Xiaomi pitches its Redmi brand as focused on value-for-money offerings, including many of the company’s budget and mid-range smartphones, televisions, wearables, laptops, and audio products. As such, I’ve come to expect aggressive pricing and strong feature sets on any new Redmi product, but the latest from the brand’s audio stable in India has still managed to surprise me. The recently launched Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro true wireless earphones are essentially the same as the Redmi AirDots 3 in international markets, but with a new name, and priced at Rs. 2,999.
For this price, there’s a lot on offer, including a dual-driver setup, support for the Qualcomm aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec, and a promise of good battery life. The Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro seem impressive, but does sound quality match up to the specifications? Find out in this review.
Dual-driver setup for less than Rs. 3,000 on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro
The Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro look unique compared to the competition, because of the unusual pill-like shape of the earpieces. However, it’s a familiar design for the brand, with strong similarities to the Redmi Earbuds S, which were launched in 2020. You do get a proper in-canal fit with silicone ear tips, and the earpieces didn’t stick too far out of my ears.
Although I initially found the fit a bit awkward, it was never uncomfortable and I eventually got used to the way the earpieces felt when worn. I quite liked the combination of glossy and dull finishes on the earpieces, and the pink colour of my review unit looked decent. That said, you might prefer the white or blue colour options.
A big advantage of the shape of the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro that the touch-sensitive areas on each earpiece are quite large. There’s enough space for accurate gestures, although the controls themselves are a bit tricky. A single tap doesn’t do anything; a double-tap on the left invokes the voice assistant on your paired smartphone; and a double-tap on the right plays and pauses music. Touching and holding the left or right earpiece skips to the previous or next track respectively. There is no companion app for the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro, so these controls aren’t customisable.
The charging case follows the familiar design of the Redmi Earbuds S too, with the Redmi logo etched onto the top and a dull finish all around. There is an indicator light at the front, and a USB Type-C port for charging at the back. Under the lid is the pairing/reset button for the earpieces. The earphones automatically power up and connect to the last paired device when removed from the case. The earpieces have a battery capacity of 43mAh each, while the case has a large 600mAh battery.
When it comes to specifications, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro are quite impressive. Each earpiece has a dual-driver setup, with one dynamic driver and one balanced armature driver. There’s a Qualcomm QCC3040 chipset, Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity, and support for the SBC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs. No support for AAC means that there will be a noticeable difference in sound quality between Android and iOS devices; the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro is unsurprisingly designed to work best with Android. There’s also IPX4 water resistance, in-ear detection, one-step pairing with MIUI 12, and a low-latency gaming mode.
Battery life on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro was decent, with the earpieces running for a little over five hours per charge in normal conditions with the volume at moderate levels and the aptX Adaptive or aptX Bluetooth codecs in operation. The charging case added over four full charges, for a total battery life of close to 28 hours per charge cycle. This is pretty impressive for a headset in this price range and with this feature set. There’s no fast charging though, and the case will take around three hours to recharge when fully drained.
Good, but not exceptional sound quality on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro
On paper, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro has quite an impressive set of specifications on a headset priced at Rs. 2,999. In actual use, this pair of true wireless earphones does deliver decent sound quality. While the hardware definitely pulls its weight, it felt as though the tuning was a bit unfinished. However, that doesn’t take too much away from the overall listening experience.
Listening to Something Stupid by Jonas Blue, I immediately heard the core benefits of a dual-driver setup: superior separation and distinctly audible differences between the lower and upper ends of the frequency range. The soundstage felt detailed, with even faint elements in the track including the synthesised beats having a real sense of space and character. Although the mid-range felt a bit held back, the lows and highs sounded powerful for a budget pair of true wireless earphones.
With a classic V-shaped sonic signature, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro works well with popular genres, including electronic music and bass-heavy tracks such as Purple Hat by Sofi Tukker. With the dynamic drivers focused on the low-end, this made for decent, calculated lows and a reasonable amount of grunt in this peppy, punchy track. While definitely not as aggressive as I’ve heard on competing products in this price range, the bass was definitely much more refined, and there was enough attack and drive it without losing out on anything else in the sound.
Detail levels, imaging, and the general soundstage were all pretty good for the price, with the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro offering enough to make the listening experience enjoyable on the whole. On these parameters, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro matched up to the sound quality of the Lypertek Levi, with the core differences being in their sonic signatures and tuning.
I did experience some connection stability issues on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro, with occasional lag and drop-offs when using the aptX Adaptive codec. This didn’t happen when using the aptX codec, which sounded practically as good, so I was able to fix this issue easily enough without a significant reduction in sound quality. That said, it’s still a bit disappointing, given that aptX Adaptive is meant to adjust its bitrate to ensure connection stability along with improving sound quality.
Call quality was decent enough for a budget headset, but I often had Bluetooth connection issues when the earphones didn’t have direct line of sight with the paired source device. With a clear path, I was able to use the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro at up to 3.5m away from the smartphone, but moving in between rooms immediately caused issues. There is also a low-latency gaming mode, but there is no gesture to explicitly enable or disable it, so it was hard to tell if it was functional when playing games.
Redmi products are pitched as value-for-money products, and indeed the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro offers a lot for a reasonable price. Although there’s no active noise cancellation, you do get a dual-driver setup, support for the aptX and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs, and decent battery life. Sound quality, while not quite as impressive as the specifications would suggest, is definitely good enough to justify the price. This is among the better sounding true wireless headsets you can buy for less than Rs. 3,000 in India.
All of that said, the lack of active noise cancellation and app support do hold this headset back a bit. The Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro is focused on the music listening experience, and is a little rough around the edges with everything else; I faced issues with connection stability, and the controls were far from intuitive or easy to use. While I do recommend the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro for anyone focused on music listening on a budget, it might be worth considering the Realme Buds Q2, which is more affordable, and has active noise cancellation as well as app support.