Android Central Verdict
Bottom line: The Redmi Earbuds S are the best budget true wireless earbuds in the market today. They sound great, provide decent battery life, and the IPX4 rating means they're ideal for workouts. Sure, you miss out on high-fidelity codecs, but the sheer value you're getting here is incredible.
Great sound quality
Four-hour battery life
IPX4 sweatproof design
Case charges over Micro-USB
No AptX codec
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Xiaomi has a rich heritage in audio. Over the years, the Chinese manufacturer introduced a thriving ecosystem of audio products, including headphones, in-ear headphones, and Bluetooth devices. Xiaomi is now turning its attention to the true wireless category, and with the manufacturer diversifying its products across Mi and Redmi series, we have clear-cut differentiation between the two lines.
Essentially, Redmi products are targeted at the entry-level segment, with the Mi series focused on the mid-tier and premium categories. The Redmi Earbuds S debuted globally as the AirDots S, and they're now available in India for just ₹1,799 ($24). The low pricing is quintessential Xiaomi: the brand is lowering the barrier to entry for true wireless earbuds, and that makes them accessible to a wider audience.
So let's take a look at the Redmi Earbuds S, and find out if you should get them just for the value or if they're good regardless of the price.
Redmi Earbuds S What I like
The Redmi Earbuds S feature an in-ear design that ensures a tight seal, leading to decent noise isolation. You get three pairs of silicone ear tips in the box, and you should be able to find a pair that provides a decent fit. There's nothing particularly interesting about the design of the earbuds — they're made out of plastic and don't have any design flair — but the build quality is great considering the price point.
The earbuds are extremely light at just 4g each, and they're comfortable to wear throughout the day. The matte finish ensures the earbuds look pristine, and the design itself is such that the buds don't protrude from your ear too much. There is a single button on the outer surface of each earbud for pausing tracks and invoking Google Assistant, Alexa, or Siri, and the button itself is tactile.
I had no issues pressing the button to invoke Google Assistant when using the earbuds, but the downside is that you can't change the volume level or skip ahead to the next song with the button; you will have to rely on your phone to do so. There is a single indicator LED on each earbud, and it flashes red during charging and white when the buds are ready to pair.
A single press on the button pauses and resumes playback, and can be used for answering or ending calls. You'll have to press the button twice to invoke Google Assistant, and pressing down thrice will launch a low-latency gaming mode — ideal if you're playing battle royale games like PUBG. I didn't notice any latency when using the earbuds, but Xiaomi says the gaming mode brings the latency down to 122ms, so if you play a lot of games on your phone, you should use the dedicated gaming mode on the earbuds.
There are other standout features on the Redmi Earbuds S that make them an enticing option — including an IPX4 rating — which makes the earbuds sweatproof and ideally suited for workouts. You get a lot of features for the asking price here, and that makes the Redmi Earbuds S a great value for your money.
Now let's talk about connectivity. The Redmi Earbuds S pair with each other as soon as you take the earbuds out of the case, and after two or three seconds you'll see a white flashing indicator on the earbuds, suggesting they're ready to pair. The earbuds immediately showed up on my phone, and I had no issues connecting to them. Connectivity was rock-solid throughout, and the earbuds pair over Bluetooth 5.0.
When it comes to sound quality, there's a lot to like with the Redmi Earbuds S. Xiaomi says the earbuds have been tuned for the Indian market, and that means a bass-heavy sound signature that's suited to Bollywood tunes. So if that's the music you like to listen to, you will love the audio quality of these earbuds.
That said, the Redmi Earbuds S are limited to the standard SBC Bluetooth audio codec, and you don't get AptX here. You still get clean sound with a booming low-end, but the highs aren't detailed and the mids are flat. Look, these aren't the best-sounding earbuds you'll find, but for what you're paying, the sound quality is pretty great. It's a similar story with calls: the mic on the Redmi Earbuds S is decent enough considering how much they cost.
As for battery life, Xiaomi touts a four-hour battery life from the earbuds, with the charging case able to deliver a full charge two times, extending the battery life to 12 hours. Those claims hold up in real-world use. Each earbud is housing a 43mAh battery, and I got just under four hours of use from the earbuds while streaming music, with the volume at 60%. The case houses a 300mAh battery, and it takes around two hours to fully charge the earbuds within the case.
Redmi Earbuds S What needs work
Honestly, there isn't anything that the Redmi Earbuds S miss out on. The only issue that I have with the earbuds is that they charge over Micro-USB, and even that is forgivable considering the earbuds cost just ₹1,799 ($25). There's also the fact that you're missing out on high-fidelity codecs like AptX; once again, not a big deal when you factor in the cost.
The case doesn't have a charge indicator, so there's no way to know the remaining battery level unless you pair the earbuds with your phone. Finally, the case itself is rather flimsy and does not feel very durable. It has a magnetic lid, and the earbuds are also held in place by magnets, but the plastic chassis doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. For what it's worth, the design itself is pocketable.
Redmi Earbuds S Alternatives
There are a lot of options in the budget true wireless segment, and the OPPO Enco W31 immediately stands out for ₹3,999 ($52). They cost more than double the price of the Redmi Earbuds S, but you are getting excellent audio quality and a premium design.
Then there's the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 for ₹4,499 ($60) — think of these as the upgrade pick to the Redmi Earbuds S. You are getting better audio quality and a design that emulates the AirPods. There's also the ₹1,999 ($26) OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z. These come close to the Redmi Earbuds S in terms of price, and while they don't offer true wireless connectivity, you do get pretty great sound and the convenience of fast charging.
If you're looking for a budget true wireless option in the U.S., look no further than the $28 Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo. These earbuds offer excellent sound quality, an IPX7 design, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and five hours of battery life between charges.
Redmi Earbuds S Should you buy it?
At the end of the day, it's easy to recommend the Redmi Earbuds S. Xiaomi has always delivered products that offered great value in the audio segment, and that's still the case here. You're getting decent audio quality backed by a 4-hour battery life, a comfortable fit, and thanks to IPX4 rating, they're great for workouts.
Sure, you are missing out on a few features — like AptX codecs and USB-C charging — but those would have inevitably raised the price of the earbuds. So when you consider how much they cost, the Redmi Earbuds S end up being the best true wireless option in their category.
4 out of 5
Ultimately, the Redmi Earbuds S are a great option if you're in the market for value. For under ₹2,000 ($26), you really can't go wrong here.
Who it's for
- If you're in the market for budget TWS earbuds that offer a great value
- You need IPX4 rating with decent battery life
- You're looking for seamless connectivity and great sound quality for the asking price
Who it isn't for
- You want high-fidelity streaming over Bluetooth via AptX
- You need a case that charges over USB-C
Come for the value, stay for the quality
The Redmi Earbuds S are the best budget true wireless earbuds in the market today. They sound great, provide decent battery life, and the IPX4 rating means they're ideal for workouts. Sure, you miss out on high-fidelity codecs, but the sheer value you're getting here is incredible.
Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.