The True Wireless Earbuds market is getting more crowded with every month that passes and let’s be honest, most of them offer the same features, with only slight variations. We’ve been lucky enough to have reviewed many different pairs at Rapid Reviews UK, and the latest pair is Huawei’s latest offering, the Huawei FreeBuds 3i. Read on to find out what I thought of them in my latest Rapid Review.
Dimensions: 41.8 x 23.7 x 19.8 mm (per earbud) 80.7 x 35.4 x 29.2 mm (charging case)
Weight: About 5.5 g (per earbud) About 51 g (charging case)
Colour: Ceramic White / Carbon Black
Noise Cancellation: Active noise cancellation / Call noise cancellation
Charging Time: Earbuds: about 1 hr.* Total: about 115 min.*
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
Driver: ⌀10mm dynamic
Type: In-ear/True wireless/Bluetooth
Control: Double-tap / Long tap
Wearing Detection: Supported* *Requires smartphones running EMUI10.0.1 or above.
Battery Life: up to 3.5 hr. playback/2.5 hr. talk time on 1 charge; up to 14.5 hr. playback/10.5 hr. talk time with charging case.
Case Charging: Wired / USB-C
Battery Capacity: 37 mAh (Typ.) (per earbud) / 410 mAh (Typ.) (charging case)
The Huawei FreeBuds 3i are a nice looking pair of true wireless earbuds, not dissimilar to a pair made by a fruit named company. They are nice and light but feel solid and of high build quality.
The charging case is oblong-shaped, and there’s a light on the front that shows you the battery life of the case. When putting the earbuds in the charging case, they pop in with a pleasing click.
Battery Life and Charging
The battery life of the FreeBuds 3i might be seen as a slight negative. With the excellent ANC mode switched on (I’ll talk about this a little later), you’ll be getting approximately 3 hours of playtime. For most people, this will probably be enough. For example, I used the earbuds to listen to podcasts and music when going for a walk or exercising. I don’t tend to use earbuds for long periods of times. However, I did try to use them during a workday with multiple video calls, and they needed a charge by lunchtime.
The charging case can provide an additional 14 hours of battery life. Pop the earbuds in the case, and they’ll charge to full capacity in around an hour, which is not too bad at all. Talking of the charging case, the LED light highlights the charging capacity of the case; green indicates a fully charged case; amber shows around 50% capacity, and red means that you’ll need to charge the charging case using a USB-C cable. It takes around two hours to charge the charging case fully.
Huawei AI Life app
Another feature that Huawei offer, if you have a Huawei phone, and the Huawei AI Life App, is “pop to pair”. When you open the charging case, the HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i will pair automatically.
The App provides detailed battery status of each earbud and the case. You can also change what the touch commands do, switch wear detection off an on, and update the firmware of the FreeBuds 3i when an update is available.
To pair the Huawei FreeBuds 3i with an iPhone, you need to hold down the sync button on the back of the charging case with the earbuds inside, and the lid open. Then you need to make sure that Bluetooth is switched on. Next, go to other devices and click on HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i to pair.
The Huawei FreeBuds 3i have touch controls on each earbud. A long touch will turn the ANC off and on, with a voice prompt telling you what is selected. Double tapping the earbud will play/pause music or answer and end a call. Music playback also stops when you pull the earbuds out.
For a pair of true wireless earbuds, sub £100, the sound quality is very good. Music sounds more than good enough, with a good bass line. I was pleasantly surprised at how loud the FreeBuds were, and at full volume, music and podcasts remained clear, with no evident reduction in clarity. Another plus is that voice calling is also very clear.
I was quite impressed with the ANC function of the FreeBuds 3i. Somewhat bizarrely, I keep a bedside fan on every night of the year. At times, this can be a little loud. However, I also can’t sleep without it. This is where the ANC function came in very handy. The earbuds kept a lot of the background noise out, so I had the best of both worlds! I also tested the Active Noise Cancellation during a workday when the family was home, and it did make a big difference. The only downside was that with ANC on, the battery life did suffer a little.
I liked the design of the FreeBuds 3i. They look quite similar to some much higher priced alternatives. I loved the ANC, and it made a huge difference when listening to music and podcasts in noisier environments. Sound quality is good, and voice quality during calls is crisp. The only slight downside is the battery life.
For £99, the FreeBuds 3i are absolutely worth your time, although you might want to spend a little more to get better battery life, and more convenient wireless charging.