Bluetooth and true wireless earphones might well be the future of audio, and Xiaomi recently launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 in India to capitalise on the trend. That said, the absolute entry-level segment is still alive and strong, and depends entirely on wires and 3.5mm headphone jacks. Xiaomi hasn't forgotten about this segment at all; the company launched its Mi Dual-Driver Earphones earlier this year.
Priced at Rs. 799, the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones is a simple wired headset with a 3.5mm plug; there's no fancy electronics or battery here, just good old-fashioned analogue sound. As the name suggests, the key feature of this headset is the dual dynamic driver setup in each earpiece, promising a bit more kick to the sound than buyers in this price segment might be used to. Do these earphones live up to our expectations? Find out in our review.
Our review unit was black in colour, but we feel that the blue variant looks a bit better; it's more striking, while the black is discreet and a bit harder to notice. Given how good these earphones look, we think it's better to go for the option that stands out.
We don't usually have a lot of good things to say about the design and build quality of affordable wired earphones, but the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones are impressive to say the least. The earpiece casings are anodised aluminium, with clear plastic ends covering a carbon fibre-like design. An interesting touch here is that the plastic on the left earbud is convex, while the one on the right earbud is concave. This lets you identify which is which by touch alone. There are magnets inside the earpieces that keep them together when the headset isn't in use, and this design lets the two fit together precisely.
The cable on the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones is rubber till the Y-splitter, and braided fabric from there till the 3.5mm plug. This makes it quite resistant to accidental damage from snags, and fairly tangle-resistant as well. We quite liked the way the earphones felt in our ears. We got a comfortable and noise isolating fit with the largest of the three included pairs of silicone ear tips. There's a three-button inline remote and microphone, which works to control playback and adjust volume on compatible devices.
While we've heard of plenty of multi-driver setups in more expensive pairs of earphones, a dual-driver setup on a headset priced at under Rs. 1,000 definitely caught our attention. Each earphone has two dynamic drivers - a larger 10mm unit and a smaller 8mm one. Xiaomi hasn't detailed how the drivers split sonic frequencies between them, but it's likely that one of them is focused on the lows while the other takes care of the mid-range and highs. Interestingly, you get an extended frequency response range of 20-40,000Hz with the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones, which isn't common in affordable earphones.
Bass is a bit of an obsession for the typical Indian earphone user, and the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones deliver generous helpings of it. The use of a dual-driver setup seems to help this along, and we found the low-end to be very distinct and focused. As is usually the case with multi-driver headsets, the Mi earphones also make for good instrument separation. Above everything else, this is a very loud pair of earphones; we were comfortable listening at around the 50 percent level with these earphones, where we usually have the volume at somewhere between 70 and 80 percent.
Listening to Opposite Ways by Brasstracks, the rumbling electronic bass elements were aggressive and powerful, but the dual-driver separation meant that the vocals and smooth saxophone hooks were never overpowered and sounded just as distinct and ‘up-top' as the strong low-end. This was evident even with the much busier Light It Up by Major Lazer, which also revealed a fair amount of detail in the fainter elements despite the forceful lows.
That said, the bass did occasionally feel a bit too much. In Fatal System Error by Notaker, the reverberations were exciting at first, but the track soon turned into a head-shaking and slightly disorienting rumble that was often unpleasant. It was possible to bring things to reasonable levels by turning the volume down, but this tended to take away detail and excitement in the sound altogether.
We were quite impressed with the level of noise isolation on offer with the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones, which, combined with the loud volume, made for a fairly immersive listening experience with both music and voices. Performance was decent enough on calls, and the earphones get the basics right in this department.
Is this the best pair of wired earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 1,000? We think so. The Xiaomi Mi Dual-Driver Earphones offer a great combination of design, build quality, and performance. While the bass can occasionally be a bit too much, the detail and separation does make up for this to a large extent.
Unless you really dislike too much bass, this is the ideal pair of starter earphones to buy. This is a technically advanced, well-built pair of earphones that is absolutely worth the Rs. 799 price tag. If you want something a bit more balanced-sounding, the 1More Piston Fit is a capable alternative.
Price (MRP): Rs. 799
Ratings (Out of 5)
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