Wednesday, 07 April 2021 12:23

Huawei launches FreeBuds 4i for $159, with bonus Huawei Band 4 fitness tracker until 30 April

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The latest version of Huawei's AirPods clone, dubbed FreeBuds, has arrived, promising powerful battery life, active noise cancellation, 10 hours of continuous music and more, along with a free fitness smart watch band for those who order by month's end.

While Huawei might be having issues with its smartphone range still being unable to run Google Mobile Services, with US President Biden not yet having rescinded this particular ban of former President Trump, Huawei still has a thriving business in plenty of technologies that don't rely on Google in any way, shape or form, and can be used with iOS and Android devices without issue.

The latest release from Huawei's Consumer Business group is its "all-new True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earphones, HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i," which the company says offers "powerful battery life, active noise cancellation (ANC), fashionable design, and outstanding audio quality."

One of Huawei's innovations in the new model is to add a "large, high energy density battery into the compact frame", which delivers "10 hours of continuous music playback or 6.5 hours of a voice call", although this figure is reached only when ANC is turned off.

Together with the charging case, we're told the FreeBuds 4i "can achieve 22 hours of music playback or 14 hours of a voice call."

What's the claimed battery life when ANC is turned on?

Huawei claims up to "7.5 hours of continuous music playback and 5.5 hours of voice call," which is more than AirPods or AirPods Pro delivers.

Moreover, Huawei says its "industry-leading quick charge technology provides 4 hours of audio enjoyment from a 10-minute charge", meaning "users do not need to worry about the battery level when they are out and about or in a hurry."

Next comes the design, with the company saying the FreeBuds 4i's oval-shaped case and compact design "is inspired by the world-famous black sand beach in Iceland", with the model available in two colours: a "classic Ceramic White and Carbon Crystal Black."

The HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i's charging case is also "designed to fit the arc of the user's palm", and while it obviously depends on the size of your hands, Huawei claims the design is "not too big or too small."

Boasting of having "undergone thousands of rounds of comfort tests," Huawei says it finally adopted "a design that fits the ear canal, greatly improving the long-term wearing comfort."

We're also told "Huawei designers aimed to introduce a design for active and energetic users, allowing them to listen to life's beauty while on an adventure", and that "thanks to Huawei's advanced audio technology, HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i can provide a crystal clear audio experience anytime and anywhere."

 

So, what is some more detail on audio quality?

Huawei says its FreeBuds 4i "detects ambient noise through its microphones and generates a reverse sound wave to reduce noise. The noise cancellation algorithm targets environments that are typically noisy such as busy shopping centres, loud public transport, a train station, or the office for ANC optimisation, providing users with a comfortable noise cancellation experience."

And, just like Apple's AirPods Pro features a "transparency" mode, Huawei boasts "FreeBuds 4i features an Awareness Mode, allowing users to hear the surroundings without taking the earbuds off", which is activated "by simply pressing and holding the earbud", automatically switching between Awareness Mode and Active Noise Cancellation Mode.

To reduce environmental noise interference during calls, Huawei says it "adopts three anti-interference technologies to improve the call quality. Exclusive beamforming technology allows the microphones to pick up the user's voice accurately; the dual-mic system comes with a slit-duct design to effectively reduce wind noise. The AI noise reduction technology, filters out extra noise."

Then there's the claim of balanced audio output designed for pop music due to the "customised components, including 10 mm large dynamic drivers to offer larger amplitude for powerful bass performance.

"The earphones also adopt the "PEEK+PU" polymer composite diaphragm, which is flexible and powerful, providing high sensitivity and rich, dynamic response, allowing users to hear more details in their music."

Of course, it's not just pop music lovers that are catered for, as the FreeBuds 4i "is designed to cater to all music needs."

We're told "the professional tuning team at Huawei has combined different instruments, rhythms, and vocal styles to adjust the audio quality to fit popular music frequency, offering a balanced audio output that is suitable for most users' daily needs. Together with the noise cancellation, Huawei FreeBuds 4i allows users to enjoy crystal clear audio, even in noisy environments."

 

What about the controls?

In addition to the crystal-clear audio experience, Huawei says its FreeBuds 4i "provides an excellent interactive experience.

"Users can easily control music playback, voice call, and activate noise with a gesture touch. When using HUAWEI FreeBuds 4i with Huawei smartphones running EMUI 10.0 or above, it supports fast pairing with a pop-up notification that will prompt when the charging case is opened. When pairing, the battery information of the earbuds and the charging case will be displayed clearly."

Promising to "quench the user's thirst for TWS earphones, its comfortable, active noise reduction, pure audio quality, and powerful battery life allow users to fully release their vitality, creativity, and enthusiasm and enjoy a comfortable listening experience anytime, anywhere", or at least, so Huawei's marketing says.

Available for pre order at AUD $159 from Huawei Experience Store online and in-store at Chatswood, World Square, and Hurstville, MobileCiti, and Amazon on 7 April 2021, the product will launch in Australia on 12 April 2021.

Customers purchasing the Huawei Freebuds 4i between 7 April 2021 – 30 April 2021 will receive a bonus Huawei Band 4 (Black) worth AU $69 RRP. 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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