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Huawei FreeBuds 6i vs FreeBuds 5i: What’s the Difference?

Huawei recently released their new FreeBuds 6i wireless earbuds, the successor to last year’s popular FreeBuds 5i model. While the two models look very similar, there are some key differences under the hood.

In this article, we’ll compare the FreeBuds 6i and 5i across key areas like design, battery life, connectivity, microphones, active noise cancellation (ANC), and sound quality to help you decide if it’s worth upgrading to the newer model.

Price and Availability

Speaking of price, that’s the main thing to consider when choosing between these two earbuds.

The FreeBuds 6i launched at the same $99 price point that the 5i debuted at last year. However, with the 6i now on the market, the 5i can regularly be found on sale for around $65.

Best Deals:

Huawei FreeBuds 6i: View on AliExpress

Huawei FreeBuds 5i: View on AliExpress

Huawei FreeBuds 6i vs FreeBuds 5i: Specs Comparison

CategoryHuawei FreeBuds 6iHuawei FreeBuds 5i
Design and BuildPlastic case, USB-C, slightly larger earbuds, IP54 ratingPlastic case, USB-C, IP54 rating
Battery Life (with ANC on)5 hours (earbuds), 35 hours (with case)6 hours (earbuds), 28 hours (with case)
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, LDAC (Android), AAC (iOS)Bluetooth 5.2, LDAC (Android), AAC (iOS)
MicrophonesSlightly more indoor echo and background noiseBetter noise handling
Active Noise CancellationANC 3.0, estimated 50dB reduction, better low-frequency blockingAround 42dB reduction
Sound Quality11mm dynamic drivers, better control and fuller mids/highs10mm polymer drivers, good overall sound
Price$99Around $65 (on sale)

Design and Build

In terms of design and build quality, the FreeBuds 6i and 5i are nearly identical.

Both have plastic charging cases that are roughly the same compact size, with USB-C ports on the bottom, pairing buttons on the side, and LED indicator lights on the front.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i

The earbuds themselves are also very similar, although the 6i buds are slightly larger. Both have silicon eartips, touch controls on the stems, and an IP54 water resistance rating.

Color options are essentially the same too, with both models coming in black, white, and a purple shade.


Bluetooth and Pairing

One notable upgrade in the FreeBuds 6i is the Bluetooth version. The 6i uses Bluetooth 5.3, while the 5i uses Bluetooth 5.2. This means the 6i potentially offers better connectivity and efficiency.

Both models support LDAC, AAC, and SBC codecs, ensuring high-quality audio on compatible devices.

Application Support

Both the 6i and 5i are compatible with Huawei’s AI Life app, available on Android and iOS.

This app allows users to customize touch controls, check battery levels, update firmware, and adjust ANC settings.

However, neither model supports Google Fast Pair, limiting seamless pairing to Huawei devices.

Latency and Multipoint Connection

In terms of latency, the 6i might require a firmware update to match the performance of the 5i, particularly for gaming.

Both models support multipoint connection, allowing users to connect to two devices simultaneously.

Sound Quality

Drivers and Tuning

The FreeBuds 6i features 11 mm dynamic drivers with a four-magnet structure, whereas the 5i uses 10 mm dynamic drivers.

This means the 6i potentially delivers richer sound, especially in the mid and high frequencies.


Both models require some manual adjustment through the app to achieve the best sound quality.

The FreeBuds 6i is tuned more neutrally out of the box, which may appeal to audiophiles who prefer a balanced sound.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i vs FreeBuds 5i

In contrast, users looking for more pronounced bass may need to tweak the settings.

Battery Life

When it comes to battery life, the FreeBuds 6i does pull ahead, although the difference isn’t huge.

The 6i earbuds have the same 55mAh battery capacity as the 5i, but the charging case has a larger 510mAh battery compared to 410mAh on the 5i case.

Huawei claims the 6i can last up to 5 hours with ANC on (vs 6 hours on 5i) or 8 hours with ANC off (vs 7.5 hours on 5i). With the charging case, the 6i maxes out at 35 hours total compared to 28 hours on the 5i.

In real-world usage, the reviewer found the 5i lasted a bit longer, around 5.5 hours with ANC on, likely because the ANC is less aggressive than on the newer 6i model. Sadly, neither one offers wireless charging.

Huawei FreeBuds 6i vs FreeBuds 5i: Should You Upgrade?

So in summary, while the new FreeBuds 6i is better than the 5i in a few key areas like ANC performance and sound quality, the two models are more similar than they are different.

If you already own the FreeBuds 5i, it’s probably not worth upgrading unless you really want the absolute best noise cancelling.

But if you’re choosing between the two, the 6i is the way to go if you don’t mind paying a bit extra for small but meaningful improvements in ANC and audio.

On the other hand, if you can find the 5i for significantly less money, it remains an excellent value in the mid-range true wireless earbuds market.

You may also like to see:

Huawei FreeBuds 5i vs FreeBuds Pro 2

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Huawei FreeBuds 5 vs FreeBuds Pro 2

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