractions.

Overall, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i checks most of the features you need and want from a TWS earbuds like active noise cancelling, long battery life, and superior sound quality. Those who are looking for a TWS solution as their daily driver that won’t break the bank should give the FreeBuds 4i a go.