Building on the success of the Redmi Buds 3 Pro, this new generation is another excellent offering from the Xiaomi brand. Good sound quality, comfortable to wear, solid battery life, and the ANC, Immersive Sound and Hi-Res Audio features offer great value at this price.
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Xiaomi’s budget-friendly Redmi brand has delivered some very usable wireless earbuds in the past, often boasting features missing in the sub $100/£100 space.
Now, the company returns with its latest offering, which comes complete with ANC and Hi-Res Audio, all for a price that’s almost too good to be true. What’s the catch? Well…
Design & Build
Opening the box reveals a compact pill-shaped case for the Buds 4 Pro. As is standard these days, the case acts as a charger for the buds and receives power via the USB-C port on the underside. Next to this is a small button that you press and hold to pair the buds with your phone.
The hinged top section flips back to allow access to the buds, both of which fit snugly in their housings. They’re easy to remove, which isn’t always the case with earbuds, and this year’s design is a little different from the excellent Redmi Buds 3 Pro they replace.
With those buds, there was no stem, but this time around Redmi opts for short ones that emerge from the bulbous area that’s home to the dual dynamic drivers that produce the sound. This makes them kind of a halfway house between the Redmi Buds 3 Pro and Xiaomi Buds 3T Pro. There’s a thin flat strip on the outside surface which also acts as the touch-sensitive area for controls.
On the upper section of the bulb are openings for one of the three microphones fitted in each bud. The other two are in the lower part of the stem and inside the speaker grill. These allow for the ANC feature to work, as well as taking calls and using a voice assistant.
The buds are lightweight, at around 5g each, and are very comfortable to wear, even over extended listening sessions. You get three different sizes of rubber tips, so you can fit the one that best sits in your ear, but I found the medium ones that came pre-installed did a fine job.
An IP54 rating means that the Buds 4 Pro are sweat-proof and should stand up to a rain shower or two. I wore them out and about in the wet and blustery Cornish autumn, and they held out fine, so I can’t imagine any urban settings posing a problem.
Redmi offers black or white liveries, with my review pair coming in the darker hue.
Sound Quality & Features
Good sound quality
Immersive Sound mode
Hi-Res Audio compatible
As mentioned above, the Redmi Bud 4 Pros are fitted with twin drivers: a 10mm aluminium alloy dynamic main driver, paired with a 6mm titanium dynamic driver that handles the higher frequencies. These prove an impressive combination, as the sound quality they deliver is detailed and well-rounded.
Bass frequencies sound full and present, without ever getting too boomy or woolly. If you want ground-shaking low-end then these aren’t going to deliver that, but then you’re probably not going to be looking at earbuds for that kind of performance anyway.
The mid and treble frequencies are also balanced, without sounding too shrill or tinny. This is no doubt aided by that dedicated 6mm driver which handles those areas. For most styles of music, the Buds 4 Pro cover enough ground to give a very enjoyable experience, no matter what you throw at them.
Volume can get pretty loud, so be careful with boosting the signal too much or you could end up with ringing in your ears (Public Service Announcement over).
There’s also Hi-Res Audio capabilities built into the Buds 4 Pro. Xiaomi has added support from Sony’s LDAC codec, which means you can get transmission speeds of up to 990kbps and 96Hz/24-bit audio resolutions. This makes the quality better than Qualcomm’s AptX, but you’ll need a compatible Android device to use this feature.
Another feature is Immersive Sound (basically Spatial Audio), which gives a more three-dimensional depth to movies and TV shows via the buds or on music apps that support the feature. It’s not life-changing but does bring a little sparkle, which is always welcome.
Something to note is that Immersive Sound and Hi-Res Audio can’t be used at the same time, as Xiaomi states that the features are mutually exclusive. But, there is a bonus feature that can cope with more than one thing at once and that’s the multi-device connectivity.
Thanks to the Bluetooth 5.3 capabilities of the Buds 3 Pro, you can be connected to two devices at the same time, switching between them by starting audio on the one you want to hear. This is great for watching a movie on your laptop or Bluetooth enabled smart-TV (with pretty solid latency it must be said), then answering a call on your phone without having to disconnect or remove the buds.
Connections were solid throughout my testing period and the Buds happily paired first-time with any device.
Active Noise Cancelling
Multiple ANC modes
Dual Transparency modes
Triple microphones for noise cancellation
ANC remains an unusual feature to appear in this price bracket, but as with the Redmi Buds 3 Pro, the new generation also comes with the technology onboard.
Out of the box you have two modes – transparent and noise cancelling. As you can imagine, the first uses the microphones to add some ambient sound from your surrounding environment into the sound. This means you should still be able to hear if someone is talking to you, even when music is playing. If you want to respond, simply take one of the buds out of your ear and the proximity sensor will automatically pause playback until you replace the bud once more.
The transparency mode is well-judged, letting in enough to let you monitor your surroundings, but not overwhelming the music you’re listening to with noise.
Switching to the ANC mode instantly brings a more closed-off sound, with the higher frequencies used by the transparency mode disappearing. This doesn’t affect the mix of the content you’re listening to, just removes the overtones of your environment. While Redmi states that you get up to 43db of noise cancellation, I’d say it’s more a case of taking the edge off the noise around you rather than blocking it completely.
