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Setting out to do for headphones what it did for smartphones (which is to pile the feature count high, while cutting the price low), Huawei has launched its new Freebuds 4i earbuds.
I have been wearing a pair for a while now, and I think the Chinese technology giant is onto something special.
These stylish little earphones punch well above their £80 price tag.
Design wise, these True Wireless headphones cut a familiar shape. Their drooping stalks, which offer easy tap on/off control, recall a certain fruit-based brand, but with their soft edges and high gloss finish, they look classy and feel comfy.
Overall usability is fine too. The Freebuds 4i quickly pair (just hold down the function button on the side of the charging case), and are easy to use..
Why we love them
Having Active Noise Cancelling technology at this price point is a big bonus. These buds react dynamically to ambient noise, and compensate accordingly. More efficient noise cancelling can be found up the food chain, but if the aim is to reduce general hubbub when out and about, they work well.
If you need to clearly hear around you, be it for station announcements or to order a Flat White, there’s an Awareness Mode, which lets ambient noise cut through.
A long press toggles between Noise Cancellation and Awareness, which makes it easy to select.
The Freebuds 4i ship with three sizes of soft silicone ear cups, so getting a comfortable fit shouldn’t be an issue. While they sit snug, I wouldn’t use these Freebuds during sports, but they are IP54 waterproof certified, meaning they’re fully protected from water splashes.
Their biggest feature wow, though, is battery life. They’ll play for an amazing ten hours on a full charge (without noise cancelling engaged), and around six with. The pebble shaped charging case, which is refreshingly small, adds another 12 hours to the stamina pool. This is a class leading performance.
So what do they sound like? Well, the 4i may be small but they make a big noise, thanks to a 10mm dynamic driver and some clever acoustical engineering. There’s an emphasis on the mid-range and vocal clarity, which makes them good all rounders, whatever your musical or podcast tastes.
They surprised me, but in a good way.
My verdict? You can spend way more than £80 quid on noise cancelling headphones. But having lived with the Freebuds 4i, the question is do you really need to?
Buy it: Huawei Freebuds 4i Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Cancelling Earbuds | £79.99 from Currys PC World
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