Redmi Buds 3
The Redmi Buds 3 are the new true wireless earbuds from the Xiaomi sub-brand. This is Redmi’s first headset with a semi-in-ear design. Buds 3 promise great things such as excellent sound quality, dual-microphone noise cancellation and 20 hour battery life. Best of all you get all this for just $49. The buds were initially available via Xiaomi’s crowdfunding platform, but now they’ve received a global launch.
But don’t confuse this head gear with the Redmi Buds 3 Pro (check price on Amazon). Launched in early September, the $89 Pro version slaps on some additional features including hybrid ANC and dual-device connectivity. The design is also in-ear, so quite different.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
Take a walk on any city street and you’ll notice just how many people own wireless earbuds. Popularised by the Apple AirPods it seems just about every brand is coming out with a product of their own. For the most part, these are lower cost solutions. Which is great for the consumer.
Are the Redmi Buds 3 any good? Do they deliver on their promises? Read my review to find out what I’ve made of them.
Semi in-ear design
The packaging Redmi Buds 3 arrive in is very simple but nice looking. Open the box and you’ll find a pair of buds, a small charging case, a charging cable, user manual and warranty card. It is no-nonsense packing, featuring everything you need without going overboard.
Rather than an in-ear design, Redmi Buds 3 adopt a handle-shaped semi in-ear look. This is a difference from the company’s other offerings and most other such products on the market.
Some may prefer this type of design, others may not. I am actually in the second camp as in my experience the pure in-ear design tends to be more secure. Particularly if you wear the buds to bed which is what I tend to do. Perhaps that is why most manufacturers tend to stick to the in-ear format.
Having said that, the buds are very lightweight measuring 4.5 grams each and offer an extremely comfortable fit. In terms of dimensions, each earbud measures 40.7 x 16.9 x 18.7 mm. At the moment they only come in a single white colour.
On top of each earphone you’ll find a silicon microphone. Another one can be found at the end of the column in the back. The latter is where there’s a small ridge can be found. It serves as a surface for touch commands.
This is a one size fits all affair. So don’t go rummaging through the box for different sized ear tips – you won’t find them. In fact the buds do not have silicone ear tips as they are moulded from a single piece of material. But as mentioned, they are designed to fit the auricles of most people. In the ear I felt no pressure on the ear canal. I suspect, though, that the fit might not serve everyone equally well. It really depends on your ear shape and size.
As far as tech, inside the buds is an entry-level Qualcomm QCC 3040 audio chip which supports Bluetooth 5.2. The speakers have a 12mm dynamic driver and this is coupled with dual high-sensitivity microphones backed by the Qualcomm cVc Echo Cancelling and Noise Suppression Technology. But more about that later.
Charging case has angular look
The product looks and feels very refined. No hard edges or anything like that. The same applies for the 49.6 x 49.6 x 24.4mm charging case. It comes with the identical glossy white finish, angular look and rounded corners.
On the front of the case you’ll find a tiny pin-size LED indicator light. Below that is a physical button which blends seamlessly into the body. This offers an easy way to reset your earbuds and it serves as a pairing button.
This is all standard stuff and what you’d expect from such a product. Just like the buds, the case feels solidly built. It is not something that would easily scratch.
The shape of the thing allows the case to rest on a table easily, both on its back and on its sides. It also allows for a comfortable grip when holding. The size of the case would fit in anyone’s pocket, and the dimensions are slightly smaller than some of the other charging cases I’ve tried.
Spring the top open and you’ll find that the buds can be comfortably nestled inside the thing. No danger of them falling out thanks to a strong magnet which keeps them firmly in place.
No worries about the occasional splash or rainy weather. The product is rated with a IP54 water and dust rating means it is safe from sweat and the occasional spills.
Charging and battery life
Battery life is one of the most important features of wireless headphones. And the buds do not dissapoint.
At the bottom end of the charging case is a USB-C charging port. Use the cable provided or any other USB-C charging cable to refuel the 310 mAh Lithium Ion battery than is located inside. This is good for 20 hours of playback.
The single buds have a 35 mAh battery which gives them enough juice for about 5 hours of audio. That’s not bad and jives closely with my experience of using the product. Of course, all of this depends on a particular person’s usage habits. So take it as an indicator of what you can expect. Some simple mathematic show that you are able to achieve four full charges with the case.
Redmi says a quick 10 minute top-up is enough for around 1.5 hours of normal playback. It is useful to have the quick charge functionality in instances when you are running low. It means it is not a problem to use the buds to listen to songs all day long.
