The Redmi Earbuds S is the Indian version of the AirDots S
The earphones have a low-latency mode for gaming
On the whole, performance is impressive for the price
Xiaomi's much-awaited entry into the true wireless space in India came in May 2020 with not one, but two pairs of affordable true wireless earphones. While the slightly more expensive and feature-driven Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 are available for Rs. 4,499, there's also a lot of attention on the Redmi Earbuds S and its impressive pricing. Launched at Rs. 1,799, the Redmi Earbuds S is among the most affordable true wireless headsets available in India, following in the Redmi brand philosophy of selling quality products at affordable prices.
The Redmi Earbuds S is the Indian version of the Redmi AirDots S, launched in China in April. The earphones don't cost much but promise a lot, including comfort, ease of use, and good sound. Find out if the Redmi Earbuds S are the best affordable true wireless earphones you can buy now, in our review.
The Redmi Earbuds S weigh just 4.1g each
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Redmi Earbuds S' design is the weight; the earphones weigh just 4.1g each. This makes the headset among the most comfortable true wireless earphones available today, and the earbuds stayed anchored in our ears easily without any support. The in-canal fit results in decent noise isolation, and you get three pairs of silicone ear tips in the box, which makes it easier to get the fit right. The earbuds are IPX4-rated for water resistance, which is enough to protect from occasional splashes and a bit of sweat.
The earphones themselves are pill-shaped, and look simple yet tasteful. Each earphone has a large button facing outwards, which is used to control playback (a single-press to play, pause or answer calls), voice commands (a double-press invokes the default voice assistant on your smartphone) and the low-latency mode (a triple-press to toggle it) on the Redmi Earbuds S. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to control volume or skip tracks from the earphones themselves; you'll have to adjust this on the source device. The controls are the same regardless of which earbud you use.
The charging case of the Redmi Earbuds S is neither too small nor too large, and looks good. There are magnets that keep the lid shut and also let the earphones stay in place. The Redmi logo on the lid of the case is the only one on the entire product, and the back of the case has a Micro-USB port for charging. Although not ideal in the age of USB Type-C, the Micro-USB port does help keep costs down and contributes to the low price of the Redmi Earbuds S.
The earphones support the SBC Bluetooth codec, and each one has a 7.2mm driver. There is Bluetooth 5 for connectivity, and the earphones don't have a master-slave setup so you can use either earphone individually. Environmental noise cancellation for voice calls is also supported. The headset promises four hours of battery life on the earphones and an additional two charge cycles from the case; we were able to match these claims during our review.
The earphones are compact, and weigh just 4.1g each
Stable connection, clean sound on the Redmi Earbuds S
We've heard impressive sound quality from high-end true wireless earphones, but the affordable segment is still far behind. However, we've seen things improving, and the budget segment does have a handful of options that offer very good sound for the price. The Redmi Earbuds S is one such product, offering clean, capable true wireless sound for less than Rs. 2,000.
Despite being limited to just the basic SBC Bluetooth codec, the Redmi Earbuds S sounds good. We found the sound to be clean and inoffensive, and it was surprisingly on par with or better than what we've experienced on neckband-style wireless earphones at the same price. The Redmi Earbuds S gives users the benefits of true wireless connectivity with none of the sacrifices that typically come with the design.
We're used to hearing some oddities in sound reproduction when using audio products that are exceptionally affordable, but the Redmi Earbuds S had none of the rough edges or tuning faults we've usually heard on affordable wireless earphones. Listening to Big Wild's Aftergold, we were impressed with how comfortable and clean the sound was.
The Redmi Earbuds S is available in just one colour, black, for now
While we didn't hear any sparkle and emotionally charged drive in this track, we found the performance to be capable far beyond what were expecting, considering the sub-Rs. 2,000 price tag of these earphones. There is just enough width and depth to the sound to make it enjoyable, with some perceivable sense of direction to the sound, and hints of the finer details revealing themselves.
The frequency responses in this peppy, upbeat track were measured, with the lows and highs getting a bit of a boost. The mid-range wasn't inordinately dull, with Tove Styrke's high-pitched vocals sounding just fine. The sonic signature is suited to most popular music genres, and sounded good even with much more intense tracks such as Deadmau5's Raise Your Weapon, thanks to the calculated and gentle punch in the bass.
The Redmi Earbuds S is acceptable for voice calls; we didn't face any major issues with call quality in indoor environments, and connectivity was generally stable across use cases as well. The low-latency mode did slightly improve our experience when gaming at the cost of a small drop in sound quality, although we still perceived a slight delay in sound that might mean the difference between winning or losing in fast-paced games. Environmental noise cancellation should help with use in noisy outdoor environments, but we weren't able to effectively test this feature.
The earphones and case deliver a combined total of 12 hours of battery life
Although we've heard of plenty of true wireless earphones priced under Rs. 2,000, we've always been sceptical of whether they can sound good and work well. Xiaomi has shown that it is possible to sell good audio products at surprisingly low prices, first with the Mi Dual-Driver Earphones and now with the Redmi Earbuds S. These earphones are surprisingly good for the price, and definitely the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 2,000.
With a combination of good design, useful specifications, and clean, enjoyable sound, the Redmi Earbuds S pretty much gets everything right considering its price. It offers an overall experience that several options that cost twice as much struggle to give. If you're shopping for a very affordable new pair of true wireless earphones, this should definitely be on your list.
Is Mi 10 an expensive OnePlus 8 or a budget budget S20 Ultra? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Ali Pardiwala writes about audio and video devices for Gadgets 360 out of Mumbai, and has covered the industry for a decade now. Ali is a Senior Reviewer for Gadgets 360, where he has regularly written about televisions, home entertainment, and mobile gaming as well. He is a firm believer in 4K and HDR on televisions, and believes that true wireless earphones are the future of the personal audio industry. Ali is available on Twitter as @AliusPardius and on email at email@example.com, so do send in