Huawei has been making waves in the smart wearables market with the release of its latest product, the Freebuds 5i. The true wireless earbuds were first introduced in China in June of last year and have now made their way onto the international market just in time for the holiday season. We had the opportunity to test out a pair of the Freebuds 5i and see if they lived up to their claims of better noise cancellation, longer battery life, and faster connectivity.
Design and Pairing:
The Freebuds 5i are available in three colors: blue, white, and black. We opted for the blue version, which we thought was the most attractive of the bunch. The earbuds have a smooth, pebble-like finish and are fairly resistant to fingerprints. They come with rubber tips in two different sizes and a stem that is relatively short. The case is flat on the back, allowing it to be placed on a flat surface without wobbling. The magnets inside the case that hold the earbuds in place are not as strong as those in the Freebuds 4i, making it easier to remove the earbuds. The earbuds also have touch gestures and, for the first time, volume control through swiping up or down along the stem.
The Freebuds 5i support the Bluetooth 5.2 standard and can be paired easily without the need for any extra software. However, to access all of their features, you will need the Huawei AI Life app. We recommend getting the app from the AppGallery, as updates may take longer to arrive on the Google Play store. Huawei promises quick pairing with an automatic prompt when you open the case for the first time, but this feature only works within the Huawei ecosystem. If you have a Huawei smartphone, a prompt will pop up as soon as you open the case asking if you want to connect. If you have a different smartphone, you will need to manually connect through the app, which is still a quick and easy process.
Battery Life and Charging:
One of the main selling points of the Freebuds 5i is their long battery life. Each earbud has a 55 mAh battery, and the case has an additional 410 mAh, for a total of 28 hours of music playback according to Huawei. In our testing, we found that the earbuds lasted for about 7 hours of AAC music playback at 50% volume, falling slightly short of the promised 7.5 hours. With noise cancellation enabled, the earbuds lasted for just under the promised 6 hours, at around 5 hours and 45 minutes. While these numbers may not be exactly what was promised, they are still solid and should be enough to last through even long flights if you remember to put the earbuds back in the case every now and then.
Charging the Freebuds 5i is also fast, as promised by Huawei. The company claims that 15 minutes in the case will give you back 4 hours of playback, and we found this to be true. The case and earbuds can be fully charged in just 90 minutes, even faster than the promised 110 minutes for the case alone. The case does not support wireless charging, so you will need to use the included USB-A to USB-C cable to charge the earbuds.
Noise Cancellation and Sound Quality:
One of the standout features of the Freebuds 5i is their noise cancellation technology. The Huawei AI Life app allows you to toggle between three noise suppression options: Noise Canceling, Off, and Awareness. Noise Canceling has three different modes: Cozy, for quiet environments; General, for moderate noise Environments, and Outdoor, for louder environments. We found that the Noise Canceling mode worked well, effectively blocking out background noise and allowing us to focus on the audio. The Awareness mode, which allows some outside noise to come through, was also useful in situations where we needed to be aware of our surroundings, such as while walking outside.
In terms of sound quality, the Freebuds 5i did not disappoint. The earbuds have 10mm dynamic drivers and produce clear, detailed audio. The bass is punchy and the highs are crisp, making for an enjoyable listening experience. The earbuds also support the LHDC Bluetooth codec, which provides high-quality audio transmission.
Overall, we were impressed with the Huawei Freebuds 5i. The earbuds are well-designed, with a smooth finish and easy-to-use touch gestures. They have a long battery life and fast charging, and the noise cancellation technology works well. The sound quality is also excellent, with clear and detailed audio. While the earbuds may not have all the features of more expensive options on the market, they offer a lot of value for their price point of €100. If you're in the market for a pair of true wireless earbuds and don't want to break the bank, the Huawei Freebuds 5i is definitely worth considering.
Thanks for reading our review of the Huawei Freebuds 5i! If you have any comments or thoughts on the earbuds, we'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below or share your thoughts on social media using the hashtags #HuaweiFreebuds5i and #TrueWirelessEarbuds. We're always interested in hearing what our readers have to say!