Initially, the hallmark of FreeBuds was an in-ear design with silicone ear cushions that securely fix the headphones in the ear canals and provide good passive noise reduction. All the more surprising was the fact of the transition in FreeBuds 3 to an open design – this, of course, allowed the use of larger speakers, but greatly neutralized the effect of active noise cancellation, which was first used in this model.
Design & Build Quality
Huawei FreeBuds 3i looks to be working on bugs – more precisely, on this one bug; moreover, works in a more inexpensive price segment. Huawei freebuds 3i price is affordable considering other brands. In this model, Huawei is returning to in-ear design. For this, I had to sacrifice 14.2 mm speakers. They were replaced by more traditional ones, with a diameter of 10 mm. Another simplification was the return to Bluetooth 5.0, which, in turn, is associated with the abandonment of the special Kirin A1 processor. What is used in Huawei FreeBuds 3i instead, the company does not specify.
At the same time, somewhere it disappeared, somewhere it arrived – Huawei FreeBuds 3i received a more advanced microphone system. There are three of them in each earpiece – at the end of the tube and on the drop of the earpiece itself. Thanks to this, active noise cancellation also works better, and the user’s voice is transmitted with better quality.
The design of the headphones themselves has not changed much – they are still uncontested white plastic tubes with drop-shaped top parts, most of all reminiscent of which model is clear. What distinguishes them from FreeBuds 3 is, of course, the presence of silicone ear pads, as well as holes in the lower part of the tubes – one of the already mentioned microphones, are hidden there. The earbuds are dust and water-resistant – IPX4 grade. Can also be used in rain.
But the case has changed dramatically – this is a return to what we saw already in FreeBuds / FreeBuds 2. Instead of a round case, here is an oblong, oval shape. The performance of both the headphones and the case does not cause any complaints, everything is done great: thanks to the magnets, the headphones are deftly inserted into the sinuses intended for them, it is very pleasant to put and take them out tactilely. Bluetooth pairing is activated, as soon as you open the case – on Huawei smartphones, it is not even necessary to enter the list of devices paired via Bluetooth, a hint immediately pops up on the screen. If you have another smartphone or want to connect headphones, for example, to a laptop, pairing mode can be activated forcibly using the key on the back of the case. There is also a USB Type-C port.
Charging & Battery Time
At the same time, the case, as before, supports wireless charging – you can put it, for example, on the Huawei P40 Pro with its support for reverse charging, and the energy will flow into the Huawei FreeBuds 3i. With a full charge, the power of the case should be enough for about 14.5 hours of music playback. One full charge of the headphones themselves lasts about 3 hours. The earbuds are fully charged in the case in about an hour.
Huawei FreeBuds 3i weighs about as much as a regular “three-ruble note” – together with a case, a little over 60 grams. Each earphone weighs 5.5 grams and is hardly felt in the ear. At the same time, the fit when choosing the right silicone tabs for you is excellent, there simply cannot be problems with the fact that the headphones fall out of the ear. For my ears, for example, open-type in-ear headphones are not suitable, and in-ear headphones are more than.
And, of course, the noise reduction card is played as much as possible. With it, FreeBuds 3i is in complete order – noise is almost completely isolated. People turn into pikes from a children’s fairy tale about a capricious mouse – “the pike opens its mouth, but you can’t hear what it is singing.” When cycling, of course, you should turn off noise cancellation (this can be done in the Huawei AI Life app), but with everyday wear, it is an indispensable option.
The sound quality of the Huawei FreeBuds 3i is slightly lower than that of the FreeBuds 3 – and the detail is lower, and the scene does not feel as good, and the bass is a little more muffled. But, again, due to the in-channel design, the sound is not “lost in space”, the absence of inclusions from the external atmosphere has a beneficial effect on it. The overall level is very good for a TWS model, especially for a low price category. At the first FreeBuds, I once noted problems with mutual pairing – from time to time, one or the other earphone fell off. Alas, FreeBuds 3i also has this problem, albeit less pronounced – the sound from one of the headphones does not completely disappear (for some reason, after an interruption, the bass becomes less saturated), and this happens less often.
As in FreeBuds 3, the outer sides of the earcups are equipped with touch-sensitive surfaces: by default, long touch on any earbud can disable or enable the noise canceling function, and double-tap to stop/resume playback. In addition, the earbuds recognize when you take them off or put them on. If music was played during removal, it is automatically paused.