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Huawei Freebuds 5i review – News GSMArena.com

Huawei Freebuds 5i review – News GSMArena.com

Huawei Freebuds 5i review - News GSMArena.com

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Huawei is getting stronger in the world of smart wearables, bringing impressive TWS products. The Freebuds 5i is its latest product which was introduced in China last June and hit the international scene just in time for the holiday season.

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We spent some time with a pair of Huawei Freebuds 5i and tested claims of better noise cancellation, longer battery life and faster connectivity. Here’s what we discovered.

We got the blue Freebuds 5i, which we think are the prettiest color of the three (the other two being white and black). Regardless of color, you get a smooth finish that looks and feels like a pebble. There’s a button on the side for resetting the headphones and a USB-C port for charging. The back side is flat, allowing you to lay the case on a flat surface without wobbling.

The buds inside the case have a glossy finish, but they are quite resistant to fingerprints. The stem is relatively short and the buds have rubber tips, with two other sizes included in the retail box. The USB-A to USB-C cable is the other item in the $100 earbud box.

We loved that the magnets, keeping the buds in the case, aren’t as strong as they were in the Freebuds 4i, making them easier to remove. Each bud supports touch gestures and, for the first time, they also have volume control by swiping up or down along the stem.

Huawei Freebuds 5i review

The Huawei Freebuds 5i support the Bluetooth 5.2 standard and you can pair them without additional software. However, to access their additional features, you need the Huawei AI Life app. We suggest you get it from AppGallery as the latest updates take time to hit the Google Play store.

Huawei promises fast pairing with an automatic prompt when you first open the box, but that only works as expected within the Huawei ecosystem. By simply opening the case, a Huawei smartphone will display a prompt asking to connect. Any other smartphone has to take the scenic route and visit the app, but the process is still quick and painless.


Screenshots Huawei AI Life

Screenshots Huawei AI Life

Screenshots Huawei AI Life

Screenshots Huawei AI Life

Screenshots Huawei AI Life

Huawei managed to reduce the weight by 18% but kept the overall design and even increased the battery capacity by around 60%. Each bud has 55mAh, and the case adds another 410mAh, which the company promises will give you 28 hours of music playback.

AAC Music playback on a single charge is claimed to be 7.5 hours at 50% volume, but our tests fell slightly short of that number, hitting just 7 hours. Endurance with ANC on is therefore claimed to be 6 hours on a single charge, and we were closer here, just 10-15 minutes under the mark. It’s still solid endurance and you can easily power through even the longest flights if you put the Freebuds 5i back in the case every once in a while.


Huawei Freebuds 5i

Huawei Freebuds 5i

Huawei Freebuds 5i

Huawei Freebuds 5i

As for charging, Huawei promised 15 minutes of headphones in the case to save you four hours of playback. We found that charging is just as fast as advertised, meaning top-ups seem almost instantaneous.

The entire 410mAh battery in the case and the two 55mAh batteries in the buds charge from 0% to 100% in just 90 minutes, even faster than the advertised 110 minutes for the case alone. The Huawei Freebuds 5i case does not support wireless charging, so plugging them in is mandatory.

Huawei Freebuds 5i review

The Huawei AI Life app allows you to switch between the three noise cancellation options: noise cancellation, shutdown and awareness. The former has three different modes – Cozy, for places with some noise, General, which is the default option, and Ultra, for maximum ANC.

We found the ANC of the Freebuds 5i to be good if not quite on par with the best. The Galaxy Buds2 Pro and Freebuds Pro 2 would make better flight companions, but they’re in a whole different price bracket.

The app also provides basic sound quality presets – Default, Bass Boost and Treble Boost.

Huawei Freebuds 5i review

The 10mm dynamic driver and its polymer composite diaphragm do a decent job in the mid and high frequencies, but the Freebuds 5i certainly fall short when deep bass needs to be played.

This makes the Freebuds 5i a great choice for pop and conference listeners. They are also well suited for occasional training with the IP54 rating. We tested the buds in extreme conditions, including races in the cold winter rain, and the sound and fit were not compromised in the slightest.

Huawei Freebuds 5i review

The Huawei Freebuds 5i are a solid step up from the Freebuds 4i, which were announced over 18 months ago. With the £90/€100 price point in mind, we were impressed with the ANC performance, speedy connectivity and gesture controls. Battery life is also impressive, and while the audio quality isn’t the best, it’s not so bad that it’s a deal breaker.

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