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Redmi Earbuds S review: Affordable TWS without compromises

Making TWS earphones more accessible

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Truly wireless (TWS) earphones have been around for a while. Apple kick-started the hype with the launch of the AirPods and numerous brands have released alternatives since. However, they’ve always been very expensive.

With brands keen on ditching the headphone jack, users are often left with no option but to find wireless options. Redmi phones continue to have a headphone jack, but the brand also wants to remain focused on its target — deliver quality products at an affordable price.

The Redmi Earbuds S is the first TWS offering in India under the Redmi brand. While the brand stands strong in the smartphone segment, it has some cut-throat competition from realme. With a price tag of INR 1,799 (US$ 24), does it have enough firepower to take on the competition? If you’re looking for an entry-level TWS solution, can you trust the Earbuds S? Let’s find out!

Not AirPods knock-offs

If you’ve been following the TWS market, the Earbuds S will look familiar. These are sold as the AirDots S in China and many have ordered them previously via international marketplaces. In India, Redmi is calling them the Earbuds S and these could land in more south-east Asian markets soon.

While the trend is to follow Apple’s design language, the Earbuds S is going against the flow. It has its own distinctive design that looks nothing like a cheap knock-off.

The pill-shaped case is compact, feels solid in hand, and has a subtle curve on the bottom. The case size is perfect and it’ll always slide into your pocket smoothly.

Each earbud weighs just 4g and the in-ear design is immensely comfortable. I’ve worn them pretty much all day long and never felt any irritation, pain, or slightest of inconvenience. The snug fit also ensures adequate noise isolation and wearing them while driving for calls is seamless.

There’s not much to talk about with the design since it’s basic and gets the job done. They’re built out of plastic and its clearly evident at first sight.

I won’t count this as a drawback since it helps reduce overall weight and I wouldn’t expect metal or premium construction at this price.

Easy to use, fairly straightforward

The lid is very basic but has a satisfying feel to it when closing. Unlike the popular AirPods, these sit in your ears at a 45-degree angle. Paired along are two earbud tips to suit your ear canal. I didn’t have to use them and the standard size that comes along worked fine.

Using them is a very straightforward process. Open the lid, remove the earbuds, and wear them.

They’ll connect to your phone as soon as they’re disconnected from the case. I’ve never faced any connection issues so far. Each earbud has a button for quick controls such as music playback options and calling up Google Assistant.

On the flip side, you can’t rely on the earbuds to change the volume level or play a previous song. That can only be managed via your phone.

Pressing the button thrice will trigger the low-latency gaming mode. A feature that’ll be very handy while playing online multiplayer games like PUBG Mobile or Mobile Legends.

Each earbud has an indicator light that shows the status. Red means they’re charging while white means successful connection establishment. Lastly, they’re IPX4 certified, meaning sweat resistance. This obviously translates to a perfect workout session.

Punchy bass, relatively good audio

This is where I was surprised the most. Considering the nifty features it already has, I expected some kind of compromise in this department. And, I was wrong.

It has 7.2mm drivers and delivers punchy bass — a must-have for Bollywood music. Mainstream genres like pop sound amazing and if you’re not an audiophile, you won’t have any complaints.

The maximum volume is sufficiently loud and coupled with good isolation, even a busy market street is easily navigable.

However, if you’re looking for top-notch audio, these aren’t meant for you. The low frequency takes over while the mids are flat. You can use an equalizer to change the settings but the inherent tuning is in favor of bass-heavy music.

Furthermore, these connect via the SBC codec and there’s no support for aptX. I wouldn’t call this a drawback because the brand has to cut corners to make them accessible to a wider audience.

Adequate playback duration

Xiaomi claims the earbuds can deliver up to four hours of playback on a single charge and I’ve reached 3 hours 45 minutes in one go. So, their claims aren’t farfetched.

The case can charge the earbuds fully twice, delivering a total of 12 hours of playback in one go. If you’re going to use them for conference calls, music, and other work-related activities, they’ll easily get you through a working day.

The case takes almost two hours to charge fully. For frequent travelers, this can be a major drawback. Furthermore, the case charges via a microUSB port instead of the now-standard USB-C. Don’t forget to carry that extra charging cord along!

Can this be your GadgetMatch?

Yes. It definitely can. While there are a lot of minor additions I’d want to see, the price brings me back to reality.

In a nutshell, they’re designed aptly, deliver ordinarily better audio, and have 12 hours of playback. For US$ 25, there’s no better deal available. Keep in mind, the Redmi Earbuds S are making TWS earphones more accessible to everyone.

If you’re looking for top-notch audio quality, there are premium offerings like the OPPO Enco Free, Galaxy Buds, and 1More Truly Stylish. On the affordable side, realme Buds Air Neo and OPPO Enco W31 can be alternatives but are still priced considerably high.

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realme Buds Q: Keeping up with the ‘new normal’

Wireless is the new normal

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When this year started, I’ve already laid out most of my personal plans: do more outdoor activities, travel to different places, and slowly pick myself up from the emotional downhill I experienced last 2019.

But what do we know, the universe has much bigger plans.

The past few months of quarantine has been a wild transition for me, especially as a person who finds solace in the outdoors. Staying indoors for a long time has challenged my mental health, and it’s still an ongoing battle that I face every single day.

A total shift in my personality

During this collective isolation period, the first thing I did is try to make peace with things I can’t control. I started channeling my energy into doing what is feasible for now — both in my career and personal life.

