Huawei is today launching its Huawei FreeBuds 4i in New Zealand. It continues evolving the design and specs of its FreeBuds series, which includes earbuds and headphones.
The new version has a slightly different design from the Dolphin Bionic we found in the FreeBuds 3, which I thought was one of the few earbuds I could comfortably wear but despite this different design, the FreeBuds 4i still fit well for me, so I am happy with that.
The different design includes a smaller, pebble-like charging case - being smaller means there's no wireless charging on this version but this seems to be a minor change when compared to the longer battery life, which can be up to ten hours of music time with the noise-cancelling function turned off. This drops to a still very manageable 7.5 hours with the active noise cancelling turned on.
This is huge when you consider each earbud has a minuscule 55 mAh battery.
And this battery needs to be small because there is not much space on each earbud. With 37mm height, 21mm width and a depth of 23.9mm each earbud weigh at only 5.5 g, which is a marvel.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i connects to smartphones via Bluetooth, being compatible with Bluetooth 5.2. Depending on your smartphone features it will automatically try to pair with it as soon as you take it out of the box. Otherwise, you can just follow the usual Bluetooth pairing feature on your phone and go from there.
In case you need to pair it with a different phone, a button on the charging case will make these earbuds visible again for device discovery.
Controls are very simple and consist of double tap or tap and hold. By default, a double-tap on either earbud will pause or continue playing your music, while tap and hold will cycle through the noise control modes. Those modes include Noise Cancelling (which blocks external background noise), Awareness (which blocks background noises but still let sounds in, such as conversation) and Off.
If you install the Huawei AI Life app you can manage these functions, including assigning different actions for double tap per earbud. These Next Song, Previous Song, Voice Assistant in addition to previous Play/Pause functionality.
The Huawei AI Life app will show you the battery levels for each earbud as well as the charging case. It also allows you to change the noise control directly from the app as well as update the firmware. During a couple of weeks I have been using the Huawei FreeBuds 4i so far I've seen two updates, that enhanced Bluetooth connections and improved sound.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i provides wear detection, meaning that it can notify your device when the earbuds are removed from your ears so that music or video can pause automatically and resume when you put them back on.
Because of its small size, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i has two 10 mm dynamic drivers. They are small but still pack a punch. Although the bass is not as heavy, it's quite well balanced and sounds nice. If your device supports some sort of surround sound it will perform really well. I tested this with the Dolby Atmos settings present on Huawei smartphone devices and with Dolby Atmos for Headphones supported on Windows 10.