Over the past few months, I've been hearing a lot about the Redmi AirDots, which is why I haven't missed the opportunity to try them despite my very low expectations because of their small price tag. However, I had to think again! Find out more in our full review.
- ✓Build quality
- ✓Top battery life
- ✓Very high volume
- ✓Ultra-competitive price
- ✕Not top-notch sound quality
- ✕Microphone not up to speed
- ✕Lack of USB Type-C in the case
- ✕Unintuitive pairing
Quality at an affordable price
We are slowly entering the world of wireless audio, a bit for convenience, a bit because the smartphones available are now almost all intending to remove the beloved audio jack. Of course, being a growing market, the wireless headsets out there also offer a wide choice of products for every price range, including the entry-level that, naturally, is now controlled by Xiaomi, or rather by one of its brands, Redmi.
The Redmi AirDots are particularly cheap wireless earbuds, whose design is inspired by a wide range of products available on the market and represent a great option for those who want to immerse themselves (or simply test) in the world of wireless audio via Bluetooth.
Their price, in fact, does not exceed $30-35 (around £30), and you can even buy them in the US for this price through some major online channels, such as eBay and Amazon, but not from Xiaomi's site directly.
Extremely light and comfortable
The first thing you notice about the Redmi AirDots once you open the case is their elegant look. The shape is very generic and minimal, typical of the brand, with rounded edges. Also, these headphones are much lighter than you might expect, an aspect that certainly helps a lot in terms of comfort, but at the same time does not promise anything good in terms of audio quality.
Apart from this last concept, which we will talk about shortly, the AirDots fit easily in the ear and immediately sit comfortably, blocking out external noise quite well. Of course, you won't get a level of experience similar to active noise-cancelling headphones, but you can still block out a fair amount of noise.
Their shape may cause comfort problems depending on the size and shape of the ear, but once you get used to them you can keep them in your ear for hours without having to remove them. In addition, AirDots are also resistant to sweat and splashing water, which is especially useful if you are quite active from a fitness point of view.
Finally, an LED has been placed on the side of each headset, which flashes to indicate the battery level. The light turns blue-white during pairing or connection to the device, or flashes red when the headset is placed in its case to indicate the charging status.
Strange but quick pairing
The initial pairing process is not particularly intuitive and there is no dedicated app. You will then need to access your device's Bluetooth settings and pair them in the usual way. It may seem strange to notice the presence of two devices instead of one, namely right and left headphones, but you don't have to worry. Simply connect to one of the two and the other will connect fully automatically.
Once you've overcome this strangeness, you won't have to fear anything. When you remove the AirDots from their case, they will automatically connect to your phone or tablet in seconds. In addition, these headsets feature the Bluetooth 5.0 chip, which is currently the fastest and most stable standard and offers up to twice the transfer rate of the previous generation.
The right quality for 30 dollars
Both headsets have a button on the sides that allows you to manage different functions while playing music and videos. A single tap pauses the content, while two taps activates Google Assistant on Android smartphones, or Siri on iPhones.
You're probably wondering how AirDots behave from the point of view of sound quality. Well, it's not great, but it's still surprisingly good, especially when you consider the price at which these headphones are sold. This goes unnoticed, especially as there are very few low cost solutions that can handle "good" sound quality.
All this is possible thanks to the 7.2 mm drivers inside each headset. Really not bad when you consider the AirDots' compact form factor. The bass is quite pleasant, but not particularly accentuated. The treble is sharp and clear while the mids are reproduced well at any volume level. I have to say that, at maximum power, the AirDots get loud , so much so that I could not bear more than 70% of volume.
However, I would not recommend these headsets for voice calls. The microphone is absolutely not up to it and several people have had trouble hearing my voice during my (few) phone calls.
Pleasantly surprising battery life
The battery life of these wireless headsets is a very pleasant surprise. In fact, it is not so different from any other pair of Bluetooth headsets I've had the pleasure of testing. Each earbud has about four hours of life that extends easily thanks to the case that acts as a portable charger, and with which you can recharge the AirDots about three times.
As a result, you can potentially get about 12 hours of playback, on par with some of the best wireless headsets out there. Unfortunately I hate the fact that the battery in the case has to be charged via microUSB port instead of USB Type-C, but at this price I could not expect any better.
Couldn't find anything better
I've been particularly fond of Anker's Soundcore Libery Air for a few months now, but I didn't want to miss the chance to try Redmi AirDots after hearing about it almost everywhere.
My experience has been very positive and, once again, the Chinese brand demonstrates its potential with a product that is affordable for everyone. Yes, the sound is not at the level of the most expensive wireless headphones, but you definitely won't find anything better at the 30 dollar price point than these.