True wireless in-ear headphones Review: Huawei FreeBuds Lite vs. Xiaomi Mi AirDots Pro

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Both earbuds charge via a charging case. Neither case can be charged wirelessly, but at least Huawei has donated a USB Type-C port to its charging case. Unfathomably, Xiaomi has opted for micro USB instead.

Huawei and Xiaomi also both utilise Bluetooth 4.2 Low-Energy (BLE 4.2), which allows their wireless earbuds to keep power consumption to a minimum. The two companies have incorporated infrared sensors too, which allows the FreeBuds Lite and Mi AirDots Pro to detect if one earbud has been removed from your ear.

Another feature of both devices is active noise cancellation (ANC), which analyses and filters out ambient noise. Likewise, both manufacturers claim their earbuds support AAC and SBC codecs, the former of which can technically stream higher quality audio than the latter. Neither device supports high-resolution codecs like aptX, aptX HD or LDAC though.

We used the Huawei P30 Pro and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 as test smartphones for this review, which both support Bluetooth streaming in AAC. However, the FreeBuds Lite automatically switch to the SBC codec, for some reason. We could not manually switch this back to AAC either. By contrast, the Mi AirDots Pro automatically connect using AAC.

Huawei has developed a FreeBuds Assistant app for Android though, which allows you to upgrade the firmware of the FreeBuds Lite. Conceivably, Huawei could subsequently roll out support for more codecs should it wish to do so. The Mi AirDots Pro do not currently have this level of functionality.

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