AirPods-like design and features at a fraction of the price.
Xiaomi has been in the business of audio products for a long time now, but it took the company a while to bring its first pair of true wireless earphones to India. Launched alongside the Mi Box 4K and Mi 10 smartphone, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is priced at Rs. 4,499, promising a premium true wireless listening experience, plus Xiaomi’s typically competitive pricing. Although the company launched the much more affordable Redmi Earbuds S soon after, Xiaomi maintains that the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a more feature-filled product for more advanced users, similar to the way other Mi and Redmi products have been positioned.
Today, we’re going to put those claims to the test. At Rs. 4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is more affordable in India than in some global markets, and offers premium features such as environmental noise cancellation on voice calls, USB Type-C charging, and high-resolution Bluetooth codec support, to name a few. Find out if these earphones are worth buying.
The Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 looks like the Apple AirPods
It’s hard not to see the resemblance between the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 and the product that is arguably the godfather of the true wireless audio segment, the Apple AirPods. However, there are some not-so-subtle differences that set it apart: the bulky stalks, sharp edges, and uniquely shaped charging case will tell you that this is its own product. I wasn’t immediately a fan of the somewhat radical design, but I didn’t find it too offensive either.
That said, the outer-ear (or shallow) fit of the earphones and the white colour did make me feel as though I was using AirPods. The earphones don’t offer much passive noise isolation, as would be expected because of the design, but they did fit securely in my ears without feeling too intrusive. The charging case has some sharp lines, but it isn’t too large and feels good in the hand. The USB Type-C port for charging is at the bottom, while the pairing button is on the right side.
The stalks are touch-sensitive for gesture controls; a double-tap on the right plays or pauses music, double-tapping the left earbud activates the default voice assistant on your smartphone, and double-tapping either side when your phone is ringing answers the call. You can’t skip tracks or adjust volume on the earphones, which is disappointing. The touch panels aren’t very sensitive to gestures; the earphone often didn’t register my taps, and I’d have to try again.
For true wireless earphones that cost Rs. 4,499, the Mi earphones are quite well equipped. There are large 14.2mm drivers (bigger than what you’ll typically see on true wireless earphones), sensors for in-ear detection to play or pause music automatically (this works with Android, iOS, and Windows devices), environmental noise cancellation, voice assistant support, and one-step pairing on MIUI11 devices. It’s worth pointing out that there’s no official rating for water and dust resistance, so you’ll have to be a bit careful when using these earphones in certain situations.
Interestingly, there’s also support for the LHDC Bluetooth codec for better sound, but this codec isn’t supported by too many smartphone makers beyond Xiaomi itself. It didn’t work with my OnePlus 7T Pro (Review), so my listening was limited to the AAC codec.
The earphones ran for a little under four hours per charge, with the charging case adding two extra charges. That gave us a total battery life of around 12-13 hours per charge cycle.
Loud, full sound on the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2
Although earphones with an outer-ear fit lose out on passive noise isolation, the design allows for larger drivers in the earbuds. The Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 uses big 14.2mm drivers which definitely made a big difference to how it sounded. Apart from being very loud, the earphones also sounded full and detailed, with quality that is impressive for the price.
I listened to music across genres using Spotify and YouTube Music, and also tried my collection of high-resolution audio files. While the former two sounded fine, high-resolution tracks didn’t really benefit much from the AAC Bluetooth codec in use in my case. Starting with Big Wild’s Aftergold, I quite liked how detailed and wide the soundstage was; combined with the airy outer-ear fit, it was a comfortable listening experience that allowed for a bit of background awareness without affecting the sound quality itself.
The Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is an impressive headset when it comes to lows, and I quite liked how this lively track sounded when it came to thump and drive. Switching to the more laid-back Destiny by Jalebee Cartel, the sound was immersive and fairly tight, although we did hear a slight drop-off in the mid-range. The highs were distinct and particularly detailed, and it was impressive how clean the sound was.
While the sound quality on offer was impressive, we didn’t quite find the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 to be as cohesive and involving as the JVC HA-A10T earphones. There’s just a bit less drive and attack with the Mi earphones, making them a bit less exciting. However, the comfort of the outer-ear fit and the ability to hear our surroundings without that becoming a distraction was something I quite liked.
Performance on voice calls isn’t usually that good with true wireless earphones priced below Rs. 5,000, so the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 comes as a surprise here. Voice calls with these earphones were pleasant, with the parties on both ends of the call sounding crisp and clean. Environmental noise cancellation worked well enough, and the connection was stable through most of our calls.
While I was initially unsure of just where the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 might fit in amongst the competition in the sub-Rs. 5,000 true wireless space, the answer is a lot clearer now. These earphones aren’t the best in the segment when it comes to musicality – the JVC HA-A10T is our current champion there. Instead, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 offer a more rounded experience that will suit a number of usage situations. Whether you need to use the earphones indoors, outdoors, for music, or for calls, these earphones will do a decent job.
Features such as USB Type-C charging, environmental noise cancellation, and in-ear detection add to the quality of the product. That said, codec support is a bit strange given that Xiaomi has gone with the less-used LHDC codec. There’s also no water resistance, and overall battery life is average at best. On the whole though, this is a good option to consider, particularly if you need a good true wireless headset for phone calls, and you already own a Xiaomi phone that supports the LHDC codec.
Price: Rs. 4,499
- Comfortable fit
- Wide, detailed sound
- Tight bass
- USB Type-C charging
- Good for voice calls
- Poor passive noise isolation
- No water resistance
- Common high-quality Bluetooth codecs not supported
- Average battery life
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design/ comfort: 4
- Audio quality: 3
- Battery life: 3
- Value for money: 4.5
- Overall: 3.5