I’m not a huge fan of soft-tipped buds— I just… never liked the sensation of them sticking way too deep in my ears, and I’m more used to Apple AirPods. But it looks like there’s a lot to like about something like the Redmi Buds 3 Pro. It’s got Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)Active Noise Cancellation, wireless charging, and it costs way less. But are they enough to change my mind about soft-tipped in-ear headphones?
How they look
For first impressions, the Redmi Buds Pro case scored some points because it has about the same size and feel as the AirPods case. It’s compact, it’s no-nonsense, and it doesn’t have any outstanding details on the exterior. It’s pretty basic, but that’s A-okay in my book.
Opening up the nice sleek case would reveal the earbuds themselves. And when resting in the case, they look like thick little soles of boots. They aren’t the regular earbud shapes I’m used to—as regular buds have skinnier ends, whereas the Redmi ones have rounder, fatter ends.
They may seem cute, but with these boot-shaped buds, taking them out and putting them back in the case doesn’t feel all that intuitive. In fact, nearly everyone in the office who tried taking the earbuds out for the first time found trouble putting them back in the right orientation as well. It’s also hard for me to differentiate between the left and right earbuds unless I look at the L and R details on them.
How they feel
The buds themselves fit pretty nicely in my ears. And while they did feel invasive for the first few times I put them on, I was pleasantly surprised by them. The Redmi buds also don’t fall off when I move around and shake my head—and they’re fairly comfortable, I have to admit.
However, that’s just if I have them on for a few minutes. I don’t know if it’s the boot shape or its tips, but something about the Redmi Buds 3 Pro being in my ears for about an hour or so feels a little torturous. I can’t for the life of me physically wear the buds for more than a couple of hours at a time.
It’s a contrast to how long I can leave regular hard-tipped earpods in my ears—I sometimes even forget that they’re even there.
Battery and charging
In my experience, I got up to like 2 and a half hours of audio tops with ANC on. It’s the kind of average you’d expect from RM50 headphones. I’ve also had instances of the earbuds going a bit wonky by about 2 hours of usage, so I’d have to stick them back in the charging case.
The buds can last for about 3 days of general use, with about 4 or 5 hours of listening in total per day, and this includes me sticking the earbuds in and out of the case. As for AirPods, they give me about 3 hours of use at a time.
When it came to charging them, a full charge of the buds themselves would take an hour. And a full charge of the charging case would take about 3 hours.
I’m used to how seamless it is to connect Apple AirPods to the Apple MacBook or the iPhone. I didn’t expect the Redmi Buds 3 Pro to be as seamless, and it wasn’t too bad. You can connect up to 2 devices at a time, which is pretty standard—and they would also automatically connect you to your device if you’ve connected to it before.
However, the Redmi Buds 3 Pro have pretty lousy touch controls, and they aren’t as sensitive as I would have liked. If I’m too aggressive with the controls, “pause” would register as skip track, or sometimes it doesn’t register at all. But after getting used to it, I found the right amount of aggression to put into my taps.
For switching ANC modes, press and hold on one of the earbuds until a BA-DING or a BA-DOOM sound. That would indicate a change between noise cancellation and ambient sound.
I’ve never had a full experience with ANC earphones before. So, I’m not pulling your leg when I say that my experience with ANC—through the Redmi Buds 3 Pro—blew my mind. ANC blocks most of the noise when I needed to concentrate, so I don’t mind having little buds stuck in my ears for a feature like this. I just can’t believe I went through life all these years without ANC.
However, I’ve recently tried some new Sony buds, and I realise that the ANC mode for the Buds 3 Pro aren’t as good. I also couldn’t really tell the difference sometimes between ANC and ambient…especially in quiet areas. But they’re still pretty good within its price range.
Do they give me a fully immersive experience when listening to music? No. But do they give me an experience that lets me listen to sounds without much distraction? Yes!
There are apparently more ANC modes for the Redmi Buds 3 Pro according to Xiaomi. This includes Deep, Balanced, and Light Noise Cancellation. But they can only be accessed through its app (Android only), which I can’t download because I’m on an iPhone. That’s a little discriminatory, and it means that I can’t fully enjoy everything the Redmi Buds 3 Pro has to offer.
I also tried to test how far the connection could be between the earbuds and the device I connected to. I tried walking from one end of my parents’ living room where my MacBook is to the other end of their kitchen, and there wasn’t any problem. It’s about 20 feet indoors or 6 metres. But if I tried walking outside where walls are between me, I would get disconnected after about maybe 10 feet.
And after testing out the microphone, I noticed that the sound was patchy—possibly due to connection or Bluetooth issues. But it’s not something other earphones I’ve experienced had. However, the sound wasn’t too bad…if you can live with possibly patchy audio. (You can listen to a microphone test, along with the rest of my review, in the video below)
It’s actually not bad for the RM239 price tag. It’s a fraction of the price of my regular AirPods that don’t even have ANC. But still, why would I get something that could hurt my ears after wearing them for about an hour?
Even though it was a slightly uncomfortable experience with the Redmi Buds 3 Pro, it managed to open my mind about soft-tipped in-ear buds. I found that they’re not so bad after all. I still hate the invasiveness, but I’m more tolerant of it.
And that’s what the world needs—more people to experience the other side of things before judging. I would, however, want to invest in something more high quality if I want to continue wearing soft-tipped in-ear headphones.
If you’d like to purchase them, you can get them on Lazada or Shopee.