Long-Lasting True Wireless Earbuds: A Huawei FreeBuds 4i Review

by - Thursday, May 20, 2021

My work entails having conference calls with my "virtual" officemates at least thrice a week, averaging at least an hour per session. While my current true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds are a godsend because of their good audio quality, I don't like how it goes low battery after before lunchtime. I almost caved in and bought wired earphones to get by with long hours of work call until I got my hands on the HUAWEI Freebuds 4i. Looking back, I'm glad I didn't cut myself short and still living the seamless TWS lifestyle.

What's in the Box?

Like most HUAWEI devices, the FreeBuds 4i unit was also packaged in a signature white box. The box highlights the earbuds' features like active noise cancellation and 10 hours of playback on a full charge, among others.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i Unboxing
The Earbuds, Charging case, USB-C charging cable, Silicone Ear Tips Quick Start Guide, Safety Information, and Warranty card can be found inside the box. The medium ear tips were already attached to the earbuds when I unboxed the device, while the small and large ones are packaged separately with size labels.

The manual doesn't say anything about charging the device before using it, so I used mine right away. The manual also recommended downloading the HUAWEI AI Life app to customize the TWS earbuds settings. Take note that this app is currently available for Android devices only. 

Build Quality and Design

The oval-shaped charging case comes in a modern look with a glossy finish. The case is susceptible to getting scratches and accumulate dirt because of its flat back, which is why a silicone cover is advised. I appreciate the convenient location of the indicator light at the front part and the function button on the right side of the case. There's no need to tilt the case whenever you're trying to pair it with other devices. Also, the charging port can be found at the bottom of the case.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i Charging Case in Ceramic White
Compared to the FreeBuds 3, the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i charging case has less resistance on its flap part. It doesn't have that thick, snappy sound whenever you close it. It's not a deal-breaker for me since the case doesn't open on its own, but a user who had used another TWS in the past will definitely notice the subtle nuance.

HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i Earbuds in Ceramic White
The earbuds, on the other hand, are snuggly and lightweight when worn. It also carries the same glossy finish as the case. I like that the inner part of the earbuds is made with plastic and not wire mesh. This will allow the user to clean the insides of the earbuds without the worries of deforming anything along the process. Also, the earbuds don't have any buttons on them, but it has touch controls via its built-in capacitive sensors. 

Comfort and Isolation

The medium size ear tips are a snug fit for my ear canal -- there are times that I don't need to turn on the active noise cancellation (ANC) mode at home. However, I turn on the ANC mode if I don't want to be distracted by my fan or people chit-chatting at home.

Because of the earbuds' slim-fit design, I was able to wear them all day during one of my hectic workdays. The HUAWEI MateBook 14 also detected the FreeBuds 4i as soon as I wore it, allowing me to work right away. I also experienced the same case after pairing this TWS device on my MacBook. 

Both HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i uses built-in capacitative sensors
I didn't encounter any accidental sensor mishaps as the earbuds require two taps for commands. Meaning I was able to tie my hair without accidentally pausing the music because of a slight nudge. (Boys and girls with long hair, take note!)

In terms of the touch command sensitivity, I noticed the 1-second lag after tapping the sensors twice. The same goes when I tap and hold to switch between noise cancellation and awareness mode. 

Battery Performance

Don't let its looks deceive you! The HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i have lasted me around seven hours of playback without needing to charge it midday using the charging case. During this period, I was able to do a mix of calls and music in the background. 

I rely on the pop-up feature and the HUAWEI AI Life app to see the exact battery percentage of the earbuds and the charging case. The light indicator on the charging case also turns orange if the device already needs to be recharged.

Meanwhile, the charging case can be fully charged in a little over an hour. The case doesn't have a wireless charging capability, but it can be charged with a USB-C cable. When plugged in, the light indicator is on orange, and the light turns off once the charging unit is fully recharged.

Other Features

The Double-tap and Touch and Hold shortcuts are customizable via the HUAWEI AI Life app.

    • Play/Pause
    • Next Song
    • Previous Song
    • Wake Voice Assistant
    • None
Touch and Hold
    • Noise control (You can select noise control modes to cycle through - Noise-canceling, Awareness, or off)
    • None
The HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i is also decked with Bluetooth 5.2 compatibility, allowing the earbuds to connect to other devices quickly. It also has a wear detection and pop-up pair feature where users are notified once the smartphone detects the TWS earbuds. (The latter is only available on Huawei devices)

The device also warns you twice with a small beep sound once the earbuds are already low in battery and will shut down on their own once they run out of juice.

I was able to seamlessly connect the FreeBuds 4i with the GT2 Pro Smartwatch


Given the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4.1 ability to reduce the ambient noise, I get to enjoy my alternative pop music favorites better as it highlights rich instrument sounds complemented by punchy bass. The balanced audio weight is apparent and vocals in music and calls are also clear. No doubt, these earbuds are an 8/10 for me audio-wise because it allows me to work and play without feeling the need to switch audio pieces.

While watching a Netflix series using the FreeBuds 4i, I observed slight latency on the voice of the characters talking. The same goes for when watching music videos. I honestly only noticed it when I focused hard to notice the lag.


The oval-shaped look of the HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i is a win as it catches up to the looks of the newest TWS products alongside fantastic features at an affordable price tag. These earbuds also make a good daily driver for your call and music needs as it lasts the entire day without the need to charge it during midday. Best believe I'm dropping my other pair of TWS for this device's longer battery life and rich sound. 

You can shop the new HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i for P3,599 via the Huawei Store, Lazada, and Shopee. Installment up to six months available. Freebies until supplies last!

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