Accessories

Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 review: Affordable, but far from perfect

Xiaomi’s premium TWS offering

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The truly wireless earphones market is filled with a plethora of options today, ranging from entry-level offerings like the Redmi Earbuds S to the premium Sony WF-1000XM3. However, the most popular TWS earphones are from Apple — the AirPods.

AirPods kickstarted the TWS trend, and since then, pretty much every brand has jumped onboard. Xiaomi is known for its reliable yet affordable products, and it has launched a few options previously, but it was limited to its home market of China.

Now, the brand has finally launched the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 in India, and it’s pretty much half the price of Apple’s AirPods.

The Redmi Earbuds S is an entry-level offering while Mi branding is now used for the company’s premium offerings. TWS earphones are incredibly convenient to use, and their demand is consistently rising. Can the Mi TWS 2 offer maximum features for the price and go against the competition?

Do they look like the AirPods?

 

At first sight, you’d think they are the AirPods for a quick second. But it’s soon clear that they aren’t. This is something I appreciate about the Mi TWS 2. In a market filled with AirPods knockoffs, it’s nice to see a different design. However, don’t set your expectations too high.

The earbud’s stem is exceptionally thick, and this is easily noticeable from the side. Thankfully, it doesn’t look that thick from the front view and is oval. The stem is also considerably long, giving the earbud a very bulky look.

The polycarbonate build has a matte finish on the stem while the driver is smooth and shiny. I feel the earphones were designed with utility and features in mind, and aesthetics took a back seat.

If the bulkier design can add more battery life and better drivers, I’m okay with it. This may not be the case with many since they tend to look like cheap AirPods knockoffs.

Each earbud weighs just 4 grams, and they slide in your ears very smoothly. Putting them on is a quick task, and for calls, while driving, these are exceedingly convenient to wear single-handedly. The semi-open design is supposed to be fit-for-all. But, this is where my primary concern lies.

How’s the overall user experience?

The earbuds fit perfectly and are rather stable. But the satisfaction of wearing an earbud is utterly absent because of reduced noise isolation. Even though they’ve never automatically snuggled out, I’m always afraid of losing them while walking. The confidence to wear them outdoors is low.

These too sport gesture-based controls, and the result is below satisfaction. I’d have to try a few times before they actively receive the command. Even play/pause function is rather cumbersome and paired with the loose fit; I’m afraid they don’t fall off.

Thankfully, they have an optical sensor that automatically plays/pauses a song when the earbud is worn or removed. Most times, I’d simply remove them from my ear instead of relying on the gesture buttons.

Lastly, the case is quite basic from a design point of view but gets the job done properly. The plastic build is solid, the lid has magnetic detection, and the earbuds aren’t finicky when plugged for charging. A small LED light on the front will show you the case’s battery status. A USB-C port is located on the bottom.

Pairing them is a straightforward task, and Xiaomi phones will automatically pop-up the status menu just like it’s on iOS. It’ll show you each earbud’s battery percentage along with the case.

But do they sound good?

The brand has added a lot of features on the audio side to make the product look premium. It has support for multiple codecs like SBC, AAC, and LHDC. The last one allows high-resolution audio streaming via Bluetooth. I used the Redmi Note 9 Pro Max to test the Mi TWS 2 and it automatically leveraged the AAC band.

Each earbud houses a 14.2mm audio driver, which isn’t the biggest. But, much of the audio output relies on tuning. Sound testing is also very subjective, so I’ll try to address everyone’s choice.

To start with, the output is very crisp and clear, and the vocals are perfectly heard. If you’re into Bollywood songs or even pop, these should be ideal for you.

Unlike the usual tuning, we see in Indian products; the bass here is well managed. It isn’t too much and ultimately does justice for every user. I’d say these are your GadgetMatch if you listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

The drivers are massively let down by non-existent noise isolation. The design of the earbuds inherently means you can hear pretty much everything happening around you. Even at maximum volume, it just didn’t feel enough.

Lastly, they have “Environment Noise Cancellation” that automatically kicks in when you’re on a call. Background noise is reduced drastically, and everyone I called could feel the change. The overall voice clarity is immensely improved, and high-winds too couldn’t deter them.

How long can they last?

Xiaomi claimed the earbuds can last up to four hours on a single charge and it’s on-point. I was able to get almost four hours with volume at 80 percent.

The case is capable of providing 10 hours of backup, taking the total to fourteen. Thankfully, the case takes just an hour to charge.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

If you’re an audiophile, the simple answer is no. The Mi TWS 2 will disappoint you in many ways. However, if you’re looking for work-related earphones, these are perfect.

Calls are ultra-clear, and the overall experience is better thanks to a loose fit. Keep them on, and get through a full day’s work. On the audio side, hip-hop or bass-intensive genre may not suit well here. However, all other vocal-centric songs shall swing by without a hitch.

With a price of INR 4,499, the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 is a solid competitor. When compared to the realme Buds Air, these lose out on aesthetics. But, the minor additions from a function point of view are worth the slight bump in price.

Accessories

3 accessories that should be inside your gym bag

Forget trackers and sports watches

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Working out has been a holy grail in my daily life. Even though gyms are closed, I made it a habit to use my gym bag. It made it easier to keep my stuff organized, and it helps with compartmentalizing. I can focus on my workout when I dedicate a space for everything related to fitness.

