In the world of wireless earbuds, Xiaomi has emerged as a leading budget-friendly option for Android users. Their latest release, the Buds 3T Pro, offers strong specifications and features at an affordable $99 price point. I recently had the opportunity to test out a pair of the Buds 3T Pro earbuds. In this hands-on review, I’ll break down how these lightweight earbuds perform for audio, calling, connectivity, battery life, and more. I’ll also detail where they excel when paired with Xiaomi smartphones and examine how they stack up against competitors like Google Pixel Buds Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Unboxing and Design
The Buds 3T Pro come neatly packaged in a slim white box with the earbuds prominently displayed in front under a plastic cover. The box contains the earbuds themselves, three sizes of silicone eartips, a short USB-C to USB-C charging cable, and documentation. Design-wise, the Buds 3T Pro feature an all-white color scheme with glossy circular touch panels on the outer faces of the buds. The overall dimensions are compact and lightweight, with each bud weighing only 5.5 grams.
This makes them comfortable for extended wear. They have an understated, generic look reminiscent of Apple’s AirPods. While not the flashiest aesthetically, the streamlined profile contributes to their lightweight, barely-there feel during use. They’re subtle enough for exercising and everyday wear rather than attracting attention. The charging case follows the white color scheme with a matching glossy finish and slides easily into pockets.
Comfort and Fit
Finding the right fit makes a big difference in both comfort and performance with earbuds. Fortunately, Xiaomi includes three sizes of silicone tips to accommodate different ear shapes. I found the pre-installed medium tips fit my ears well, nestling securely in my ear canal while protruding only slightly from the outer ear. The buds felt super lightweight once inserted and offered excellent noise isolation with a tight seal. I barely noticed them during extended listening sessions.
Those with smaller ear canals may find the small tips a better match. The fit remained stable through jogs and head movements thanks to the angled nozzle and fins that wedge gently in the outer ear. I never worried about the Buds 3T Pro loosening or falling out accidentally. Overall, the ergonomic shape and lightweight construction offer great wearing comfort. Adjusting the eartips can optimize the seal and security on an individual basis. But for my average man-sized ears, the Buds 3T Pro were a joy to wear.
Interacting with the Buds 3T Pro relies on touch sensitive panels on each earbud stem. The controls support typical media playback actions like single/double/triple taps to play/pause music and answer calls. Swiping up or down lets you manually adjust volume. And tapping and holding activates your phone’s voice assistant. The touch zones provide enough surface area for reliably registering taps. I found the taps needed a moderate amount of force but registered accurately without misfires. Swipes took more practice to master exactly how light or firm to perform them.
With experience, I could access all the controls seamlessly without removing my phone for media or call adjustments. The touch panels work independently so you can use either earbud singlehandedly. While not as intuitively responsive as pinch or gesture controls, Xiaomi’s touch implementation covers the basics during real-world use. Just expect a slight learning curve to nail the tap pressure and swipe gestures consistently.
As earbuds, audio quality expectations rightfully fall on the Buds 3T Pro’s sound reproduction capabilities. Each earbud contains an 11mm dynamic driver which generates a surprisingly rich, textured listening experience. The default sonic profile emphasizes the low end to give bass impact without bloat or muddiness. Midrange vocals sound smooth and natural for podcasts, audiobooks, and vocal-centric music. Treble frequencies like cymbals avoid harshness or sibilance though delicate instrumentation nuances can get slightly smoothed over.
Overall, the dynamic driver delivers great musicality across genres like pop, hip hop, and rock. The sound falls just short of analytical for critical listening but keeps entertainment lively and engaging. Audiophiles may want more low end control and crispness for acoustic tracks. But for everyday listening, the warm, robust character makes music and media consistently satisfying. Outdoors, the excellent noise isolation keeps distractions at bay to further immerse you in your audio. For $99 earbuds, Xiaomi overdelivers on fundamental sound quality.
Clear voice pickup represents an important feature for earbuds used for calls and voice assistants. The Buds 3T Pro utilize a triple microphone array in each earbud to optimize speech capture. Testing on voice calls, my recipients reported my voice sounded close and well-defined in quiet indoor settings. Outdoors, the microphones filtered out moderate wind and traffic noise impressively to maintain intelligibility.
