You probably didn't realize this in a market that is generally more excited about Apple and Samsung. Xiaomi is globally the second-largest seller of true wireless earphones (TWS). That is because of the variety of models it sells in different parts of the world, with attractive price points being the common denominator. However things are not the same when it comes to India. While Apple has been the obvious market leader, earlier this year a report stated that the Realme Buds Air were the second-highest selling true wireless earphones in the country. If that indicates anything, people want wireless earbuds but the price sensitivity remains intact. Also, it is a completely new experience for many, who want to take baby steps with the money they spend.
To get their hat into the ring and tap an increasing demographic of potential switchers, Xiaomi launched its first pair of TWS for the Indian market called the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2. This is the same model that sells in China as the Mi AirDots Pro 2. Priced at Rs 4,499, these might sound fairly competitive but how do these really feel in real life? Mind you, competition is tough, even within the family.
Straight off the bat, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 have unsurprisingly been designed to mock the Apple AirPods. That isn't a bad thing. There are some obvious differences though, including the thicker stems on the earpieces and the charging case. They are built well though, and primarily have a soft matte finish including the case, instead of the glossy finish that we’ve seen on the AirPods or even the Realme Buds Air. Only a tiny section that enters your ear has a smoother surface.
Speaking of the case, it is a bit bigger when compared to the AirPods case, but I don’t think there should be any issues while carrying them in your pocket. I did however find the lid of the case to be a tad wobbly but thankfully it doesn’t open on its own, neither do the earpieces fall out thanks to the inbuilt magnets. The charging case also comes with an LED indicator as well a pairing button on the right side. At the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port for charging. Overall the package is neat and clean. These might not be the most premium looking earbuds out there, but definitely well worth the asking price.
The earbuds should offer a good and secure fit for most ears. Since they are quite lightweight, they can be worn for a long period as well, without stressing your ears. They tend to stay in during walks or jogging, and they don’t seem to fall out even if you tilt and wobble your head. Yes, I actually tested the head wobble myself. Of course, the experience could differ for some users depending on the shape and size of your ears.
As far as connectivity is concerned, these come with Bluetooth 5.0 as well as offer a one-step pairing feature if you happen to own a Xiaomi device running on MIUI. Just like Apple’s AirPods, once you flip open the case, you should see a pop-up on your phone to begin the pairing process. This feature is limited only to Xiaomi devices including all Redmi and Poco phones. For all other phones, just flip open the case and search for the earphones under the Bluetooth settings. I found the pairing process to be fairly smooth on both Xiaomi and non-Xiaomi devices.
Connectivity range is pretty decent and in my testing I could use the earphones in one room while my phone was sitting in the other. Now I am talking about small-to-medium sized rooms and if you have a lot of devices and appliances in your house then the range obviously drops.
Before I give my opinions about the sound quality, let me tell you that I personally like a more neutral or sound flat profile. Heavy bass is a big no for me. Now the sound quality on the Mi TWS 2 is exactly how I expected it to be. It is definitely as good and in some cases, better than the Realme Buds Air, which is certainly its biggest competition.
Bass levels are nice and pleasant for most songs while the mids and lows feel crisp although they could have been tuned better for vocals. I usually listen to a variety of genres ranging from progressive metal to RnB. The heavy guitars on Kascade by Animals as Leaders felt a little overpowering to me, while the bass drops on Mi Gente by J Balvin and Willy William felt weak compared to the vocals and other instruments. I might sound like I am complaining, but honestly, I am nitpicking, because they cost only Rs 4,499. For the asking price, the sound quality seems absolutely good, but don’t expect it to blow you away.
The earbuds also come with LHDC or Low Latency and High Definition Audio Codec. According to the company, this helps transmit approximately 3 times more data than the SBC audio codec. Essentially this allows high-resolution audio streaming over Bluetooth which automatically improves the audio experience.
Now apart from music, I usually use earphones for gaming. Most Bluetooth earphones that I’ve used in the past cannot keep up especially while playing PUBG Mobile. The Mi TWS 2 offers low latency and there is a very minute, almost unrecognisable delay while playing games. So they shouldn’t hamper your gaming experience especially when you need to focus on the enemy footsteps. The earphones feature dual microphones in each earpiece making a total of four microphones. These work well while making phone calls or in-game chats.
Touch gestures are also available on the Mi TWS 2. Double tapping on the right earbud can play or pause your music. The same gesture can be used to pick or disconnect phone calls. Double tapping on the left earbud triggers the default voice assistant, and you can give voice commands. These gestures work across devices including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Each earbud also comes with inbuilt optical sensors that detect when they are being used, so when you take them out, music playback automatically pauses and resumes when you put them back on.
Compared to the Realme Buds Air, I don't think you would be missing out much on audio performance, in fact, the Mi TWS 2 sound better. Realme does claim to offer a longer battery life with the case, which can also be charged wirelessly, an added advantage that the Mi TWS 2 does not offer. Also, the low latency mode on the Buds Air didn't fully convince me during gaming sessions.
Now as for battery life, Xiaomi claims these can last 4 hours. In my testing, I did manage to get a full four hours before popping them back into the case. The case itself is said to offer 14-hours of total battery life. This means that you can go on for a couple of days without having to charge the case. Once you fully discharge the earbuds and case, it takes about one and a half hours to fully charge them, and yes they support fast charging.
To sum it up, I think the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 are a solid recommendation. I really like the whole matte finish and I was specifically pleased by the sound signature. The low latency during gaming is an added bonus. What I didn’t like was the fact that they are designed to mock the AirPods for no good reason. Also, I did face random connectivity interferences where the sound would drop for a second or two. It could possibly be because of the many devices I have at home. If you are looking for your first pair on true wireless earphones and don’t want to go super cheap, then these are a really good option. You could also try out the Realme Buds Air, or if you have a very tight budget then try the newly launched Redmi Earbuds S.