Buds 3T Pro true wireless earbuds test: a pleasant surprise from Xiaomi

User Experience

Like AirPods with iPhone, Buds 3T Pro retain many features for Xiaomi terminals. Thus, the user experience is highly dependent on the operating system of the smartphone connected to these headphones.

Buds 3T Pro do not switch to mono when used individually. Thus, half of the stereo signal is lost in this configuration.

For non-Xiaomi terminals, the experience is sketchy but decent. Communication, of course, is via Bluetooth (SBC, AAC codecs), and the Buds 3T Pro have a multipoint connection feature that allows you to connect the headphones to two devices at the same time. In addition, the Buds 3T Pro are controlled by a pressure sensor located on their foot, easily recognizable by touch and allowing you to perform various commands (the same on each earbud), such as navigating between tracks, pausing, resuming playback, or switching from one listening mode to another. to another. Each action on these sensors is accompanied by a (too) faint “beep”, giving the impression of actually pressing a button. Unfortunately, this closes the panel of features available for non-Xiaomi terminals.

Saving settings on Xiaomi 12 Pro.  The settings are stored in the headphones, which makes it possible to use some options on non-Xiaomi smartphones by going upstream through this manufacturer's phone.  Exercise.

Saving settings on Xiaomi 12 Pro. The settings are stored in the headphones, which makes it possible to use some options on non-Xiaomi smartphones by going upstream through this manufacturer’s phone. Exercise.

Happy owners of Xiaomi smartphones get much more settings and customization options. They are integrated directly into the Bluetooth panel of the phone’s Settings app. Thus, it is possible to switch between different active noise canceling modes, upgrade the headphones, activate head tracking, activate the proximity sensor, or change the pressure sensor controls, among other things. There is also various information such as the remaining battery level or the Bluetooth codec used (in this case SBC, AAC or LHDC). The latest Xiaomi phones display a connection window when you open the Buds 3T Pro case to make pairing easier.

While Xiaomi has accustomed us to headphone models true-wireless barely passable in terms of sound quality. With these Buds 3T Pro, the Chinese brand has taken a real step forward, because while we are still behind the best, they are amazingly accurate and reasonable in sound reproduction.

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  With active noise reduction (purple), without active noise reduction (black).

Frequency response measurement (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). With active noise reduction (purple), without active noise reduction (black).

One of the main strengths of these headphones is indeed accurate reproduction of timbres. The membranes are incredibly reactive to reproduce environments and are completely at ease on mixes with a lot of bass, for which it is very easy to distinguish each instrument, each frequency band remains in its place. The Buds 3T Pro, however, are quite modest when it comes to bass reproduction, which has a particular effect, giving them a very “dry” sound, a certain lack of depth and foundation that can be heard clearly on kicks or bass drums. For example.

Membrane reactivity measurement: square waves at 50 Hz.

Membrane reactivity measurement: square waves at 50 Hz.

Membrane reactivity measurement: square waves at 500 Hz.

Membrane reactivity measurement: square waves at 500 Hz.

This bass removal also causes a certain imbalance in the sound signature in favor of higher mids. The presence zone (around 4 kHz) is too noticeable, which enhances the lively, brilliant aspect of the sound reproduction and directly affects some instruments such as cymbals, brass or some overdriven guitars. This area is the most sensitive to the human ear, and this behavior can be very tiring at a comfortable listening volume.

Like the bass, the treble is also not very revealing and would have deserved a more generous expansion this time around so that we can fully capture some very subtle details and room effects. In addition, we ran into some rather odd crosstalk issues: some elements normally located at the far left of the stereo field (and reproduced almost exclusively by the left earpiece) turned out to be much more audible in the right channel than they should be. .

Measurement of harmonic distortion (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz).  With active noise reduction (purple), without active noise reduction (red).  The Buds 3T Pro exhibit extremely low harmonic distortion.

Measurement of harmonic distortion (normalized to 94 dB SPL at 1 kHz). With active noise reduction (purple), without active noise reduction (red). The Buds 3T Pro exhibit extremely low harmonic distortion.

The big news with these Buds 3T Pro is support for 3D audio formats like Dolby Atmos and 360 Reality Audio. The Xiaomi earbuds have done a great job, in part thanks to the wonderful width and depth of the soundstage they offer. Alas, automatic tracking of head movements is completely unsuitable, both because it causes a deterioration in the quality of the audio signal, and because the detection takes place with a very significant delay, on the order of 1 s.

Active noise cancellation

The owners of Xiaomi terminals are once again in a privileged position. Thus, four modes of active noise reduction are available to users of Chinese brand phones: Low, Balanced and Deep modes equalize the attenuation power, and Adaptive mode automatically switches between three other modes depending on the power of ambient noise. Listening to ambient sounds also benefits from two modes: the classic transparent mode and another called Voice Rendering Enhancement, which highlights the mids to separate them as best as possible. Non-Xiaomi smartphones have access to one active noise reduction mode (Deep) and a single ambient listening mode (Transparent) out of the box. However, it is possible to change the modes available on non-Xiaomi smartphones using… a Xiaomi phone! Indeed, we remind you that the Buds 3T Pro save their settings in memory.

Due to their presence sensor, we were unable to take our usual insulation measurements with our dummy. However, this does not prevent us from providing you with our analysis. As far as pure performance is concerned, the attenuation of the lowest frequencies is very correct, if not up to the performance of the best students in this area (Sony WF-1000XM4, Devialet Gemini, etc.). The roar of a train or car engine is appropriately reduced, as are ventilation noises. Headphones, however, have a much harder time reducing the mids and highs. You won’t miss any conversation around you. Non-static noises such as keyboard tapping or rail screeching are also slightly attenuated.

The performance of the surround listening modes is correct, but nothing more.

The performance of the surround listening modes is correct, but nothing more.

Activating Active Noise Cancellation also causes sound pressure, which can be annoying for people who are sensitive to this kind of sensation. Also note that the Buds 3T Pro includes a wind noise reduction system that turns on automatically but cannot be turned off. Although it only activates in the presence of wind and is excellent at attenuating its effects, this system has the side effect of reducing the effectiveness of active noise cancellation. The fact that it’s quite sensitive is also a problem, especially when you’re on the move, because the behavior of the noise reduction algorithm changes quite often in this case, which can quickly become annoying. We would like to be able to deactivate it at will.

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