Xiaomi has garnered a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality smartphones with powerful specifications at affordable prices. The same applies to the company's diverse range of accessories as well. These are priced quite competitively and usually provide tremendous value for money.
Xiaomi recently launched two new pairs of budget earphones in the form of the Mi Earphones Basic and Mi Earphones, and we have the latter for today. With a three-button inline remote and mic, a Kevlar fiber cable, metal sound chambers, and a right-angled plug, the Mi Earphones seem pretty promising on paper. We have put this pair through our tests to see whether that promise actually translates into real-world performance.
As expected from a pair of earphones in this price range, the Mi Earphones are made entirely out of plastic. That said, the build quality is actually quite impressive, with high-quality TPE surrounds near the 3.5mm plug and earpieces.
The box is as basic as it gets. There is no case and no extras to be found inside - just the earphones, a short and sweet user guide, and two extra sets of tips (large and extra-small). The cable though is far from ordinary. It is braided in Kevlar fibre which not only prevents tangling but also looks and feels premium.
While the Mi Earphones look pretty nondescript overall, there are a few design flourishes such as a textured metallic finish at the back of the earphone housings, and the aforementioned Kevlar fibre cable, that stand out.
At just 14g, the earphones weigh next to nothing and are extremely comfortable. The housings are ergonomically shaped housings and angled at 45 degrees. They do not fall out of the ears easily, even during intense activities. The silicone tips are nothing to write home about, but that is expected considering the price.
There is a three-button inline remote with mic located right below the right earpiece, which can be used to answer calls, control music playback, and trigger the voice assistant on your smartphone. The buttons themselves are quite mushy and difficult to distinguish between by touch alone.
Xiaomi claim that the Mi Earphones feature a '3rd generation balanced damping system' that creates a transparent sound, and 'metal sound chambers' created via a 20-step process. Marketing fluff aside, how do the earphones really sound? Simply put: surprisingly decent for earphones that cost less than a nice dinner for two.
While most earphones in this price range have over-inflated bass that dominates the rest of the frequency range, the bass response on the Mi Earphones is controlled and restrained. It doesn't overwhelm the sound signature or smother the highs. That said, bassheads will be left slightly wanting.
It's surprising to hear that highs are present and distinct in the sound mix, although they do get overpowering sometimes. The mids are slightly repressed, which is evident in vocal-heavy genres such as blues. While the clarity on offer is decent for the price, songs with many layers of instrumentation do sound muffled and noisy. This is most evident in complex genres such as rock and metal in which the earphones sound harsh and the mids get buried by the treble and bass.
The impedance is a bit high at 32Ohms, which is a bit odd considering that these earphones are aimed at people who intend to use them with smartphones. You will need a powerful source, and some smartphones might struggle to realise the full potential of these earphones. The onboard microphone, which Xiaomi claims has a 58dB(A) signal-to-noise ratio, is also of high quality - we experienced no issues while on calls during our test period.
Overall, we are quite impressed with what Xaomi has managed to achieve with the Mi Earphones. They sound surprisingly good, with punchy lows and crisp highs, and are an excellent option for people who aren't bassheads and who want a somewhat balanced sound.
They're built well, and are extremely comfortable to boot. However, the remote is fiddly and cumbersome, and the mids tend to get a bit lost in the sound mix. If you are in the market for a decent pair of earphones that won't break the bank, the Xiaomi Mi Earphones make for a great buy.
Price: Rs. 699 (MOP)
Overall rating (Out of 5):