Among inexpensive headphones, AirDots are deservedly popular. The reason for the success is the price and again the price. These are very cheap wireless headphones. The new generation of Redmi AirDots 3 features extended battery life, improved sound and splash protection. Simultaneously, the price is still tasty and not burdensome for the budget: in China, they cost about $30.
What’s in the box?
The package is minimalistic: a USB Type-C cable for charging the case and replaceable ear pads in two sizes.
Now also in blue
The cover is still the same as before. It is made of matte plastic, is still moderately plump and will stick out of the jeans pocket. I myself use Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless headphones, the headphones are great, but the case is impressive. For comparison, I will show it along with Redmi AirDots 3 and a couple of AirPods: the Pro version and the regular one. Naturally, these are not direct competitors, just so that you can estimate the sizes:
The headphone housing is also made of matte plastic, but the sides are now glossy: an ideal platform for collecting fingerprints. The headphones are lightweight. They fit in the ears is good: there are no sharp edges, they are comfortable with them, they do not press. But passive noise isolation, so-so, did not help and changed the nozzles from the kit. But they sit tight, and there is no feeling that they will take it and fall out. If you wish, you can run and jump, as an option for sports activities is good. Moreover, there is IPX4 splash protection: you cannot swim in headphones, but you don’t need more training.
The LEDs on the case continue to notify you of the status: they blink when connected to a new device or light up during charging.
Surprisingly, now there are no headphones in black. There are three colours to choose from: pink, white and dark blue – that’s exactly what I have. I love the colour blue and approve of it, but judging by buyers’ preferences, it would be possible to keep the neutral black option.
Controversial touch controls
Headphones have touch control: double tap on the right earphone starts or pauses a song, and the same double-tap on the left one activates the voice assistant. Moreover, this is Xiaomi’s own assistant and Siri if you use headphones paired with an iPhone or Google Assistant if you choose Android.
Erroneous operation due to touch control is not uncommon. I prefer more familiar and reliable physical keys. But we proceed from what is: you touch the earphone to start the track, but nothing happens. You have to repeat the action, or even several times.
But, as in more expensive devices, a sensor pauses music playback when you remove the earphone. If you put it back in place, the track will start again from the same place. The function does not always work as it should, and it so happens that you take out the earphone, but the music does not stop.
Not every expensive headphone has Bluetooth 5.2, but here it is. However, there are still micro lags in games. I saw Chinese reviews, where it was said that with the Redmi K40, the pair of headphones and the phone works perfectly, and there are no hints of lag. I tried with Google Pixel 4a, Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite and iPhone 12 – with them, there was minimal desync. At the same time, everything is fine with watching videos. Videos from YouTube are going well.
The headphones have a noise cancellation system during conversations. It partially eliminates ambient sounds. I cannot say that it works perfectly, for talking on the phone it is better to choose a quieter place. Otherwise, the interlocutors will be slightly shocked by the noise of the wind.
It remains only to add about how to connect the headphones to the phone. Press the key in the case, then open the Bluetooth settings and find AirDots 3. If you wish, you can use the left or right earphone separately. They can work autonomously. The sound source connection is excellent: I left the phone on my desk and walked around our rather big studio.
I’m not sure if you imagine the scale, but most likely, you realize that a few thick brick walls will usually become a serious obstacle to wireless sound. So AirDots 3 passed this test calmly, to my surprise.
When you keep cheap headphones for $ 30, there are no special complaints about the sound quality. They work and okay. But Redmi AirDots 3 were pleasantly surprised. They got a new Qualcomm QCC3040 chip, two drivers and support for aptX Adaptive. All this is cool enough for such inexpensive headphones!
Alas, the sound did not impress me. In any case, with the default settings, there is no scene, no volume, no emotion either. Yes, they play somehow, and if you need to listen to podcasts, play background music or watch a video with a soundtrack, you will be satisfied. Probably, all this could be justified by the low price, but the declared list of characteristics somehow does not fit with the mediocre audio part in practice.
They work for a very long time.
The battery life is excellent, with the AirDots 3 lasting about 7 hours on a single charge at 80% volume. Considering that they can still be recharged twice in the case, we get a very decent result, about 25-30 hours of work, depending on the sound volume.
It is delightful that the USB Type-C connector is used for charging. The cable for connecting to the power supply is included in the kit. It takes three long hours to charge the case fully, and the earbuds charge in one and a half hours.
They went up in price.
If AirDots 2 years ago cost 99 yuan, which is about $15, now AirDots 3 are already on sale for 199 yuan, that’s $30.
And I’m not sure that AirDots 3 can be found on sale for the $30 announced at the presentation – on the same AliExpress, they are still sold for almost $40. And this is about three thousand rubles, taking into account the current exchange rate. And then you think: maybe add and take something more sonorous?
Opinion: Should you buy Redmi AirDots 3?
I would not recommend the Redmi AirDots 3 if you want high-quality sound at the lowest cost. Just because the sound is the most common, it does not catch on, and it is difficult to find weighty arguments in their favour.
But music lovers are much less than those who need simple headphones with convenient functions, and here AirDots 3 are revealed in all their glory. They sit well in the ears, work for a long time, have a stable connection quality, have moisture protection, and have touch control (for an amateur!) And a proximity sensor.
The price has gone up, and now these are no longer ultra-low-priced headphones, so as an alternative, you can still look towards the cheaper Redmi AirDots 2.