Huawei Freebuds 3 vs. Freebuds 3i: What’s the Difference?

Mobile Accessories

Many often follow the battle of Galaxy Buds vs. AirPods when it comes to wireless earbuds. But entering the game with its own robust set of earbuds, Huawei might just have a shot at changing the game. Huawei first introduced the Huawei Freebuds 3 in 2019 and the Freebuds 3i in early 2020, and many users love both products. But what exactly is the difference between the two models?

In this article, we’ll be looking at the similarities and differences between the Huawei Freebuds 3 and Freebuds 3i, which will hopefully help you decide which one to buy.


Huawei Freebuds 3 vs Freebuds 3i: Differences and Similarities

To give you an idea of what to expect from the Huawei Freebuds 3 and the Freebuds 3i, we’ve rounded up some of the features that you should look out for when purchasing earbuds. Along with the comparison, we’ll also be giving you insights which of the two earbuds models is to come on top before the other. For brevity, we will be looking into the Freebuds 3 and Freebuds 3i’s pricing, form factor, power capacity, connectivity, and more importantly the audio quality.

So buckle in as we move on with the greatest battle between Huawei’s true wireless earbuds!


Huawei Freebuds 3

The Huawei Freebuds 3 are true wireless earbuds that take noise cancellation to the next level without having to sacrifice comfort for quality. Contrary to other noise-canceling earbuds, the Huawei Freebuds have an open-ear fit, which makes them sit comfortably on your ear. Fitted with a Kirin A1 chipset, the Freebuds 3 supports stable connections, an intelligent transmission system, and studio-quality sound for the best listening experiences. 

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Huawei Freebuds 3i

The Huawei Freebuds 3i offers a thorough noise cancellation system that effectively counters ambient sounds. Despite its size, the Freebuds 3i delivers powerful and balanced audio that brings sound quality to its highest level. The Freebuds 3i creates a listening atmosphere that makes sound clear and uninterrupted for the best listening and talking experience.

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1. Pricing

Both models are regarded as AirPod equivalents but for Android phones. The Huawei Freebuds 3 and the Freebuds 3i are your best bets for true wireless earbuds that provide AirPod-quality sound.

As far as pricing goes, the Huawei Freebuds 3 is priced at $159.99 on Amazon. On the other hand, the Freebuds 3i is priced at around $120.

Despite this price difference, there are a lot of similarities between the two models. If you’re looking for a great pair of true wireless earbuds for Android with great premium features, you might want to opt for the Freebuds 3. However, the Freebuds 3i offers almost the same features but with a more affordable price and better noise cancellation technology.

That said, both earphones are great models. If you’re looking for more premium features, the Freebuds 3 is the way to go, but if you’re looking for something more affordable, opt for the Freebuds 3i.


2. Sound Quality

A man wearing earbuds
Photo by Huawei

From the get-go, it’s evident that Freebuds 3i’s noise cancellation is far more superior than that of the Freebuds 3. The Freebuds 3i features active noise canceling that provides a better listening experience even if you’re out and about. Additionally, with its snug fit, you’re guaranteed to have less ambient sound so you can listen to your music or talk to your loved ones uninterrupted.

In all, the Freebuds 3i delivers more authentic and balanced audio. It is further enhanced by a powerful bass that will provide you with the best listening experience.

But don’t discount the Freebuds 3’s sound quality just yet. Despite not having the same active noise cancellation as the Freebuds 3i, there’s still a lot to look forward to with Huawei Freebuds 3.

With the Freebuds 3, you get studio-quality sound delivered by its high-precision driver. With this, you’ll not only get the sound quality that’s close to the original, but you’ll also get better sound. Further, the bass on this model is louder and tighter, which ultimately gives you a feel of being inside a studio as you listen to the music.


3. Form Factor

The earbuds of the Huawei Freebuds 3 and Freebuds 3i look very similar to each other. However, there are minimal differences that ultimately affect the user’s experience of the earbuds.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 sports an open-earbud design that, while still provides noise-cancellation, still allows external noise to pass through them, which ultimately degrades the device’s sound quality. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, many will always prefer an earbud that provides full noise cancellation.

