- The Redmi Buds 3 Lite are the latest TWS from Xiaomi and target the sub-Rs 2,000 budget TWS segment.
- They might not score heavily on the style quotient, but the Redmi Buds 3 Lite are solidly built, easy to use and deliver surprisingly good sound for their price point.
- They do face competition from Oppo and Realme, but the Redmi Buds 3 Lite are a very good option for someone who wants TWS magic at a really affordable price without too many bells and whistles.
You have to say this about crazy pricing – it makes one really appreciate what one is getting. Redmi has been a master of this “great specs and performance for the price” equation when it comes to the smartphone business, and the Redmi Buds 3 Lite brings this magic math to the world of TWS.
At their price of Rs 1,999 (with a special introductory price of Rs 1,499), the Redmi Buds 3 Lite are very good value for money in a segment where performance tends to deteriorate spectacularly with the price decline. In fact, below Rs 2,000, TWS performance generally tends to be memorable for all the wrong reasons – distorted audio, too much bass, poor build quality, unresponsive controls, and so much more.
Good sound for the segment (with bass aplenty)
Xiaomi’s latest budget TWS, the Redmi Buds 3 Lite, get the basics and a lot of the small details right. They will not serve up sound that blows you away but instead deliver a very mainstream audio signature with a strong stress on bass. It can get a little “muddy” but never drowns out the vocals and other instruments. What’s more, their 6mm dynamic drivers hit impressively high levels without distortion, which is a rarity at this price point. Audiophiles might find the sound a little too “thick” for their liking, but if you like music with a lot of beats and percussion, these are perfect for you.
The Buds 3 Lite are very good for trance and pop music as well as general video and film watching (action titles especially). They also have a surprisingly decent gaming mode, which significantly cuts down latency. We would still not recommend them for intense Call of Duty sessions, but they are very good for general casual gaming.
Budget TWS that handle calls decently and have good battery life
An area where the Buds 3 Lite pleasantly surprised us was calling – a weak point of TWS across price points. We would not say that they are excellent for phone calls, as external noise does creep in despite environmental noise cancellation being present. Still, they definitely are very usable for taking and receiving calls (especially indoors) – something we cannot say for most TWS in the segment. Xiaomi credits this to the fact that the buds come with the latest version of Bluetooth, 5.2, on them, which is relatively rare at this price. Battery life is reasonable without being exceptional – about five hours on the buds and 18 hours with the case.
This is good enough for many users, although we have seen bigger battery numbers from other brands. There is no charging cable in the box, and the case charges off a USB Type-C port, so you will need to keep a charger handy. Most new Android phone chargers should play nice with these.
Solid design, with hooks
You also get a solid and basic design, with no attempts to be flashy. The Redmi Buds 3 Lite are a jet black, all-plastic affair, sturdily built, and come with IP54 dust and water resistance. This makes them good enough to be used in the gym. Do not expect them to turn heads, though, as they are a little on the plain side and small enough to be relatively unobtrusive – even the Redmi logo on the back is hidden. They have a glossy touch panel on top and come with ‘wings’ or hooks attached for better in-ear stability.
You get two extra pairs of tips and an extra pair of hooks in the box. The fit we got was snug in our ears (we liked the hook, one set of which comes attached to the buds) and actually kept a fair deal of external sound out while listening to audio. The buds are dot-like and have no ‘stems,’ which makes them more stable. They are very light (each bud is less than 5 grams), and along with the case, the total weight of the entire package is about 35 grams. That is about as much as the AirPods, just for comparison. These will easily slip into most pockets. In a neat touch, the buds attach themselves magnetically to each other, which keeps them connected when out of the case.
An interface that is touchingly simple
The interface of the buds is as basic as their design. The Redmi Buds 3 Lite has a totally touch-driven interface with no buttons on the buds or even on the case (a rarity). Connecting them to a device is as easy as taking out the buds from the case, placing them in your ears, and selecting them from Bluetooth devices on your phone. They remember the last device they connected to. It is simple and straightforward, and although you cannot connect to multiple devices, the fact that you do not need to fiddle with buttons does make the buds easier to connect. Bluetooth connectivity is very good indeed (the Bluetooth 5.2 effect again, as per Xiaomi). We experienced no drop in audio even when wandering into another room, which is generally not the case with Buds, even at twice this price.
The touch panels on the Redmi Buds 3 Lite come into play when you are using the buds. Xiaomi has kept things simple here with the option to use either bud for most commands – a single tap will either move you to the next track or take an incoming call, a press and hold will pause and play, and a triple tap will end or reject a call or invoke your voice assistant (yes, it even works with Siri on the iPhone). Pressing and holding both buds at the same time will result in your entering or exiting gaming mode. There is no option to control volume, move to the previous track, or pump up the bass, but this relatively limited set of commands makes them easy to use.
What’s more, they all work relatively smoothly, although the triple tap to get the virtual assistant sometimes is a little buggy (it works fine to reject and end calls, though). There are single LEDs on each of the buds and the case, which let you know about connectivity and battery status. It is not the not comprehensive UI we have seen, but it is remarkably consistent, with the touch panels on both buds being very responsive.
Worth a buy?
So should you go for the Redmi Buds 3 Lite at their price of Rs 1999? We will keep it simple – if you want a super affordable, light, easy-to-use pair of TWS with good Bluetooth connectivity and good sound (with bass stress), then these are very good. There are TWS with lower price tags out there, but they all come with compromises that can mess up the entire experience of using them.
At their “early bird” price of Rs 1499, we would even go on to say that the Redmi Buds 3 Lite are a no-brainer for anyone wanting a reliable pair of TWS with decent sound at the lowest possible price. At their official price of Rs Rs 1,999, the Redmi Buds 3 Lite face competition from the similarly priced Oppo Enco, the Oppo Enco Air 2, and the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo, which come with comparable better audio quality, bigger drivers, and better battery life and also have Bluetooth 5.2.
- Light and compact
- Dust and water resistance
- Decent audio
- Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity
- Snug fit with hooks (wings)
- Simple UI
- Very usable for calls
- Limited controls on buds
- No charging cable in the box
- Slightly plain design
- Competition has bigger drivers
- Not exceptional battery life
VFM (at Rs 1499)
They might not score heavily on the style quotient, but the Redmi Buds 3 Lite are solidly built, easy to use, and deliver surprisingly good sound for their price point.