Redmi Earbuds S Review: TWS Earphones on A Budget

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Xiaomi is one of the top market leaders in the smartphone industry. In India and other developing countries, Xiaomi releases its entry-level and mid-range smartphones, as well as a few lifestyle products under the Redmi brand at reasonably affordable prices.

Xiaomi recently launched the Redmi Earbuds S, which is aimed to deliver a truly wireless experience while maintaining the price below ₹2,000. In case you are wondering, they also launched Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 a few weeks prior to the launch of the Redmi counterpart, and at ₹4,500, it is a premium pair of wireless earphones that delivers uncompromised sound quality and user experience.

When we saw the price of the Redmi Earbuds S, our expectations were fairly low. Considering that Apple, Samsung, Google, and Sennheiser are few of the only brands that have managed to deliver a balanced experience with their TWS earbuds, Chinese brands like Xiaomi need to spend a lot of their budget on research and development to create a pair of wireless earbuds that offer decent sound quality without breaking the bank.

In India, the closest competitor to the Redmi Earbuds S is the Buds Air Neo from Realme, which costs ₹3,000. Both Xiaomi and Realme are on the opposite side of the poles in terms of the price.

So, the question is: What does the Redmi Earbuds S offer in this price range? Are there any severe compromises made by Xiaomi to keep the price of the Earbuds S under control? We answer your questions in this in-depth review of the Redmi Earbuds S.

Unboxing

The packaging of the Redmi Earbuds S is quite barebones. Inside the tiny box, you get the charging case with the buds inside, extra pairs of small and large eartips (medium-sized eartips are installed on the buds by default), and a nifty user manual. There is no charger or charging cable included in the box.

Design & Durability

The Redmi Earbuds S has a minimal design that screams the stealth factor. Although it would have been great to see more color choices, the matte black finish on the case and the earbuds hides scratches and smudges easily.

At a dimension of 6.2 cm x 4 cm x 2.72 cm, the Redmi Earbuds S case is quite small, making it easier to fit in pockets without showing a bulge. Every corner of the charging case is round, so it’s also easier to handle. With the earbuds, the case weighs around 35g, which is a featherweight compared to other earbuds cases in the market.

When opened and closed, the lid of the charging case doesn’t produce the same clicky feel like other premium earbuds cases, but it would be nitpicking at this point considering the sub-₹2000 price of the Redmi Earbuds S. Overall, the case doesn’t feel cheap even though it is made of plastic.

One slight issue with the Earbuds S that might be a dealbreaker for many people is the exclusion of a USB-C port on the charging case. While Redmi’s cheapest lineup of smartphones includes a USB-C port for charging, it’s quite difficult to embrace and justify the inclusion of a micro USB port on the Redmi Earbuds S. It doesn’t even come with a micro USB charging cable, though you might probably have it.

Let’s talk about the earbuds now. It has the same stealthy design as the charging case. It resembles the tiny shape of Galaxy Buds from Samsung. There are no stems found on the earbuds, which is a good thing. There’s a clicky button on the rear side of the earbuds for music playback and additional functions. A small LED indicator for pairing and charging is also found on the earbuds. In addition, there’s a single microphone on each earbud for voice calls.

The earbuds are IPX4 certified, offering adequate resistance to dust, rain, and sweat. Each earbud weighs around 4.1g, which is also pretty lightweight. Xiaomi didn’t compromise on durability and build quality of the earbuds.

Fit & Comfort

In terms of fit and comfort, we don’t have any complaints. Because of the in-ear styled eartips, the earbuds sit flush with the ear and doesn’t protrude much. The small and large eartips are included in the box, in case the medium eartips are uncomfortable for you or don’t provide a snug fit.

The Redmi Earbuds S can also be an excellent partner during your workout and exercise sessions since it doesn’t fall from your ears at all. Unlike AirPods, the Redmi Earbuds S stays secure in your ears because of its in-ear design.

