I’ve been using the Mi In-Ear Headphones for two weeks now and I can definitely say that this is a very good pair of headphones for ₱695.
Also known as the Xiaomi Pistons v2, it is comparable to those offered by well-known brands such as Sennheiser, Bose and Beats by Dr. Dre. However, it still has a few features that I wish Xiaomi will improve.
Here’s the Mi In-Ear Headphones:
Opening it reveals the chocolate colored plastic box of the headphones with a transparent lid. You will also notice that there are prints on the inner-side of the white paper box. Those are sort of the user manual for the Mi In-Ear Headphones.
Some reviews cited the chocolate scent when you open the plastic box but I didn’t observe that. This might be because my unit is a newer variant sometimes referred to as the Pistons v2.1.
The Pistons v2 is securely held by a rubber cord organizer which is a very good way to manage the wires of your headphones. Underneath it are three pairs of replacement tips of different sizes.
I found the stock tips on the Mi In-Ear Headphones to be too big for my ears so I switched it with the smallest pair. It can take some time to replace but it’s doable.
There’s also a metal clip included for securing the cord in your shirt or sleeve. I haven’t used it yet though because I usually place the cord of the headphones underneath by shirt.
Its design is one of the major reasons why I was attracted to the Pistons v2. Correct me if I’m wrong but you simply cannot find another pair of headphones like this for ₱695!
The Pistons v2 In-Ear Headphones from Xiaomi has a gold plated 3.5mm plug. The wire from the plug is covered with braided cloth with Kevlar fibers inside making it soft to touch but very difficult to break. It’s also tangle free and has TPE coating which prevents those annoying sounds when you move the wires.
The braided wire stops at the Y split. You can find three buttons there that can control the volume or music tracks. The microphone is also found at the center of the metal casing.
I don’t like the wires from the Y split to the speakers that much because they are just your normal rubber coated cords. Moving them produces annoying thumping and rustling sounds. I also found the buttons to be a little difficult to press while walking.
The housings of the speakers are made up of aluminum metal and just like all the metal shells on the Pistons v2, these are colored gold. It’s not the shiny gold but just the perfect hue that makes it look absolutely premium.
Inside the housings are Beryllium alloy diaphragms which are not normally used in headphones and other speakers despite its perfect characteristics for audio equipment because it’s a very rare metal. It’s even a mystery how Xiaomi managed to produce a lot of Pistons v2 units.
I’m not an audiophile or audio enthusiast so I’ll just judge the Xiaomi Pistons v2 based on features that I think a good in-ear headphones should be good at: strength of bass, clarity, sound reproduction and noise reduction.
In terms of its bass, the Mi In-Ear Headphones is a clear winner. You can almost feel the effect of a large sub-woofer speaker on your chest! Try to listen to the drum and bass portion of Shot Me Down by David Guetta featuring Skylar Grey and prepare to be blown away.
Some audio enthusiasts are reporting the clarity of the Pistons v2 to be muddied by a veiled mid-range. This mainly concerns listening to love songs and mellow tracks so I tried listening to Close to You by the Carpenters and found the vocals and subtle details to be very clear. Even the bossa nova version of Para sa Akin by Sitti Navaro is a sweet treat.
For me, sound reproduction is how real an audio sounds like. It has something to do with the stereo quality of the earphones and its overall quality. There are tests for this online called binaural test and they just sound very real on the Mi In-Ear Headphones. You can also easily distinguish the different instruments in a song such as Rude by Magic and even have an idea of how they are arranged while the music was recorded!
The Pistons v2 also provides good noise reduction allowing you to hear more of your music and less of the surrounding noise. This is very useful in enjoying your music more, saving more battery by not having to turn up the volume in a bus, preventing others from eavesdropping on your taste in music and just purely avoiding your talkative seatmate.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the ₱695 Mi In-Ear Heaphones provides a very different experience compared to the cheap headphones that you can get on CD-R King or other shops. Once you use this type of headphones, you’ll never be satisfied with the poor sound quality of those cheap headphones anymore.
Compatibility and Controls
The Mi In-Ear Headphones is CTIA compliant and is compatible with phones from Xiaomi, Apple, Samsung and most Android phones. Apple iPods and a lot of feature phones are also compatible.
There are some smartphones and gadgets that are not compatible though. One example is the MyPhone A919 because it has an additional layer for the TV output.
For iPhones, the center button on the Pistons v2 serves as Play or Pause when clicked once. Clicking twice will advance music playback to the next track while clicking thrice will play the previous track.
Xiaomi smartphones come with built-in support for the Pistons v2. The center button serves as call control just like on other Android smartphones. The other two buttons can be assigned as volume controls or track controls in the settings.
Despite the few issues, the Pistons v2 In-Ear Headphones by Xiaomi is still a bang for the buck when you consider its looks and sound quality for a very affordable price.
I bought one for myself and recommended it to my friends already. If you are looking for a good pair of headphones for your smartphone or tablet, the Pistons v2 is definitely a good choice.
I like its design, sound quality and high quality build that ensures it will last for years. Do you want to, or already own, one of these? Share your thoughts in the comments below.