Huawei FreeBuds 5i evaluation: Low-cost ANC in-ear headphones which are large on sound!

Huawei has added the FreeBuds 5i to its in-ear headphones vary. The lively noise-canceling headphones (ANC) at the moment are obtainable in Europe at a value of just below 100 Euros (~$100), thus putting them within the decrease mid-range market. Do not waste your time trying to find extra details about these earbuds elsewhere: Here’s a detailed evaluation of the Huawei FreeBuds 5i!


  • Good battery life
  • Good price-to-performance ratio
  • Above-average sound high quality
  • Good operation
  • Twin Join
  • IP54 certification


  • Equalizer is lacking
  • ANC could possibly be higher
  • No wi-fi charging
  • Poor sound high quality with out the AI Life app

The Huawei FreeBuds 5i in a nutshell

I did evaluation the Oppo Enco X2 and was shocked by the wonderful sound high quality, and that made me sit up for the detailed evaluation of the Huawei FreeBuds 5i, which prices solely half the worth. My greatest shock with the Freebuds 5i was the distinction in sound high quality when utilizing the Huawei in-ear headphones with and with out the in-house “AI Life” app. Nonetheless, extra on that within the “Software program” class.

The Huawei FreeBuds 5i are the successors of the FreeBuds 4i and truly carry some enhancements that our colleague Antoine criticized in his detailed evaluation of the Huawei FreeBuds 4i. These primarily embody an IP54 certification, help for brand new audio codecs like LDAC (990 kbps at 24 bit/96 kHz), a stronger ANC, and virtually double the charging case’s battery capability.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The charging case of the Huawei FreeBuds 5i now provides twice as a lot battery capability in comparison with its predecessor. / © NextPit

The value, however, has remained the identical at €99.99. It is possible for you to to decide on between Ceramic White, Nebula Black, and Isle Blue (which was what we acquired for our evaluation unit) in relation to colours. Nonetheless, the delayed gross sales launch in Europe is considerably incomprehensible.

All in all, the Huawei FreeBuds 5i is an excellent selection for the above-mentioned value and can drive the Nothing Ear (1) we reviewed out of the finest ANC in-ear headphones checklist. And as with the entire Chinese language model’s merchandise, the FreeBuds 5i are usually not anticipated to be offered within the US.

Huawei FreeBuds 5i design and construct high quality

The Huawei FreeBuds 5i might be seen as a full-fledged replace to its predecessors, they usually additionally carry some visible enhancements alongside.
For one, they’re 11% lighter at 4.9 grams (per earbud) and seven millimeters shorter. That does not sound like a lot, however it may well make an enormous distinction in relation to carrying consolation. I want to point out this as optimistic at this level. Totally different sizes are included within the field.

What I preferred:

  • Suits securely within the ears.
  • Good workmanship.
  • IP54 certification.

What I disliked:

The primary materials used is polycarbonate, in different phrases: plastic. Whereas the white variant may be very simple to select up fingerprints, Nebula Black and Isle Blue are the much better selections on this regard. Huawei despatched us the Isle Blue variant, however I feel it additionally passes for grey with black dots.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The Huawei FreeBuds 5i provides good construct high quality and is even smaller than its predecessors. / © NextPit

The charging case and in-ear headphones are pleasantly small with dimensions of 48.2 x 61.8 x 26.9 millimeters (case) and 30.9 x 21.7 millimeters (headphones), well-made, and supply IP54 certification that protects in opposition to mud and water. The headphones are operated by tapping, swiping, and an extended press. When the headphones are faraway from the ear, no matter music playback will cease robotically.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
Good to see in entrance: the inexperienced LED. / © NextPit

The brand new hinge of the charging case snaps shut energetically and in addition stays securely closed. On the suitable facet is the button for connecting, on the entrance you can see an RGB LED, and on the backside a USB Sort-C port for charging. Wi-fi charging shouldn’t be attainable by way of the FreeBuds 5i’s case. The headphones additionally discover a safe place within the case because of a built-in magnet.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The pairing button is considerably hidden on the suitable facet of the charging case. The USB Sort-C port is on the backside. / © NextPit

Operation and software program

Like most likely a lot of you, I do not spend a number of time studying directions for a brand new product. On the one hand, it’s simple to see how self-explanatory the product to be reviewed is, and however, I’m simply plain lazy. Because of Google Quick Pair by way of Bluetooth 5.2 on my OnePlus 9 Professional, the in-ear headphones have been displayed rapidly and paired with none issues. Even the remaining battery capability of the person earphones together with the charging case was communicated to me on the smartphone.

What I preferred:

  • Not usable with out the AI Life app.
  • Google Quick Pair.

What I disliked:

  • “AI Life” app shouldn’t be obtainable within the Google Play Retailer.
  • No equalizer obtainable.

Through the evaluation, I had a preliminary conclusion in my head: “Right here you’ve your ‘low-cost’ headphones, that are so dangerous when it comes to sound that they most likely should not value greater than €100, both”.
Then I came upon that I wanted the “AI Life” app for the optimum use of the Energetic Noise Cancelling (ANC) function.

Nonetheless, you can not get it within the Google Play Retailer, however by way of the Huawei AppGallery or at APK-Mirror. The story about US sanctions and Huawei must be frequent information. And Huawei, who shouldn’t be silly, makes a advantage out of necessity and ensures slightly site visitors by itself app retailer, by no means thoughts that it that results in issues in the long run.