In very loud environments, voices became more muffled as the microphones reached their limits. But for everyday use, performance matched leading earbuds costing far more. Vocal frequencies came through naturally without artifacting, and noise cancellation worked wonders up to a point for cleaner mobile calls. For privacy, an infrared sensor detects earbud removal to automatically pause playback during conversations. If call clarity is a priority for you, the Buds 3T Pro microphone system shines given their reasonable price.
Connectivity and Bluetooth 5.2
Connecting the Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro to your phone relies on speedy Bluetooth 5.2. I tested connectivity from a Google Pixel 6 Pro smartphone. Pairing only took seconds via typical Bluetooth scanning and code verification. Xiaomi’s app for recent Xiaomi phones can automate pairing even quicker. Once connected, link stability was rock solid both indoors and outside without dropouts during walks and jogs. I could easily leave my phone upstairs and walk anywhere downstairs without interruptions. Latency also seemed exceptionally low watching videos on YouTube.
The Buds 3T Pro support the AAC codec for higher data rates with compatible devices. I enjoyed the convenience of open earbud multimedia control for playback, volume, and calls right from the hardware itself. Quick pairing and extended range give a seamless wireless experience. And the latest Bluetooth standard futureproofs the buds as phones gain new connectivity capabilities down the road. Xiaomi hits key functionality points for hassle-free Bluetooth implementation.
Battery life sits right near the top of priorities for true wireless earbuds. The Buds 3T Pro live up to expectations with 9 hours of continuous playback per charge at default volume levels. That should satisfy most users needs for full work or travel days between top ups. The charging case provides an additional 3 full charges for excellent longevity during multi-day trips. Quick charging via USB-C gives roughly 2 hours playback from a 10 minute charge.
During my testing, real-world battery usage aligned closely with Xiaomi’s ratings. I appreciated the visible status indicator dots showing both earbud and case charge level at a glance. Battery life ultimately proved above average for the price tier. Frequent travelers should have no concerns about the Buds 3T Pro powering through long flights or days away from power outlets. Only maxing out volume levels would require more frequent charging. But at reasonable levels, Xiaomi’s buds last and last.
Smart Features and Companion App
Users with recent Xiaomi Android phones can tap into additional smart features using the Xiaomi Earphones companion app. Unfortunately, the app does not appear fully compatible with other Android devices at this time. The app adds Touch settings for customizing the on-earbud controls. An earing aid test helps identify the optimal eartips for sound isolation. And toggles enable amplifier and noise cancellation modes for enhanced listening.
Most interestingly, a Gaming mode optimizes wireless latency for distraction-free video and gaming. And a Podcast mode boosts vocal clarity for podcasts and audiobooks. While basic, the extended options are handy for Xiaomi phone owners seeking a personalized experience. Check app store compatibility details before purchasing if you need the extras. But the core functionality remains impressive even without the Xiaomi software ecosystem.
Noise Cancellation Performance
With their triple microphone setup per earbud, the Buds 3T Pro can also provide noise cancellation for screening out environmental sounds. Performance proved solid for budget noise cancelling earbuds but a step below class leaders. Low rumbles like engines greatly diminished. Voices and variable sounds saw decent but not complete reduction. So you still hear some surroundings come through rather than total noise blocking.
The effects are subtle but noticeable tamping down distractions in an open office, coffee shop, or plane cabin. I appreciated being able to still hear traffic and announcements as needed for awareness. But the noise cancelling lacks the punch to fully immerse you in audio by eliminating noise. It strikes a reasonable balance, just don’t expect the power of over-ear ANC headphones costing 4 times as much. Given the price, Xiaomi chooses functionality over luxury here.
Voice call performance represents a usage scenario where the Buds 3T Pro microphone setup can really demonstrate its strengths. I made numerous test calls to friends from noisy cafe environments, windy sidewalks, quiet offices, and moving cars. In all cases, they reported my voice sounded clear and consistent with minimal intrusive background noise. The earbuds capture the primary speaking frequencies faithfully on both ends of a call.