The LED light at the front of the case reveals the battery charge status. Plug it in and you’ll notice it shines in a solid White colour. When the LED switches off, it means the battery is full. Simple and to the point.
Lightweight, semi in-ear design
Dimensions of each bud
40.7 x 16.9 x 18.7mm
Dimensions of charging case
49.6 x 49.6 x 24.4mm
Single bud: 4.5 grams
Earbuds: 35 mAh
Charging case: 310 mAh
5 hours on a single charge
20 hours with charging case
a 10 minute charge typically provides 1.5 hours of playback
12-mm dynamic driver
Dual high-sensitivity microphones
10 metres (open space free of obstacles)
Qualcomm QCC3040 Bluetooth Chipset
IP54 – (level 5 dustproof and level 4 water-resistant)
Price (typical RRP)
As with any electrical gear, make sure to fully charge the case and buds before first use. Also, remove the thin protective film which is hardly visible. This is in place to protect the sensitive contact points on the earbuds.
Redmi Buds 3 can be paired with a multitude of devices including phones, tablets and PCs via 5.2. The first connection is achieved by pressing the physical button on the case for about two seconds while the buds are inside and the top is open. The LED should start blinking white. Head over to your device’s Bluetooth settings, find and connect to “Redmi Buds 3”.
As an iPhone and iPad user, this was simple enough. It is a one time process – from that point on the connection is achieved automatically whenever you take the buds out of the case. For Mi and Redmi phone’s the process has been made even simpler. The phones will automatically detect the Buds presence and walk you through the process with animated pop-up windows.
Redmi suggests you keep the headwear in the case when not in use. That helps preserve their life, it disconnects them from your sound-playing device and it is a good way to avoid losing them.
You can pair the buds with multiple devices. So for example if you have paired them both with an iPhone and iPad, open the case and it will connect to the device you used last.
The company says the range of connection is around 10 metres. I found this to be the case, but inside the walls of the building will impede. So the 10 meter connection is in outside conditions. Indoors you will get at least 5-6 meters of uninterrupted connection, perhaps more depending on the setup of your home.
That’s pretty much it as far as pairing and software. A no hassle experience, works as intended.
As mentioned, the buds have a small, circular, touch-sensitive area along the top. This is used to send certain functions wirelessly.
You can use this method to answer and end calls (double tapping the touch sensitive area), play/pause music (press and hold) and play next track/previous track (double tap for next track, triple tap for previous track). The touch sensitive area is very small so you do need to be precise. But it works well and instantly sends commands. There’s no way to control sound volume so you’ll need to use your music playback device for that.
Another way of playing and pausing music is to simply remove the bud from your ear. Removing just one will trigger the smart wearing detection.
It is fair to say, the sound quality of Redmi Buds 3 is not top of the range. But then again, you are playing only $49 for the thing. Having said that, it is of perfectly decent quality thanks to the Qualcomm QCC3040 chip. Released in 2020, the chip adds support for aptX Adaptive decoding.
I often listen to music on-the-go and find the sound on Buds 3 to be entirely sufficient for an enjoyable music listening session. This is, no doubt, helped by the 12mm moving coin unit inside the body. The mid and low frequency performance is a bit more prominent which is perhaps to be expected, with a bit less bass than I would have liked. This is perhaps the result of the semi open in-ear design – as the fit as not as snug as what you’d get with in-ear buds.
As mentioned, each earbud has two high-sensitivity silicone microphones built inside. These help to reduce environment noise and echoes, something that helps when conducting calls in noisy surroundings. Redmi uses CVC (Clear Voice Capture) noise reduction technology to achieve this.
Any low cost product comes with some sacrifices. That is to be expected. The question is whether it offers good value for money – and the Redmi Buds 3 certainly tick this box. Even more so if you are a Xiaomi or Redmi smartphone user.
In addition to the low cost, the highlight of the device is the fact that it is lightweight and very comfortable to wear. The sound quality is decent for day-to-day use, the latency is low and the 20 hour battery life with charging case will suffice for most. The pairing process is simple enough and works well, and there are some touch controls thrown in to make your life a bit easier. My one wish is for some sort of smartphone app that allows for controlling audio quality.
All things considered, this is a solid product offering that won’t break the bank. There are few semi-open TWS headphones on the market. So if you’re after a pair these will set you back only $49 (check price on Amazon). If you want more as far as features, go for the Redmi Buds 3 Pro (check price on Amazon).
*We are a review site that receives a small commission from sales of certain items, but the price is the same for you. Purchasing items by clicking on links in this article allows us to run this website. We are independently owned and all opinions expressed here are our own. See our affiliate disclosure page for more details.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!