The family of Xiaomi "True Wireless" bluetooth headsets is expanding with the arrival of the new super cheap model, the Redmi Airdots (we thank GearVita for sending the sample). Given the recent fall in the prices of other models, it is time to make an overall assessment to decide which Airdots are worth buying.
The packaging for all three versions is rather minimal, for the Redmi Airdots and the Pro has a design that we have already seen in the new MiBand 3 even if in a different color. All packs include two pairs of additional pads with different sizes to adapt to different ear sizes.
Only the Pro and Youth Airdots also include a cable for charging the dock.
Le Redmi Airdots and Youth they offer a very slender, light soap design that in the pockets (even narrow ones) does not bother them. The battery for both is of 300 mAh, recharges in about 2 hours and is able to recharge the headset almost twice. A small red LED on the front is activated during charging.
Le Airdots Pro instead they have a more massive, heavy and sharp design that is less suited to transport but made with higher quality plastics. The latter are the only ones to adopt a charging slot in the USB Type-C format. The supplied battery is 410 mAh and is able to recharge the earphones up to two times. Also convenient is the button to interrogate the charging status of the dock which causes the status LED on the front to activate (flashes in case of low battery)
In all three versions we find magnets that keep the earphones in place and the door tightly closed.
Earphones - Design
Also for the earphones, between the Youth and the Redmi we find a great similarity: the same “capsule” design but above all in the form, even if the Redmi are slightly smaller and lighter than the Youth, they have a more rounded design that makes it difficult to extract from the charging dock. Both are comfortable and firm also during sports activities.
Le Redmi AirDots are the only ones to use physical buttons to give commands to the smartphone. This choice avoids accidental touches (eg fixing the earpiece) but inevitably creates minor inconveniences as it pushes the earpiece into the ear canal.
Le AirDots Pro instead have a "wand" factor therefore longer with consequent advantages and disadvantages. The wand is useful for holding the earpiece avoiding accidental touches to the touch surface (see above) and extends the microphone a few centimeters towards the mouth, improving the audio quality. (See microphone test). However, they are more prominent and more prone to tangle.
All three models have a small LED that turns red during charging and white during activation.
Earphones - Features
Among the three models certainly the Airdots Pro are those that offer more features to justify the price more. Together with the Redmi Airdots they are the only ones with IPX4 certification (water spray resistance) tested personally as I lost a headset for 2 days in the rain. Implement a system of active ANC noise cancellation (not during calls) which guarantees better listening quality by filtering out external noise for around one 30%. Finally they are the only ones to adopt a proximity sensor which stops playback when they are extracted.
From the technical point of view Redmi and the Youth instead they share the same version of Bluetooth 5.0 which guarantees greater bandwidth and less latency which can also be verified by the test in the following paragraph. The Airdots Pro in fact adopt the bluetooth which is probably the cause of a very small delay in the synchronization of the audio / video (see Audio latency test).
Despite the bluetooth differences I have always maintained a good signal quality in the distances between the 8 / 10 meters even with a couple of walls in between.
Audio latency test
Le Airdots Pro and the Youth adopt the same AAC codec far more advanced than the SBC of Redmi but that probably does not express all its potential in this context because of the limited bluetooth bandwidth and the SoCs for smartphones that are more devoted to autonomy.
In objective tests for frequencies from 30Hz to 16.000Hz all three models behaved similarly. They are all capable of reproducing audio content with sufficient and pleasant quality. I want to give a subjective judgment, I believe the Xiaomi Airdots Pro the most balanced ones and with a cleaner sound although the maximum sound is the least powerful but still more than sufficient. The Airdots Youth are those with high pitches more pronounced as opposed to Redmi that prefer Bass tones.
It is evident that from 20 € bluetooth headsets, but also from those little more expensive, it is unthinkable to expect a very high quality and these devices are certainly not suitable for a professional listening. However, there are still good products for "normal" listening.
Call quality, at least in reception, is as good as that of listening to music. In transmission instead the microphones "suffer" more, returning a voice a medium metallic that becomes at the limit of understandable in noisy environments especially for Airdots Youth and Redmi Airdots.
Earphones - Operation
All of the models offer a basic interaction that will allow you to control the smartphone without having to extract it.
- Single touch for Play / Pause or Answer / Close call
- Double tap to start the voice assistant (on PRO only the left receives this command)
- Long press enable / disable active noise reduction (only on PRO)
- Long press for switching off / stand by (only on Redmi and Youth)
All three Airdots, once stored in their dock, disconnect from the phone, turn off and start charging.
The combination must obviously be made only the first time, after which it will be sufficient to extract them to reconnect them to the phone and synchronize them with each other (R + L). The earphones they can also work in "mono" (single) mode but for the Redmi Airdots only the right earpiece has this peculiarity.
Overall, there are no particular problems in the various pairing / synchronization operations and during use I have never found any disconnections. Only in the Youth do occasional "impuntature" remain, as already reported in January in our review, making it necessary to store and re-extract the earphones for the correct combination.
Conclusions / Prices
With the flattening of the price differences between the various models, the choice to purchase is less than ever predictable, yet we can make considerations that will help us in the choice.
Le Redmi Airdots cost 20 €. Point. At this price, which is low even for earphones with wire, it's hard to ask for more. The compromise of the physical buttons is abundantly repaid by the price and by the more than honest operation.
Le Xiaomi Airdots Youth, despite the settlement of the price at 35 € they are placed in the middle between the three models and given the small operating problems, they risk to dissatisfy both those seeking savings and those seeking quality.
Le Xiaomi Airdots Pro they are the most expensive (around 51 €) but offer a higher quality of materials and audio output, combined with useful additional features (proximity sensor, active noise reduction, IPX4 certification) that justify the price difference. The adoption of 4.2 bluetooth remains an incomprehensible choice but does not materialize in particular operating problems.
That's is just my 2 cents
A product with an interesting value for money that allows anyone to have true wireless earphones without spending too much
- Physical button