Product Review: Xiaomi Mi ANC USB-C Earbuds

I’m really into minimizing the things I carry with me, and getting the most out of them. The Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are a perfect match for both those goals. They are an amazing pair which I will keep in my everyday carry for the foreseeable future.

These earbuds are replacing a previous pair I used. The old pair were bluetooth noise cancelling earbuds. There were a few major problems with them which apply to all bluetooth earbuds. For one, they still have a chord connecting them to each other, so the dream of removing all chords falls short.  Secondly, they have to be recharged, and there is no way to use them while they are recharging, so it’s sort of Russian roulette every time you need them. And if they’re dead, you’re out of luck.

Personally, I use earbuds for listening to class lectures, audiobooks, podcasts, and music.  I need them to work when I need them, so I decided my next pair would ideally not be rechargeable, or at least it needs to work while I am charging it. But I still really enjoy the noise cancelling feature. I sometimes use noise cancelling without even listening to anything, just to alleviate little distractions around the room.

Enter Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds;

First Impressions

The Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are very pretty. The chord is braided nylon and the buttons and earbuds are black titanium. They come with lots of different size options for the earbuds themselves, and with a fancy carrying case which I will never use.

Second thing to notice, they do not have a 3.5mm jack, it’s USB-C! I guess I buried the lead. This is the most exciting part for me. They will never need to charge, because they are powered through the connection to the device. The black piece shown at the bottom of the picture is the buttons. This includes play/pause and forward/back for music, answering calls, etc as well as a button which can turn the noise cancelling on and off.

Noise Cancelling

I have used lots of different noise cancelling headphones over the years ever since the very early bose pairs which were only allegedly mobile-friends and in fact not convenient or comfortable at all. Of all the pairs I have tried, the Xiaomi Mi ANC Earbuds are by far the best for noise cancelling. I am always amazed and momentarily shocked when I take them out or turn them off and realize how much noise they are removing.

After I first started using them, I thought to myself that the way they work seems unusually good. When you turn on the ANC (Active Noise Cancelling), the effect is immediate, but then they seem to take a moment to try other strategies on sounds which are not cancelled easily, like loud fans or electrical sounds. The quality of the noise cancelling then improves as it seems to try additional strategies to combat these other sounds. It seems like they must use some kind of learning algorithm to do this, but I have not found anything in the documentation which explains this.

Sound Quality

A little background on my earbud testing qualifications; I have been a professional sound engineer and DJ for over 15 years and tried lots and lots of headphones across the spectrum from studio monitoring headphones to $4 earbuds.

I have listened exclusively with these for the past few days. I listened to music, podcasts, audiobooks, and even watched Blade Runner. The quality is amazing. I am very happy with my purchase and very glad to recommend these to everyone!

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