Xiaomi In Ear 2016 review



Xiaomi has been known to introduce disruptive products offering an unmatched cost to quality. Taking the journey forward from the cellphones, they have made a range of products right from power banks to wrist band to earphones to even air purifier.

When they introduced the first version of Piston earphones, it was an instant hit. Mass oriented sound signature with plenty of bass, excellent finish and durability most importantly it was priced much below it's class. It was sold like a hot cake. In the Piston 2, they revised the sound signature to have a more controlled bass(better quality than quantity) with added benefit of a spacious sound stage. This became the new budget favourite at Head-fi. Post this there was another leap forward with introduction of the hybrid model which was the cheapest hybrid earphone ever made. Sadly it was not a perfect implementation of twin drivers and was not liked that much. Piston 3 changed that with significant shift towards a flat sound signature(no bass bloat), using a single high quality dynamic driver. This review is about the latest edition of MI IEM which was labelled simply as "MI in ear". Only buy from official website at from Mi India. There is usually no discount on this site for these earphones and buying from any other source may be risky as there are counterfeits of Xiaomi everywhere.



The design

This IEM is a design marvel. Getting a prize from Red Dot for it's remarkable design later last year, this earphone is one of the best engineering earphones we have seen lately. It comes in a beautiful white package that opens easily once you remove the transparent round stickers holding it together. Inside that you will find a plastic case, which is another highlight of the design. You will find the earphone wrapped in a silicone organizer which sits over the array of 3 sized eartips. These tips are beside the pair of M sized ones already mounted on earphones. 



The instructions to recoil the earphone on the silicone organizer is shown in inner side of the white package. 

The earphone cable is made of kevlar up to the split, where there is soft silicone coated bi wiring. The right earphone cable has the microphone which is discussed in microphone section below. It is made of brushed aluminum and quality is remarkable at any price point.

The eartips are angled which are done to improve the sound staging, making the earphones sound more 'spacious'.

The diaphragm is made from a sandwich of metal(probably Beryllium) and two layers of PET. This is done to get a good response both in lower frequencies as well as higher frequencies(at least in theory). For those who think this "aerospace grade" metal as claimed by Xiaomi is out of sci-fi fantasy, it is not. However other companies such as Sony and Vsonic have been using exotic materials for making earphone diaphragms such as Bio-cellulose.


The sound


This in ear has a very flat sound. Which means that the bass, vocals and treble are all well balanced out without emphasis on one single section. Initially out of the box they sound a bit boring with touch of bass boost but using them(search for earphone burn-in) for about 30-50 hours will make them sound natural. Right now it sounds quite balanced after the initial burnin is over. The strong point of sound is that nothing is bad in this earphone signature. Treble does not hurt with sibilance, bass is not bloaty, mids are not subdued. However the minus point is that there is no particular area where this earphone shines. It may sound boring to those coming from bass heavy Piston 2 or even other earphones. There is dearth of detail in the higher frequencies which sound a bit dull. This would not be problem if you are upgrading from any bundled earphones or cheaper ones but prominent if coming from more premium earphones/headphones. Overall it gives a pleasant presentation and at this price it is as good sound as it can get. Definitely better than all mass produced earphones at this or lower price.

The microphone unit


Besides a good sound quality, this is another selling point for this earphone. In fact some testers specifically liked this because it's controls in the mic unit make it a complete android headset. 


There are three unlabelled buttons which can be used for both calling as well as for controlling music player. It is extremely convenient to switch back and forth tracks(double/triple click on middle button), pause and resume(single Middle button click) and increase or decrease volume (the outer two buttons). These controls come handy while commuting. 

Please note that some feature like volume control will not work in iPhone. Some android phones too are not fully compliant to volume control. This works perfectly on all Xiaomi phones. 

Apart from music controls, it also controls the calls. As seen in the above image, you can recieve, reject calls, put on hold and mute microphone. 


Final verdict

Xiaomi in ears are perfect companion to your phone and shall work flawlessly for a long time, given the build quality. Sound is good but beaten by audiophile grade earphones like Dunu Titan, Soundmagic E50, E80, Vsonic GR series, etc. However these are not headset with controls and cost three to eight times the price of Xiaomi.
VFM 4.5
Sound 4
Build quality 5
Design 5
Overall 4.6

Arindra Mishra

A blogger, a photographer and an Engineer. I write about technology, engineering and photogrpahy.

2 comments:

  1. Hello admin,
    This is really a very good review you have shared. This information will be so much helpful for others. I appreciate this type of informative posts and articles.
    Thanks for sharing.

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