The lightweight earbuds are so comfortable that you might keep them on for hours listening to music and playing games. However, the comfort factor won’t matter if the sound quality is mediocre at its best. So, let’s now talk about the sound and microphone quality of the Redmi Earbuds S.

Sound & Microphone Quality

According to Xiaomi, the sound profile of the Redmi Earbuds S has been fine-tuned to the preferences of regular Indian music listeners. When tested for the first time, the 7.2mm sound drivers in the earbuds produced deep and thumpy bass, alongside exceptionally clean and undistorted music. The bass sounded a bit harsh on higher volumes, but many of us don’t like to listen to music at that high volume anyways.

The sound profile manages to keep the low and mids balanced. However, the earbuds struggle with higher frequencies in general, which is expected at this price point. We were also a bit bummed about the mediocre stereo separation on a few music tracks that we have tested with other pairs of earbuds.

Voice calls sound great on the Redmi Earbuds S. The clarity is on par with a more expensive pair of TWS earbuds, and you can use it in mono mode. Background noises are also eliminated thanks to the in-ear eartips passively isolating the noises. When asked about the microphone quality, callers on the other side of the voice calls reported excellent voice clarity without any outdoor noises. The ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) technology is what eliminates the background noise from voices picked by the microphones on the earbuds.

Just for gamers, Xiaomi has also included a Game Mode profile that reduces the wireless audio latency to 122ms. While the latency isn’t as low as wired headphones, it does the job quite well.

User Interactions

It is relatively easy to pair the Redmi Earbuds S with a Bluetooth-enabled device. Simply take out the earbuds from the charging case and put them on, then select the earbuds from the Bluetooth pairing menu.

The Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity on the Redmi Earbuds S ensures a fast pairing process and eliminates the need for pairing the earbuds individually, unlike Chinese AirPods knockoffs in the market.

The multi-functional button on each earbud is the only way to interact with the earbuds, as there are no software or touch-based controls included with Redmi Earbuds S. Here are some of the functions:

  • Play or pause music: Single-tap
  • Answer or end calls: Single-tap
  • Activate the voice assistant: Double-tap
  • Toggle on/off Game Mode: Triple-tap

There are several other functions you can find on the user manual. However, you won’t be able to change tracks with any of them, which is a bit disappointing. Unlike more premium pair of TWS earphones, the Redmi Earbuds S doesn’t pause the music when taken out from the ears, which is an expected compromise at this price range.

Battery Life

Similar to Redmi’s budget smartphones, the battery life on the Redmi Earbuds S is exceptional. The earbuds (~43mAh) can deliver four hours of music playback on a full charge, and you can have eight additional hours with the 300mAh charging case. In our testing, the Redmi Earbuds S offered approximately 12 hours of music playback on 70% volume, which is exactly what Xiaomi claimed in their press release.

Unfortunately, the Redmi Earbuds S charging case doesn’t support fast charging. However, you can expect the case (w/ the earbuds) to be fully charged in less than two hours or so with a 5V/2A charger. It also doesn’t have wireless, which you can’t expect from a budget pair of TWS earbuds anyways.

Final Verdict

The Redmi Earbuds S offers decent sound quality and surprisingly long battery life, but it lacks the fancy pairing process and other features found on premium pair of TWS earphones. Xiaomi did make some compromises to maintain the price, but they aren’t a dealbreaker for most of us.

For a discounted price of  ₹1,799, we can blindly recommend the Redmi Earbuds S to those who are looking for truly wireless earphones without emptying their wallets. It is currently available for purchase on the Mi Store and Amazon India at the discounted price.

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Awesome

The Redmi Earbuds S offers decent sound quality and surprisingly long battery life, but it lacks the fancy pairing process and other features found on premium pair of TWS earphones. Xiaomi did make some compromises to maintain the price, but they aren’t a dealbreaker for most of us.

  • Design
  • Battery
  • Sound
  • Price

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