Sitting in my living room, with one of my teenage daughters singing loudly in the room next door, I was able to enjoy an audiobook without really noticing the apparent audition for Broadway that was going on around me. Board a busy underground train or sit in a loud environment with banging and lots of people chatting, and the ANC struggles to keep out the din.
As I say, it does take the edge off, which is good, and at this price you can’t really expect any more than that. If you want more serious ANC on a budget, then check out the excellent Edifier Neobuds S, although they’ll cost you a bit more.
Reliable touch controls
Easily switch between ANC modes
Can be redefined in app
As with all wireless earbuds these days, you have a few different touch-based controls at your disposal. Double tapping either bud will play/pause tracks or answer an incoming call. Triple taps will skip tracks, either forward or backwards depending on which bud you tap. You can also switch between ANC modes by tapping and holding either bud.
It’s pretty basic stuff, but I found the responses to be excellent throughout. Very rarely did a tap not work, and this was usually if my hair had gotten in the way.
If you download the Xiaomi Earbuds app to your Android device (iOS not available) or use a Xiaomi handset, then you’ll also be able to assign the taps to different functions. More on that in a minute.
Access to additional ANC modes
Enable features like Hi-Res and Immersive audio
In the past, I’ve bemoaned the fact that Xiaomi has reserved some of its best audio features for those who use the company’s phones, as the software allows extra features to be accessed. This remains true in part, but the addition of the Xiaomi Earbuds app to the Google Play Store means non-Xiaomi fans can also get the most from their earbuds.
In the settings you can alter what each tap command does, so if you prefer volume controls over track skipping, you can select that from the relevant menu and make it happen. Controls are independent too, so you can have one option on the left bud and another on the right. You’ll also be able to access different levels of ANC, with the two modes expanded to four – Adaptive, Light, Balanced and Deep.
You can turn it off completely if you prefer, and there is also an additional Transparency mode option called True Voice that makes it easier to talk directly to someone while your content is still playing.
If you play a lot of games, then the Low Latency mode will be worth enabling as it does a good job, plus it’s also handy when using the buds with video content. You can also use a find my earbuds alarm that will make the buds play alert sounds that gradually increase in volume and should help locate them down the back of a sofa or in a jacket pocket.
If you have an Android phone, download the app as it’s an essential part of the experience. Sadly, iPhone users will be stuck with the rather basic features that come preset in the buds, but Apple has a few AirPod-branded options available for those who prefer that platform.
Battery Life & Charging
9 hours battery life (without ANC)
4-5 hours battery life (with ANC)
Charging case holds enough for 3x charges
Xiaomi promises up to nine hours of playback from a single charge, but it should be noted that this is with the ANC disabled. With it turned on I got around four and a half hours, which is still very respectable. Obviously, if you use different ANC modes or disable it from time to time, then you may get longer or shorter times between recharges.
The case itself can deliver around three full battery refreshes before needing to find the power cable, and best of all it has a fast charge feature that can get your dead buds back up to around two hours of listening (without ANC) after popping them in the case for around 10 minutes. The case does have to be at least 30% charged though for this feature to work. There’s no wireless charging, but that’s understandable at this price, although it’s a little strange as the previous generation had the feature.
Price & Availability
With Hi-Res Audio and Adaptive ANC onboard, you might think that the Redmi Buds 4 Pro would be over the $100/£100 mark, but they are actually very reasonably priced at £84.99 (or around $97), with Xiaomi already offering deals at the time of writing that knocked a further £10 off the asking price.
I couldn’t find a listing for them on the Xiaomi US site, but with the previous Redmi Buds being available it could just be a matter of time. Amazon US did have them available for $99.99, so there’s always that option. There’s always AliExpress too, who had the buds available for US customers when I checked for this review, with the pricing around $58, although you’ll need to check on import taxes and delivery.
These prices put the Redmi Buds 4 Pro in the same ballpark as ANC-equipped alternatives like the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 that cost £139/$149/€149, but can be found cheaper if you shop around. There are also the OnePlus Buds Z2 (£99/US$99) and the Nothing Ear (1) buds, although they’ve recently had a price increase to £149/$149 which makes them a little less tempting.
I was very fond of the Redmi Buds 3 Pro and still use them regularly, so when these came in for review I was excited to see what Xiaomi had in store. Glad to say, I’ve not been disappointed. The new design is very comfortable to wear for extended periods and the buds deliver solid quality across a wide range of audio. ANC is a real bonus at this price, and while it isn’t the best on the market it still can make noisier environments a bit gentler on the ears.
You’ll need to download the app if you want access to all the features (or use a Xiaomi phone), and it’s certainly worth doing as the extended ANC modes, Low Latency setting and LDAC compatibility are things you’ll want to explore.
With times getting hard, money short, and some companies hiking prices to uncomfortable levels, Xiaomi has done something rather miraculous – it’s delivered a product that’s affordable and actually a bargain.
Martyn has been involved with tech ever since the arrival of his ZX Spectrum back in the early 80s. He covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews for Macworld and its sister site Tech Advisor.