NEW DELHI: It’s been long since Xiaomi made a product that hasn’t been recommended almost unanimously. The company has made a name for itself by selling affordably priced products that punch above their weight. But with the Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 (Mi TWS) Xiaomi has faltered. There are good things about it, to be fair, but there is a fatal failing too.
Nothing matters more for audio products than the actual sound quality, and therein lies the Mi TWS’ primary fault. It suffers from bloated bass, something that the company made it a point to say it has worked on. According to Xiaomi, it tuned the audio quality to fit the Indian listening tastes, without overdoing the bass.
But the mid-bass notes are just excessive here, which affects audio quality overall. It means the headphones let some of the bass notes linger longer than they should, affecting the overall audio quality. So, if you listen to a lot of rock music, you’ll hear the bass drums overpower other instruments in a way. Similarly, techno and trance music will sound muddy with a low grumble ensuing throughout the song.
Bloated bass used to be a problem with a lot of low-end headphones till a few years ago, but over time, even some of the cheapest ones have been able to tune their drivers better.
And that’s important, because the Mi TWS sport 14.2 inch drivers, which are bigger than those on competing products like the Realme Buds Air or the Air Neo. It just goes to show that driver size really doesn’t matter if the tuning isn’t done right.
In practical terms, if you listen to a lot of jazz, the Double Bass will sound plain bad. On vocal driven tracks, like Jenny of Oldstones (from Game of Thrones) by Florence + The Machine, you’ll hear a low grumble very clearly, ruining the essence of the song. The piano in that song sounds like it’s being played inside a hollow chamber. Similarly, in The Rising Sun, which is WWE superstar Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance tune, the violins get overshadowed and the strong blare in the beginning loses its pitch.
All this makes it sound like the Mi TWS has nothing good to offer, but it does. The Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 worked better than the Realme Buds Air in terms of gesture controls. All controls are on double taps, so you don’t accidentally pause the music because you’re shifting the earbuds in your ear. You double tap on the right bud to play/pause music or take calls, double tap the left for your phone’s voice assistant.
That said, it doesn’t really work for making calls. People on the other end complained that my voice sounded muffled and the headphones could not block most surrounding noise while you’re on call. To be fair to Xiaomi, “crystal clear calls" is a claim every wireless earbud makes and I haven’t yet found a pair that truly delivers in this area, including expensive ones. You can take calls on them perhaps in the dead of the night but if you’re going to do it out in traffic, it’s not going to work.
I didn’t face any connectivity issues with the TWS, though I’ve seen complaints from others about this. In my case, the Mi TWS 2 refused to pause the music when I took them off my ear, only with the iPad Pro. I used them with a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, an iPhone XS, an iPad Pro and an Oppo smartphone - it worked perfectly on all the rest.
In the end, the Xiaomi’s Mi True Wireless Earphones 2 are the opposite of the Realme Buds Air. Where the Buds Air struggled with connectivity and gesture controls, the Mi TWS struggles with audio quality. You win some and you lose some, perhaps. But can you really recommend an audio product that does not do the one thing it’s supposed to do, which is to sound good?
No. You can’t.