Huawei FreeBuds 4i vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Live vs Apple AirPods Pro Comparison Review
Every year, big established brands such as Apple, Huawei, and Samsung, update their wireless earbuds series with improved design and features that would make you look twice and even consider upgrading.
Then again, sometimes the updates aren’t completely convincing enough to make a shift, but after using Huawei’s newly released FreeBuds 4i, we must admit that it’s a game-changer due to its affordable price of PHP 3,599. This then makes us wonder if it can still level up with Apple and Samsung’s bestsellers, the Airpods Pro and the Galaxy Buds Live that costs double and even triple for the Airpods Pro’s case. Continue reading as we compare the Huawei FreeBuds 4i, Apple AirPods Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live.
|Huawei FreeBuds 4i||Samsung Galaxy Buds Live||Apple AirPods Pro|
|10mm dynamic driver||BCM 43015||Apple H1 chip|
|Bluetooth 5.2||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Active noise cancellation, Awareness mode, Call noise cancellation||Active noise cancellation, Bixby voice wake-up||Active noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, announced messages with Siri|
|-||Wireless Charging Case||Wireless Charging Case|
|Earbuds: 37.5 x 23.9 x 21 mm|
Charging case: 48.0 x 61.8 x 27.5 mm
|Ear Buds: 27.3 x 16.5 x 14.9 mm|
Cradle (Ear Buds): 50 x 50.2 x 27.8 mm
|AirPods: 21.8 x 30.9mm|
Charging case: 60.6 x 45.2mm
Huawei FreeBuds 4i
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i sports a stylish and lightweight pebble-like charging case that carries its stemmed earbuds, that’s slightly longer compared to the AirPods Pro. The earbuds fit in the ears comfortably and light, so lying down on them won’t be too disturbing. They also don’t fall off easily, even when running.
Its capacitive touch sensors can be found on the top part of the stems, and they can only do two specific controls. That’s tap twice to pause/play music as well as answer/end calls. Then you can long-press on it to switch between three different modes, the Active Noise Canceling, Awareness, and Off mode, which is the normal experience.
Focusing on sound quality, it’s actually astonishing for a PHP 3,599 wireless earbuds. It’s equipped with a 10mm dynamic driver complimented with a high-grade PEEK+PU polymer diaphragm for better sound output. And for all modes, it produces a well-rounded sound with crisp and clear details, plus you can really sense some depth in it. Moreover, its Active Noise Cancellation perceives high-quality ANC that can compete with the AirPods Pro considering its price point.
The Awareness mode, on the other hand, is built to amplify your background noise so you can still be aware of your surroundings. As for the default Off mode, you can expect such normal impressive quality.
The Huawei FreeBuds 4i packs a dual-mic system that surprisingly picks up the clear voice with lesser external noise thanks to its call noise reduction. If you want to fully explore its potential, then I recommend that you download Huawei’s AI Life app, and this will give you more control over battery monitoring, touch sensor shortcuts, noise controls for the ANC, Awareness, and OFF mode. With the Huawei AI Life app, you can also access updates for the FreeBuds 4i.
Battery-wise, despite not having a wireless charging capability, it can last you up to 10 hours with the noise-canceling mode turned off and 7.5 hours with ANC turned on—that’s truly impressive!
Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
Right off the bat, the Galaxy Buds Live stands out with its unique bean-shaped form factor that looks seamless to wear as it doesn’t have some stems dangling from your ears. It’s an innovative design that we like, but it’s not the best fit for all ears—some may find it irritating, while others experience a very comfortable fit. So we suggest trying it out when you can first in physical stores before buying. Similar to the AirPods Pro, it also has an IPX2 water and sweat resistance.
To control Buds Live, simply tap once on its capacitive touch panels to pause or play music, double-tap to skip songs or answer calls, and long press to activate the Active Noise Cancellation. You can even customize the control’s call-to-action with its Galaxy Wearable app. The touch sensors are sensitive enough, and due to its unique ergonomics, it’s not much prone to accidental touches.
The Buds Live is also equipped with inward-facing IR sensors to auto-detect when the earbuds are in and out of your ears for auto-pause functionality.
Quality-wise, the Buds Live provides a well-rounded sound with deeper bass compared to the AirPods Pro and FreeBuds 4i. However, its Active Noise Cancellation isn’t really the best, providing a subtle effect when turned on.
It is nonetheless clearer to use for calls compared to the AirPods Pro, thanks to its triple microphone array with bone conduction. As for the battery, it can last you up to 8 hours without the ANC turned on, and you can easily charge it via a USB Type-C cable or through wireless charging.
Apple AirPods Pro
With the slimmest case among the three, the AirPods Pro needs no introduction with its minimal trendsetting design. Its in-ear buds have a modern angled stem style that makes it easy to fit in the ears, as well as back and forth to its case. I had no issues with its ear fit as they’re comfortable and light.
It’s sealed with IPX4 water and sweat-resistant rating, and it’s easy to pair as long as you’re an iPhone user. Android users can use it as well, but with some restrictions.
Of course, it features Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and Transparency mode that are both of high quality. And undeniably, its noise-canceling works very well most of the time.
With capacitive force sensors, you can control it by lightly squeezing the stems once to pause or play media, twice to fast-forward, thrice for rewind, and long hold to switch between ANC, Transparency, and Off mode, which is the default settings.
Additionally, it features wear detection and a dual-mic system that allows for both internal and external sound analysis. This works very well in picking up a clear main voice for calls; however, it can struggle when you leave the ANC turned on.
When it comes to battery life, the AirPods Pro can last up to 4-5 hours on a single charge, and you can charge it via a lightning cable or through wireless charging.
These three premium TWS sure have their own pros and cons. Design-wise, the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Live stand out with Apple’s minimal aesthetic and Samsung’s elegant unique style. Plus, both are water and sweat-resistant.
But when it comes to sound quality, the Apple AirPods Pro has an edge with some extra points for its very good ANC. At the same time, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i also excels in this category, especially that you don’t normally find a TWS within Php3000 that has such flagship-grade Active Noise Cancellation and Awareness sound modes.
Notably, for touch controls, we prefer the AirPods Pro more as it’s less prone to accidental touches. But as far as call quality is concerned, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i and Samsung Galaxy Buds Live gave a clearer and better performance in our experience.
For battery life, hands down, the Huawei FreeBuds 4i is an absolute winner as it can last us 2-3 days of constant use, even with the ANC turned on.
All in all, your decision-making will still most likely fall on their respective price tags. So the AirPods Pro has an SRP of PHP 14,990, but since it was released in 2019, it can now be copped at around PHP 11-13,000. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, on the other hand, retails for PHP 7,990. While the Huawei FreeBuds 4i is the only TWS worth PHP 3,599 that has ANC and good sound quality.
All three TWS are compatible with Android and iOS devices, with their own homecourt ecosystem advantages, of course. However, if you have the budget and strictly prefer to get such flagship features, then do check out the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds Live.
However, savvily speaking, we’d go for the Huawei FreeBuds 4i since that’s a large price gap, yet you still get an impressive sound reproduction, high-quality features, and reliable long battery life. The FreeBuds 4i is definitely an outstanding bang-for-your-buck TWS that you can get today.