By now, you probably know the usual essentials that should be inside your bag. Smartphones, smartwatch, resistance band, hand wraps, water bottles, extra clothes, and more.

But I’ll let you in on my little world: I have three mainstay accessories inside my gym bag which I deem essential for my workouts — whether it’s at the gym or at home.

Soundcore 3

A portable Bluetooth speaker isn’t something I would use at the gym. But on my outdoor workouts and the social distancing imposed in almost every location, I need entertainment that allows me to still be in tune with my surroundings.

This is why the Soundcore 3 has been a great companion that I bring in my routines, especially when I decided not to use my pair of wireless earbuds.

It pumps up the bass even at low volumes, making my cardio exercises a bit more fun. And its dual drivers with pure titanium diaphragms minimize distortion for clearer audio.

The Soundcore 3 also has easy controls and carries a massive battery that gives you 24-hour playtime. Yes, my dear friend. You can listen to more than 400 songs on a single charge.

But what I like about it the most is its IPX7 rating. It gives me peace of mind when I hold the speakers with my sweaty hands or when I work out in the rain. And because I can bring it to the shower whenever I practice my dance moves.

The Soundcore 3 retails for PhP 3,195.

Powercore 5000

Another mainstay in my gym bag is an ultra-compact power bank from Anker. Called Powercore 5000, this power bank slides easily in your pocket (or your bag’s pockets). With 5000mAh capacity, it can recharge either my phone or my Soundcore 3 whenever I take a rest.

It does not support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge, but it still sports an exclusive PowerIQ technology so you can still experience high-speed charging for your gadgets.

Nonetheless, it comes with a travel pouch so you can keep your power bank safe, a MicroUSB cable for connectivity, a welcome guide, and a worry-free 18-month warranty.

The Powercore 5000 retails for PhP 1,295.

Anker Powerline 3-in-1

I like being prepared and ready at all times. This is why even a cable was able to count as a mainstay in my bag. Anker’s Powerline 3-in-1 is a handy accessory since it has interchangeable connectors — Lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C.

It makes it easier to charge several devices that have different ports, without carrying multiple cables that would probably populate my organizers. Luckily, the Powerline 3-in-1 keeps the internal wiring protected so I don’t have to worry about replacing cables anytime soon.

Plus, it has an MFi certification from Apple so it charges fast and safe — which I lend to my friends that use an iPhone, who for some reason, always forget to carry their own cables.

The Anker Powerline 3-in-1 retails for PhP 995.

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Accessories

Nothing launches first product, the ear (1), for only £99

Featuring 34 hours of battery life

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Over the past few months, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei kept teasing his brand-new venture after leaving his previous company behind. The new venture, Nothing, promised interesting and innovative products for the audio segment. Because of the teases, we already know a lot about the company’s first product: the ear (1). Now, it’s time for the main course.

Nothing has officially launched the ear (1) for markets worldwide. As depicted in official product photos, the wearable will feature a semi-transparent chassis and charging case. It will have pressure-relieving vents and customizable silicone ear tips.

Inside, the ear (1) sports a capable 11.6mm driver and will feature Active Noise Cancellation. The Active Noise Cancellation has three different modes depending on the environment you’re in.

Besides the default Transparency mode, Light mode, as the name suggests, is a more moderate form of noise cancellation which lets some noise in. It’s perfect for when you still need to be aware of your surroundings like during commutes. On the other hand, Maximum mode blocks in all noise for when you’re in very busy environments.

For connectivity, it will support Bluetooth 5.2 for seamless connections with your device. It comes with an ear (1) app which includes features like Find My Earbud, an equalizer, and a gesture control menu.

As teased before, the charging case will indeed have 24 hours of battery life (and more). It will supposedly have 34 hours of charge. Each bud will have 5.7 hours of listening time and can charge to full in only ten minutes with the case. The case charges wirelessly and can be charged with any Qi charger.

The ear (1) will retail for GBP 99. A limited drop will open on July 31 through nothing.tech. Official sales will begin on August 17.

SEE ALSO: Carl Pei’s Nothing intends to raise $1.5 million from the community

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Accessories

realme teases Android’s first magnetic wireless charger

Called the MagDart

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Wireless charging is making a huge push. Last year, Apple resurrected the MagSafe system, opening up the magnetic charging solution for iPhone users. However, If you’re from the other side, you’re likely wondering when Android is getting its first magnetic charger. Well, wait no more. realme has officially teased an upcoming magnetic wireless charger.

Leaked by GSMArena, the company will launch the realme MagDart will work like Apple’s MagSafe charger. However, according to the leaked render, the charger is larger than Apple’s charger.

The report does not spoil the exact hardware inside the charger, though. However, it does indicate that the charging power will be more powerful than 15W of wireless charging. realme also promises that the magnetic charger will be the fastest once it launches soon.

To coincide with the charger’s upcoming release, realme is also launching the first compatible smartphone: the realme Flash. Not much is known about the upcoming phone, but it is touted as “the first Android smartphone” that can support the charging solution.

Besides the charging solution, the company is likely launching a flurry of accessories to go along with the magnetic system. Apple has, of course, used the MagSafe system to add in other accessories for iPhone users.

SEE ALSO: realme Pad renders show-off single rear camera, stylus slot

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