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Home / Hot Stuff / Audio / Huawei Freebuds 5i bring affordable ANC and Hi-res audio

Huawei Freebuds 5i bring affordable ANC and Hi-res audio

Wallet-friendly true wireless in-ears promise better battery life and superior sound

Huawei FreeBuds 5i hot stuff

Huawei is targeting cable-averse audiophiles on a budget with its latest set of true wireless in-ears. The Huawei FreeBuds 5i are set to land in the UK and Europe from early January at £90, yet they still pack active noise cancellation and LDAC Bluetooth support for hi-res listening.

The FreeBuds 5i are lighter than the outgoing FreeBuds 4i, but should still manage ten hours of listening between trips to the charging case – which is also slimmer and lighter than before. The flip-open lid has been reinforced this time around, so it won’t fling open accidentally and send the buds flying, and comes in a trio of pebble-inspired colours: Ceramic White, Isle Blue and Nebula black.

It should add a further 18 hours of listening before it’ll need topping up over USB-C. As a value-minded pair of in-ears, we can understand the lack of wireless charging.

A 10mm dynamic driver lurks inside each bud, with an all-new polymer composite diaphragm promising an impressive frequency range that tops out at 40kHz. Adaptive sonic optimisation, multiple EQ presets and an ear fit test using Huawei’s AI Life companion app should guarantee you’re getting the best possible sound. Huawei phone owners will be able to use a low-latency mode for getting their game on, while everyone should be able to use the dual-device connection mode to swap between gadgets without needing to repair each time.

Huawei FreeBuds 5i Blue in case

Active noise cancelling uses an interior/exterior microphone combo to strip out as much as 42dB of outside sound, with a trio of customisable strength settings to match your environment. It can be cranked up while travelling on public transport, then lowered when you reach somewhere quieter.

Touch controls have been improved from last year’s effort with a new swipe gesture to adjust volume on the fly. It’ll still let you play/pause with a tap, and activate ANC or answer incoming calls with a tap and hold. The buds are also IP54 certified, so should cope with a trip to the gym or getting caught in a brief rain shower.

It’s great to see Huawei go for the more widely-supported LDAC Bluetooth codec, rather than the LHDC one found in its top-tier smartphones. If you’re after some new in-ears, the FreeBuds 5i can be had from the Huawei online store from the 16th of January, with prices starting at £90 / €99. Pre-orders start from the 9th, and they’ll appear on Amazon and at other retailers from early February.

Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming