Having spent much of January 2020 visiting family in Chicago, USA – I came back to the UK full of enthusiasm for new product testing. Here’s a quick update on the first new toy I opened on my return to the UK (and its eventual demise).
First, the back-story: On flying out to the USA I of course had my Pocophone F1 phone all kitted out and ready for the 7+ hour flight from Edinburgh to JFK airport. I had also fully charged my beloved QCY-Q29 Bluetooth earphones which I’m almost sure I bought from Banggood (my good wishes to the folk over there during the scare with the Coronavirus).
Sadly like most earbuds they were NOT aeroplane-loo-proof as I found out to my peril as one of the earpieces went flying straight out of my ear and down the non-return aeroplane loo valve. I have to tell you I was gutted.
While in the USA I ordered a replacement (and more up to date) set of Bluetooth earbuds from AliExpress – now then, neither of the above links is a plug for the relevant company – in the case of the latter, you’ll find out why in a moment.
3 weeks later after I lost the QCY unit, my quickly-chosen replacement arrived here in the UK and I gave the new earbuds a good hammering watching the SUPERB Charlize Theron movie “Bombshell” about the Fox News culture – IMHO she’s wonderful and the anchor she played (Megan Kelly) is similarly impressive.
I really liked these new earbuds. Using MX-Player Pro on my Pocophone, these little inexpensive buds include graphic equaliser and bass boost – and sounded GREAT without the ridiculous prices I saw in Gearbest in Chicago for brand-name equivalents.
Not only that but the internal battery in the case had USB OUT to charge other devices and of course micro-USB IN to charge the battery. I’ve now had several months of use out of the earbuds, popping them back into the charging bay when I’m done and the battery lasts for AGES – BUT – a couple of BIG problems – firstly, Bluetooth LAG which means up to half a second lag of sound behind the video which can get very annoying.
It turns out that the company used “5.0” throughout their ads and documentaion but never put that right next to the word “Bluetooth” – which just goes to show you need to be VERY careful when choosing earbuds. Actually misleading ads seems to be the norm, more and more.
Finally, after a couple of months, the hi-tech voice assistant in the buds decided to revert (in the right ear only) to Chinese… FAT load of use that is and I just could not figure out how to get it back into English. The touch interface is all very good but half the time, you dont know whether or not you have actually pressed anything – note to self – avoid touch-buttons on earbuds in future.
So May 2020 I took the plunge and went on the hunt for alternatives. People pay ridiculous sums for earbuds – but I have faith in Xiaomi thanks to owning three of their mobile phones, the Mi 4 smartband and other devices, all of which are VERY good for the price.
As I was in a rush I didn’t get the new Xiaomi Redme buds from China but instead chose Amazon UK which means I paid a slight overhead – I think around £26 sterling on offer – that is still very CHEAP. I’d already done my research as there are Xiaomi Mi (as against Redme) earbuds available as well – and I wanted to avoid the Mi variety, based on multiple recommendations.
So I had high expectations for the new Redmi earbuds. Bluetooth 5.0 (hence almost no LAG), real button on the back of each earbud – and beeps instead of voice – so no chance of ending up listening to instructions in a foreign language – instead, Xiaomi included a helpful multi-language booklet with the buds.
I’ve not yet tested the battery life (the case takes a couple of hours to charge and the case can charge the earbuds 3+ times) but setup was really easy and they’ve had a good thrashing playing AC/DC on the Iron Man movie previews – and they sound GREAT. The charging case is nice and rounded, the buttons feel solid, the buds are comfortable… I’m in love, already.
All I need now is a decent 3.5mm to Bluetooth 5.0 transmitter gadget so I can blast the TV while keeping my wife happy.