I began doing activities that are completely opposite from my usual hobbies, starting with yoga and meditation to help me become more present.

realme Buds Q

It is also the same time I shifted to using wireless earbuds after years of using wired earphones. I have tried several brands for a while, and currently, I am using the newly released Realme Buds Q.

Light and portable device that is compatible with all my new activities

Doing yoga in the morning is easier — the Realme Buds Q fits just right and it’s light in the ears. Personally, I really prefer using earbuds rather than open-type ones. The latter hurts my ear in the long run, so the Realme Buds Q is a nice fit for me.

I can do all the poses with ease and without worrying they might slip off my ear. It has IPX4 water resistance, so I don’t bother sweating a lot during and after every session.

I also use it during my meditation, and every time I go jogging.

Buds Q is also a handy companion to all my other activities with its intelligent touch controls. Playing music and answering calls is easy with just a few taps. It’s perfect for multi-taskers like me who usually attend Zoom meetings while preparing food away from my laptop.

Wireless is the new normal

While I still keep my wired earphones, the wireless technology is totally heaven sent. It’s essentially helpful in a lot of ways especially now that we need less contact as possible.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Personally, the design is nothing too grand, just quite similar to the other earbuds I have tried before. The lightweight feeling is a plus for me — it weighs only 3.6 g, lighter than a sheet of A4 paper!

However, this newest earbuds offering is quite underwhelming in the sound department. While it’s good for upbeat songs with its dynamic bass boost, the overall sound is really not that impressive. Still, it’s a decent buy with its 40mAh battery life, which is longer compared to other brands.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 Pro review | realme 7 review


BUY THE REALME BUDS Q HERE

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realme Buds Q ‘for Gen Z’ now official

Budget TWS earphones that do not look like AirPods

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realme Buds Q

It’s always refreshing to see a pair of TWS earbuds that looking nothing like Apple AirPods. That’s exactly what the realme Buds Q is.

The realme Buds Q was designed by José Lévy — the cooperated designer of Hermès and the art director of the realme Design Studio. Like their entire product range, this is primarily targeted at the youth (Gen Zs).

realme says Lévy took inspiration from the round cobblestones found along the shores of Normandy beach where he spent most of his youth. He and the realme team iterated the design over 200 times. They fine-tuned the curvature of the G3 curve just to give users a cobblestone-like design that is mellow and comfortable.

On the specs end, the realme Buds Q has a 10mm Large Driver and Dynamic Bass Boost. With the charging case, you should get up to 20 hours of music playback. The buds could also go on for three hours of single continuous calling time, four and a half hours of single continuous music listening time, five hours of single continuous gaming time, and six hours of single continuous video streaming time.

Pricing and availability

The realme Buds Q will be available starting September 30 and retails for PhP 1,490. It comes as a freebie for the first 10 buyers of the realme 7 Pro and is discounted by PhP 500 on Lazada only on September 30.

SEE ALSO: realme 7 Pro review | realme 7 review | realme Buds Q hands-on


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Jabra launches Elite 85t TWS earbuds with ANC

Elite 75t Range gets ANC upgrade

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Jabra Elite 85t

Long before smartphone manufacturers started making their own TWS earbuds after Apple made it a thing with the AirPods, it was Jabra that was quietly making waves in this device segment. Looking to take some of that power back, the company launches the Jabra Elite 85t with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation).

One of the biggest defining features other than the aforementioned ANC (which will dive deeper into later) is its design. It looks nothing like the stem-touting TWS earbuds that are all over the place right now. Jabra managed to add ANC functionality without altering their design too much.

Semi-open design

To balance comfort with wearability, Jabra opted for a semi-open design. This means the tower of the Elite 85t does not sit as deeply within the ear, giving users a more comfortable earbud, while maintaining a very secure fit.

Jabra has also adapted the ear gels to an oval shape providing a better sealing in the ear. The Elite 85t has 12mm speakers for producing “a big sound and powerful bass.”

Advanced ANC

To go beyond Jabra’s standard ANC and for optimized sound processing, the Elite 85t has a dual chipset. These are some of the smallest earbuds on the market that offer premium ANC to create a private, quiet space and deliver HearThrough to let the user hear their surroundings.

Both features are fully adjustable with extra focus on natural sound performance and limited occlusion (blockage/closure) and are achieved via the semi-open design and multiple ANC microphones.

The Jabra Elite 85t provides up to 5.5 hours of listening with ANC on, which extends to 25 hours with the charging case with ANC on and 31 hours with ANC off.

Elite 75t ANC upgrade

Both the Elite 75t and the elte Active 75t will get an ANC upgrade. The free upgrade is being made available to users through Jabra’s engineering on Qualcomm technology.

Taking advantage of the superior digital audio processor already available in the Elite 75t series and leading ANC know-how, Jabra has been able to deploy ANC in the existing product line.

The Jabra Elite 75t series will also be available to purchase with ANC as standard from October 2020. The ANC-enabled models will also continue to have IP55/IP57 rated durability, and a two-year warranty.

With ANC on, battery will be 5.5 hrs on a single charge (24 hrs in total with charging case), and with ANC off it will be the existing 7.5 hrs and 28 hrs in total. The addition of ANC as standard adds no additional cost to the earbuds.

Pricing and availability

Jabra Elite 85t will be available for pre-order at Jabra.com, Amazon and Best Buy in October 2020 and for sale online and in stores November 2020 at US$ 229. The earbuds will be available in Titanium/Black November 2020, and Gold/Beige, Copper/Black, Black and Grey January 2021.

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