We reviewed Redmi’s first earbuds in India, the Earbuds S priced at ₹1,799. This is what you get in this much price tag.
Product: Redmi earplugs S
Key specs: Lightweight, IPX4 rating, game mode, price is relative to features.
Price: ₹1,799 euros
Xiaomi, a brand better known today for its ‘Redmi’ products, loves smartphones, home appliances, wearables and other IoT devices, all of which serve a single purpose: building an ecosystem. And with the aim of bringing more Redmi devices to the market, the sub-brand recently launched its very first TWS – Redmi Earbuds S. This is also one of the few two wireless earbuds (the other being the Mi True Wireless Earphone 2) to come. Entering India from Xiaomi’s house.
What works here, right off the bat, is pretty much the same that works with any Xiaomi product, value for money. How much? Well, if you thought TWS of some brands priced at ₹2500 or ₹3,000 is the lowest you can do right now – Redmi Earbuds S was launched at ₹1,799.
Of course, that means the earbuds are for those who don’t want to get the “best” out there, but something that just gets the job done. We tried it out for several days as our daily driver so you don’t have to and this is what we think.
Design and build
Starting with the housing, these are one of the most compact earbuds we’ve seen in a while (the Jabra Elite Active 75t housing comes close). We’re talking about the ‘it just fits in your closed fist’ format. Like many others, it is rounded and has a spring-based flip-open mechanism. It’s light thanks to the earbuds, which weigh 4.1 grams each. And you can lose them if you have a rather messy room. However, the cost savings come in the form of no LED lighting and an average build. Don’t expect a top quality case or massive battery backup here given its size.
Also read: Sony WF-SP800N earbuds review: this won’t go wrong
However, the earbuds have a decent build quality and yes, they have LED indicators. We found these to be smaller than usual and lighter than others on the market. That’s great, but it also means that it will be very easy to lose. Not that there will be many, but getting these out of the closet also takes some effort.
The build is pretty good and the design is simple, something we liked. Secure fit? Yes.
And impressively, it blocks out quite a bit of outside noise, despite missing out on software smarts. Sure, the noise cancellation isn’t the best, but it’s effective. And given its compact size, it doesn’t stick out as much as others. For those involved, no, it won’t fall out during exercise, provided you have the right size earplugs installed. And since these are IPX4 rated, they are sweat resistant. Just avoid going for a swim with these.
Audio Performance and Features
If you haven’t noticed, there are now two types of TWS available – one with touch gestures and one with a clickable button, which is much more reliable and ensures that a command is received and executed. Redmi Earbuds S is the second type, which is probably why the earbuds are more compact than those with touch sensors. These are easy-to-use, multi-function buttons that let you control music playback (play and pause only, no skips), calls and even activate voice assistants – Google Assistant and Siri.
Unfortunately, there is no volume control. If so, would you pay more than ₹1,799 for.
What you don’t pay extra for, however, is the Gaming mode. As we’ve seen in other earbuds, this mode reduces latency from over 200ms, which is usually the default, to somewhere around 122ms, so you don’t miss a shot. Xiaomi does say it affects battery life, which of course it should. We’ll talk about that in a little while.
As far as the Bluetooth connectivity is concerned, we did not encounter any problems. The pairing process was simple and straightforward. While Redmi claims that Earbuds S wireless range is up to 10 meters in an obstacle-free environment, in real life (with obstacles) it comes down to about 5-7 meters. And with Gaming Mode even less, which makes sense.
Unfortunately, there’s no quick pairing feature, but you do get seamless pairing, which in itself is pretty good. All you need to do is take them out of the charging case, wait for the notification lights to turn white and simply pair them with the handset you want.
To be honest, we won’t talk much about how the earbuds sound. As we mentioned above, the goal of Redmi Earbuds S is not to provide the best and top-notch audio experience, but rather a product with many features at that price. But due to the fact that the target audience is first-time buyers and those who just want to get the job done, the audio is pretty good. You won’t hate it, but don’t expect exceptionally good audio performance either.
Also read: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review: Perfect for big pockets and big ears
The Earbuds S, which we used with the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, supports SBC codec. While that’s a limitation, it was still able to deliver fairly good sound. Peak volumes were satisfactory and so were the treble. You can hear the voice and instruments clearly and with good detail in most of the songs. Those looking for bass will likely be disappointed, however, as frequencies below 200Hz are decent, but not as effective as you’d expect. So while you won’t get the required thump in some Bollywood songs, Earbuds S will still pass the test.
Stereo separation was good enough, but the sound isolation in general was nothing special. It’s still acceptable though, thanks to DSP Environmental Noise Cancellation technology.
Using the Redmi Earbuds S as our daily driver for days, we managed to stretch it up to 3-3.5 hours on average on a single charge. At any given time, the volume was over 70% with no low latency game mode enabled. We understand that 3-3.5 hours may not be enough to get through the day. However, given the compact size, such battery performance is a bit expected.
And you can always recharge them by using the case, which by itself claims to provide about eight extra hours of charge (almost two extra cycles). You can charge it with a micro USB cable. However, it does not support USB Type-C, which is another cost-saving measure the company has taken. We should point out that the eight hours of extra playback time is in ‘ideal circumstances’. And we don’t live in ideal conditions, so after a day of mixed use including game mode, streaming at low volumes and a bit more to it, battery performance varied.
We will not call Redmi Earbuds S something unique in the world of TWS. While the audio won’t surprise you, what makes the whole package single-handedly impressive is the price. It is the ₹Price tag of 1,799 which makes everything look good in this one.
And that’s simply because Earbuds S offers a lot more than you’d expect from an ultra-budget wireless earbud. The design is compact, the build is lightweight and with features like Game mode, environmental noise cancellation and a reliable click mechanism, the Earbuds S is a pretty good attempt from Xiaomi.
At the given price you would expect the bare minimum of earbuds, but you definitely get more here. To be fair, we predicted that ultra-budget TWS would eventually hit the market, but we didn’t expect it to happen this early. The competition here is definitely heated and this is as ‘Real’ as it gets.