Tech reviews

Redmi Buds 4 Active review: Superb ENC at a ridiculously low price

Xiaomi has launched the Redmi Buds 4 Active, a pair of wireless earbuds that cost less than Rs 1,500. But do they deliver on quality and value? Read our review to find out.

redmi buds 4 active review featuredThe Redmi Buds 4 Active feature a matte finish all around. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)

Even as entry-level smartphones continue to grow dearer, entry-level wearables are seemingly headed in the opposite direction. You’d now find a lot more features for around Rs 1,000 compared to about half a decade ago, thanks to the availability of cost-effective components from China. A fine example of this observation is the newly-launched Redmi Buds 4 Active, which brings quality to the sub-Rs 1,500 segment.

Unlike some of the other brands in the segment that often go for over-the-top designs to woo buyers in a highly competitive market, Xiaomi has opted for a no-frills look with the Buds 4 Active. I got the Bass Black colour, which makes the earbuds blend in rather than stand out – just how I like it. The earbuds are also free of any logos or markings but do have a small LED that blinks with certain actions.

Xiaomi has opted for a no-frills look with the Buds 4 Active. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)

But there’s also a quirk with the design – the squircle-shaped case has ‘Redmi’ written at the back for some reason, because of which I keep mistaking it for the front. Apart from this minor oddity, the case and earbuds are remarkably light and comfortable. You might even forget you have them on. The earbuds and case have a matte finish that is not very exciting, but the build quality is hard to complain about for the price.

My favourite bit about the Buds 4 Active is the way they fit me. I have large ears because of which I am forced to slip all earbuds into the largest eartips size when I get them. But even then the fit isn’t always perfect. These earbuds, however, are the most comfortable ones I’ve ever worn, and their lightness keeps them in place. I hear a satisfying click when I pluck them out, as if they were locked into my ears. Of course, everyone’s ears are different, so your experience may vary. But you will surely love how light they are. They also have IPX4 sweat resistance, which is a nice bonus.

I always hear a satisfying click when I pluck the earbuds out, as if they are locked into my ears. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)

The excellent fit may also have a role to play in how well the Environmental Noise Cancellation (ENC) works. To my surprise, the ENC of the Redmi Buds 4 Active was far more than a mere gimmick. It was not as powerful as ANC, but it still excelled at silencing white noise and dampening din.

Xiaomi’s official microsite for the earbuds talked about support for the Xiaomi Earbuds app on the Buds 4 Active. Quite disappointingly, the app does nothing more than toggle the low latency mode, which can already be easily done with a gesture. Gestures work well and are registered from the rounded surface atop, not the stems.

The earbuds are also free of any logos or markings but do have a small LED that blinks with certain actions. (Image: Zohaib Ahmed/Indian Express)

In terms of audio quality, the Redmi Buds 4 Active are noticeably tinnier compared to earbuds costing above Rs 2,000, but for the price, again, it’s hard to complain. The audio signature is heavier on the bassy frequencies than on the higher frequencies. Meanwhile, call quality was reported as “crisp” by the other party.

If you are upgrading from wired earphones for the first time, the Redmi Buds 4 Active will serve as a perfect gateway to the world of tangle-free music listening. There are a few limitations, such as the average sound quality and the bland design, but the great fit, ridiculously cheap pricing, and great ENC make up for that.

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First published on: 22-06-2023 at 10:00 IST


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