Xiaomi has recently launched two of its Truly Wireless Earphones in India namely Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and Redmi Earbuds S. While the TWS offering from Mi was released at 4,500 INR, the Earbuds S from its sub-brand was released to prove that it is possible to release good truly wireless earphones at under 2,000 INR. This is a very competitive price point considering that companies like p-Tron, Noise, Portronics, Ant, and etc are already selling their devices for almost a year now. Recently, we got our hands on the Redmi Earbuds S and these pair of TWS earphones have undergone the True-Tech Review Treatment.
Redmi Earbuds S Unboxing
The Redmi Earbuds S comes in an orange-colored box like most of the Redmi products. Inside the box, we get to see a case, two wireless earbuds, two sets of extra ear tips for different ear sizes, and a quick start guide. Although there is a space assigned for a USB cable inside the box that these earbuds come in, Redmi did not pack in a cable. This possibly could be a cost-cutting move by the company. The earbuds are packed inside the case. Talking about the case, it is very tiny and made out of plastic. Although the case looks sturdy, it is recommended to handle it carefully as the pocket level drops can also damage it.
As for the placements, on the top, we can see the Redmi branding, and the Micro USB port for charging is found on the back. The regulatory information and other details are mentioned at the bottom of the case. The earbuds are placed in their respective slots inside the case, and as soon as you unbox you can see the red stickers on the charge points. These stickers are supposed to be removed as these are only placed so that the earbuds will not drain out the entire juice of the case. The earbuds will be attached tightly to the case by the means of magnets and will supposedly not fall off even when the case is held upside-down. Like most of the TWS cases, you cannot open the lid of the case using a single hand. Moreover, the lid does not have the magnets, which make the case’s mechanism more of a pencil box kind.
Build, Design & Usage
The Earbuds S are built very differently from other offerings. The good thing here is that they do not look like the Apple Airpods. We all know that most of the TWS offerings from various companies including the Mi Wireless Earphones 2 look similar to Airpods. Luckily, Redmi has opted for a pill-shaped design which does not have any extras like the stem or the hooks found on the other TWS earbuds. This makes the Redmi Earbuds S a complete in-ear wireless earbuds proving Redmi’s #NoStringsAttached marketing true.
The earbuds as you would expect are very light and only weigh about two grams each. The form factor as mentioned earlier is unique as it comes with the pill-shaped design. In our testing, they seemed very comfortable in the ears and they did not hurt even when used for extended hours. The extra ear tips which come bundled with the earbuds can be swapped effortlessly. As for the build, these are well made with good plastics and soft silicone tips. The Redmi Earbuds S are IPX4 certified which makes them splash-proof. Both the earbuds pair with each other and will get connected to your devices fastly. Once paired with your phone, they get connected automatically as soon as you remove the earbuds from the box.
There is a button present on both earbuds which you can use to play and pause the music, receive and end the call, trigger Google Assistant, activate game mode, and etc. Although the buttons are functions are good, it would have been good if they have gone a touch sensor-based buttons. We sometimes have also noticed that pressing button simultaneously for certain actions, it kind of hurts the ear. Although that is not the case with everyone, it is worth stating that.
One more annoying thing that we have observed is that, despite having two buttons, there is no implementation here to forward/skip the tracks, and mainly there is no implementation for volume controls here. When connected with the phone volume controls is no big deal as you can trigger and as Google Assitant or Siri to do that or you can use the volume rockers. But when connected to other devices this is a major problem.
For instance, I have connected the Redmi Earbuds with my Galaxy Watch and went for a jog. Every time I have to change the music, or increase/decrease volume, I will have to stop my workout and change it on the watch. If you are a smartwatch user you will know how hard it is to control the music and volumes on the small screens while working out! So, if you are planning to connect and use the Redmi Earbuds S with any gadget other than a smartphone, then make sure you are okay with a bit of extra work.
