Xiaomi’s strategy means that the company now has two key brands under its core banner – Mi and Redmi – with all of its products classified into either of the two families. The Redmi brand is positioned as the more reasonably priced of the two, while Mi-branded products are a bit more premium. Indeed the company’s most affordable smartphones and audio products have the Redmi badge on them. This includes a recently launched audio product, the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones, priced at Rs. 1,299.
Following the launch of the Redmi Earbuds S and other competitively priced products, the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones promise a more traditional style of earphones at a popular price point, along with the bass-focused sonic signature that many buyers seem to prefer. How do these affordable wireless earphones sound? Find out in our review.
Simple, functional design on the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones
There really isn’t much to the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones when it comes to design and styling; this is just about as straightforward and basic as it gets. The neckband is flexible at the back, with larger, solid ends which hold the Bluetooth hardware, battery, and audio circuitry. The left end has a barely-noticeable Redmi logo etched on, while the right has the power and volume buttons, Micro-USB port for charging, and indicator light.
You can buy the Redmi SonicBass earphones in one of two colours, black or blue-black. While the black was a bit more muted and discreet, the dual-tone blue-black option might appeal to buyers looking for something colourful. Although the earpieces are comfortable to wear, the cables running between them and the neckband did tend to get in the way and brush against my face, which generated a fair amount of cable noise.
The main button plays and pauses music, or answers and ends calls with a single press. You can invoke the default voice assistant on your smartphone with a double-press. A long-press powers the earphones on or off, and holding for a few more seconds when turning the Redmi SonicBass on puts it into pairing mode. The earpieces attach to each other magnetically, but this doesn’t control the power as on some other headsets; it’s just to keep the wires from tangling when not in use.
The sales package includes a total of three pairs of silicone ear tips (the Medium ones are pre-fitted on the earphones), but there’s no Micro-USB cable for charging. Even at this price, skipping a charging cable is unfortunate; not everyone necessarily has one at home, especially those buying entry-level affordable products..
The Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones use Bluetooth 5, with support for only the SBC Bluetooth codec. AAC support would have been nice here, but I won’t go as far as to say that it’s a shortcoming, given the price. Interestingly, there is multi-point connectivity, letting you pair the Redmi SonicBass earphones with two source devices simultaneously. This worked well, and I was able to quickly switch between my smartphone and laptop while using the earphones.
Battery life is decent enough for the price, with the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones running for around 10 hours per charge, and taking around two hours to charge fully using a wall adapter. The headset is IPX4-rated for water resistance, and should be able to handle sweat and light splashes of water.
Punchy bass on the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones
The product name itself is a big giveaway in terms of what to expect when it comes to sound, and indeed there are no surprises here. The sonic signature is tuned to give low-end frequencies a bump, and I could perceive this bass bias with pretty much everything I listened to using the Redmi SonicBass earphones. However, it’s worth pointing out that there isn’t much else to the sound apart from this bump in the bass; this is otherwise an entirely ordinary-sounding pair of earphones.
That isn’t a bad thing though, since the Redmi SonicBass does have all the basics in place. You get comfortable sound that isn’t fatiguing or odd in any way. This makes for an adequate listening experience that lines up nicely with the price and functionality of the earphones.
The Redmi SonicBass is a budget wireless headset and only supports the SBC Bluetooth codec, so the quality of the source audio had very little impact on the listening experience. Whether listening to high-resolution Tidal Masters streams or YouTube Music’s occasionally low-bitrate tracks, there wasn’t too much of a difference in how the earphones sounded.
Listening to the beautiful Golden Brown by The Stranglers across streaming services confirmed this, but it didn’t actually take away too much from the quality of the sound given the price of the Redmi SonicBass earphones. The lows were expectedly more pronounced, with the drums in the track reverberating noticeably strongly. The mid-range and highs sounded a bit dull in comparison to the lows, but weren’t overpowered to an unreasonable extent; the earphones produced a safe sonic signature that was never offensive or muddy.
Barry White’s Never Never Gonna Give You Up sounded similarly interesting, with hints of directionality throughout. Some of the gentler elements in the track did feel spacious, but the bass bias did tend to restrict the soundstage. There wasn’t much by way of good imaging or detail, with the tuning of the Redmi SonicBass earphones focused on keeping things clean and comfortable, rather than trying too hard to offer more and falling short.
Although not exceptional for voice calls, the Redmi SonicBass Wireless earphones are adequate for the purpose. Environmental noise cancellation is present and permanently active when on calls, but didn’t seem to make too much of a difference in improving voice quality for people on the other end of the call, while they sounded a bit boomy and low to me. The earphones were good enough for the occasional call, and could be used reasonably well at distances of up to 12 feet from the source device.
Often, the biggest mistake that manufacturers of affordable audio products make is trying to offer too much, and getting the basics wrong in the process. Xiaomi hasn’t done that with the Redmi SonicBass; this is an entirely functional pair of wireless earphones that gets the basics right. The fit and design are workable, the strong bass will appeal to a lot of listeners, and multi-point connectivity makes the headset a whole lot more useful. There are only a couple of small drawbacks on the whole.
Although priced at Rs. 1,299 officially, the Redmi SonicBass Wireless Earphones are available for Rs. 999 at the time of writing this review, making this quite easily the best pair of wireless earphones you can buy for less than Rs. 1,000, and still a pretty good deal even for Rs. 300 more.
Price: Rs. 1,299
- Magnetically attaching earpieces
- IPX4 water resistance
- Multi-point connectivity
- Strong bass, comfortable sonic signature
- Annoying cables, lots of cable noise
- No charging cable in the box
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design/ comfort: 3.5
- Audio quality: 3
- Battery life: 3.5
- Value for money: 4.5
- Overall: 3.5
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