Huawei Freebuds 5i review: is it the best budget earbuds for Huawei phone owner!

Review of the Huawei Freebuds 5i after 2 months of use. Huawei Freebuds is latest pair of noise-cancelling earbuds and share a lot in common with their stablemates the FreeBuds pro 2



December 6, 2023

Table of contents


Hi, In this fast blog i will talk about my review with Huawei Freebuds 5i, which is the first noise-cancelling earbuds i have tried. This is not an ad or even affiliate product, it’s my own review for fun and just seeking of knowledge. freebuds

Who am i !

  • I am Kareem, a college student interested in machine learning and web technology.
  • I enjoy working deeply and seeking out quiet places, but I live in an area with some noisy disturbances in the mornings - people walking down the street, kids playing around the house, street vendors - which often interrupt my focus and break my state of flow.
  • I wish there was a solution to block out all these sounds so I could live in an isolated place free of annoying noises! Using noise-cancelling headphones or heading into outer space would be ideal environments with no bothersome sounds around.

how i bought it

  • I bought it from amazon prime, and it cost me around 100$ or 3,200 pounds. It reached within two days.

First impressions

  • Upon unboxing and using it for the first time, I was genuinely pleased with the initial track I played.
  • The sound quality was noticeably superior compared to my phone or any other earbuds I’ve previously used. I then tested the noise-cancelling feature and was amazed when I couldn’t hear my younger brother calling me.
  • The street noises were effectively blocked out, with only a faint hum reaching my ears, which was quite tolerable. Initially, the earbud tips were a bit uncomfortable, but after switching to a smaller size, the discomfort was resolved. Everything seemed perfect, except for a slight pressure in my ears when using the noise-cancelling feature, particularly noticeable the following morning. Despite this, my ears seem to crave the earbuds and my skin seems to miss them when they’re not in use. This can be a bit of a downside, but it’s not always the case.

Is noise cancelling actually work ?

I’ve used these earbuds in various settings:

  1. Subway: The noise-cancelling feature combined with my music created an immersive experience, effectively blocking out any other sounds and allowing me to enjoy my tunes in peace.

  2. College: Amidst the chatter and shouts of other students, I was able to retreat into my own world of sound.

  3. Bus: The noise of the bus engine was successfully blocked out, but I could still hear the conversations of those sitting next to me. It wasn’t overly bothersome, but it didn’t provide complete isolation.

In summary, the noise-cancelling feature works well, but it doesn’t provide absolute silence. I can still hear some ambient sounds. One noticeable issue is that when I make calls using the earbuds, I can hear the other person clearly, but they often complain about the clarity of my voice. They say it sounds distant and unclear, sometimes even asking to call back later. This issue is particularly prevalent when I’m on the bus.

the modes of the Freebuds and

Here is a rephrased version of the key points about the Huawei Freebuds 5i’s features:

Noise Cancellation Modes:

  1. Noise Cancelling Mode: Actively cancels out ambient noise. Uses more battery power.

  2. Off Mode: No active noise cancellation, but still provides some passive noise isolation. Less battery usage.

  3. Awareness Mode: Allows ambient sounds to be heard clearly. Useful for hearing announcements at the gym or people talking to you. However, my own voice sounds muted in this mode, so I have to remove the earbuds temporarily to hold conversations.

Sound Quality Presets:

  1. Default: No sound enhancements applied.

  2. Treble Boost: Boosts treble frequencies. I haven’t used this.

  3. Bass Boost: Emphasizes bass when listening to music like hip-hop.

  4. Voices: Optimizes sound for speech clarity. I use this for podcasts.

Connection Priority Modes:

  1. Balance Mode: Balances audio quality and connection stability.

  2. Sound Quality Priority: Prioritizes sound quality over connectivity. Uses more power which may cause occasional lag.

I have not noticed any discernible difference between these two modes, so I just use the Balance mode.

The Gestures

The Huawei Freebuds 5i offer various gesture controls:

  • Double-tap, Triple-tap, Press & hold, Swipe

I particularly enjoy the swipe gesture for volume control, as it works smoothly. The press and hold gesture is a bit slow, and the triple-tap gesture can be annoying since tapping your ear three times isn’t very comfortable.

Occasionally, the Freebuds don’t recognize when I’ve inserted the left or right earbud, and I continue listening with just one earbud without realizing the other isn’t connected. This doesn’t happen often, though.

The compatibility with other devices

  • I love how it connect with both the phone and tablet without any problems or conflict
  • I’ve been using the Freebuds with my Realme phone, MSI Linux laptop, and Huawei Mate Pad 11.
  • The connection with the Realme phone is seamless, regardless of whether the AI Life application is used or not.
  • When it comes to the Huawei Mate Pad 11, there’s a feature that allows you to adjust settings directly from the Bluetooth menu. This is a functionality that isn’t available on standard Android devices without the AI Life app.

Linux connection

I’ve connected the Freebuds to my Linux laptop using the ‘bluetoothctl’ command. However, I’ve encountered an issue where I need to restart Bluetooth each time I want to establish a connection for it to work properly

The case and overall design

  • The design of the Freebuds is truly appealing. It has a unique aesthetic that sets it apart from other earbuds, giving it a premium feel.
  • In terms of design, the FreeBuds 5i bear a resemblance to the 4i model, but they are 11% lighter and have shorter stems. They come with an IP54 rating, making them dust-tight and splash-resistant. The color options include a new “Isle Blue”, along with “Nebula Black” and “Ceramic White”. The package includes small, medium, and large silicone eartips, as well as a short USB-C cable for charging the case.
  • I love the sound of closing it, it’s a loud sound but lovely :)

The battery

  • The battery is really nice; I haven’t felt that I am missing the need to recharge it or that it has gone off at any time.

Battery capacity

  • Per earbud: 55 mAh (min)*
  • Charging case: 410 mAh (min)*


  • Music playback on 1 charge: 6.0 hours (with ANC enabled)**
  • Music playback on 1 charge: 7.5 hours (with ANC disabled)**
  • Music playback with charging case: 18.5 hours (with ANC enabled)**
  • Music playback with charging case: 28 hours (with ANC disabled)**

Charging Time

  • About 60 minutes for the earbuds (in the charging case)***
  • About 110 for charging case without earbuds (wired)***