If you know the name Xiaomi, chances are you know it for its low-cost, high-performing smartphones that fly off of its virtual shelves in China. But in addition to its booming smartphone business, Xiaomi also makes an entire range of accessories, including headphones and fitness tracking bands. Those accessories are notable because they are the first products Xiaomi is selling in the US.
The latest accessory from Xiaomi is a pair of new in-ear headphones. The Mi headphones are the fourth generation that Xiaomi has produced and will be available in the US in 2016 for about $29.99. Thirty dollars isn't a ton of money for headphones, but Xiaomi promises that the Mi headphones will compete with headphones that cost hundreds of dollars.
To back that claim up, Xiaomi uses a lot of buzzwords and technical specs to describe these headphones, such as dual-armature drivers and full metal construction. The cable is wrapped in Kevlar and features a three-button remote and microphone.
I've had a chance to try out the new Mi headphones for a few days, and I have to agree with Xiaomi: these don't feel or sound like $30 headphones. Compared to Apple's EarPods, which sell for the same price and have similar features, the Mi headphones sound crisper and clearer and have more bass response. The metal construction is also much nicer than Apple's all-plastic headphones (or any headphones that come in the box with whatever smartphone you happen to use).
I wouldn't go as far to say that the Mi headphones beat headphones costing over $100, but in the range of under $50, they are easily the best I've popped into my ears. Xiaomi packs a variety of different tips in with the headphones, so you can get a more customized fit than what's available with the EarPods.
While smartphone enthusiasts might be disappointed to hear that Xiaomi isn't selling its phones here in the US just yet, if the quality of the rest of the company's products matches these new headphones, there are plenty of reasons to get excited. Xiaomi didn't say exactly when the Mi headphones would arrive here in the US, but you can expect to see them sometime next year.