The working mechanism here is straight forward. Like the Airdots and other TWS offerings from the company, the second earbud need not be connected manually. Once they are removed from the case, they connect to each other quickly. And my favorite implementation here is that once it is paired to a certain device, they directly get connected to that device once removed from the case. In our testing, we have also observed that the second earbud sometimes takes a bit of time than usual to get connected to the other. Also, the major let down here is that the Redmi Earpods S will only get connected to one device at a time.
Redmi Earbuds Sound & Call Quality
Now that we have discussed design, usage, and etc, let us talk about the elephant of the show here. Well, the Redmi Earbuds S use a 7.2mm audio driver which is larger when compared to other TWS earbuds which cost more than 15,000 INR. But the earbuds only support the most basic SBC audio codec for transmission. Although at this price AptX is never seen, it is not too much to ask from Redmi, I insist. Xiaomi has mentioned that they have tweaked the experience for the Indian-user liking, but we already know that this is just a rebranded version of Mi Airdots S which is already released in China last year.
Talking about the sound quality, I have mixed feelings here. Coming from the Bose QC 35’s, obviously, I did not quite like the audio distributions here. When playing music, the first thing I noticed here is that Earbuds S, just like most of the budget offerings incline much towards the bass. The bass here is not head breaking or hard thumping, it is just a noticeable bass. If you are into rock, hip-hop, EDM, and DJ’s you will definitely like the implementation here. But, if you are a soft tune, vocal, mild guitar lover, then you will feel not like using these pair of earbuds.
It is worth mentioning that there is a noticeable distortion in audio when ranged the volume of more than 80%. That is expected from TWS earphones that are priced this agressively. To be honest, at this price, we do not know what to expect as the existing ones are not from popular brands. On a positive note, on the scale of review, I could rate the Redmi Earbuds S somewhere between medium to high. As for the calls, I kind of liked what I hear. The call reception here is good too without any drops or breaks. The internal mic will definitely help in passive noise cancellation to a certain extent considering the in-ear design. But, the person on the other side can definitely hear background sounds if the call is taken in windy areas, noisy places, and etc.
As for the low latency mode which the company is puffing about, it works, I could say. Xiaomi marketed and claimed the latency of 122ms which comes really close to that of Apple Airpods 2 Pro which is ten times much priced than Redmi Earbuds S. Although, we were not able to compare this with Airpods 2 Pro while playing PUBG, we have noticed the difference when turned on the low latency mode. So, this means, the feature works as the company advertised which is a great thing as the much pricy TWS earphones or most of the Wireless Headphones doesn’t have this feature. But as one would expect, the low latency mode consumed more juice than normal mode.
Battery Life & Verdict
Xiaomi claims 4 hours of earbuds battery and 12 hours of overall battery including the case and in our review, the numbers turned out to be correct. The Redmi Earbuds S got me through 3 hours and 53 minutes on a single charge when the volume set to constant 80%. That is not at all bad when compared to other TWS earphones in the market. With low latency mode, I have played PUBG for around three hours. I did not really test the battery life with a constant 100% of volume here as a few titles sound terrible here. Although, I tried listening to music at full volume, but ended up reducing the sound to 85-90% at the highest. The charge time here is 2 hours 13 minutes, with earbuds kept inside the case. With the case, it almost took 1 hour 19 minutes to charge the earbuds.
As for our verdict, as mentioned earlier, we really do not know what to expect as there are no TWS earphones from major brands around this price point. The nearest competitor for Redmi Earbuds S is Realme Buds Air Neo which is also recently announced and is priced at 2,999 INR. The price variance here is more than a thousand bucks. I would definitely recommend Redmi Earbuds S if you are planning to switch from any wired or wireless earphone world to the world of TWS. These headphones offer a unique design without ripping off Apple Airpods, also are light and easy to carry and especially will offer you some high-end features like low latency mode and IPX4 splash resistant.
- Light in weight and unique design.
- Low latency mode for gamers
- IPX4 Splash Resistance
- Aggressive Pricing
- Decent Battery Life
- Plastic and low-quality casing
- No implementation to change music and increase/decrease volume
- Distortion at higher volumes
- Did not include Micro-USB cable inside the box
- No application support
Our Overall Rating: 6.0/10.0