Lots of people have been mourning the death of the headphone jack; some have valid points whilst others, not so much. One of the main things people cite is that decent Bluetooth buds are just too expensive compared to decent 3.5mm buds, and now, I think I have found the answer, in the Xiaomi Redmi Airdots.
- Nice Case
- Acceptable Battery
- Decent sound Quality
- MicroUSB Charger
- Harder to get in the UK
Disclaimer: These were purchased by MTT for purposes of review, these are ours, Xiaomi has no input on this, they likely do not even know we’re reviewing them. These have been used on the BlackBerry KEY2, Huawei P30 Pro, Honor 20 Pro and MY Samsung Galaxy Book 12.
Specifications – Xiaomi Redmi Airdots
- 7mm Dynamic driver.
- IPX4 Waterproofing on the buds
- MicroUSB charger on the case
- Mono/Stereo modes (can use one bud solo if you want)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- 40mAh battery per bud
- 300mAh battery case.
Hardware – Xiaomi Redmi Airdots
Looking at the hardware of these, I want to start with the charging case, something I’ve been pretty critical on of many truly wireless earbuds, and let me start by saying this case is not perfect, but man it is actually pretty good.
There is enough heft in the case to know that you’ve got it in your pocket, but not so much that it takes over and weighs down the pocket. The shape of the case is that of a large pebble, if it could be a bit slimmer that’d be great but I’m honestly not upset with the shape and weight of the case. The thing I’m not the biggest fan of is the lid, it’s thin, it’s flimsy feeling, and although it snaps shut satisfyingly, it doesn’t spring open like most of my others do, but once again, this entire product is cheaper than replacement cases for most of the other buds I have.
Having a look at the buds themselves they’re nice and simple and are not bidirectional, there is a very subtle shape difference, and it is hard to put the left bud into your right ear and have it feel like it is fitting well. Unlike most buds, these have physical buttons to interact with instead of touch-sensitive strips on them they’re multifunctional so a single press does one thing and a double does another and those things differ between each bud, and yes it is just as confusing as it sounds, the important one is that a single tap of the right bud pauses the music.
I have the Black Airdots but they also come in white, I chose the black ones as I think they look a little less conspicuous, but also that white case looks like a nightmare to keep clean, I wear a lot of jeans and that Denim looks like it’d dye that casing in no time.
Last I want to talk about is latching the buds in the case, Initially I thought the buds where friction fit with the silicon tips into the case, but I was wrong, there is a decently strong magnet holding them in as well, but the case does rely on friction from the silicon tips to keep them in mostly. Pulling the buds out of the case wakes them up and pairs them to the last connected device, and putting them back in the case powers them down, although it takes a bit longer to turn them off than other buds I’ve used, and as always, when the buds are in the case, they’re charging up their 40mAh internal battery.
Sound Quality – Xiaomi Redmi Airdots
This surprised me, these actually sounded really quite balanced. Sure, they’re still more bass-heavy and volume boosted than I’d like, but you know what else is more bass-heavy than I’d like? Sub £20 3.5mm earbuds.
These sound like somewhat decent earbuds, and I know that doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but again these are £20. If you’re buying sub £20 audio devices, It’s very likely you’re not going to the utmost best sound quality because cheap buds use cheap components, you know what else cheaps out on components? Cheap phones. The amplifier and DAC in your phone are probably pretty bad, you ever wonder why people that care about audio have a little separate box that they plug their headphones into before their phone or their PC? That’s a separate Amplifier and DAC (Digital to Analogue converter) in Bluetooth buds, the DAC and Amp are inside the buds themselves, so the OEM can tune the buds to sound the same from a cheap phone to a £1500 iPhone 11 Pro Max.
As with most buds, I don’t recommend maxing these out volume-wise, after about 80% these get a bit shrill and don’t get appreciably louder. The Airdots have a somewhat narrow soundstage being closed, but these do seem a bit more limited than the closest pair of buds I have at price to these, the Anker Soundcore Liberty Lite, which currently retail for over double the price at £50 Would I want to listen to the Opera in this? No. Would I want to Listen to orchestral masterpieces with these? No. but you know what I do love listening to in these? My 90’s pop motivation playlist or my Guilt Pleasures from the 80s playlists, these are fun to listen to in a simple way, they don’t require me to think about how perfect they sound, I just know they make Justin Timberlake and the rest of NSYNC sound great whilst I’m dancing in my chair.
Battery Life – Xiaomi Redmi Airdots
This is slightly less rosy, whether they just used cheaper quality batteries which don’t last as long, an especially power-hungry Bluetooth 5.0 chip, each trip got me about 3.5 hours outside of the case, not bad by any means, but I’ve been on train rides longer than that, and sitting around in the airport can easily run these down, but once again I need to remind myself:
These are only £20
Popping the buds back in the case charges them, and the case lasts a stupidly long amount of time, just like it does on pretty much every other pair of earbuds, and sadly, much like almost every other pair of earbuds, the Airdots use MicroUSB for charging, whilst I can somewhat forgive this for the price, I have to call it out as it is an annoyance, and when a USB-C port wired up for this little power is roughly the same cost as a MicroUSB port, it does make me wonder why these companies still go with the worse connector.
So, should you buy the Airdots? Hell yeah, you should. Even if you have a nice pair of earbuds, truly wireless or not, what is the downside of having a spare that won’t cost you an arm and a leg and sound quite nice? There isn’t one.
I’d love to see the case made a bit thinner, the charger changed to USB-C, but the thing I’d like to see changed most is the distribution model, I’ve said numerous times that these cost only £20, and that’s a lie, they actually cost me a bit less at around £17, but I had to go to AliExpress to get them that cheap, to get them in the UK they’ll run you about £30, and even at that price they are a steal and I’d recommend them, but it is sad that the best price cannot be had somewhere where Shipping is measured in Days.