You need to allow “belief unknown sources” within the settings of your smartphone in an effort to set up the APK. And what can customers of an Apple iPhone do? They will really discover the “AI Life” software within the Apple App Retailer, which was not the case with its predecessor. And lo and behold, not solely does ANC now works in two totally different settings, the sound is all of the sudden fully totally different. Nonetheless, I’ll dive into that extra within the sound part.

Screenshots der Huawei-App AI Life
The corresponding software program for the Huawei FreeBuds 5i is named AI Life. / © NextPit.

The app is clearly structured, which may be very handy for me personally. Settings for operation and sound might be made. The management choices are restricted to a double faucet, press and maintain, and swipe. Each might be set individually for the suitable and left headphones. Thus, there is no such thing as a easy tapping possibility, presumably to rule out any confusion. The operation labored with out issues in my evaluation.

There may be additionally an choice to find the headphones, which is smart to seek for them individually. Huawei doesn’t supply an actual equalizer in our evaluation pattern, however solely a common setting to spice up the bass or treble.

Sound and Energetic Noise Cancelling

The compulsion to make use of the app can positively result in frustration. Not solely does it have an effect on the totally different music genres one listens to, but in addition the person’s personal listening preferences require totally different equalizer settings typically.
Nonetheless, should you hearken to Spotify all day lengthy as I do, the 2 further sound settings are completely high-quality.

What I preferred:

  • Good sound high quality for the worth vary.
  • LDAC is on board.
  • ANC now provides 42 dB.

What I disliked:

Huawei provides a frequency response of 20 to 40,000 hertz for its two 10-millimeter dynamic drivers and now helps Sony’s LDAC codec along with AAC and SBC. If you wish to know extra about audio codecs, you may learn extra about them right here. Antoine additionally criticized the dearth of an HD audio decoder in his evaluation of its predecessor, which Huawei has now addressed that. Because of Hello-Res certification, the Bluetooth audio stream delivers as much as 990 kilobits per second at 24 bits/96 kilohertz.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The Huawei FreeBuds 5i supply two microphones per stem for ANC. / © NextPit.

Personally, I elevated the low-frequency vary a bit, since this was not obvious whereas carrying the FreeBuds 5i as in-ear headphones are inclined to not protect exterior noise one hundred pc. Typically talking, the sound high quality is completely okay, because the sound picture is balanced, which I price a tad above common.

Despite the fact that I’m not personally satisfied by AEM (Adaptive Ear Matching)—that’s, adaptive sound optimization by “measuring” the auditory canal, the Huawei FreeBuds 5i additionally supply that. The marketed algorithm optimization, which is meant to supply decrease gaming latency, additionally falls underneath the identical, hard-to-measure class.

Screenshots der Huawei-App AI Life
The Huawei FreeBuds 5i supply LDAC and as much as 42 dB ANC. / © NextPit

With regards to the ANC, they’ve additionally improved the FreeBuds 5i. Within the phase about software program, I talked about two primary settings: one is noise cancellation and the opposite is the so-called “consideration mode”. ANC might be additional divided into three ranges, “Low” (25 dB), “Balanced” (30 dB), and “Extremely” (42 dB).

That’s virtually twice as many decibels as its predecessors. Despite the fact that Huawei has made vital enhancements, there may be nonetheless room for enchancment. Here’s a logical thought: the Huawei FreeBuds 5i doesn’t but symbolize the premium phase of the Chinese language producer.

Huawei FreeBuds 5i battery

Final however not least, listed here are one or two sentences in regards to the battery, which is a crucial level for wi-fi in-ear headphones. Right here, too, Huawei has clearly improved with a 410 mAh charging case in contrast with its predecessor that carries “solely” 215 mAh.
The headphones themselves every have a battery capability of 55 mAh.

What I preferred:

  • Charging case now with 410 mAh.
  • As much as 28 hours of music playback.

What I disliked:

Huawei marketed a complete of 28 hours of music playback, which is after all, solely achieved along with the charging case and ANC disabled, however this determine is nonetheless not far-fetched. Nonetheless, I’ve not but managed to carry the Huawei Freebuds 5i to its knees throughout an workplace day with a single cost and ANC enabled. A proud six to seven hours are simply attainable, which is a very good end result.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The charging case of the Huawei FreeBuds 5i is totally charged in lower than two hours. / © NextPit

Nonetheless, cellphone calls devour extra power, and I’d calculate 4 to 5 hours of runtime on a single battery cost. An entire charging means of the case takes lower than two hours.

Ultimate verdict

Huawei proved that its FreeBuds 5i ANC in-ear headphones, which value just below €100, you don’t essentially should lay our a fortune to get good sound in your ears. The ANC in-ear headphones have improved in virtually all facets in comparison with its predecessor. However, I “solely” give them 4 stars right here as effectively. Why?

Properly, there may be clearly nonetheless room for enchancment, be it the sound high quality basically or the lively noise cancellation. Do not get me flawed: For just below €100, the Huawei FreeBuds 5i might be among the finest in-ear headphones you may at the moment buy. Nonetheless, I don’t need to make any false guarantees right here, particularly after I used to be capable of evaluation the Oppo Enco X2, which inspired me rather a lot and I needed to half with a heavy coronary heart.

Zu sehen sind die Huawei FreeBuds 5i.
The Huawei FreeBuds 5i provides nice worth for cash at an MSRP of just below €100. / © NextPit

Nonetheless, for half the worth of the Enco X2, Huawei provides what I feel is one of the best worth within the discipline, Supplied you undergo the difficult methodology of putting in the “AI Life” app from the Huawei AppGallery for Android customers. Apple iPhone customers can simply entry the identical app on the Apple App Retailer.

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