Xiaomi Redmi Buds 3 Pro REVIEW
Witchdoctor’s earbud expert PAT PILCHER finds an unbeatable bargain and awards these Chinese beauts a 10 out of 10.
Chinese smartphone and gadget go-to brand Xiaomi has built a sizeable fan base around their affordable yet well-specced phones, and now they’re hoping lightning will strike twice with the newly launched Redmi Buds 3 Pro.
From a design perspective, the Redmi buds Pro 3 charging case resembles an XXL-sized Tic Tac that’s covered in a slick matt finish. That might not sound like a big deal, but in practice, it means that when reaching for the case, you’re far less likely to fumble and drop it on a busy street. The charging case houses a 470mAh battery that’ll fully charge the buds four times from a single charge. It also has a USB-C port for fast charging or Qi wireless if convenience is your thing. Having both charging options at this price point is a pleasant surprise.
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Instead of the ubiquitous Apple earbuds-like stem and driver design, Xiaomi has opted for a smooth pebble-like organic shape that easily plops into your ears. The buds are compact at 25.4 x 20.3 x 21.3mm, and their clever design means that while they can be a fiddle to put back in their case, they are a comfy fit.
Xiaomi bundle 3 different silicon tips. The benefit of having an existing fan base is that there’s also third-party app support in the form of the Mi Buds M8 android app, which gives you the ability to test the buds’ fit for the best passive noise isolation possible. With the app, you can enable features that would otherwise be limited to Xiaomi phones. These include control over ANC and ambient modes, firmware updates and other settings too. The amount of ANC can be tweaked. There’s also an adaptive function that adjusts ANC levels depending on environmental noise. In practice, their ANC capabilities were impressive. They blocked passenger noise on a busy bus, reducing city clamour to a barely audible buzz that was undetectable when music was playing.
The Buds 3 Pro use 9mm composite drivers and an additional 3 mics for calls and ANC. The sound they blasted into my noggin was surprisingly good. Solid controlled bass, balanced mids and crisp highs combined to make for a listening experience that belied their $129 sticker price. All told, their audio felt balanced and suitably ear-filling. Playing Fat Freddy’s ‘Bounce’ highlighted a punchy bass riff, clear vocals and instrumentals which combined to create a transparent and detailed soundstage that, well… bounced.
Another nifty feature is wear detection, which will pause playback automatically if you remove one or both buds from your melon. Having left my fair share of buds playing once removed so they ran out of charge, I found this to be an indisputably handy feature. Again, it was an unexpected but pleasant surprise for a $129 pair of wireless buds. Further adding to their appeal, they’re also IPX4 rated, which means they’ll keep playing in the rain or during sweaty gym sessions.
The Redmi Buds 3 Pro use Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity. They’ll also seamlessly switch between two different paired connections. For switching quickly between my laptop and phone, that proved insanely useful. Taking them walkies around Wellington’s CBD showcased just how robust their connectivity was. Where other buds commonly experienced at least 1-2 connectivity dropouts, the Buds 3 Pro didn’t miss a beat. Their call quality from a noisy part of the CBD also showcased how the three mics reduced background noise. That said, some wind noise was noticeable, but that’s part of the par on a breezy Wellington Day when the wind is a mere 110 knots from the south.
I managed to get just over four hours of use from the buds (with ANC enabled and volume at a high level for maximum headbanging audio goodness). A 10-minute fast charge via USB gave me an additional three hours of use. Fully charging the case took about two and a half hours, and I was able to recharge the buds 3 Pro four times before the case demanded quality time with the charger. Using the Mi Buds M8 app, I could also see battery levels for both buds and the case. According to Xiaomi’s bumf, 28 hours is the typical amount of use you’d expect from a fully charged case and buds.
So, will Xiaomi build a fanbase around these buds? Given their decent audio, capable ANC, third-party app support and premium feature-set, all for a very reasonable $129, my guess would be an emphatic yes! If you’re looking for a decent pair of truly wireless buds but you’re on a budget, you really should check out the Redmi Buds 3 Pro.