Xiaomi’s Mi True Wireless Earphones are the brand’s first attempt at the TWS market that’s quite honestly flooded with options.
Still, truly wireless earphones, in this price segment, solely don’t exist to deliver audio quality. Buyers out here would also be interested in voice quality and, more importantly, battery life – two other factors that contribute to a majority of buying decisions.
So when I received the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 after a detailed briefing, I was more interested in knowing whether the battery life, voice quality and tap controls performed as advertised.
Audio quality is not something you chase or expect in this price segment, because you will definitely be better off with a pair of wired earphones or earbuds, if that is what you seek. It's all about comfort, convenience and features out here.
BUILD QUALITY AND COMFORT
Everything’s made of plastic. But I liked Xiaomi’s use of matte-finished plastic on the parts of the product that you actually come in contact with. So if you are holding that stylishly minimalist white charging case, you come in contact with a grippy surface because the outer surface of the case has a matte finish. If you hold the earbuds, you are again making contact with a grippy surface because the sticks have been given a matte finish. Of course, there’s nothing better than a rubberised surface, but matte plastic comes quite close, close enough for me to not drop them even once during this two week review period (that’s a biggie!).
Let’s talk magnets! The case shuts with a nice snap that sounds a bit loud in a quiet room but is fun to flick open and play with. Still, that confidence inducing sound means that it shuts easily and stays that way until you open it with your thumb. The earphones are held in with magnets. The charging points are at the bottom of each stem and they snap in place as soon as you push in half-way through. There’s a trick to pulling them out. You place your thumb not on the slippery earbud but on the matte-finished stem (as some of it extends well beyond the earbud) else you will end up looking like a clumsy squirrel struggling to pull them out.
As for comfort, the fit may not feel all that confident but the earphones hung in there. Whether I was exercising or lying down on a bed or walking around while on a call, the earphones remained glued to my ears, mainly because they are light (4.5 grams each), even though they appear a bit bigger than your typical Airpods. Those long sticks also make them easier to hold or tap on because they are flatter oval-shaped tubes instead of the typical round ones.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s the features and how they work that matter in this segment as compared to the audio quality. And Xiaomi seems to have done its research quite well.
One-step pairing works as advertised and all you have to do is press down that button to pair with any device. Of course, the pairing works better if you have a Xiaomi smartphone with MIUI 11 inside. In my case, it was the flagship Xiaomi Mi 10 and you get a nice pop-up (like on iOS) letting you know about the battery stats of each stick and the case. The earphones have to be in the case while you are pairing them.
In-ear detection works well. I tested it out with a OnePlus 7T, a Xiaomi Mi 10 and a Dell Inspiron laptop, all of which pause the media instantly, when you pull out either of the two earphones out of your ears. The tap gestures have a small learning curve and the trick is to tap it hard. While this felt abnormally hard when I first started using them, you do get used to it eventually and with a broad stick, you really can’t get the simple double-tap gestures wrong. While you can play and pause audio, you cannot control the volume.
Quick Charge feature worked really well and the reversible Type-C port at the bottom was a nice touch. The device (buds and case) charge up in a flat 30 minutes, which is pretty fast keeping in mind that 250mAh battery inside the case and 30mAh unit inside each earphone. They last as much as advertised, which is 14 hours. And with my casual use, which included an hour or two of calling, 2-3 hours of video streaming, half an hour of music, and an hour of gaming, it lasted me a good 3 days on a single charge. Indeed, this figure could come down to a day and half for power users who constantly keep the earphones plugged in and not in the case.
Sadly, there’s no accompanying app to let you play with and tune the audio to your requirements.
With the features out of the way. It’s time to talk shop. As mentioned at the top, you really cannot expect wonders at ₹4,500 for a pair of truly wireless earphones. And even though these are Chinese, this ain’t Chi-Fi. Still, Xiaomi’s massive drivers will be good enough to serve most use cases, whether you are listening to music, watching video or speaking to someone on a voice call.
And no! Bigger drivers don’t necessarily translate to better sound! But out here, the 14.2mm dynamic drivers do a decent job of delivering clear sound with added bass, just that it’s not clear as one would like it to be. But you really need to have a phone that supports the LHDC (low-latency and high-definition) audio codec to make the most of it. Else you will be missing out on the benefits it offers, which is mainly down to lower latency while delivering higher quality. There is some minor audio lag when watching videos, but most won’t notice it or find it problematic. So that’s a good balance achieved right there.
Listening to DaBaby’s RockStar, it all sounds fine, until the rather muddy bass kicks in and you begin to notice how it overpowers the rest of the frequency spectrum. The highs sounded a bit too harsh while listening to Khalid’s Know Your Worth. There is an audible roll-off in the top end, pushing the midrange to the fore and this gives them a forward-sounding tonal balance. Xiaomi in its briefing explained how these wireless earphones are meant to cater to the bass-heavy listeners. Still, I did try out some classical music (Felix Mendelssohn's and George Enescu’s Octets, by Gringolts Quartet and Meta4) and it’s not disappointing, just that you really won’t enjoy it because of the rather constricted soundstage.
As a casual listener, you will never really know what’s wrong with them unless you have invested in better audio gear. And even if you have, these still serve their purpose for basic wireless calling.
The wireless range is on the low side. I could move from one room to the adjoining one in my 650 sq foot house and nothing more than that. But 10 metres it is, provided your house does not have solid wood doors and brick walls that are more than 1 foot thick. If you do have many such obstacles, the range is severely cut short as the 10 metres only stands true for an open space.
As for the environmental noise cancellation (ENC), it works really well and does a fantastic job of suppressing ambient sounds around you. As for the voice quality, it’s good given the price but will sound a bit muffled.
Despite its shortcomings in range and audio department, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 feature a loveable design, great voice quality and are quite convenient given their accessible price. If you are chasing audio quality, you can get better quality with 1More’s Stylish True Wireless earbuds at a slightly higher ₹6,649, which is a better buy. There’s better gesture options (and hopefully, better sound) with Oppo’s Enco Free at ₹7,990. Else, you will indeed be better off with a pair of wired earphones at the same price. But if it’s truly wireless convenience you desire, and you are on a tight budget, then the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 certainly are the best that you can get under ₹5,000.