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Xiaomi Mi Dual Driver in-ear earphones review

Xiaomi has launched several affordable audio accessories in India over the last few years, ranging from headphones to Bluetooth speakers to soundbars. The brand’s latest entrant in this segment are the Mi Dual Driver in-ear earphones, which are priced super affordably at just Rs 799. As the name suggests, the earphones feature dual drivers, which on paper, should provide clearer, more precise sound with good bass response. To find out if Xiaomi’s bargain earphones can actually deliver superior sound quality, I’ve been using them for the past week.

Design and features

Xiaomi’s dual driver earphones feature an impressive build quality considering their price. They feature a metal casing, while the cavity is crafted out of anodized aluminium. The earbuds feature a matte finish, and they didn’t pick up any scratches or smudges during my usage. The earbuds are also magnetic, which are a common feature in wireless earphones to allow added functionality like playing/pausing music, but this isn’t the case here. The only purpose the magnets serve are to loop the earphones around your neck when not in use, which is pretty useful nonetheless. The magnets feature a carbon finish which looks premium, and the earphones themselves come in a choice of black and blue colours.

Another notable feature of these dual driver earphones is the braided cable. This means it’s more sturdy, and prevents tangles as well. The cable shifts to a rubber casing after the split for the left and right earbuds, and the cable for the right earbud has the in-line remote and mic. You get controls for volume up and down, and play/pause. I found the buttons difficult to differentiate between initially, but I got used to it over time, since the play/pause button has ridges on either side which makes it easier to locate. You can long-press the play/pause button to trigger your phone’s voice assistant. I found that the volume controls didn’t work on iOS and Mac, but they worked fine for Android phones. The play/pause button however works on all platforms.

The earbuds feature a gold-plated connector, and this is L-shaped which makes it easy to use when holding your phone to watch videos or play games. It also prevents wear and tear around the connector when plugged into a laptop. The ear tips on the earbuds are angled, which make them much more comfortable. The medium ear tips are applied by default, and Xiaomi also provides small and medium sizes in the box. The tips are made of silicone, and are of good quality. I used them with the small-sized tips, and found them comfortable to use for longer durations because of the angular design. As someone who isn’t a fan of in-ear earphones, I was pleasantly surprised that I could actually use these for longer periods without getting a headache.

Performance

Since these are dual driver earphones, you get two drivers for each earphone. These are dynamic drivers, with one 10mm and one 8mm driver. A driver is essentially a small speaker, which converts electrical signals into sound. Dynamic drivers are the cheapest of all driver types, and given the pricing of these Xiaomi earphones, they’re an expected choice. Unlike single driver earphones, dual drivers are theoretically more efficient, because they can focus on different sound frequencies. This allows one driver to handle the lower frequencies, and the other to handle the mids and highs.

Mi Dual Driver in-ear earphones teardown [Image credit: Xiaomi]

When it comes to the actual sound quality however, these earphones are disappointing, at least for me. The reason for this is that the bass is elevated at the lower-end, which affects the mids and highs. I listen to a lot of jazz for example, and in Miles Davis’ So What, the trumpet sounds shrill and distorted, particularly at higher volumes. In Steely Dan’s Do it Again, the mids sound muddied and the vocals lack depth. There are some tracks where the earphones sound pretty good though, like Arcade Fire’s Everything Now, which has clear vocals and punchy bass.

I wish Xiaomi had tuned these earphones better, but my guess is they are aimed at Indian users who enjoy the extra thump. If you listen to mainly Bollywood or EDM, you might enjoy these earphones. For anyone looking for cleaner sound, you’ll be in for a disappointment. What I did enjoy using the earphones for was watching videos and listening to podcasts, since they tend to emphasize the vocals.

Bottomline

The Mi Dual Driver in-ear earphones offer a premium design and build for their asking price. The braided cable and magnetic tips are extras that will appeal to users looking for earphones on a budget. I also think these are fairly sturdy and would last a while even with rough usage. The sound quality was didn’t appeal to me personally, but if you enjoy the extra thump in your music, you might want to check these earphones out.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7/10

What works:

  • Braided cable
  • Magnetic tips
  • Angular tips are very comfortable

What doesn’t:

  • Tuned only for certain music genres
  • Highs tend to get distorted
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Ketaki Bhojnagarwala

Ketaki has over 10 years experience writing on tech, having worked at the Hindu Business Line and 91mobiles earlier. When she's not editing copies or reviewing the latest gadgets, she spends her time binge-watching Netflix and reading fantasy fiction.