Xiaomi AirDots – King of Sub-S$100 Earbuds?

Xiaomi AirDots - Charging Case, which was compact and light.

When Xiaomi released XiaoMi AirDots in November 2018, everybody thought the deal Xiaomi offered was unbelievable. After all, according to the famous chart that we have all come to be very familiar with, a product that is both cheap and good must have given up something in exchange.

All these while, the “good” wireless earphones (or earbuds as some may call) fall in the range of S$200 and above. On the other end of the spectrum lie the sub-S$100 wireless earphones. In fact, in my quest to find something I could afford, I tried out both ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds and Treblab X11 Earbuds.


ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds emerged as winner when it came to sound quality and consistent connection. However, in a month of use, the left and right buds stopped connecting to each other, so I could only use one earbud at any time, which made listening to music a pain. (I know I waxed lyrical about it, but I also amended my review to reflect the problems that came after I published it)

After enduring the one-sided music “enjoyment” for a few months, I started exploring for alternatives. Xiaomi AirDots release came at the right time. With the “losses” I suffered for ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds and Treblab X11 Earbuds, I really didn’t feel like spending too much money on my next set of earbuds (especially when, technically, my ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds was still pumping music into my ears, one side at a time).

Inside the packaging are the AirDots and its charging case. The wires and additional earplugs of varying sizes are found inside this box.

Receiving My Xiaomi AirDots

Xiaomi AirDots are still not available in Singapore at the time of writing, leaving me only with options to get it online. I managed to find an online store on Qoo10 selling a pair of the earbuds and proceeded to buy a set of white buds at S$54.40 (including shipping of S$4.50).

My expectations for online shopping’s delivery was rather low, so when my Xiaomi AirDots arrived within a week as advertised, I was totally impressed.

The earbuds came in a minimalistic package, with its buds stored in its charging case. The curves of the case made it look sleek and in general, the case was smaller and slimmer than that of ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds.

Pairing between the earbuds and with my Google Pixel phone was smoother than for Wireless Sports Earbuds. Xiaomi AirDots turn on automatically when removed from its case (and turned off when returned to the case). By the time I placed both buds into my ears, they were already connected. The next step would be to just turn on the Bluetooth on my Google Pixel and search for and connect to the earbuds.

Xiaomi AirDots - Comparing the charging case with that of ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds. Overall, the charging case of AirDots has a smaller footprint.
The charging case of Xiaomi AiDots has a smaller footprint than ERL Sports Wireless Earbuds.

Sound Quality

The sound quality didn’t quite match that of ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds, mainly because the ear plugs were not snug / too thin. Somehow, even after I changed the ear plugs (2 other sizes came in the package), they still couldn’t fit nicely into my ear canals. That, plus the fact that they were thin, cause the sound to “leak”, which was especially obvious when I was at the gym. Each time I grit my teeth and lifted the weight, my ear canals’ shape would shift slightly and the earbuds would felt like they were going to slip out. No matter how deep I pushed them in, they would come loose and that was when the bass would suffer.

However, if we’re talking about just listening it while on the bus, the “leak” was minimal and the bass, though weak (can’t really expect much from a pair of cheap buds), came out rather well. The high tones were crisp, so music in general was rich for an amateur like me.

The earbuds charged automatically whenever they were placed back into the charging case, which lasted me for a week at every charge. The downside was that I couldn’t really know when the battery of the charging case was running low. In contrast, ERL’s charging case had 4 LED lights to indicate the level of charge left in the case.

Similarly, while charging the case, it was not really clear when the charging case was fully charged, since there was only 1 indicator light to show “Fully Charged” and “Charging”, by means of a white light and orange light respectively.

Xiaomi AirDots - Comparing the charging case with that of ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds. The charging case of AirDots is thinner.
The charging case of Xiaomi AiDots has a smaller footprint than ERL Sports Wireless Earbuds.

Touchpad Controls

The Xiaomi AirDots are controlled via a touch pad on the surface of the earbuds that were exposed after putting the buds on – ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds functions much the same way, with the click button also positioned at the same area.

The only difference was that, while ERL’s earbuds allowed the user to skip a track forward and backward via double and triple tap, on top of the Turn On and Turn Off function via long press and Start/Stop via one click, the touch pads on Xiaomi’s earbuds only offered Start/Stop track or Pick up / Hang Up phone calls (one-tap), calling out Google Assistant (double tap) and Turn On / Off (long press).

That meant I have to go to my phone whenever I wanted to skip tracks.

Having the touchpads meant I would accidentally stop a track when I touched/brushed it. This happens especially when I am on the go. I would need to remove the earbuds, but not have time/convenience to put them back into the charging case (which would automatically turn the buds off). They would go into my pockets and if I accidentally touched the touchpads, the music would turn on again and if I didn’t realise that, it would continue playing music until… I realised it was turned on.

It was no wonder the marketing materials referred to my version of Xiaomi AirDots as “Youth edition”, considering how easily it got turned on by a gentle touch.

On the flip side, note that how I didn’t realise the buds were accidentally turned on while in my shirt pocket. Many earphones / earbuds “leak” sounds. Just imagine sitting beside someone on the bus with their earphones on and being able to hear Katy Perry go ROAR-ORH-ORH-ORH. Xiaomi AirDots do not suffer from this fate.

Xiaomi AirDots - Packaging of the earbuds, which was compact and light.

Is Xiaomi AirDots Worth It?

The worst problem came when the left and right earbuds stopped connecting to each other (which really made me wonder if it was my Google Pixel that was causing the buds to go haywire). Despite following the online instructions to reset the earbuds, I was still unable to get them to connect with each other. I guess when a relationship turns sour, no amount of intervention can make a couple come back together…

Considering how Xiaomi AirDots stopped connecting to each other like my previous pair of ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds, the problem may not be with the AirDots itself. With such decent sound quality at an affordable price, on top of a long battery life, Xiaomi AirDots are actually worth investing for the price conscious. I only hope someone can teach me how to make my AirDots connect again!

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Till then, don’t stop shopping!

The photos and videos are taken with Google Pixel XL and edited for effect. The video was also edited with Filmora.

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