Huawei Freebuds 3i

General Information

Featuring a new closed fit in-ear design and Active Noise Cancellation technology, HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i offer an incredible immersive audio experience, whatever your surroundings. Users can enjoy music to the full, and have crystal clear conversations wherever they are.

Music In, World Out

Whether listening to your favourite music, holding calls with loved ones or experiencing thrilling movie audio effects, enjoy uninterrupted moments with the ultimate noise-cancelling experience. HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i come with two outward-facing mics and one inward-facing mic. While the outward-facing mic detects ambient noise to actively counter with anti-noise, the inward-facing mic picks up the other noises in your ears for further cancellation, actively lowering background noise by up to 32dB[1]. The three mics offer thorough noise cancellation for improved call quality, bringing you an immersive listening experience.

Ultimate Performance

For seamless interaction between all of your HUAWEI devices, a pop-up window on your smartphone[2] helps to automatically pair the devices as soon as the HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i charging case is open, allowing users to instantly enjoy their favourite songs or easily keep an eye on the battery status.

Syncing with your every move, HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i feature built-in capacitive sensors on both sides, offering unrivalled convenience and control for users. Simply double-tap for music and calls, and long-tap for active noise cancellation. Furthermore, playback will intelligently pause when the earbuds are taken out and resumes once they are placed back in.

Excellent Sound

HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i feature 10mm large dynamic drivers, helping to deliver a powerful bass. Furthermore, the highly sensitive polymer composite diaphragms are carefully tuned to deliver authentic and balanced audio.

Fit Your Style

Crafted with style and fit in mind, the HUAWEI FreeBuds 3i feature ergonomic cone-shaped main bodies, complete with flexible silicon tips that come in four different sizes.

Latest reviews

Pros: - Above average noise cancelling and ambient sound quality
- Colour LED to indicate remaining battery
- Intuitive functions through the proximity sensor
- Comfortable all-day wear
Cons: - Relatively short battery life per earbud
- Not rated for sports
The Huawei Freebuds 3 is the first open-fit earphones with active noise cancelling. Despite its best efforts, it is extremely challenging to cancel noise with open-fit earphones. It works to a certain extent, and provides noise relief to consumers who totally cannot take the stuffed-up feeling of in-canal earbuds.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

Then the Freebuds 3i comes along. Usually when smartphone manufacturers produce in-house audio products, they are usually not comparable to the audio specialist brands. Hence I am delightfully surprised that the Freebuds 3i delivers an overall excellent product that I would use it as my daily driver.

The audio quality is not audiophile-grade, but it does not sound poorly. What the consumer wants is “clear treble, strong bass”. And the Freebuds 3i has it. The bass is tangible without too overpowering. The treble is clear and bright, nicely balancing the bass. Midrange has sufficient details thanks to the controlled yet forthcoming bass, but not as full as neutral earbuds. The mid-treble like the crashing cymbals could sound a little harsh, an attempt to make the earbuds sound more presence, but not too harsh to make me reject them. I enjoy listening to them at lengths, but there’s more to why I like the Freebuds 3i besides audio quality.

I also find the audio codec processing not as good. Even though it supports SBC and AAC, I detect compression artifacts causing upper frequency to be slightly fuzzy. You will only hear it if you listen hard, so it doesn’t bother me much.

The Freebuds 3i is intuitive to use, quite similar to what Apple has done with the AirPods Pro. I won’t convince you that the Freebuds 3i is better than AirPods Pro, but at half the price, the Freebuds 3i is probably about 90% as good as AirPods Pro. And at 45% of the price.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

Noise Cancellation and Awareness
Huawei did pretty well in this area. The ANC and Awareness (ambient mode) is not adjustable, but the quality is good. When riding on underground train, the Freebuds 3i takes away most sound, except for some fine high-pitched noises which would be covered by your music. The Awareness mode is also natural sounding, so much so that sometimes I could not tell if it’s on. In this mode, the earbuds do not exaggerate the ambient sound, which is good. It actually sounds like you are wearing an open-fit earbuds, so I think consumers who dislike feeling stuffed up might find the Freebuds 3i acceptable to use.

Critically speaking, the Sony WF-1000XM3 still does a better job in absolute noise cancellation, but I would bring out the Freebuds 3i anytime to use compared to the Sony buds, which is a lot more cumbersome to use.

Proximity Sensor
The Freebuds 3i has a sensor that detects whether the earbuds are in your ear or not. When it’s out of the ears, the noise cancellation and Awareness (ambient sound) mode will be disabled. At the same time, the music will auto-pause. When you place the earbuds back in your ears, the ANC features will resume, and with EMUI 10 devices, playback will auto-resume too.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

Smart Mic For Voice Calls
The mic quality is one of the better ones I have reviewed in recent months. There is good volume and clarity, and does not sound too tinny. What I am impressed is that the active microphone will switch to the earbud that is on your ear. If both are on your ears, the Awareness mode will be enabled so that you can have a balanced conversation.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

Custom Touch Controls
The touch controls can be changed from the AI Life smartphone app. Although the options are fixed, it works well for me. I opted to use touch-and-hold action for noise control (ANC, Awareness, Off) and double-tap for track changes – double-tap left earbud to go previous track, and double-tap right earbud to skip to next track. Volume controls are not supported. If I want to pause the track, I just remove one of the earbuds and audio will pause. To resume, I could double-tap and it somehow resumes playback – this is not documented.

Battery Indicator
It’s a small detail, but one that is so sensible. Most other earbuds uses either number of LED or blink patterns to communicate the remaining battery life. Huawei Freebuds 3i does that with the colour: green means full, yellow means half, red means low. It’s so unambiguous! No guesswork.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

The Freebuds 3i are rated with 13.5 hours battery including case. It’s not a lot compared to other brands, but in an urban setting, you can charge it regularly.

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

The Huawei Freebuds 3i is the best value noise cancelling true-wireless earbuds to buy. I like the intuitive functions using the proximity sensor to enable the noise cancelling, pause the audio, switch the active mic during calls

Huawei Freebuds 3i review by Music Photo Life, Singapore tech blog

The Freebuds 3i is awesome value, delivers ANC very well for the price, and an excellent starter for consumers trying out noise cancelling earbuds.


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