Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones review: Pretty good sum of parts

Xiaomi has launched its new Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones in India today. These affordable in-ear neckband-style earphones are a follow up to the Mi Neckband Bluetooth Earphones, albeit under the Redmi umbrella.

The earphones aim to offer better bass performance which was a slight miss on the Mi ones. These are budget wireless earphones, so I kept my expectations of sound quality in check. That said, I think Xiaomi managed to offer more than what one would bargain for in this price segment.

Highlights

  • Weight: 21.3 grams
  • Design: Neckband style
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 | microUSB
  • Water-resistance: IPX4 splash & sweat proof
  • Color: Blue and Black

Design

The Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones look quite similar to the Mi Wireless Neckband which is understandable since the former is a follow-up to the Mi ones. The neckband curve is made of rubbery-plastic material - rounded on the side which rests on the neck and flat on the other side. The wire feels a tad cheap though. The end of the curve is all plastic in a matte finish.

The band flexes all the way which is good in everyday usage, but I'm not sure how long it will retain its flex and shape. The build quality looked promising though.

The earpieces are hard plastic and have silicone ear tips that are touted to be ‘anti-wax’. The box offers three sets of tips in different sizes for choice.

The reverse side of the earpieces are magnetic and you can attach them when the earphones are not in use. Although, this does not turn the earphones on or off as we’ve seen in many other, more expensive earphones.

The earphones weigh just over 21 grams and that’s just wonderful. For the most part of my testing, I didn’t even feel something was around the neck. It comes with an IPX4 rating and can endure your workout sweat or a sudden splash here and there.

Performance

The SonicBass Wireless Earphones support Bluetooth 5.0 and can connect to two devices simultaneously. The latter is a rare feature on budget headsets and several of my premium and more expensive ones also lack the ability.

If the earphones recognize a sound being played on the second device, they switch to it automatically. While working from home as is necessitated by the ‘new normal’, you can keep them connected to your laptop as well as your phone for a seamless experience.

In terms of music playback, with modest expectations, I didn’t find any significant misses. The bass is punchier, yes, but still not all the way. In songs with intensive musical arrangements, the instruments sometimes overwhelm the vocals.

When it comes to call quality, there’s dual-mic Environmental Noise Cancellation which suppresses background noise to improve audio quality. Still, often during the calls, I had to be conscious of speaking into the microphone on the earphones to not have the person on the other side complain. So, I’m glad there’s some kind of noise cancellation – even if it is not perfect - else the experience could’ve been quite sore.

Battery Life

Xiaomi claims that the earphone can last up to 12 hours of continuous music playback at 80% volume. And that’s not inaccurate. If you’re listening to lower volumes, you can even surpass them. For affordable earphones with a very thin body, 12 hours of battery life is quite impressive.

To cut costs, Xiaomi doesn’t bundle any charger or charging cable with the earphones. Using a basic USB charger, it took me less than two hours to charge the earphones from zero to 100%.

Summary

At an introductory price of INR 999 ($14), Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones are one of the cheapest wireless neckbands in a crowded market. And for a mature neckband category, it ticks all the boxes and packs in a few features like dual pairing support as a bonus.

If you are not an audiophile or a music snob, the audio quality is good enough with the long battery life being the highlight of the earphones. At that price, you really can’t go wrong with the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones.

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