Xiaomi has just released a new set of devices, from its new Note 12 smartphone (reviewed here), to a stylish set of smartwatches and of course, the brand new pair of flagship headphones we’re reviewing today. These speakers feature up to 40dB of noise cancellation, spatial sound, multipoint connectivity, LDHC, and new drivers to deliver a premium listening experience. They are aimed squarely at the AirPods Pro. At almost the same price of $199, do they deliver?
Current price: $199
Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro – Overview and main features
The Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro are true wireless earbuds that aim to provide a premium listening experience. From their own design, it’s clear they have the AirPods Pro in their sights, but it’s feature-set and the $199 price tag also puts it in direct competition with other heavyweights in the industry. as Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, Jabra Elite 7 Pro, Libratone Air + 2and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2. This should come as no surprise given that Xiaomi is the number two true wireless headphone brand in the world, so it’s well-suited to go head-to-head with celebrity heavyweights in this space. Like other buds coming from smartphone manufacturers, you will find some features that are only accessible on Xiaomi smartphones.
These buds follow the AirPods formula with a stem-based design, and the buds sit in the stethoscope instead of being fixed in the ear canal. They are slightly larger than AirPods but still quite comfortable. In fact, I slept with one the night before reading this review, and slept comfortably for the most part. During waking hours, I was able to leave the buds plugged in for 4-5 hours at a time without pain or ear fatigue.
The new buds offer a host of features: customizable active noise cancellation and transparency modes, spatial audio, wear detection, Bluetooth 5.2, high-resolution audio and call quality good. You won’t have to sacrifice anything in features to swap to this set, and in fact, when it comes to its ANC capabilities, you might even be able to.
Active noise cancellation on the buds can be customized to four levels: light, balanced, deep, and adaptive. These scales are expansive in intensity, but once you set it up, the buds will remember your preferences. The lighting and equalization modes are very similar (equalizing removes some of the extra frequencies). Deep is a big leap forward and eliminates a lot of more ambient noise. Adaptive mode uses an external microphone to monitor noise in the environment and will adjust ANC mode based on how much noise it hears.
Transparency mode also has a trick. Like most modes of its kind, it inverts the microphone and leads the outside world in. The sound is natural and realistic and without in-ear headphones, you might not realize you’re listening to the microphone at all. Most can also be tuned to focus on the voice by elevating the mids. There’s a bit of a sublime auditory effect even with normal mode, which is always a neat effect.
Inside the bud, the audio experience is fueled by a diamond-like dynamic carbon (DLC) driver. This is helped by a CCAW coil and dual-magnet construction that Xiaomi promises will enhance the clarity and detail of the listening experience. DLC drivers are popular in the enthusiast space because of the extra stiffness they give driver diaphragms. This really enhances its speed and resolution, resulting in better bass and improved detail, so it’s good to see it included here.
The battery life is respectable with about 6 hours per charge. With the included charging case (small and pocketable), this is increased to 24 hours, so you’ll have four charges before you need to plug it in. Battery life is average for this type of headset, so there’s nothing to complain about or cheer about here.
Control of the buds is done through pressure sensors embedded in the body of either earpiece. They support single, double and triple tap as well as hold commands. Each of these is also programmable. By default, Xiaomi has two sets of buds with identical functions (tracking/call control and audio mode), but by adjusting the options inside Xiaomi’s Bluetooth app (dedicated to Xiaomi phones), you can add the function of adjusting the volume and summoning your virtual assistant.
The app is also where you can turn on spatial sounds. Now, spatial sound adds depth to the soundstage (hearing environment) and tracks head movements. When you start a track, the buds establish the direction of your head. When you turn left or right, the sound rotates in either direction to match. However, it’s a bit laggy and not something I’ll be using often. More on that in the performance section.
Overall, it’s a pack of features, sounds good, and offers great ANC performance, but you’ll need a Xiaomi phone to get the most out of them. Also, the buds are set to adaptive ANC so you can experience every mode, but that also means you can’t choose the mode you want. Spatial audio and custom controls are also removed. Thankfully, the buds seem to remember your ANC preferences after first setup, so even if you stop at a local store or borrow a friend’s phone, it’s worth taking your time connecting them. at least once.
Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro – Performance
I’ve been living with the Buds 3T Pro for over two weeks and have been impressed and disappointed by them – at least initially.
Sound quality is very good. It provides powerful bass but the low frequencies do not overwhelm the mids and highs. In fact, I’d say this is actually a pretty bright sounding headset. There’s plenty of detail in the mids and sharpness for vocals, which is especially good for podcasts and audiobooks. Contrary to what I expected, they were an enjoyable listening session on metal, hip-hop, ambient and even acoustic tracks. Over time, I’ve used system-wide EQs to tone down the mids with a single touch for the music and soften the top of the vocals.
My frustration came from initially trying to use these buds with my Samsung Note 20 Ultra. They connect and play music well, but adaptive ANC mode is difficult. Sitting in a quiet room, sometimes it will change modes randomly. It is losing its way. Thankfully, after changing the mode only once when I connect it to Xiaomi Note 12 Prothis problem solved, even put it in Adaptive mode and back to Samsung phone.
The ANC itself is very, very good. Based on my reading of past Xiaomi models, it looks like the design team has made some big strides. At the highest setting, the 3T Advantage greatly reduces any kind of low-flying noise, which is almost completely inaudible. What impressed me most was how well it performed for mid-frequency noises, like keyboards and voices. While there’s no true wireless bud that completely cancels out all of these sounds, the 3T Pro does one of the best jobs I’ve heard, second only to the Sony WF1000-XM4s.
Good call quality. I’ve done some test recordings and calls and have always been able to hear it clearly. The buds also do a good job of isolating your voice from your surroundings, so you can talk while out for a walk or stopping into the store without worry.
Spatial acoustics are fine, but I don’t want to buy these buds specifically for anything. The improved soundstage is nice, but the head-tracking technology doesn’t feel as immersive as intended. Perhaps if paired with a VR headset? For casual music, video, and games listening, I found myself turning it off and sticking with the already good stereo and turning on Dolby Atmos. If you’re using these buds with any other Android phone, you won’t be able to access it, so it’s not a huge loss, but still an area of growth for Xiaomi.
However, I would love for Xiaomi to release a standalone app for these headphones. Locking out customization features like ANC mode for Xiaomi smartphones is a difficult decision and quite possibly an opportunity for potential buyers.
Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro is a very good earphone. I was impressed by their excellent sound quality and ANC performance. For $199, I would have liked to see an app available to fully use them without a Xiaomi phone, especially for the ANC modes. If you have a Xiaomi phone or access to one to tailor it to your taste, it is definitely a worthy phone.
The product described in this article is provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.
https://www.mmorpg.com/hardware-reviews/xiaomi-buds-3t-pro-review-2000124569 Review Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro