Xiaomi had a huge success with it’s smartphones in India. Now, they have released their In-earphones, Mi Piston 2, which matches their smartphones ideology – High quality products at dirt cheap rates. Also called Mi In-ear Headphone (Piston Design), Mi Piston 2/2.1 is a budget in-earphone that promises high-end audiophile level immersive music experience. We will be reviewing the Mi Piston 2 that I got from Flipkart, which is the only official online partner on Mi. Actually, the unit I’m reviewing is the Mi Piston 2.1, which is basically the same model but small addition of the shirt clip and a longer wire. So, let’s get to the serious stuff, read on for Mi Piston 2 Review!
Design and Build
Design of the Mi Piston 2 is top-notch, there is no doubt in this. It is by far the sexiest in-earphones you can find below 5k. No wonder, it won the prestigious iF design awards. Not just the earphones, it’s cover and packaging is also sexy, and talks a lot about Xiaomi’s quality and design expertise.[pullquote]It is by far the sexiest in-earphones you can find below 5k.[/pullquote]
Build quality is the best thing about Mi Piston 2. It is the best built in-ears you can get for the asking price (or much higher to the upwards of 2k). The parts are made of aluminum metal and the wires used are of very high quality, some thing you’ll not find at this price range.
The wire is made up of two types of materials. The wire is coated with nylon fabric from the earphone jack to the buttons, after the buttons, the wire splits into two and is like the usual wires you see in other earphones. Xiaomi claims that the wires are made of Braided Kevlar material, which makes them quite sturdy and less tangible.
The earplugs are made of metal it produces a nice metallic sound when held in hand. There is a strain relief at the point where the wire connects with the earplugs. It is a nice addition, it reduces micro phonics and protect your pistons from damages at the area. The earphone jack is also made up of metal, like that of earplugs. And there is also a strain relief like that in the earplugs.
Buttons and controls
Next comes the buttons and controls. Here, the body seem to be built on plastic, but has the same pattern as that of the other parts. There are three buttons, two on one side and one on the other. The buttons can be a bit confusing at first, but you’ll get familiar with on use. (For the functionality of these buttons, see Compatibility section)
Mi Pistons comes with these accessories:
- 1x Small ear tip
- 1x Medium ear tip
- 1x Semi-Large ear tip (The one that it comes with by default)
- 1x Large eartip
- 1x Shirt clip
Fit and Comfort
Choosing the right ear tip is the key to enjoying the most out of any in-earphone. So, the first thing you have to do after getting Mi pistons is to choose the right one for your ear. It might take some time for you to choose the correct one, but it is worth it.
The ear tips are comfortable enough to stay in your ear for long, but make sure you select the right one or else you may not be able to get the right sound and you might find the ear tips not comfortable.
The Mi pistons is an amazing pair of in-ears for the asking price. It can easily compete with those in the two to three times more costlier than it. The sound signature that the Mi Pistons produce is a common V-shaped one, but the sound quality that oozes from it is extra ordinary for the price. It has a pretty wide sound stage (not as wide as SoundMagic PL30, but comes close). And the results are that the sound seems to come from a distance and it gives a sense of space around your ear.
The sound signature of Mi piston 2 is best suited for the Bollywood music, which is the result of the separation and sound stage you’re getting from these babes. Bollywood musicians seem to cramp up a lot of instruments in their songs, which is what the Mi piston 2 is craving for! That doesn’t mean it isn’t suited for other genres, it also shines in other music genres too – be it Hip Hop, DJ music (EDM), Pop, or any other, Mi pistons won’t disappoint you. Now, let’s get to the basics of sound –
Mi Pistons is not a bass heavy earphone, rather it is tight on bass. The bass does not over power other frequencies on the spectrum, rather it is tight and controlled, and plays nicely with vocals and treble. It should be more than enough for bass listeners and would be a present surprise if you’re coming from other bass heavy earphones. [pullquote]A present surprise if you’re coming from other bass heavy earphones[/pullquote]
The mid and sub bass portions are much present that the upper bass region, this is the reason why Mi Pistons produce a very fun and interesting sound signature. This is also the reason why the bass doesn’t bloat the other regions on the spectrum, as I said earlier.
Treble and Vocals
The treble and vocals are also so good in Mi Pistons, as I said they are not over-powered by the bass. You’d love to hear the small sparkle in the treble and this combined with the bass gives you a pleasant and enjoyable experience. The vocals can be heard clearly, because of the separation and sound stage. Talking about separation, the instrument separation is quite great for this price, each and every sound can be heard and could be differentiated from each other.
