Xiaomi Redmi Earbuds S: Design
The Redmi Earbuds S are light and fit inside the ears easily. Twist them a little sideways to get the optimum fit and you are good to go. Xiaomi claims that each one of them, at about 4.1 grams, is lighter than a sheet of A4 paper. All the claims aside, these are certainly a very lightweight pair of earbuds.
The build quality is quite sturdy, with a button on each earbud. Long press on the right for about 3-4 seconds to pair via Bluetooth. You would have to use the buttons on each to switch them on. First, pair the right one, then go for the left one. Press for a little while and they will get paired. Both the earbuds can be used separately if required.
The Redmi Earbuds S are IPX4-rated and as such are resistant to sweat and splashes. Since they are light and fit properly in the ears, there is no danger of them falling off while doing a light workout.
The earbuds come with three eartips of different sizes: small, medium and large sizes. However, no micro-USB charging cable is provided with the package.
Xiaomi Redmi Earbuds S: Performance
Fresh out of the box, the earbuds settled nicely in the ears with no discomfort whatsoever. The fit felt right. We started with some Rock and Alternative tracks like Can’t Stop by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Closing Time by Semisonic on Apple Music. Although the vocal output was reproduced mostly well, the mids were absent (yes, all the way through the songs) even with the trebles trying to even out the imbalance. The reproduction of guitar riffs was also uneven, with them sounding loud at some points and feeble at others. Overall, the sound lacked the punch and the vocals didn’t hit the high notes as they should; the earbuds can sure be loud when you jack up the volume beyond 70% but there was a flakiness, an incompleteness in the sound output that did not go even then due to the imbalance between the highs, the mids and the lows.
Next, we tried listening to the Foo Fighters. In Pretender and Run, Dave Grohl is able to slap and then punch you in the face with the voice of a rebellious martinet that should actually have been your own and still keeps you coming back for more. Perhaps that’s the reason the vocals made the mark this time. But there were no mids again and the songs for a first time listener to the Foo Fighters would have felt nothing other than a screamfest that just falls short of the prerequisites for Growl Metal.
The earbuds did sound better with Electronic and Pop tracks, though it still lacked the full output of the music.
On day 1, the Xiaomi Redmi Earbuds S were not loud enough at around 60% of smartphone volume. We had to increase the volume beyond 70%. This was how our first day with the product went.
The next day, we tried the same songs on Apple Music, Amazon Music and YouTube Music. And there was a considerable improvement as far as the balance in the sound is considered. This time the mids could be felt. By this point, we had listened to over 20 songs and perhaps the earbuds burned well during the initial test to produce a better sound.
The Redmi Earbuds S take about an hour to charge while the charging case takes about two hours for one complete charge. If you listen to music for about an hour daily at the most, the charging case would serve you well for 4-5 days before it needs to get charged again. After playing about 10-15 songs, which is close to roughly an hour of music, the battery levels of the earbuds dropped from 80% to 10% and after that total discharge happens within a song or two.
The Bluetooth range of the device is about 9-10 metres. Beyond that, the connection suffers. Initially, the device sometimes got disconnected and connected from the smartphone within seconds on its own but it finally paired properly.
Three days later, all the problems that had been bearhugging the Redmi Earbuds started disappearing, much to our surprise. Had we not given it a third chance at redemption, so to speak, and the tonality of this review would’ve been totally different.
Let’s start with the music quality the earbuds offered this time. Three days of continuous use for about 4-5 hours must have burned the earbuds quite well, letting the drivers adapt to the flow of sound waves and settle accordingly inside. We say this because there was a dramatic improvement in the quality of the sound output on the fourth day. The mids appeared (finally), the treble got slightly more and pleasingly pronounced, and the bass also felt slightly more heavier. In short, the balance and the punch both came and not just for pop or electronic music; the earbuds managed to play Rock and Heavy Metal music tracks quite faithfully. The catch is that the audio file you play on these should be of 320kbps bitrate or higher. If you are a working professional but not in the field of music or not an audiophile, it is highly likely that you would find yourself playing music only from the smartphone itself and that’s why it would be best to go with a music subscription service that provides high bit-rate audio.
The Bluetooth connection also got quite stable with use. There were almost no issues after three days.
Also, it would be best if you keep the smartphone volume to about 70% or more to get the best experience from the Redmi Earbuds S. They do not distort at volumes higher than 80% with most of the tracks we played, and that was one other shock after three days. To let you have more clarity on this, some of the songs that we tested include So Far Away by Avenged Sevenfold, Into You by Ariana Grande, Lights by Ellie Goulding, No More Lies by Iron Maiden, Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol, Sonnet by The Verve, Centre of the Universe by Axwell, Now That I’ve Found You by Martin Garrix etc.
The Xiaomi Redmi Earbuds S are not meant for a pure basshead. The earbuds, as per Xiaomi, have been tuned specifically for the pop radio hits. The bass is optimal mostly but in bass-heavy tracks, it lacks the punchy feel that comes with each low beat, which is why if your playlist is mostly composed of bassy electronic music, these earbuds are not for you.
Now, to the other crowd, each of whose individual brings a different musical taste, we would like to say that some of the genres that this earphone could disappoint you in are Grunge and some Hard Rock and Punk bands. Otherwise, after about a week of use, they look like they can cover a range of genres like Electronic, Pop, Indie, Rock and Metal well. What about the longevity of the sound quality? Will it remain as good after 7-8 months of usage? Honestly, we can’t predict on that front.
Xiaomi has targeted its audience well by making a very affordable true wireless earbuds. At Rs 1,799, it is a great deal if you are so cash strapped that your budget doesn’t allow you to spend more than Rs 2,000 on true wireless earbuds. The sound quality is an all-round one but only at high volume levels (70% and beyond). There is minimal distortion and pairing is easy also. In case you buy it, give it some days. We hope your Redmi Earbuds S will come around, just like ours did. If not, then at least you may find it comforting to have not spent a fortune on them.