Review: Xiaomi Piston Basic Edition headphones

When you’re on the go, music is one of those creature comforts that we all bring with us nowadays. Whether you are on the subway or just walking to work, being able to listen to your tunes is making that commute a whole lot easier.

To do that, you need a decent pair of headphones. That’s where the Xiaomi Basic Edition Pistons come in. Xiaomi is a brand most in the western world haven’t really had any dealings with. The brand is mostly oriented on its home, Chinese, market. However, it has sported good quality devices for a long time and is certainly worth considering. Especially if you are looking for something with an incredible price-performance ratio.

These earbuds are made of aluminum and look quite sturdy. The cable is made of a rubberized material and is fairly tangle resistant. The cable itself has a decent length to it (about 1,5 meters) and sports a straight 3.5 mm jack. The included microphone on the right cable also has a simple remote control with just one button.

Sound quality wise I can’t fault these earbuds. For as little as they cost, they produce quite an impressive sound. Now they won’t get you to the level of say Bose, but these cost only a fraction of the price.

I’ve found the bass satisfying though not extremely impressive and the mids to get muddied a bit. When listening to some Hans Zimmer, I’ve found the bass to be rather distracting at times as it tended to overpower the mids and highs. But that is nitpicking considering what the Xiaomi Pistons Basic Edition pretend to be. Someone who is an audiophile will probably want to spring for something a little more advanced as these are limited. The sound signature will satisfy most people.

Included in the box are 3 different sizes of rubber tips for the buds. My ears are relatively big and I immediately went for the large ones. When you get the proper size, they offer a decent amount of sound blocking though they are by no means blocking everything out.

As for the comfort of wearing the Xiaomi Pistons Basic Edition I’ve found that they are really comfortable. They keep to the middle of what actual in ears and normal earplugs. So they aren’t as small as some of the Sennheiser offerings but quite comfortable nonetheless. It speaks for itself that your mileage may vary.

All in all these earbuds surprised me. When I bought these plugs I expected them to suck. And, well, they didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are quite a few things about the Xiaomi Pistons Basic Edition I would change if I had anything to say about it. The rubberized material the cable is made of is decent. But nothing more than that. A braided cable would have been very welcome and would give it more of a feeling of quality. The microphone/remote feels cheap and would benefit from a sturdier finish. And the plug would be much better if it were at an angle, instead of straight.

But all of those are minor gripes if you think about the what you are getting for $5 (at the time of writing). The Xiaomi Pistons Basic Edition are exactly that: basic. The sound is perfectly fine but the creature comforts you get when you are paying a bit more, are simply not there.

If you are willing to put up with those minor issues, then these headphones will serve you great.

Sound Quality 6
Comfort 8
Finish/extra’s 5.5
Price/quality 9

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