Choosing TWS headphones is difficult. For example, I could not find mine. For me, they either sound bad, or they do not fit in shape and fall out of my ears. Even AirPods Pro, which seems to be plugged, but in fact are not – I cannot fix them properly in my ears for the active noise reduction to work.
My agony of choice went very far but did not give anything. There were acceptable options, but I ended up going back to wired headphones.
And that’s where Huawei Freebuds 3i comes out. These are TWS “plugs” with active noise reduction. And here they are with me.
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Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Appearance and equipment
The box is not the smallest. There are no problems with its design – everything is very minimalistic:
In the kit, you will find the case itself, where the headphones are, as well as the cable, documentation and replaceable ear pads.
I usually use mids, but here the bigger ones worked for me. Therefore, if you always change the nozzles of the “plugs” to the largest ones, problems may arise with Huawei Freebuds 3i.
Headphones look good in your ears if you like this form factor. The “leg” is slightly larger than that of AirPods, but personally, I don’t see any problems with that.
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The case is relatively easy to get dirty, but just as easy to clean. There is another problem with it: after a week of using the headphones, I still did not get used to open it with one hand. This is a rather annoying little thing, because, as it turned out, I constantly try to open this way, and retraining an innate habit is almost impossible!
It is worth mentioning the IPX4 waterproof rating of both the case and the headphones – you can not be afraid of rain.
The headphones fit in my ears without any problems. Wearing them is comfortable and easy – nothing weighs down. They don’t fall out. In general, the shape suits me perfectly.
Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Connection
The joy of using the Huawei Freebuds 3i can be enjoyed with the latest flagship and mid-range Huawei smartphones. And the point is the connection: I opened the lid of the case and flew off – you will be offered to connect the headphones to the smartphone.
It remains to fix a small jamb with the word hyphenation, which, I am sure, the company’s programmers will do shortly and make it beautifully right for the release, which should occur on the international market mid-June.
Then a quick pairing will take place, after which you will be shown the battery charge:
If there is an update, they will offer to install it:
If you have another Android smartphone, then you will need to download the Huawei AI Life application and do all the same operations:
By the way, it is also in AppGallery.
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In the application, you can change the settings for touch areas. For example, I have a double-tap on the left earphone to play or switch to the next track, and the same action on the right will pause the song or start playing it again. You can also choose to call the voice assistant and turn on / off the active noise reduction. And in the application, you can also completely turn off the noise reduction. I would also like to adjust the volume control, but, alas, you can’t do without a phone.
But with iOS, such operations will not work. You can only plug in headphones. Apparently, you won’t install updates on Huawei Freebuds 3i if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod.
Therefore, I would not recommend using these headphones with Apple devices, since updates are an important part of their functionality. For example, in a week of use, three updates arrived, and one of them had a transparency mode. Also, Huawei is constantly improving the stability of communication and the Bluetooth protocol in general.
I also do not recommend these headphones for users of Apple devices for another reason: connecting to an iPhone occurs with incomprehensible difficulties to me – you need to get the headphones out, insert them into your ears, and after about a minute you can start listening to music. But only then! Otherwise, a pairing error will appear. I’m sure this will be corrected in updates, but I don’t know how to install them by connecting the iPhone’s headphones.
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Likely salvation would be the Huawei SmartHome app’s resuscitation, which has the same icon as Huawei AI Life on Android. It would be logical!
Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Sound
Now you’ve plugged in your headphones and are now turning on your favourite streaming service. And at this moment I forget about the inconvenient case and the long connection to iOS because the main thing in them is the sound. Even with the non-audiophile AAC and SBS codecs that Freebuds 3i works with, the sound is excellent.
I haven’t heard this in small headphones for a long time. For example, in Agent Fresco’s Dark Water, I didn’t expect to feel the kicks physically – it sounds life, I can hear the room where the drum kit was recorded. And that’s from the 10mm driver!
Freebuds 3i are very good at emphasizing bass. There is a lot of it, but not too much to absorb all other frequencies. You will hear the highs, which are just bombing here, you will hear the middle – it is not boxy at all, but soft and pleasant.
The scene at Freebuds 3i isn’t too big, but this story applies to all earbuds and plugs. You will understand the mix and what the musicians wanted to say with their music. You will pay special attention to the rhythm section, including drums and bass guitar or instruments that replace them. For example, I don’t really like how the double bass sounds in the composition No One’s Fault of the jazz band Triosence.
How the keys sound in it! It seems like the whole groove is on them. Very cool.
But I listen to Thrice’s song Blood On Blood on all headphones: I like its sound, how well it was mixed. In fact, for me, this song has become a universal measure of all headphones:
And it sounds great here: the acoustic rhythm guitar is very close, and at the same time unobtrusive, the bass guitar confidently punches the mix, and its, in turn, kicks. And the harp sounds with beautiful tints. Just a plague!
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I have listened to these headphones with many styles: jazz, rock, progressive, pop, electronic. Each of them Freebuds 3i plays very confidently. I would slightly reduce the low end for my taste and give the scene a chance to open up a little. But if you are a bass-head, then these headphones will definitely suit you, as the bass sounds great here and is very complex with the rest of the frequencies.
Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Noise Cancellation
Huawei FreeBuds 3i also has a good noise reduction. More recently, it has a third mode – “Transparency”. Switching between them is simple: hold your finger for two seconds on any of the headphones’ touch area. During the mode change, a female voice will notify you of what is now activated: Off, Noise Cancellation, and Awareness.
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The earbuds, by their form factor, are excellent at absorbing noise by themselves. I came to the office for them and sat down to write the lyrics, listening to music in parallel. As a result, they wrote to me in Telegram, because they tried to shout to me, but it still did not work out. And then I found out that it was purely passive noise isolation!
Then I turned on ANC. The noise has become much less. For example, I practically do not hear the clatter of the “scissors” of my MacBook’s keyboard, listening to music even at 30-50% of the volume. Most of the lower register is cut off at the vacuum cleaner’s noise, but the tops remain slightly muffled. And then you turn up the volume up to 70% and the scream of the vacuum cleaner is not heard at all.
I did not have a chance to check the noise reduction quality in the metro, and it is not yet obvious when it will work out.
Huawei claims a 32 dB reduction in noise levels. It is rather difficult to assess the veracity of these statements by ear since there is also excellent passive sound insulation.
Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Communication
The earbuds work with Bluetooth 5.1. There were no out-of-syncs for a week of active use. The music stuttered twice, but an hour later, the update came, and I never heard such a problem.
Then I decided to call my friend Andrew, our operator, with whom I decided to talk, said that it was just great to hear me. Leaving the phone on the table, I went. I went far before the headphones started to stutter. I was separated from the telephone by two thick walls more than half a meter thick and 15–20 meters of practical space between them.
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Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Output
I’ve heard a lot of headphones that sound bad and are very expensive.
You will be able to pre-order on the headphone page in the official Huawei store from June 5th.
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Huawei Freebuds 3i is not without its drawbacks. This is a rather easily soiled case, which is inconvenient to open with one hand, not the longest operating time (3.5 hours of headphone operation at 50% volume + additional 14 hours from the case), as well as incomplete functionality on devices with iOS and iPadOS and slow connection to him.
However, if you have Android, then all this is completely levelled. The headphones are getting very, very good – great sound, good noise cancellation and great connectivity. And given the low price, sorry for the pun, they don’t have a price.
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