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Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review: Punching Above Their Price Point


Huawei FreeBuds 6i

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Huawei Freebuds 6i

Huawei FreeBuds 6i seriously overdeliver for their price. The combination of solid sound, highly effective noise cancellation, good build quality, and reliable performance make them a fantastic value in the increasingly crowded mid-range true wireless earbud space. Sure, you can nit-pick a few flaws. Battery life could be a little longer, the glossy case collects smudges easily, and the mics pick up a touch of echo indoors. But those are all relatively minor complains that don't detract from an otherwise stellar package. If you're looking for a high-performing set of true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation that won't break the bank, the Huawei FreeBuds 6i deserve to be at the top of your list.

Features 8
Performance 8
Design 8
Value 8
  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Extremely effective active noise cancellation
  • Reliable connectivity and controls
  • Useful companion app
  • Solid overall value
  • Battery life could be a bit longer
  • Glossy case attracts fingerprints
  • Mics pick up slight echo indoors

I’ve been testing out the new Huawei FreeBuds 6i true wireless earbuds for the past couple weeks, and I have to say – I’m impressed!

These earbuds pack a serious punch in terms of features and performance while maintaining a very reasonable mid-range price point.

Let me break down my experience and thoughts on these solid all-around earbuds from Huawei.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Specs:

Speaker11 mm quad-magnet dynamic driver
Battery LifeMusic playback with the earbuds only (ANC OFF): 8 hours
Music playback with the earbuds only (ANC ON): 5 hours
Music playback with multiple charges in the case (ANC OFF): 35 hours
Music playback with multiple charges in the case (ANC ON): 20 hours
ControlsPress & hold: Enable or disable noise canceling/Awareness
Swipe up/down: Turn the volume up or down
Double-tap: Play/pause music, answer/end a call
Triple-tap: Play the next track
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3
Simultaneous Bluetooth connection with dual devices
Audio TechnologyDynamic EQ, Active noise cancellation, Call noise cancellation, Transparency Mode
Water ResistanceIP54 (earbuds only)

Unboxing Experience

When I opened the box, I found the following:

  • Earbuds
  • 3 pairs of ear tips (large, medium, small sizes; medium pre-installed)
  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Quick start guide
  • Warranty Card
Huawei FreeBuds 6i unboxing

Design & Comfort

  • Earbuds have a sleek, subtle design that looks good without being flashy
  • Made of quality, durable-feeling plastic
  • Extremely light and comfortable to wear, even for extended periods
  • Earbuds stay securely in place and don’t fall out
  • Silicone eartips provide a snug fit and good seal

The FreeBuds 6i have an understated yet classy look. The earbud housings are made of a nice smooth plastic that feels high-quality. Impressively, they are very lightweight which makes them super comfortable to wear. I had no issues with ear fatigue or discomfort even when using them for hours at a time.

The pre-installed silicone eartips do a great job of keeping the buds locked in place securely. I never had to worry about them slipping out, even when exercising. You get a few different eartip sizes in the box to ensure you can get an ideal fit.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review  Design

In terms of controls, the FreeBuds 6i use tap and swipe gestures on the earbud stems. You can play/pause, skip tracks, adjust volume, and toggle ANC modes. The controls are highly responsive and worked reliably for me, which isn’t always the case with stem-based touch controls.

My only real complaint design-wise is that the charging case, while compact, uses a glossy plastic that picks up fingerprints and smudges very easily. But that’s a minor nitpick on an otherwise excellently built set of earbuds.

Sound Quality

  • 11mm dynamic drivers deliver full, detailed sound
  • Bass is powerful and punchy without overpowering mids/highs
  • Mids are clear and forward, vocals sound natural
  • Highs have good clarity and detail, no harshness
  • Wide, expansive soundstage with good instrument separation

I was very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality from the FreeBuds 6i. Huawei equipped these with large 11mm dynamic drivers and the audio benefits are clearly apparent. The overall sound signature is nicely balanced and engaging.

Bass notes hit with authority, providing a strong foundation without muddying up the rest of the frequencies. Kick drums and bass guitars have a satisfying punch and rumble that you can really feel.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review Sound

Vocals come through clearly thanks to the slightly forward midrange tuning. Lead instruments sit nicely upfront in the mix while still leaving space for supporting elements.

The highs are crisp and detailed, presenting a good amount of clarity and air. Hi-hats, cymbals and other upper-register elements are reproduced cleanly without any noticeable harshness or brittleness.

The soundstage is respectably wide for earbuds in this price range. Instruments are well-separated and you get a real sense of space and positioning.

