The Mi In-Ear Pro headphones are decent, but miss out by prominently favouring treble and slightly muffling bass frequencies. However, it has excellent clarity, ample warmth and delivers bright audio. It may have been more recommendable within a price of Rs. 1,000, though, and there are better options than the Mi In-Ear Pro at this price.
The Mi In-Ear Pro headphones come in line with Xiaomi’s in-ear headphones (or Mi Pistons, as they are otherwise called). We’ve listened, loved, nitpicked on them, and have now ended up with the In-Ears Pro. Naturally, we expected a lot out of these, and possibly, so did Xiaomi. Priced at Rs. 1,399, Xiaomi is charging a near-30% premium over the massively popular budget IEM segment within Rs. 1,000. Does it live up to our expectations, and justify the pricing. Find out all of this, and more, in our detailed review of the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones.
Build, Design, Comfort
The Mi In-Ear Pro headphones are larger and marginally heavier than many other popular IEMs. This also reflects on the size, which is somewhat larger than previous Mi earphones, too. Although this does not overbear on ears, it is noticeable, and keeps you aware of its presence. Build-wise, the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones are neatly constructed, with metal bodies fused with plastic bases built tightly. However, in order to look nice, feel premium and keep light, sort of ends up feeling a little flimsy.
The angled earbuds help the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones to fit into the ear, although the size does pose an obstacle. I often found the headphones slipping out, something that I never face with smaller, lighter headphones. The in-line control and mic are placed well, to make sure that audio reception by the microphone does not face any problem. Xiaomi uses an enameled copper wire conductor clad in tangle-free outer stitching, which remains mostly tangle-free, and even with slight knots, it is easy to be untangled. The in-line remote has narrow plastic strip buttons, which are satisfyingly responsive. Overall, the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones miss the notion of finesse that we have seen in some of the previous products like the Mi Piston 2. That, however, does not mean that it is bad. It is only average, and our high expectations end up with it falling in criticism.
The Mi In-Ear Pro retains the signature warmth of audio that the Mi Piston 2 had, along with better balance of audio. The warmth in audio mostly sits well and compliments tracks to sound bright and wholesome. The wholeness of audio delivery here is really impressive, and makes most tracks sound better in terms of audio ambience replication. Xiaomi states the use of a balanced armature towards the tip of the headphones to aid treble, and a dynamic driver inside the body to power the bass. The combination of these two almost works, except for the slightly biased trebles.
While audio remains bright, the slight treble bias is very noticeable, especially if you prefer neutral audio stance. Tracks like Drive by Incubus and We Believe by Good Charlotte best reflect the audio performance of the Mi In-Ear Pro - clear, bright wholesome audio, with decent soundstaging, decent mids, accentuated highs and subdued lows. While the bass driver ensures that low frequencies do not go amiss from audio, and forms a stable background, it is still more faint than my preference, and even fans of neutral audio delivery will find the bass slightly attenuated.
"The Mi In-Ear Pro headphones impress with brightness and clarity, and let you down on bass"
That said, the audio delivery is tight, and timbre is good. Despite the bias towards highs, the Mi In-Ear Pro does not make tracks sound too sharp, and the slight muffling sounds more pleasant than disrupting its performance. As a downturn, it leads to intricate details missing out, which many audio enthusiasts will not enjoy. The mids are prominent, but still miss out on finer details, despite the rated frequency response rating of 20Hz to 20kHz.
The combination of the very prominent highs and decent mids, added to reduced lows and ample loudness impart a slightly muddled characteristic to the audio at its highest volume. Slight distortions also kick in at the highest volume, and it is at reduced audio levels that the Mi In-Ear Pro sounds more best. The 70% volume sweet spot delivers the best balance of bass, mids and highs, and there is no sense of distortion here. Good soundstaging, coupled with the warm timbre leads to the Mi In-Ear Pro delivering decent, enjoyable audio delivery.
The brightness of audio delivery is also aided by the high, prominent mids - a good move by Xiaomi to strike better balance of audio. It misses out on the perfect balance, but the balance is not too far off from the enjoyable spot. The audio also sounds deep, which makes tracks sound quite wholesome. Ample mids also lead to excellent in-call audio, and good mic reception means that the Mi In-Ear Pro is a perfect companion for conference calls on the go. We only wish it were slightly smaller (not necessarily lighter - at 14 grams, it is light enough).
The Mi In-Ear Pro headphones are not the best at removing ambient noise, unless you listen at abysmally high volume levels that disrupt your neighbour’s peace (I often do this, just to annoy my colleague, Prasid). Overall, the Mi In-Ear Pro sure has its shortcomings, like the more pronounced highs, slightly weak lows and marginally muddled audio at highest volume, but the prominence in mids, coupled with the impressive warmth of audio, decent soundstaging and clarity mean that it still has a lot to offer.
I had definitely expected more from the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones, but it is not a disappointment in any sense. It is still quite a decent pair of in-ear headphones, having a lot to offer, but the likes of Brainwavz Omega and the legendary Cowon EM1 have better overall balance. At Rs. 1,399, it seems a bit pricier for what it has to offer, and maybe it would have fared better at around Rs. 999.
Check out our video review of the Mi In-Ear Pro headphones here:
11 Dec 2019
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