Hi Mi Bunnies!|
New year, new Mi Community!!! (Finally out of Beta 1.0!) Great to see everyone again. Hope everyone is enjoying the new forum. For my first post here, I will be reviewing the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD, known as the 小米圈铁耳机 Pro in China. This is the successor to the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro, aka 小米圈铁耳机, which launched in Singapore over a year ago and can still be found at Mi Home @ Suntec City and on Lazada Mi Store.Despite the similarity in their names, the Pro HD is mostly a very different pair of headphones from the Pro. They both look alike and have excellent build quality but that is about all that is similar.
Packaging & Price
The first difference would be the pricing and packaging. When Mi Singapore invited Mi Fans to test out the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro a little more than a year ago, we were told that the bland packaging for the Pro was a comprise so that they can spend more on improving the headphones itself. This is not the case for the Pro HD, which may be part of the reason why it costs ¥149 in China, a 50% increase from the Pro's ¥99. The Pro HD comes in a beautiful white box that is slightly larger than the Pro's. Inside the box, you will find a user manual, cloth pouch and Xiaomi's classic plastic container. Sitting at the very top of the plastic container are the headphones, coiled up nicely around a rubbery material. Below the headphones are the ear tips (XS, S and L), neatly labelled and held in position. The M size ear tips can be found on the headphones.
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The Pro HD looks really similar to the Pro with its metal sound chamber and black accent, but a lot rounder and smoother. Something that bugged me about the old Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro is the volume control buttons, which were thin and plastic. This has been fixed on the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD, replaced with round metal buttons that are easy to click. The only thing I do not like about the Pro HD is the absence of kevlar braiding, which made the Pro really durable. I left my Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro in my pants for a long time and it went through umpteen times of washing but survived, although it doesn't sound as good as before. (Don't try this at home)
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Disclaimer: I am not an audiophille. I apologise for the incorrect use of any terms below.
If you listen to a lot of bass, the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD is most likely not for you so feel free to stop reading right now. Unlike the Pro which had really rich bass that are comparable to Apple EarPods (I will be using it as comparison a lot since my Pro is damaged), the Pro HD is a lot more balanced, with slight emphasis on treble. Try this: open this link and go to 0:37 of the video. On the In-Ear Headphones Pro HD, you can hear the "can you here me" pretty clearly, but on the EarPods, the bass gets so overwhelming you can barely here it. The EarPods are a lot louder than the Pro HD. Ok, enough with the comparison. How does it sound?
Fresh from the box, the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD sounded really good but there is a slight problem. When listening to songs like 我们曾相爱 and 你的香气 by 郭静 and 千年之恋 by F.I.R., the vocals can get really harsh with a lot of static noise till the point its gets uncomfortable to continue listening. However, after a long time of usage and burn-in, this is no longer an issue except on certain songs like 当爱来敲门 by 张碧晨. (Update: While writing this review, I notice that it has gotten better. Seems like you really need to use this pair of headphones a lot before it can achieve its full potential.)
That said, I really like how the Pro HD sounds. I highly recommend burning in the Pro HD and you can do so with the 1MORE Assistant app, available on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Listening to 贼 by 戴佩妮, the bass is neither obtrusive nor is it underwhelming so the vocals are crisp and clear. A little more bass would have been nice but for the price of the headphones, I am really satisfied. On 寻人启事 by LaLa徐佳莹, you can here the piano in the background really clearly, while the vocals stayed true to life. Duets like 风景旧曾谙 by 韦礼安 and 郭静 sound crisp and clear on the Pro HD, while the Apple EarPod's overemphasis on bass completely ruined the experience. As for instrumental, sound produced by the Pro HD is not as lively as Apple EarPod's, but it sounds a lot more natural. As mentioned earlier, this pair of headphones does not produce very strong bass so songs like Lying From You by Linkin Park do not feel very immersive on the Pro HD.
The original Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro did not have a very good microphone, with callers saying that sounded a bit tiny. I am really glad to see that this has been addressed with the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD. The new microphone sounds clearer and much louder. As usual, volume buttons only support Android but play/pause button works on both Android and iOS. If you use an iOS device, consider getting one of 1MORE's pricier options with Intelligent Control Technology instead.
At the start of my testing period, I would have described the Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro HD as "the (almost) zero compromise Mi In-Ear Headphones Pro". However, after long period of usage, I have determined that there so little in common between these two headphones, I would not call the Pro HD the Pro's successor. Setting aside the difference in price, build and packaging, the Pro and Pro HD also appeal to a different group of audience with a contrasting preference in sound. Test out both pairs of headphones before deciding which one you should get.
1) Excellent build quality
2) Comes with a really nice cloth pouch
3) Clicky volume controls
4) Great microphone
5) Superb sound
6) Really affordable
1) No kevlar braiding
2) Bass may be too weak for some
3) Harsh vocals and static issue before burn in