Huawei allows you to adjust the EQ to your preferences in the AI Life app. Even without any tweaking though, the default tuning is very pleasing to my ears. These earbuds work well for any music genre but excel with pop, rock, hip-hop and electronic tracks.

Active Noise Cancellation

  • Very effective ANC significantly reduces background noise
  • Three ANC modes: Cozy, General, Ultra
  • ANC doesn’t negatively impact audio quality
  • Awareness mode is convenient for hearing surroundings

One of the biggest selling points of the FreeBuds 6i is the active noise cancellation, and it does not disappoint. The ANC on these earbuds is seriously impressive, especially considering the price.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review

With ANC turned on, a significant amount of low-end frequencies like plane/train engine rumble and air conditioner hum are dramatically reduced. Even in loud environments, the ANC keeps things peacefully quiet so you can focus on your tunes.

There are three levels of noise cancellation to choose from:

  • Cozy: a low level of ANC for reducing mild ambient sound
  • General: a medium level that works well for most noise environments
  • Ultra: the maximum ANC that’s great for very loud settings like airplanes

Importantly, the noise cancellation doesn’t seem to negatively affect audio quality, which can sometimes be an issue with lower-priced ANC earbuds.

You also get an transparency/awareness mode that uses the mics to pipe in outside sound. This is super handy when you need to briefly hear your surroundings or talk to someone without removing the earbuds.

Battery Life

  • 7.5 hours of playtime with ANC off (5.5 hours with ANC on)
  • Charging case holds 18 additional hours
  • Can quick charge earbuds for 2 hours of use in 15 minutes
  • Wireless and USB-C charging for case

Battery life is decent but not class-leading. You get around 5.5 hours of listening time with ANC enabled, which extends to 7.5 hours with ANC off. The charging case packs an additional 18 hours of juice.

These endurance stats put the FreeBuds 6i solidly in average territory for battery life. It’s enough to get you through a full workday of use in most cases, but some competitors are squeezing out a bit more playtime.

On the plus side, you can fast charge the earbuds in the case – 15 minutes of charging provides 2 hours of listening. The case itself can be recharged either wirelessly or with USB-C which is convenient.

Microphone & Call Quality

  • Microphone quality is very good overall
  • Picks up voice clearly and naturally
  • Built-in AI noise reduction for calls is effective
  • Slight room echo but totally usable for voice/video chats

For taking calls, the FreeBuds 6i are perfectly serviceable. The built-in microphones do an admirable job of picking up your voice clearly without sounding too distant or robotic.

In indoor settings, there is a slight room echo that’s apparent to the caller on the other end. But speech still comes through totally intelligible. The integrated wind noise reduction also does a respectable job of keeping outdoor whooshing sounds to a minimum.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review

In quiet environments, people I called reported that my voice sounded full and natural. Using the FreeBuds 6i for Zoom meetings and phone conversations posed no major issues. For critical business calls I’d probably opt for my dedicated headset, but for personal chats these perform very capably.

Connectivity & App

  • Earbuds use Bluetooth 5.3 for solid wireless connection
  • Dual device connectivity is smooth and stable
  • AI Life app for customizing controls and EQ settings
  • Wear detection to auto pause music when removing a bud

Connectivity on the FreeBuds 6i is rock solid thanks to Bluetooth 5.3. I didn’t experience any dropouts or stutters within normal wireless range.

A neat bonus feature – you can pair the earbuds with two devices simultaneously and seamlessly switch between them. This worked flawlessly for me when using the buds with my phone and laptop.

The companion AI Life app, available for Android and iOS, provides some handy customization options. You can reassign the touch gesture controls and play with different EQ presets. Everything synced quickly and reliably between the app and earbuds.

You also get convenient auto wear detection – audio pauses when you remove a bud and resumes when you put it back in. No more fumbling for pause when someone starts talking to you.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i Review: Final Thoughts

The Huawei FreeBuds 6i offer a solid improvement over the 5i, especially in sound quality and noise cancellation. They maintain a sleek design and provide a comfortable fit, making them suitable for daily use and workouts.

However, they do have a few areas where they could improve, such as battery life and wireless charging.

At around $100, the FreeBuds 6i are a great option if you’re looking for reliable, good-sounding earbuds with effective noise cancellation.

They might not be perfect, but they offer excellent value for their price. If you’re interested, you can find them on sale now.

Also see my other reviews:

Realme Buds Air 6 Review

Anker Soundcore Life A3i Review

Baseus Bowie Ma10 Pro Review

Huawei FreeBuds SE 2 Review

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