Redmi Earbuds S Review: The Budget TWS Experience
Xiaomi’s subsidiary brand Redmi has always been a major trendsetter in the budget consumer market, especially with its budget lineup of smartphones. Soon after it gained enough traction in the Indian market, Xiaomi also started bringing Redmi-branded lifestyle products, and recently high-capacity power banks with reasonably affordable price tags.
A few days ago, we saw the launch of the Redmi Earbuds S, a pair of truly wireless earbuds that is priced at just under ₹2,000. While Xiaomi also launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 a few weeks ago, it represents the premium side of Xiaomi’s offerings. On the other hand, the Redmi Earbuds S is focused on delivering decent wireless audio in a limited price range.
Speaking of wireless audio, it is a technology that is quite difficult to be implemented properly, especially when the manufacturer is working with limited R&D budget and resources. Once you cut the cords, you have to deal with both upsides and downsides. Ever since Apple nailed the TWS earbuds game with its AirPods, wireless earbuds are rapidly taking over the wired standards.
The Redmi Earbuds S is an excellent deal, considering that the closest pair of earbuds from Realme, the Buds Air Neo, is priced at ₹2,999. But what’s the catch? What compromises has Xiaomi made in order to hit the affordable price bracket? Let’s take a deep dive into the answer with this review of the Redmi Earbuds S.
What’s in the box?
In the box, you will find the Redmi Earbuds S charging case with the buds itself, two pairs of small and large-sized eartips, as well as the user manual. It doesn’t contain a charger or the charging cable.
Design & Build Quality
- Dimensions (Case): 6.2 cm x 4 cm x 2.72 cm
- Dimensions (Earbuds): 2.67 cm x 1.64 cm x 2.16 cm
- Weight: ~35g for the charging case + earbuds, ~4.1g per earbud
- Construction: Plastic
For the price, the Redmi Earbuds S has a decent design and build quality. Our only complaint is the lack of color schemes, so you have to live with the regular black aesthetics. At least it has a matte finish, and it doesn’t easily catch smudges and fingerprints.
The design language of Redmi’s budget smartphones is also seen on the Redmi Earbuds S charging case. It is plain and smooth from every angle, and the tiny shape makes it pocketable.
The case itself is also pretty lightweight. Now, ‘lite’ weight is often associated with ‘cheap’ feeling, but that isn’t the case with the Redmi Earbuds S. It feels sturdy, and it doesn’t make any creaking noises.
One disappointing aspect of the Redmi Earbuds S is the fact that the charging case has a micro USB port. In a world where AmazonBasics’ crappy accessories and even Redmi’s budget smartphone/power banks include a USB-C port, it is an inexcusable offense not to include one on the Redmi Earbuds S. Also; you don’t get a micro USB cable in the box, so you’ll have to scour through your storeroom to find a micro USB cable and charge your earbuds.
Opening the case lid doesn’t give quite the tactile feeling compared to other earbud charging cases in the market. However, it isn’t something you would expect from a budget earbuds case anyways.
The same design aesthetic revolves around the earbuds itself. Since there are no stems on the earbuds, it looks tiny, and it doesn’t protrude from the ears. On the rear portion of each bud, there’s a tactical button for music playback and call controls (More on that later). There’s also a multi-color LED indicator on the earbuds, which indicates the charging and pairing modes. A microphone is tucked under the front portion of each earbud, which is used for voice calls.
In terms of fit and comfort, Xiaomi has absolutely nailed it. During the press release, they explained how well the earbuds fit into an average Indian person’s ears, and we can confirm it.
The Redmi earbuds sit flush in-ear, and the 4.1g weight makes you forget that you are even wearing them during long listening sessions. The snug fit also keeps the earbuds from falling during heavy workouts. Not every pair of earbuds manage to do this.
In case the default medium-sized eartips on the earbuds aren’t comfortable for you, then the included small and large-sized eartips in the box might suit your comforts.
Fortunately, the earbuds also come with IPX4 certification, making them resistant to sweat, rain splashes, and dust.
Overall, we are satisfied with the Redmi Earbuds S in terms of design and build quality, considering the asking price.
Hardware & Sound Quality
- Sound Driver: 7.2mm
- Bluetooth version: 5.0 w/ support for HFP/A2DP/HSP/AVRCP profiles
- Microphone: Dual-array microphones w/ ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology
- Audio Processor: Realtek RTL8763BFR 32-bit low-powered ARM chipset (SBC codec)
During the press release, Xiaomi insisted that the sound signature of the Redmi Earbuds S has been calibrated according to the preferences of Indian users.
Let’s start with the good things. In our testing, the punchy bass was immediately noticeable, along with the crystal-clear voice that exceeded our expectations. While the bass felt a bit muffled on higher volumes, it still manages to retain the overall balanced sound profile.
Speaking of volume, the Redmi Earbuds S gets quite loud without noticeable distortions, which is a pleasant surprise. It should also be noted that the soundstage focuses more on low frequencies than mid frequencies. While up-tempo music sounds great on these earbuds, the instrument separation was a bit underwhelming in the mids.
In terms of voice calls, the Redmi Earbuds S doesn’t disappoint. The same clarity can be heard during calls, and the in-ear fit isolates background noises passively. So, you won’t have to deal with annoying noises during calls.
On the other side of the calls, people reported that the voice picked up by the earbuds sounds decent. ENC technology also helps to suppress background noises and external inferences from voice calls.
Although TWS earbuds aren’t really suitable for competitive gaming, the Game Mode on the Redmi Earbuds S brings down the audio latency to 122ms, which balances out the audio sync issues while gaming.
Pairing & Features
Pairing the Redmi Earbuds S with an Android or iOS device is straightforward. You open the case lid, put on the earbuds, and pair them from the Bluetooth settings menu.
The Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity is a welcoming addition, especially when other budget pair of earbuds mostly overlook this part. Also, you won’t have to individually pair the Redmi earbuds, unlike other affordable TWS earbuds.
Despite the fact that touch-based gestures are the most intuitive way to control music playback or activate the voice assistant on earbuds, the multi-function button is what you get with the Redmi Earbuds S. Here’s how you can interact with them:
- Single-press the button to play or pause music.
- Double-press the button to activate the voice assistant.
- Single-press the button to answer or end a call.
- Press and hold the button for a second to reject a call.
- Double-press the button to mute or unmute during a call.
- Quickly press the button three times to toggle on/off the Game Mode.
The only thing missing from the list of button functions is skipping music tracks, which is a bit of a bummer. Removing the earbuds from the ears also doesn’t stop the music, but then we are quickly reminded of the price of Redmi Earbuds S.
Battery life on the Redmi Earbuds S is its killer feature. The charging case has a battery capacity of 300mAh, which can charge the earbuds (43mAh each) three times.
On a single charge, The Redmi Earbuds lasted for an approx. 4 hours. With the charging case, you get almost 12 hours of music playback time, which Xiaomi has also claimed on the product page.
With a regular charger, you can charge the case and the earbuds in less than two hours. As you might already guess, it doesn’t have wireless charging. Again, it isn’t a dealbreaker in this price range.
Judging by the sturdy and robust build quality, comfortable and snug fit, balanced sound profile, and exceptional battery life, the Redmi Earbuds S gets a strong recommendation from us. Compromises were made here and there, but overall, Xiaomi is offering an affordable pair of truly wireless earbuds for the masses.
If you want to grab one, then pull the trigger immediately as it’s currently available for ₹1,799 only at the Mi Store and Amazon for a limited time. In case you are looking for a premium pair of wireless earbuds without breaking the bank, then the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 [₹4,499 on Amazon] is an excellent choice for you.
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