Meanwhile, the Freebuds 3i have distinct nozzles that provide a more stable fit and provides better audio quality. The earbuds are made for style and to ensure a secure fit that will ultimately provide better sound quality.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 and Freebuds 3i support convenient and accurate tapping controls that provide secure and seamless control. With these functions, both models can quickly become in sync with your every move.

Both earphones are comfortable to wear and provide unique listening experiences; however, if you’re looking for earbuds with better noise-cancellation, you might want to consider the Freebuds 3i instead of the Freebuds 3.

When it comes to their charging cases, Freebuds 3’s example is relatively larger than the compact casing of Freebuds 3i. However, both are still easy to carry around and won’t add a lot of weight to your bag or your pocket.


4. Battery Capacity and Charging

wireless charging freebuds 3
© Photo by Huawei

Battery life is the main difference between the Huawei Freebuds 3 and the Freebuds 3i. The same goes for their charging options.

Freebuds 3 is very competitive and convenient when it comes to battery life. It lasts longer than usual earbuds and relatively charges faster than other true wireless earbuds.  The buds will last you about four hours on a single charge. If you happen to run out of battery, the earbuds charge up in just 30 minutes, which allows more listening time. In all, Freebuds 3 will give you more listening time in only one charge.

Apart from USB Type C charging, you can also wirelessly charge the Freebuds 3. You can simply lay the case on a wireless charging mat or use a Huawei smartphone to reverse charge. If you’re not entirely sure how wireless charging works, you can check out our article on Qi charging to give you a quick rundown of wireless charging.

On the other hand, the Freebuds 3i will give you up to 3.5 hours of life at a time. When charged, you can enjoy them for up to 14.5 hours. It’s a lot less than the battery life of the Freebuds 3 and is not for those who are planning to use the earbuds for an extended time. Moreover, Freebuds 3i doesn’t support wireless charging, which might make it a struggle to use, especially if you run out of battery outdoors.

In terms of battery life, it’s no doubt that Huawei Freebuds 3 takes the price for its excellent battery life and support of wireless charging.


5. Connectivity and Cross-Platform Integration

Both models can be connected to both Android and iOS devices. However, they won’t give you the best quality when you use the Freebuds with an iPhone — the same way that AirPods don’t give the best quality on Android devices.

The Huawei Freebuds 3 is equipped with Bluetooth 5.1 SoC. This makes its Bluetooth connection faster and more stable. This also allows for more accurate audio and video synchronization that provides a more immersive experience when playing games or watching videos.

On the other hand, the Freebuds 3i sports Bluetooth 5.0. While it might be of a lower version, it still provides a stable Bluetooth connection. But the experience that Freebuds 3i provides may not be as immersive as that of the Huawei Freebuds 3.

If you have a Huawei phone, you can also easily pair your earbuds to your device. Both the Freebuds 3 and the Freebuds 3i allow you instantly pair your earbuds with a Huawei phone with EMUI10 or later. Simply pop open your earbuds case, and your phone will automatically pair with your earbuds.

If you plan to get a Huawei phone to match your Freebuds, check out our article of the 15 most impressive Huawei phones that you should look into.


Huawei Freebuds 3 vs. Freebuds 3i: The Verdict

Both the Huawei Freebuds 3 and the Freebuds 3i are excellent picks if you’re looking for a pair of earbuds with a snug that is close to AirPods. Despite the few differences that they have, you’ll still be getting excellent sound quality off of them.

With changes mostly focused on its battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, and noise cancellation technology, you won’t miss a lot if you opt to buy one over the other. They are necessarily the same thing. But their differences would have to depend on how you intend to use them for and what you need.

If you’re looking for earbuds that have premium Bluetooth functions and wireless charging, consider getting the Freebuds 3. But if you’re looking to get an affordable pair of earbuds with powerful noise cancellation, you might want to get the Freebuds 3i.

If the Huawei Freebuds 3 or Freebuds 3i are not ones for you, here’s our list of best true wireless earbuds to help you out.