Huawei is really good at delivering great hardware at a reasonable cost, and the FreeBuds 4i is no exception. At a recommended retail price of 1500, this Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) boasting earphones is a lot more affordable that Apple’s AirPods Pro with Wireless Case (R4999), the non-ANC sporting AirPods with Charging Case (R2999), and even Vivo’s non-ANC featuring TWS Neo wireless earphones (R2229).
The FreeBuds 4i sport a streamlined in-ear design with long stems and silicone tips that go a long way in ensuring a snug and secure fit. They are actually the first in-ear phones that we had no issues with fitting into our ears from the get-go and not having it constantly slipping off when we turned our head or go for a morning jog. Besides the earbuds providing a secure seal and lock the Freebuds 4i in place, this snug and cozy fit also is beneficial when it comes to isolating extra noise, which partnered with its ANC capabilities mean that these earphones do a great job of dampening the noise from the outside world. It doesn’t block out all noises completely, like over-head earphones are able to do, but what little noise does creep through is not loud or annoying enough to break your immersion in terms of what you’re listening to.
In terms of battery life, these earphones from Huawei have really good endurance, with HUAWEI claiming music playback time of around 10 hours continuously on a full charge. In practice, we found that with ANC enabled and music playback volume above 70%, you can expect around seven and a half hours. You charge these via the charging case that itself adds another 20 hours of playback. Another very handy feature is the fact that the FreeBuds 4i are able to get four hours of playback from flat through just 10 minutes of fast charging, so a quick charging session in the morning will keep you connected for the morning and afternoon work commute.
The sound volume is quite good and the quality is also impressive but if we had to knock it, we found ourselves wishing for an extra dollop of bass when listening to hip-hop especially. The other knock would be the touch controls that are a little finicky and that can be overly sensitive leading to unintentional actions. You tap the earbud twice to play/pause (can’t skip tracks or go back to previous tracks) or answer/end calls, while a long press turns ANC on/off. The overly sensitive comment comes in with the latter for instance, if you simply cup you hand over the earbud it automatically turns ANC on or off by itself as well.
All in all, these are excellent headphones and the first in-ear phones that made us switch from over the ear to in-ear earphones. If you want to take the plunge without breaking the bank, these will do quite nicely whether you are using an Android or iOS powered mobile device.