NIUSGEEK has tested the Huawei FreeBuds 5i, TWS headphones with high-quality music playback and noise cancellation.
Huawei isn’t some makeshift brand in audio , and they’ve learned to hone their building chops over time. Together with the French firm DEVIALET , they have offered the world interesting options in high-quality reproduction for the home, open spaces or on the go. The FreeBuds are already a weight family in the complex TWS market, and we have tested this new generation 5i to answer the question: Are they worth it? This is the opinion of NIUSGEEK.
Huawei FreeBuds 5i: technical specifications
|DIMENSIONS||EARBUD: 30.9 x 21.7 x 23.9mm and 4.9g | CASE: 48.2 x 61.8 x 26.9mm and 33.9g|
|DRIVER||10mm dynamic | IP54|
|CONTROL||Short and long touches, sweeps | configuration using AI Life|
|CONNECTIVITY||BT 5.2 – pop up support on EMUI | 2 simultaneous teams | iOS and Android|
|FUNCTIONS||Low latency for gaming | ANC, Awareness | Find my earbuds|
|CODEC||AAC, SBC, LDAC|
|AUTONOMY||EAR BUD: 55mAh | CASE: 410mAh | USB-C charging|
Huawei FreeBuds 5i: This is all you need to know
Not many design changes.Compared to the 4i , this fifth generation of FreeBuds changes little. In the “Isle Blue” model we have tested, the matte finish of the case is much more attractive, although the earbuds do have a glossy surface . For the rest, it is a very similar case to the previous model, although the magnets are a little stronger at the base of the sticks and the lid closure.
The earbuds are a little thicker in the area of the stick to add sensors for volume control, although they are not uncomfortable. The storage unit is slightly wider than the 4i, due to the increase in battery capacity from 215 to 410. Despite this, the box is slightly lighter in weight compared to the previous model.
Same driver, other algorithms. Huawei has been able to successfully transfer the experience of its premium lines to this cheaper model. To begin with, we have a 10 mm driver that is coated with a good quality interchangeable and hypoallergenic silicone, along with an array of microphones that allow a better interpretation of the environment for noise cancellation and activation of the “awareness” mode.
In this case, the device has a pairing button on the right side of the case, which allows you to activate device recognition through Bluetooth systems, whether they are iOS or Android. It is always recommended to use the AI Life app to configure the use of the equipment
I must confirm two details. The first is the ability to match up with two teams simultaneously, and that the transition between teams is easy. I was flying back from Madrid to Lima and used these FreeBuds for the 11+ hour flight on my Tab S7 and S23 Ultra . Precious.
The second thing is that, despite my enthusiasm, the headphones momentarily lost connectivity. It happened to me with the Edge 30 Ultra, with the S23 Ultra, with the Magic 5 Pro and with the Tab S7. In those 4 teams, I occasionally lost signal, until I recovered it.
“Huawei only” things. This is a separate point in the review. As you know, and due to certain market conditions that limit its relationship with suppliers, Huawei has learned to develop an ecosystem that, beyond the absence of the West, is cohesive and offers differential advantages without the rest of the brands benefiting. It is the first time that Huawei has taken these licenses, the same ones that Samsung and Apple constantly take – ahem, AirTags or SmarTags –
To begin with, Pop Up pairing can only be done with phones under EMUI, the customization that Huawei does on top of AOSP. Once paired, you can double-tap the headset to shoot photos, a cool trigger only available with Huawei’s software.
LDAC compatibility. These teams, despite the cost, are Hi-Res and reproduce tracks in FLAC in 24 Bits and at 96Khz transfer. In addition to being AAC and SBC, they also get the ability to play LDAC seamlessly. I tested it with a bank of hi-res files combining Kool and The Gang, James Brown, Steve Vai, System of a Down, Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani and other spices. It really manages to move a huge mass of data in real time without breaking a sweat.
“Ultra” level cancellation. Here Huawei wants to call our attention with three levels of noise cancellation, ranging from something light to the “Ultra” of 42db. Other than that, it’s a pleasure to feel how a headset in that price range has that leeway, including the “Awareness” mode with microphone reception. They are fine, no doubt. It’s not the best, but it’s good. Now for calls, we recommend you listen to the audio test that we recorded with these FreeBuds 5i.
What do they sound like? Very good, depending on the price range. Huawei ensures that we have a driver capable of complying in the range between 20 Hz and 40 KHz. Truth be told, the FreeBuds 5i go well, without much artificial “color” and firmly in the midrange, right in full vocal range. The instruments achieve a slight distance when playing up to 90% power, at which point a slight distortion begins.
No problems with autonomy.I managed to push the user experience for a full 5 hours with active noise cancellation to listen to music during my flight from Madrid to Lima, before putting them in their case and managing to recharge them to 100% to travel the second leg with active cancellation without playing music. Only one charge was enough for me in the middle of the routine for a 12-hour flight. Phenomenal.
Huawei FreeBuds 5i Are they worth it?
Yes, without a doubt. As much as one can add biases about the brand or the price range, these 5i manage to bring to the segment much of what we considered premium a couple of years ago: active cancellation of 42dB, Hi-Res compatibility, fast charging, control tactile. All. Perhaps the most annoying thing is to control everything with an app that you have to download from the AppGallery without having a Huawei phone, but we have a great portable equipment with a low price compared to the high-end. Go for them.