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FOUR STARS - The Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 is a pleasant pair of wireless earbuds, with original looks, a comfortable fit, clear calls, and an impressive Transparency mode. It's not perfect in all areas, however.
Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 specs and features:
Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC codec
IP54 waterproof (rain and dust proof)
4 hours listening on a single charge (ANC on)
Charging case can charge earpieces fully 5 times
Comes with 3 sets of ear tips and USB-C cable
$45 - Check latest price on AliExpress
Below this Redmi Buds 4 review, you will find comparisons of the Redmi Buds 4 vs Redmi Buds 4 Pro, SoundPEATS Mini Pro, and Soundcore Life A3i.
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Design, comfort and battery life
The flat, egg-shaped charging case of the Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 looks a bit big, but it proves its worth by being able to recharge the earbuds five times fully before needing new power via USB-C itself. It's also flat enough to slide into your jeans pocket.
Better yet, it's a form factor that differs from its many competitors. The Redmi Buds 4 has a likable design, continuing on the previously released Redmi Buds 3 Pro (not reviewed on Scarbir.com).
It's available in multiple colors, with a soft base color and a shiny outer side on the earbuds. The light blue variant looks quite striking, and the compact, oval shaped earbuds are light and very comfortable to wear.
The compact earbuds may not provide the tightest fit in medium-sized (or larger) ears, but still don't seem to fall out quickly. The IP54 waterproof rating means they withstand rain and dust.
The battery life is disappointing, sadly. With ANC on, they don't last much longer than 4 hours on a single charge.
Controls and connectivity
A disappointment: unlike the Redmi Buds 3 Pro, the new 4 doesn't support multipoint connection. You can't connect these earbuds to multiple Bluetooth devices at the same time and switch between the sound.
Happily, regular connectivity is good. Music pauses automatically when you take an earbud out, and resumes playing when you put it on a surface or back in your ears. It works like a charm. Pairing and connecting are also fast.
Controls are limited, sadly. Double-tap to play/pause, triple-tap either bud to skip a song, hold to switch between ANC and Transparency mode. It's not possible to return a song or change volume. At least the touch panels respond quickly to your input.
Calls, movies and Games
Phone and video calls have a natural feeling to them on the Redmi Buds 4. Your voice is clear and has enough volume, and the fact that some lighter background sounds are audible (while clearly in the background) only adds up to it. Nearby sound effects are reduced well, but as always, a combination of wind and nearby noise can dampen your voice somewhat.
The Redmi Buds 4 doesn't have a specific low-latency mode, but activates the gaming optimization automatically when you're firing up a game. At least, Xiaomi says so, and it's to be believed, as there's solid synchronization in games between the action you see on your screen, and what you hear. Video playback is also flawless, on both Android and iPhone.
ANC Noise cancelling of Redmi Buds 4
The Redmi Buds 4 has intelligent Active Noise Cancelling: it can check out your surroundings to improve the noise reduction after a while.
Seriously: you sometimes need to have patience and may have to fiddle with the fit to get the effect to kick in. Most of the times, the ANC doesn't soften and reduce much background and nearby sounds. Especially mid-tones, including distant and constant traffic, can still be audible. The ANC isn't very strong by itself, but it helps to reduce noise when you're listening to music.
The Transparency Mode is wonderful, however, and lets you easily hear and locate traffic around you when you're playing music up to moderate volume. While conversations are harder to pick up, the Transparency mode impresses with its naturalness. Like on the Apple AirPods Pro, it can almost feel like your earbud isn't there when you're walking, running or cycling outside.
You can't turn ANC off from the earbuds, but it actually isn't a big problem, as the ANC's intelligence does a good job of filtering out wind noise - a very nice feature for when you take these earbuds for a run.
Also read: The best wireless ANC earbuds
Sound quality of Redmi Buds 4
Like previous earbuds from the brand, the sound of the Redmi Buds 4 is pretty straightforward; balanced with clear treble.
Female and higher male vocals, but also instruments like guitars, piano, and violins, sound crisp and are on the brighter side. They're also a little lighter than usual - higher vocals can feel a bit thin.
Happily, highs are better controlled than on the Redmi AirDots 3 and its predecessors. The treble doesn't become too hot - neither too harsh or sharp.
There's also some energy in the lows to weigh against it. There's a relatively deep, yet muddy mid-bass slam, and while lower-mids don't feel particularly boosted, from moderate volume on up, there's enough of them to provide music a bit of warmth underneath the clear treble.
As some instruments and sound effects appear on your left and right, there's a fair level of detail in high quality recordings, but ultimately, the typically Chinese tuning of muddy mid-bass and bright treble can sound a bit restless.
Redmi Buds 4 comparisons
Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 vs Redmi Buds 4 Pro
Costing around $30 more, the Redmi Buds 4 Pro brings slightly stronger Active Noise Cancelling than the regular Redmi Buds 4. It softens mid-tones in the background better, making it more effective in reducing distant traffic and chatter. Both models have the same natural Transparency mode, but the regular Redmi Buds 4 puts your voice through clearer in phone and video calls.
The biggest difference between the Redmi Buds 4 and Redmi Buds 4 Pro is that the Pro has multipoint connection, meaning you can tie it to two Bluetooth devices and automatically switch between them when you receive a call or start playing on the other device. A terrific feature that works well. The Pro has a slightly more pocketable case, and more generic-looking stem designs... that provide up to 6,5 hours of playtime with ANC on - a useful 2,5 hours more than the cheaper Buds 4.
Redmi Buds 4 Pro sound is also more balanced, with a cleaner midrange, earlier rolled-off highs and a warmer undertone. Like on the Buds 4 though, the mid-bass isn't the tightest. It's mostly the multipoint connection that marks the upgrade.
Redmi Buds 4 Pro ($70) review coming soon - Check price on AliExpress
Redmi Buds 4 vs SoundPEATS Mini Pro
Looking for affordable Active Noise Cancelling earbuds without stems? Don't sleep on the SoundPEATS Mini Pro. It's slightly more expensive than the Redmi Buds 4, but has a more Western-tuned sound, with stronger mid-bass, boosted lower-mids and a warmer undertone. The SoundPEATS sounds more engaging than the Redmi Buds 4, although the Xiaomi does maintain its balance better on the highest volumes. Like the Redmi Buds 4, the Mini Pro combines a compact shape with original looks, it offers good call quality and it's great for gaming as well. However, the SoundPEATS Mini Pro is more versatile than the Redmi Buds 4: it has an hour longer battery life with ANC on, has all the controls straight on the earbuds, and... its ANC is noticeably stronger.
SoundPEATS Mini Pro review ($50-60)
Redmi Buds 4 vs Soundcore Life A3i
Another pair of ANC earbuds without stems is the Soundcore Life A3i, available at around $60. As the part that goes into your ears is a bit bulkier, it doesn't have the same comfortable fit as the Redmi Buds 4, but it controls easier with sweaty of cold fingers thanks to the actual buttons on the side. Redmi's call quality and Transparency Mode are better, while Soundcore's Active Noise Cancelling and battery life are stronger. It's the sound department where the Life A3i outclasses the Xiaomi with a more vivid sound. The bass is stronger and more detailed, lower-mids (drums) and center-mids (guitars) have more body and texture, and vocals sound thicker. Besides, you can alter the sound with 22 preset EQ's and your own equalizer options from the brilliant Soundcore app.
The Xiaomi Redmi Buds 4 is a pleasant pair of wireless earbuds, with original looks, a comfortable fit, clear calls, and an impressive Transparency mode. Its Active Noise Cancelling and battery life could be better, however.
Four stars - Good
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