One test call also included loud construction jackhammering nearby. While my friend could still hear the jackhammer faintly, the built-in noise reduction filtered it significantly for intelligible conversation. Considering their budget price bracket, the communication capabilities proved impressive. From noisy to quiet environments, they handle mobile call duties admirably where it counts most – transmitting your voice.
Eliminating audio/video sync lag makes a big difference for wirelessly watching videos and gaming. The Buds 3T Pro leverage Bluetooth 5.2 and optimized wireless hardware to virtually eliminate lag with compatible devices. Watching videos on my Pixel 6 Pro, lip movements stayed perfectly in time with speech without detectable delay or echo. Gamers will similarly appreciate the synchronization for competitive online multiplayer requiring split-second reaction times.
Not all earbuds using older Bluetooth versions fare as well without proprietary anti-latency technologies. But with the latest standard, Xiaomi keeps you immersed in smooth, synchronized media minus jarring lags. While not unique at this point given widespread Bluetooth 5.2 adoption, it’s an important feature to demand nonetheless for wireless earbuds seeing primary usage with videos or games. The Buds 3T Pro deliver perfectly in this regard.
Google Fast Pair Support
While designed primarily for Xiaomi’s own Android ecosystem, the Buds 3T Pro offer one key integration for other Android phones: Google Fast Pair support. This allowed seamless initial setup just by opening the charging case next to my Google Pixel. A notification instantly popped up confirming the earbud model and enabling one-tap pairing and connection. It makes the pairing process nearly instant compared to traditional Bluetooth scanning and manual confirmation.
Fast Pair also enables handy features like quick access to earbud battery status and finding misplaced buds via on-screen tracking. This integration broadens appeal considerably for the numerous non-Xiaomi Android owners. Even without the Xiaomi companion app, Google Fast Pair removes headaches and speeds up initial configuration. Xiaomi made the smart move including Fast Pair support for a smoother cross-device experience.
Xiaomi vs Pixel Buds Pro
Compared to Google’s latest $200 Pixel Buds Pro, the Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro deliver surprisingly comparable core functionality for under half the cost. Both offer strong mic performance, responsive touch controls, and lengthy battery life. While the Pixel Buds edge ahead on tighter integration with Android, noise cancellation power, and waterproofing, the Xiaomi buds come remarkably close at their budget-friendly price point.
If you own a recent Xiaomi phone, the Buds 3T Pro make an even stronger case with their custom companion app. The value becomes apparent considering many overlapping features despite the huge price difference. Unless you need premium active noise cancellation or wireless charging, Xiaomi’s affordability argument resonates. Their latest wireless earbuds provide 90% of the Pixel Buds Pro experience at a fraction of the price.
Xiaomi vs Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung’s well-regarded $230 Galaxy Buds 2 Pro serve as another point of comparison showcasing Xiaomi’s value. Again, core aspects like comfort, touch controls, and call quality remain highly comparable between the two models. However, Samsung’s flagship earbuds edge ahead on noise cancellation strength, IPX7 waterproofing, wireless charging, and integration with the Samsung phone ecosystem.
But for budget-focused shoppers, the Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro come remarkably close to the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro at 60% cheaper. Unless Samsung-exclusive features are necessities, Xiaomi’s affordable contender makes a compelling case. You still get adaptable sound, customizable controls, rock-solid connectivity, and long battery life – just without premium frills. If keeping costs down is priority one, the Buds 3T Pro deserve a close look before dismissing based on brand alone.
After extensively testing Xiaomi’s Buds 3T Pro wireless earbuds, I’m impressed by just how much well-tuned technology they deliver at a sub-$100 price point. From lengthy battery life to responsive touch controls to clear call quality, they get the user experience fundamentals right. Audio performance proves lively and musical beyond typical budget expectations thanks to capable driver hardware and tuning. The stripped down aesthetic may not excite fashionistas but enables lightweight comfort ideal for exercise and mobile use.
For recent Xiaomi phone owners, seamless device integration makes the Buds 3T Pro even more compelling. But even without companion app support, features like Google Fast Pair extend appeal across Android. Considering their affordable pricing, the corners cut prove relatively minor compared to more premium options. If you want great wireless audio fundamentals without blowing your budget, Xiaomi’s Buds 3T Pro deserve serious consideration. They provide tremendous bang for the buck – and may just surprise you.