Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earbuds Basic S (Redmi Airdots S) Honest Review

If you are searching for Wireless Earbuds and you are on a budget, the Xiaomi Mi True Wireless Earbuds Basic S (also known as Redmi Airdots S) will be the perfect fit for you. Or at least that’s what Xiaomi suggests. However, let’s take a look at how they actually perform and what their value is based on their price.

I purchased them 2 months ago on Banggood for $14 (they were on a big discount) and I have been using them almost daily ever since. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert when it comes to sound but I have used a pair of Apple AirPods in the past so I know what high quality earbuds sound like.

So far, my experience with the them has been pretty good actually, even though, I had my doubts about them at first. Let’s take a deeper look at all the details to help you figure out if these earbuds are worth your money.

If you are in a rush and you don’t have enough time to read the whole review, you can check the Pros and Cons Table down below or watch our YouTube video about them:

Pros

  • Affordable Price
  • Low latency and delay with Game Mode
  • Comfortable
  • Bluetooth 5 support

Cons

  • Battery life is somewhat low
  • Slightly below average audio quality
  • There is too much bass in the audio
  • It uses Micro-USB to charge
  • Multi-function button is too large

Design

The Redmi Airdots S have the classic design that most companies use for their truly wireless earbuds. You get the in-ear style and a black plastic case where you charge them. Xiaomi hasn’t released a white version just yet and I am not sure if they ever will. 

As for the case, they went with the black matte finish instead of the overused glossy one, their logo is carved on the top and they have printed all the product details on the bottom. Overall, it’s a small and very nice-looking case that you can take pretty much anywhere without any trouble. My only concern here is that over time, products that use the matte finish tend to look slightly scuffed but I suppose time will tell in this case.

At last, there is a small red LED indicator below the “lips” you use to open the lid which only lights up when you charge the earbuds (it’s not visible if you are not charging) and at the back of the case Xiaomi has placed their Micro-USB. Now I can’t really complain about it since most devices at this price range will use that type but more and more smartphones these days, even low-end ones, will use USB Type-C so it’s not really convenient that I have to carry an extra charger with me just for the Earbuds.

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Moving inside the case, we have 2 magnetic slots where you place your earbuds to store and charge them. They are painted with a glossy black instead which gives them a great contrast in comparison to the rest of the case. The earbuds are positioned as always with their speakers pointing down and they are charged using 2 pogo pins. The magnets are pretty strong as I turned the case upside down and the earphones where hanging on very nicely. In general, the case is not very heavy and it can get even more lightweight if you remove the earbuds.

As for the earbuds, they have the same black finish as the case and on top they have a large multi-function button that’s tied to 8 functions (e.g. gaming mode, play/stop, etc…) and covers nearly the whole headphone. In addition, a tiny red LED dot which operates as an indicator of charging and pairing status is located on top of the button. I’ve had some issues with the button since it’s so big that you can accidentally press it while you are trying to put the earbud on. In general, I am not a big fan of such buttons. The only thing that saves the situation is that they are kind of hard to press. In the past, I used a pair of earbuds with large touch buttons and you can guess how that went.

Features – Functions

You only payed $14 for the Redmi Airdots S, that’s excellent but, what do you get in return? For starters, the earbuds use Bluetooth 5 for connectivity which actually means that both earbuds are independent so if you want to put one earbud back in the case and keep listening to music or answer some calls, feel free to do it. That was an issue with previous versions as they had the first earbud operating as a master and the second one was connected to the first. Have in mind that if you are already using the Earbuds, you will have a slight pause of the sound. This is normal for these earphones so do not worry thinking that they are damaged. What is more, I was able to go at a distance of 5 meters and a thick brick wall in the middle before I started losing the Bluetooth signal of my phone.

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As I mentioned above, Xiaomi Earbuds S have 8 functions which you can use with the multi-function button. These are:

  1. Answer / End calls
  2. Reject a call
  3. Play / Pause music
  4. Turn On Voice Assistant
  5. Answer a Second Call / Switch between calls
  6. Switch between your Earbuds and your Device
  7. Mute / Unmute
  8. Enable / Disable Game Mode

As you can see there are a lot of functions which is great for that price range but that’s where I’d like the button to be slightly smaller because you may accidentally answer a call or turn on the Voice Assistant as you put the earbuds on. 

Game Mode is for me the highlight of the Airdots S since it reduces the audio delay and latency down to 122ms (at least that’s what Xiaomi claims). I tried it on a Redmi 9 while playing PUBG and it felt like the sound was instantaneous. Pretty good job by Xiaomi on that aspect. At last, the on-board microphone is mediocre and that’s to be expected but it will get the job done if it’s used only for voice calls.

Comfort

The Redmi Earbuds S are fairly comfortable for their price. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t put them in the same category as other more expensive ones. They come with three different ear tip sizes (Small, Medium and Large), all of which are made out of rubber. The default size is the Medium and it fits me nicely so I didn’t feel like they are gonna fall. But, if you have larger or smaller ears, make sure you change the ear tips accordingly. Additionally, the rubber tips have some sort of passive noise-isolation which in combination with the music is enough to obscure your surroundings. However, it’s not as effective as a noise-cancellation feature would be.

Performance

If I had to describe the audio quality with 1 word, I would say “Average”. Although, if we take into account the price of the earbuds, the quality is not as bad. It sounds like they have a reverse S-curve in an equalizer; meaning that there is high-bass in the low-mids and very little if any in the high frequencies. It just feels unbalanced except for when you want to listen to a Bass-Boosted song. Luckily, there are applications with custom equalizers to help you improve these issues. Such apps are Equalizer FX, Music Volume EQ, Neutralizer or even Spotify’s EQ settings. The treble range is almost non-existent with the whole focus being on low and mid frequencies, the high frequencies are very weak. Finally, its stereo sound is pretty good but that’s expected for most in-ear earphones.

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xiaomi earbuds

Battery Life

Xiaomi claims that the Redmi Airdots S have a battery life of 4 hours of continuous usage and 12 hours with all the “juice” inside the case. Well, it was pretty close as my testing lasted for about 3 hours and 45 minutes until the earbuds turned off. I had to put them back in the case and wait for about 1 hour to fully charge them and run the test again. After about 12 hours there was no more battery in the earbuds and the case. Have in mind that it takes about 2 hours to fully charge the case without the earbuds inside. Overall, their battery life is good for people who want to use the earbuds for a small amount of time (less than 4 hours). If you are planning on travelling for like 10+ hours then the Redmi Airdots S won’t do you any good.

Conclusion

To summarize, the Redmi Airdots S are a very affordable choice but they have their limitations. A big reason for people to buy them is obviously their pricing but some people might find it hard to settle for the specific drawbacks that I mentioned above. The testing I did went well so they don’t don’t seem to be malfunctioning or anything. The game mode and the overall design are the big positives for Xiaomi with the audio quality and the Micro-USB being the negatives. Their battery life can sometimes be good and other times bad as they didn’t last for a very long time before they ran out of juice. Overall, I believe that if you purchase them with the mindset that you buy something very inexpensive, you will be left satisfied. At the end of the day, you can’t really ask for more with $14. If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments. Have a nice day!!

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