Brand name Huawei continues to create devices of various price categories, trying to build harmony between price and quality. Over the past year, the manufacturer has released several wireless solutions for listening to music, such as FreeBuds Studio and FreeBuds Pro… We talked about the latter in our review.… The developers also decided to update their affordable TWS headphones from the line FreeBuds and presented Huawei FreeBuds 4ithat promise good sound, active noise cancellation system, dust and moisture protection as standard IP54 and good autonomy. Let’s find out how things really are.
PACKAGING AND COMPLETE SET
The headphones are available in three colors: white, black and red. Our editors received a sample for retail sale in a white version. The official cost in Russia is 7,990 rubles.
The earbuds are shipped in a thick white square cardboard box. On the front of the lid there is an image of the product with a case, the name and logo of the company, and on the back of the box, the main features are listed. The cover is removable from the front, like most phones on the market.
Inside you will find a charging case directly with two earbuds for the right and left ears, and a little deeper in the box are a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging, a set of additional silicone ear pads in two sizes, instructions and a warranty in several languages.
DESIGN AND ERGONOMICS
Huawei FreeBuds 4i belongs to the class of in-ear headphones. The appearance resembles the shape of the AirPods Pro. The headphones look neat enough. The body is made of glossy plastic, the joints are made with high quality and there are no complaints about the assembly. However, dirt, prints and scratches appear very quickly. At the same time, as we mentioned above, the headphones are IP54 protected from dust and water splashes inside. In any case, it is not worth washing them under the tap, but such protection will definitely save you from rain and sweat.
On the outside of the earbuds there is a slot for the spoken microphone and a touch control panel, and on the inside of the microphones for noise canceling, there are magnetic contacts for charging and the designation of the right / left earphone.
The ear cushions are made of white silicone and come in three sizes: small, medium and large. The middle ear pads are installed out of the box. Inside each there is a protective mesh that delays the ingress of sulfur formations from the ears, which is a definite plus, since they can be easily washed and used further. The plugs are attached securely enough to the headphone speaker, so the likelihood of losing them is small. In the standard (medium) ear pads, the author’s Huawei FreeBuds 4i began to fall out after a while. The problem was solved by changing the ear pads to small ones, after which the headphones began to sit like a glove. In addition, properly selected ear pads affect noise cancellation, and most importantly, the sound of the headphones, which is especially important when playing content. The Huawei FreeBuds 4i sit well overall and are barely felt as they weigh only 5.5 grams.
The charging case is made in an oval shape and resembles a flattened egg. The lid opens quite easily, it can be easily thrown off with one finger, holding the case in one hand. The back of the case has a flat part, which allows it to be conveniently positioned on any straight surface, for example, for charging. For the latter, the case is equipped with a USB-C port on the bottom of the case.
On the right side there is a button for transferring the case to pairing mode. On the front, under the Huawei label, there is an LED that signals the charge level (red, orange or green) when the case is open. When charging, the diode also glows depending on the charge level. Also, in pairing mode, the LED flashes white.
CONNECTION AND CONTROL
Headphones are connected via a wireless Bluetooth 5.2 interface, pairing is very fast and without any problems. It is enough to hold down the pairing button for 2 seconds, and the case will put the headphones in it in pairing mode, and if you have a phone from Huawei, it instantly sees the headphones if they are close and the case cover is open.
By default, touchpads on the outside of the earbuds give you control over music playback, calls and noise canceling modes. Double-clicking on the touch panel allows you to start playing music, and a second command pauses the song. During an incoming call, the same action allows you to pick up the handset, and a second double press ends the call. Holding your finger on the panel toggles the noise canceling mode.
Setting commands is possible through the Huawei Ai Life app, which is available on Android and iOS, and Huawei owners can do this in the Bluetooth settings section. True, you can replace it with another function (switching the previous / next track or activating the voice assistant), you can only double-click the command, but you can set it for each headphone separately.
To select the noise reduction mode, you can choose which modes (noise reduction, off and sound transmission) will be used when switching one by one, or completely disable this command. Volume control, however, is not provided with such a rich set of functions, and this is a little frustrating. In addition, there is a function that determines the position of the device at which playback stops if you remove the headphones. It is also worth noting that Huawei Ai Life very conveniently shows the charge level of both each earphone and the case, but the manufacturer did not take this into account in the Bluetooth settings on Huawei devices, and you can see the charge level once when pairing the device in a window that pops up for three seconds.
SOUND, CONNECTION QUALITY, NOISE CANCELING AND MICROPHONE
And now we come to the most important indicator. The headphones use a standard set of SBC and AAC codecs, and 10mm speakers are responsible for sound output. The frequency range of 20–20,000 Hz corresponds to the range of the human ear. The sound in the headphones has a very voluminous stereo sound, and at maximum volume the stage does not turn into a mess. The bass sounds deep enough, but when listening to rock, pop or orchestral compositions, the high and mids seem a little dull.
It is worth noting that the connection quality of the headphones was excellent throughout the test, even if you go behind a concrete wall at a distance of about 10 meters from the phone.
The noise cancellation system in Huawei FreeBuds 4i performs its task very well, especially if the noise source is continuous, for example, a stream of cars rushing by. The same can be said about the quality in the sound transmission mode, where the sound is not completely cut off, but only muted.
As a headset, this model copes with the task with a bang. The interlocutor will perfectly hear you, even if you speak quietly or in a whisper. When using noise cancellation, the interlocutor hears a little noise in the background, which does not annoy and does not interfere with the conversation. It is also convenient that in headset mode, you can use the headphones separately.
The headphones themselves have good autonomy thanks to 55 mAh batteries. With noise cancellation turned on, they were able to hold out at maximum volume for about 5.5-6 hours, and with turned off, the autonomy indicator increased by about 2 hours. The Achilles’ heel turned out to be the battery in the case – only 215 mAh, which allows you to fully charge the headphones only once. Then it is discharged by about 80%. In addition, in a simple case, it gradually starts to discharge.
The case is charged from 0 to 100% in about 1 hour, and the headphones need about 40 minutes to do this.
If you are looking for a good headset with active noise canceling with a budget of up to 10 thousand rubles, then the Huawei FreeBuds 4i is exactly what you were looking for. High-quality sound for its price range, excellent noise cancellation, protection from moisture and dust, clear voice transmission when used as a headset. Unless the volume of the case’s battery could have been larger.
Author: Sergey Dyakonenko (Madnfs)
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