Apple can perhaps be credited for popularizing the already existing “true” wireless earbuds market, giving birth to both new products and knock-offs. Chinese manufacturers are notorious for the latter and one would expect someone like Xiaomi to once again copy those designs and products. The Chinese company has outgrown that inclination and while its new Mi AirDots might sound like the AirPods, they are thankfully quite far from being cheap clones. Though they are definitely cheap if you can get your hands on a pair.
While Huawei’s FreeBuds are unabashedly designed almost identical to the Apple AirPods, Xioami’s strategy is to simply associate with the stronger brand via its slightly confusing name. In terms of design, however, the AirDots look more like traditional Bluetooth earbuds without any stem left dangling outside of your ear.
In terms of functionally, the AirDots sound (no pun intended) pretty basic. It utilizes Bluetooth 5.0 for battery-efficient audio streaming and a 7.2 mm dynamic driver to provide hopefully decent audio output. Battery life is noted to just be 4 hours of continuous use thought the charging case can push that up to 12 hours in total.
The earbuds have touch-sensitive surfaces to let you answer calls and control music. Or trigger a smart assistant, though which one isn’t yet known. Xiaomi’s own, perhaps.
It’s biggest selling factor is its selling price. The Mi AirDots will be sold in China for 199 RMB, roughly $29. Unfortunately, no news yet of international availability but Xiaomi does have some events scheduled this week so that may still happen.