Scores in depth
Xiaomi has been known for making quality products at affordable pricing which attracted hordes of Indian consumers toward its side, who call themselves Mi fans. Moving beyond phones, Xiaomi offers slew of other products like audio accessories and pretty soon they'll have water purifiers, Wi-Fi router selling in the country as well but for now we'll talk about Mi Headphones.
Priced at Rs 5,499 Xiaomi is now engaging with consumers with taste for quality music and rivaling brands like JBL, Sennheiser and Sony among others. We loved the quality of Mi Pistons (still do) and much is expected from Mi headphones as well but for Rs 5,499 we're moving away from Xiaomi's biggest attraction, price factor. It will take something extraordinary for people to buy a Xiaomi audio product when you have established names carrying their sense of goodwill over the years.
In the box
Mi headphone, 2 extra pair of cushions, add-on connector, 3.5-mm cable, pouch and leather-made bag.
Mi Headphone is just like any other Xiaomi product that one can buy in the country; looks that match your aspiration. The headphone has been given the aluminum treatment with use of grills on the side corners wherein the cushions get placed. Even after accommodating so much quality onto the device, Mi headphone still weighs a meager 220 grams which for an audio gear is neither too heavy nor too light.
Taking a closer look at the ear cushions, Xiaomi is offering 2 additional pair of cushions varying in size, something that everyone would like. The top side of headphone has the classic touch of black leathered stitching which make the device look sturdy as well as elegant at the same time.
The design emphasis laid down by Xiaomi has been instrumental in making sure that Mi Headphone doesn't come across as a cheap offering. The portability factor of Mi headphone has been ably taken care of thanks to its foldable nature and detachable cushions, making it a must-have gadget for your travels.
The other aspect of Mi Headphone is it's durability from all corners and by that we mean, the cable bundled with the device can easily withstand wear-and-tear concerns. The rubberized nature and weight of the cable ensures that entanglement isn't a common problem. It would be hard to suggest that Mi headphone is the best looking and constructed headphone in the sub Rs 10K segment but on the other hand, it's not far away from that either.
The fact that we loved the Mi Pistons 2 earphones, made us believe that Mi headphone will be as good as the former, if not better. But sadly for Rs 5,499 there are just too many things that Xiaomi seems to have missed out in order to ensure they have a product which fits the right profile. It lacks the basic noise cancelling support which is pity for audio gear which costs as this much.
We never expected Mi headphone to deliver Bose-like quality but surely they could have managed the level of Mi Pistons 2 atleast but with 3D audio features, the clarity aspect is well covered but bass performance, not so much.
Also, we observed that instead of creating vacuum to prevent sound from going out, Mi headphone seems to encourage sound leakage which is never a good thing to face or come across. However, treble notes sound much better but that's merely disguising the obvious flaws of a product which ought to be much better than it is.
It was easy for us to determine the possible qualities of Mi headphone and listening to our favorite set of tunes, things become even more concrete. While soft classics from Clapton, Dire Straits had the punch and poise that one expects from the veterans, any head-banging number played did not turn out to be as effective as one would want.
Here's the thing with Mi headphone; play it low and smooth and the returns are fruitful enough to fulfill your music appetite but the moment you tank up the volume; putting it through paces, the sound leakage becomes a major headache which makes you throw them off. It may sound harsh but that's the real-time usage experience we thought worth pointing out.
So what should you really use the Mi headphone for? Let's start with what doesn't work well. Owing to its heavy bass levels, it is hard to recommend EDM, rock or metal (the ones with lot of thump), however, there's a good chance you might like the low note tunes, mostly classics hitting at the right places.
The add-on set of cushions will offer comfort to varied listeners, depending upon their needs. Trying out the headphone with varied equalizer settings helped us identify the possible strengths and shortcomings on the output front. Keep them on normal and the results are barely positive for an audio product priced this high. Until you opt for jazz/rock/treble mode it will be hard to decipher the genre quality and their differentiation which is something audiophile.
Excellent build quality with much needed set of add-on options bundled with Mi headphone out-of-box. It's portable, detachable and easy to carry in bags. Headphone with microphone option enables dual-purpose use case scenario of the Mi headphone.
Mi headphone suffers from basic audio flaws like noise leakage, lacking high bass levels and cranky audio quality at high volumes. For Rs 5,499 and that too from a brand like Xiaomi, we expect a lot more.
Xiaomi did create furors by pricing the Mi headphone at Rs 5,499 which is not the territory you associate the brand with in the country. Yes, Mi headphone has been made with utmost design precision, detailing of highest quality and portability considered as well.
Having said that, Mi fails to offer the bare minimum for a headphone i.e. bass quality of highest order, noise cancellation (to some extent), instead we end up getting noise leakage which is never a good sign. Looking to buy Mi headphone? Not sure you'd want to spend that kind of money on a lackluster product which dazzles but flatters to deceive in many areas.