Huawei Freebuds 3i Review: Great ANC And Gestures Control At A Budget

Huawei has been making quite amazing Wearables including the latest Freebuds 3 series.

Huawei launched Freebuds 3 series recently including Freebuds 3 and 3i. In this post, I’m

going to talk about budget-friendly 3i. Before going into the details, let’s have a look at the



Connection: Bluetooth 5

Bluetooth codecs: AAC, SBC

Active noise-cancelling: up to 32db

Microphones: 3

Driver: 10mm dynamic

Controls: Double-tap, long tap

Battery capacity: 37mAh/earbud. 410mAh charging case

Battery life: Up to three.5h of playback. Up to 14.5h with charging case

Charging: USB-C, wired only

Charging time: earbuds – about 1h; total – about 115 minutes

Water resistance: IPX4 (splashes only)

Weight: 5.5g/earbud, case 51g

Ear tips: 4 pairs – L, M, S, XS

Functions: Awareness mode, Pop hospitable connect (EMUI 10 only), Wear detection

(EMUI 10 only), virtual assistant, touch controls

Huawei Freebuds 3i Design

The FreeBuds 3i (€99) is the follow-up to the more expensive FreeBuds 3

(€149), which came out late last year. Despite being less expensive, the difference

between the FreeBuds 3i and the FreeBuds 3 isn’t massive.

If you would like an in-ear design and superior noise cancellation, the FreeBuds 3i comes

on top of priority. On the other side, FreeBuds 3 have longer battery life and better

sound quality in optimal conditions.

The FreeBuds 3i feature active noise-cancelling (ANC) and silicone tips that enter your ear

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canals, dampening external noise and improving the sound quality. The FreeBuds 3i even

accompany Awareness mode, which works a bit like Apple’s Transparency mode.

You can use the FreeBuds 3i with any Bluetooth-enabled device, but you’ll get the simplest

experience with Huawei devices running EMUI 10 or later, which supply quicker connection

and wearing detection.

FreeBuds 3i Control

The FreeBuds 3i support two simple gesturesdouble-tap and tap-and-hold. Using the

companion app, Huawei AI Life, you’ll assign the double-tap gesture to playback controls,

while tap-and-hold cycles through ANC modes.

Huawei AI Life is compatible with almost any Android device, but it’s not available for iOS.

you can still use the FreeBuds 3i with an iPhone, but you won’t be able to customize the

gestures or get software updates unless you’ll connect to an Android device.

When used alongside a Huawei phone running EMUI 10 or later, the FreeBuds 3i connect quickly

by simply popping open the case, and that also detect wearing to automatically pause and resume.

You can assign different commands for double-tapping the left and right earbud, which provides

you a touch more flexibility. You can choose from play/pause, next song, previous song, and wake voice assistant.

Huawei FreeBuds 3i Sound Quality

As for reviews I have gone through, Freebuds 3i sound great and almost equally as Freebuds 3. Vocals tend to be clear.

It helps that the FreeBuds 3i feature silicon tips that plug into your ears (there are four sizes

included within the package). These provide the solution that’s sorely missing from the open

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fit FreeBuds 3, also from the AirPods and other earbuds of comparable design. Because of

this, the FreeBuds 3i sound louder than the FreeBuds 3, despite having a smaller driver:

10mm vs 14.2mm.

Huawei Freebuds 3i Active Noise Cancellation

In noise cancellation, Freebuds 3i are as good as Freebuds 3. The ear tips keep tons of the

ambient noise out, which makes it much easier for the ANC function to form an audible

difference. Like with all ANC headphones, you’ll get the simplest results with low, monotone

noises just like the humming of an airplane cabin or car engines. Meanwhile, high frequencies

come through, and ANC will struggle to adapt to variable noises just like the chatter of a


If you would like to figure – or simply relax – during a noisy environment, you’ll want to stay

the FreeBuds 3i in ANC mode. Even with music off, you’ll hear the difference. And once you

do hear music, you won’t get to crank up the quantity as high, which is sweet for your auditory


Huawei Freebuds 3i Awareness Mode

The FreeBuds 3i allows you to toggle during a special mode that helps outside sounds undergo,

making them easier to listen to even when taking note of music. It works tons just like the

AirPods Pro’s Transparency mode, it’s just called different: Awareness mode.

There’s a clear difference between Awareness mode and easily turning ANC off. Awareness

mode may additionally be handy when walking or jogging on busy roads or whenever you

would like to concentrate on your environment.

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The Awareness mode need to be enabled from the Huawei AI Life app. If it’s not enabled,

the earbuds will simply turn ANC on and off.

Huawei Freebuds 3i Connectivity

The FreeBuds 3i uses Bluetooth 5 and support the SBC and AAC codecs. SBC is that the

most elementary Bluetooth codec around, sacrificing audio quality for lower data transfers.

Meanwhile, AAC may be a more advanced codec that permits better audio quality, but it’s

only really suitable to be used on Apple devices. Android devices tend to perform

inconsistently with this codec. Bluetooth multipoint isn’t supported, so you won’t be ready

to connect the FreeBuds 3i to your phone and laptop at the same time.

Huawei FreeBuds 3i Battery life

The FreeBuds 3i won’t win any prizes for battery life. They exhaust after about three hours

of use (with ANC on). It’s about an hour less than Huawei FreeBuds 3, and a quite a bit less

compared to other TWS.

The good point is you’ll be ready to use the case to charge them up 4 times at least, which

should push total battery life to over 13 hours.

For reference, Huawei claims up to 3.5 hours for the earbuds and 14.5 hours of playback

with the case included.

Final Verdict

For this price point, Huawei has made the best of it taking all the latest features with great ANC and gesture control. Functionality with Huawei devices is superb and with other android devices but you will miss some features if you are iPhone user. So if you don’t want to go for €100+ than 3i is the best choice for you at this price point.

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