Technophile

Lend ‘Mi’ your ears

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on June 12, 2020

Two new earphones from Xiaomi -- Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and Redmi Earbuds S -- offer quality listening experience at affordable price tags.

Covid-19 has forced everyone indoors, and studies and reports tell us that social distancing protocols have prompted people to become more private than they ever were. Almost everyone is withdrawn to the small squares inside their homes, with phones, laptops and earphones at hand. Sounds like an ideal time to introduce a pair of earphones and headphones? Well, Xiaomi thinks so, and just recently the Chinese gadget giant rolled out two exiting audio products in India -- the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and the Redmi Earbuds S, marking its entry toaudio product’s market in the country.

Mi True Wireless Earphones 2

Priced ₹4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 look just like the Apple Airpods, which would cost you more than ₹14,000 apiece, and weighs only about 50 grams. The earphones look elegant and stylish and the creamy-white texture is quite appealing. The earphones have an ergonomic slip-proof design; it is pretty easy to fix them in the ear. If you are not very familiar with this kind of design, you may take a little while to get used to wearing it, but once that’s accomplished, you’re set forever.

 

The earphones sit inside the ear with a fair amount of stability and won’t fall off easily. You can shake your head without much worry and can jog, do yoga or do other types of exercises wearing these earphones and not worry about them coming off your ears. That said, I felt the earphones could not maintain enough stability of seating while running on a treadmill, at a decent speed, of course.

It is pretty easy to remove the earphones from the casket and pair them with the audio source (smartphone, PC or TV). The power button is placed on the right side of the neat-and-compact charging case,f and it can be turned on with a soft-press. You can’t twist or turn the earphones in-ear beyond a point like you do with other wired earphones. But the earbuds can even turn 90 degrees upward and, still, the experience is not impacted much. The earphones pause automatically when you remove them from the ears.

 

Clearly, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is designed for music buffs. The audio is immersive thanks to the 14.2mm dynamic drivers (Xiaomi claims this is bigger than the ones in the Apple Airpods). The earphones deliver an audio performance that is way beyond value-for-money. Audio is rendered without blemishes, and the device negotiates mids and lows effortless. It struggles a bit with extreme highs (play Andrea Bocelli high-volume, and you’ll get the drift), but overall the delivery is smooth and soothing.

The earphones feature what Xiaomi calls the Environment Noise Cancellation (ENC) capabilities that help enhance call quality. But our experience shows this is a work-in-progress department. Outgoing call-audio is still not clear enough, and there could be pauses and cuts. But this is an ideal partner for webinars, video calls where you don’t have to do much talking. The device tackles 4K streaming audio with impressive dexterity, and the experience is just superb. The Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 support the new audio technology of LHDC (Low latency and High-Definition audio Codec), SBC or low-complexity subband codec and the popular Advanced Audio Coding or AAC codecs.

The bluetooth connectivity, without obstacles, can be around 5-6 metres. The casket has a Type-C charging port and carries a 250mAh battery, while the earphones have a 30mAh battery in each. Xiaomi claims the bundled case allows 14 hours of playback in a single charge and four hours of listening time otherwise. Our experience shows more than three hours of listening time and a single charge can easily offer more than 10 hours of playback time, which is a good deal given the price.

For the money, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 sports nearly everything one could ask for in a pair of headphones. There is comfort; the audio quality is reasonably impressive, and the battery life is good enough. The additional features, such as the support for virtual assistants, are a bonus. So can it be the Airpod alternative? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. Paisa-vasool-ness? Yes.

Pros: Elegant design, lightweight, impressive audio, affordable price

Cons: Can slip off while running

The Redmi Earbuds S

Costing ₹1,799, the Redmi Earbuds S dutifully sticks to Xiaomi’s pricing legacy and promises to be one of the best true wireless earphones in the market today. For the price, the earphones pack a bunch of features. It has a sleek design, claims 12 hours of playback, IPX4 sweat splashproof rating, it works with voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, has a multi-functional button, and features a low-latency gaming mode.

The Redmi Earbuds S is a pair of cute, tiny pods. They come in a compact and small pod-like case with a charging port. Removing the earphones out of the case is a little tricky, and if you are not careful, they can slip off and fall. The earphones are extremely light, weighing a little over four grams, and are so easy to carry around.

 

The pod-like form factor of the Redmi Earbuds S makes it very easy to wear; the in-ear earphones go into the ear without any hassles, and with a little twist upwards they can be fixed firmly inside the ear. In comparison with the Mi Truwireless Earphones 2, the Redmi Earphones S stay inside the ear more tightly, and you can do most activities, from jogging to treadmill runs to yoga to regular walking, without fearing them slipping off the ears.

Given the price, the Redmi Earbuds S offers decent audio performance. High-definition audio is rendered clearly, but the earphones are not good at handling low-quality audio; it doesn’t enhance the output. But the earphones have a tremendous noise-cancelling capability; the earphones disconnect you from the rest of the world and offer an immersive and extremely private audio experience.

The Redmi Earbuds S is arguably one of the best earphones meant for calling. It gives you a near-wired experience when it comes to call-audio, and the mics cut out ambient noise and send clear audio to the device. That said, if you want to record an interview or a chat, using the earphones, the quality does not seem to be very impressive. For that purpose, you’d better use the smartphone’s built-in microphone.

 

The low-latency faculty of the Redmi Earbuds S is a great plus given the price. This will help games immensely as it reduces delay in receiving sound from the source (smartphone) during gaming. Most low-priced earphones suffer from this malady, and this feature alone can make the Redmi Earbuds a good buy.

The Redmi Earbuds S claims to have a 12-hour playback time in a single charge. Easily, the battery lasts for a full day if you have been using the earphones for calls, conferences, streaming and some gaming.

Pros: Extremely lightweight, affordable price, good design, fits in-ear firmly, decent audio

Cons: Difficult to place in and remove from the casket, no app support, no quality enhancement while playing poor audio

Published on June 12, 2020

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