The isolation on the Mi pistons is a little bit on the lower side, partly because of the design of the ear plugs. The ear plugs has an opening on the back, which is necessary for the sound enhancement.
Mi Pistons are not just for the Mi phones (Mi 3 and Redmi 1s), they are compatible with all Android phones and iPhones (iOS 7.1.1 and above not supported). Here’s a list of functions each button does :
- Middle Button :
- Single press : Play/Pause
- Double press : Next
- Triple press : Previous
- Top button : Volume+ control
- Bottom button : Volume- control
But, Xiaomi devices, they can be configured to function either as volume control or as music play back control (next or previous). The single button on the middle can perform call function (accept calls and reject) and music play back control (double click for next and triple click for previous song).
- Middle Button :
- Short press : Attend call/mute
- Long press : Hang up the call
- Top button : Volume+ control
- Bottom button : Volume- control
- Long press middle button (while not on call) : Google Now
- Long press on lock screen/sleep : Voice dialer
The functions are pretty much same for iOS devices, but unfortunately, only the middle button works on iOS devices. No volume control for you, Apple users.
Xiaomi phones have built in Mi-sound enhancer, which works flawlessly with Mi pistons. I’m using Mi pistons with my Xiaomi Redmi 1s, with Mi sound enhancer turned on. Mi sound enhancer has special settings for Mi in-ear phones., which does improve sound quality a lot and reduces the need for tweaking the equalizer by a great extent. This does not mean Mi pistons are use less with other phones and players, but it does need a little bit of tweaking and playing with equalizer in-order to get most out of them.
In India, there are no much better options when coming to the low budget in earphones. At this price range, some other earphones you can consider are the Sennheiser cx180, SoundMagic ES18, SoundMagic PL21, SoundMagic PL30, Creative EP630, Tekfusion Twinwoofers, JBL Tempo, and some others. I have used Twinwoofers, SM PL30, ES18, and recently Sennheiser cx180.I have used most of these and I’ll be sharing my views on each of them. And by the way, if you thought I forgot to mention the Skullcandy’s, you’re mistaken, I did that purposefully as they stand only for the looks and does not come in par with any others when it comes to sound quality (Note : sound quality does not mean bass, in case you didn’t know).
I can say MI Pistons easily beats of these considering various factors. Tekfusion Twinwoofers were the first quality in ears I have had. I bought 3 years back when it was gaining so much popularity in Flipkart. It was an awesome pair of in ears for the price. It had awesome sound clarity, bass and the best treble in under 5k. But the main problem was it’s built quality. Even though it has amazing sound, it failed miserably when it came to built quality. Mine stopped working after just two months of use, pathetic! Next, I bought SoundMagic ES18, it was much cheaper when I bought. It is also an amazing pair of earphones, it came with average built quality (Although it didn’t broke or stopped working, the wire and plastic felt cheap, and the earplugs came apart once, I had to use superglue), it has an amazing bass which was the one thing that made it stand apart from others. I bought SoundMagic PL30, which I bought after being impressed with the ES18.
Enjoying music in PL30 was a heavenly experience, just because of it’s sound stage. It has the widest soundstage in under $150/10k INR. The sounds seem to come from almost half a meter wide from your ear, experiencing it every time you hear music is just priceless. I used it for almost an year until one of its earplugs stopped working after being stretched. Next I got Audio Technica ATH-CLR 100 , a mistake I made and not worth talking here. I bought Sennheiser CX180 after that, which was a pleasant deal which I got from Amazon for 600 INR. I mainly used that for listening for EDM music, which perfectly suited the genre, controlled bass and tight treble. I used it for about 6 months and bought the Mi Pistons
Of all of these, I can say Mi Pistons is the best in-ears that your precious money can buy in this budget. It easily beats all of the above mentioned in-ears and has a superior quality sound. (I think this section was quite big, as I’m an avid budget in-earphone user, I thought sharing my personal experience would be awesome for you! And yes, I’m in love with my Mi Pistons).
Mi piston 2 : Conclusion
Mi Pistons are an awesome pair of in-earphones that comes in an out-standing price. No other in-earphones in this class offers this much performance and build quality, and that too combined with the awesome style it is bringing in! I totally recommend the Mi In-ear Headphone (Piston Design) or Mi Piston 2/2.1 to any music lover! And what’s more, If you’re a Xiaomi user, there’s just no reason you shouldn’t but these cutie pies.
You can get your own legitimate Mi Pistons 2.1 from Flipkart > Click here!
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