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HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i review: versatile with noise reduction


25 / April / 21 Homer Barton Visitors: 23 Rating:

The TWS miniature headphones are a major trend in the world of mobile sound. But every user has different tastes and priorities. What type of headset should be to suit everyone's tastes? The answer to this question was the release of HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i. Well, let's get acquainted with the novelty.

 

Overview of HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i

Maximum technology

FreeBuds 4i is so new that it has not yet managed to show up on many regional HUAWEI sites. However, this is only a matter of time, as well as its appearance on the market. The equipment of the new item is fully in line with the trends. The active noise cancellation system (ANC) is based on two external microphones. And the shape of the hole of one of them is designed to increase its sensitivity to wind noise. AI algorithms help to selectively cancel out noise without breaking up the audio. In addition to active noise cancellation, a permeability mode is provided, in which external sounds are mixed in with the main signal. The novelty, thanks to the tight fit, has good isolation even with inactive noise cancellation.

 

The battery capacity in the cases themselves is 55 mAh - a serious figure. The power reserve is enough for about ten hours of continuous listening to music without ANC, and with noise modulation the device will last 7.5 hours. Taking into account the battery case (215 mAh), the total autonomy of the "four" is 22 hours. At the same time, according to the developers, after a 10-minute recharge the headphones are ready for 4 hours of work. The battery is fully recharged in an hour and the charging case takes just over an hour and a half.

 

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i review

The FreeBuds 4i connects to your gadgets via Bluetooth 5.2, the latest version of the wireless standard. Therefore, it is now possible to dynamically change the transmission power depending on the signal strength, which saves battery power without unpleasant consequences for audio quality.

 

Sound is produced by 10mm dynamic transducers. Their diaphragms are made of two materials. PEEC (Polyetheretherketone) has a low specific gravity and mechanical strength, and is therefore an excellent choice for boosting a speaker's sensitivity. Conversely PU (Polyurethane) has decent damping properties, which helps to counteract unwanted noise and resonance.

 

An elegant accessory

The FreeBuds 4i is the most affordable model in the current series, but it's not exactly budget-friendly. Inside the box, in addition to the headphones and charging case, there is a USB-A to USB-C cable and three pairs of silicone earpieces in different sizes. Interestingly, they are coloured to match the case. The TWS accessory arrived for review in the colour 'Ceramic White', and its cups are white too. In the Red and Charcoal Black versions, the ear cushions are red and black respectively. Some might call such nuances insignificant, but it's details like these that distinguish the clever design. The case of the charging pencil also has a corresponding coloring.

 

Review of HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i

Light and convenient.

The almost weightless 5.5 gram ear cushions fit snugly in the ear canals and won't pop out even when jumping or doing other sudden movements. It's not just the ability to find the right size silicone earpiece (something no one is surprised to see), it's also the shape of the shell. Together with the silicone it forms an ergonomic truncated cone that goes deep into the ear, but does not cause discomfort.

 

The outer surfaces of FreeBuds 4i are touch-sensitive. A light tap triggers playback or answers a call, while a long press activates ANC or transparency mode. The commands are voiced by a pleasant female voice in English.

 

Overview of HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i

The only little complaint about ergonomics was that the owners of large fingers are not always comfortable to get glossy TWS-accessories from the pencil case, because they tend to slip out. All users, without exception, will appreciate its compact construction and ease of use.

 

A sense of music

Setting up the gadget is easy with the proprietary AI Life app. To avoid unnecessary complications with Google Play, it is better to download the software through the QR code printed on the package. AI Life utility allows you to control the level of charge of the "ears" and the case, switch modes and update the firmware.

 

Overview of HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i

The headphones were connected to the smartphone quickly and without problems. The first thing we checked was the noise cancellation. We found out that ANC is very reliable, both on wide range sounds (like a busy highway) and on narrowband (i.e. more annoying) irritants like car alarms or TV speakers' voices.

 

In terms of filtering depth, the Fours seem to outperform the FreeBuds 3, but fall just short of the more advanced FreeBuds Pro, which features three microphones and a bone-vibration sensor.

The active filter has virtually no effect on the dynamics, transparency or tonal balance of the music. This kind of digital processing is not often found in inexpensive models. Another pleasing aspect is the gameplay. According to official data, the audio response latency is 190 ms. Judging by the quite acceptable playability of shooters like Respawnables, the claimed figure is close to the real one.

 

As for the FreeBuds 4i's audiophile qualities, it will appeal most to lovers of tight bass. Dynamic drivers are characterised by the naturalism and scale of the low frequency range. And in our case, the developers decided to put extra emphasis on it. As a result, a variety of genres sound powerful and grounded. You'll feel it in club music like Infected Mushroom, as well as in electro-swing, and, of course, in good old rock or rap. Jay-Z's latest album, aside from the bass, is notable for the elaborate voices, both Jay and the backing vocals.

 

A solid sound requires an impressive amount of energy, so you can only plunge into the bass rolls at a serious volume. So feel free to move the slider closer to maximum volume. Just don't do it on tracks with chamber jazz or classical guitar, otherwise you'll get unpleasant overload on stringed instruments.

Result

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i is a really good looking, comfortable, decently equipped and inexpensive TWS headphones. With its effective noise cancellation, muscular bass sound and striking design, the accessory will please many users.

 

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