The true wireless earphone market is flooded with products. There are tons of cheap products to many expensive solutions all aiming to offer the best experience at any price point. The competition for the best affordable true wireless earphones is very fierce though. With many reputable brands battling out to get a hold of the budding market.
Finding a good true wireless earphone at an affordable price may be hard given the number of options out there. So, I am pitting two of the most well-received true wireless earphones to see which one comes out on top. The Xiaomi AirDots and the QCY T1S are some of the most popular true wireless earphones you can buy right now. Let’s see which one comes out on top.
Related : Top Xiaomi Earphones & Earbuds
Related : How to Pair & Reset Xiaomi Airdots
Xiaomi vs QCY
Packaging and Inside the Box
Redmi AirDots’ packaging is simple coming in a white and blue box. Similarly, the QCY T1S comes in a white box albeit in a smaller one. The QCY T1S also uses a wooden carton inside the packaging to hold its contents in place.
Inside the box, Redmi AirDots come with the earphone charging case with the AirDots inside, two pairs of earplugs, and a manual. There is no charging cable which may be a bummer.
On the other hand, the QCY T1S has a charging cable included along with the earphone charging case, two pairs of earplugs, and a manual. The earphones are included inside the charging case.
Xiaomi not including the charging case doesn’t look so good as its competition has included it. It is probably a cost-saving measure, but it would have been nice for Xiaomi to include them.
Design and Build
When it comes to design, Xiaomi’s AirDots are the clear winner here. They have both, a smaller charging case and smaller earphones compared to the QCY T1S. The smaller size of wireless earphones is a huge factor as they improve convenience when it comes to carrying around and fitting them in small places easily.
The larger size of T1S means that they are uncomfortable compared to the AirDots. The T1S can exert pressure on your ear canal after a while. This can be a dealbreaker if you are someone that likes to listen to music for long hours. Both the AirDots and T1S nail it when it comes to the silicone ear tips as they both feel very comfortable and fit well. Both earphones are lightweight though, making them easy to wear, the T1S can be uncomfortable for some due to the size.
One of the benefits of QCY’s T1S being bigger is that they are easy to remove from the case, compared to the AirDots, especially when you are hands are a bit sweaty. The T1S’s charging box is also louder when opening and closing it, though this is a personal preference, some may like it loud and some silent. I prefer the silent box of the AirDots as I like to be stealthy.
The earphones themselves have a similar feel and look, with the T1S being slightly larger. Both the AirDots and T1S have opted for physical buttons, to save costs. I have no problems with buttons as they have a tactile feel compared to the capacitive controls on higher-end true wireless earphones. The button on the AirDots is raised while the T1S opts for a flat button that is flush with the earphone itself. Both buttons are easy to use and feel good, you won’t have any complaints about them. The earphones also come with an indicator light, to notify you about connectivity and power.
Both earphones charging case are equipped with micro-USB, which is a huge letdown, USB-C should be the standard for pretty much any new product. Since both earphones suck in this regard, I hope they rectify in the future by equipping AirDots 2 and T2S with USB-C type charging.
With both earphones weighing so light, it is impressive that both have managed to include 40+ mAh batteries on each earphone. The Redmi AirDots being the lighter ones come with a 40 mAh battery on each earphone while the T1S are equipped with 43 mAh on each earphone. This translates to about 6 hours of music playback for each earphone. And it also means that you will need 2 hours to charge them fully.
Similarly, given the sizes of the case, their battery capacity is impressive too. The Redmi AirDots charging case has a 300 mAh battery in it, which gives an additional 12 hours of music playback. The AirDots charging case also takes 1.5 hours to charge from 0 to 100. Comparatively, the T1S charging case comes with a 380 mAh charging case that can help you boost the overall playback time to 16 hours for the earphones. The T1S charging case will need 2 hours to full charge because of its higher battery capacity.
Battery wise both earphones do a great job, the T1S offers a longer total playback time albeit while the case being bigger. So, you will have to prioritize between size and battery capacity, if you are interested in these earphones. For, me it is a draw when it comes to battery life between the AirDots and T1S.
Both the Redmi AirDots and QCY T1S occupy the cheaper, entry-level segment of true wireless earphones. This means that you can’t expect amazing sound quality that will blow your mind. Even then, both Xiaomi and QCY have done a great job getting the most out of these earphones affordable true wireless earphones.
I would say both perform well when it comes to sound quality given the price. But the QCY T1S outperforms the Redmi AirDots a little bit. The T1S is a slightly better-sounding earphone than the Redmi AirDots with more resolution and clarity to the sound.
The T1S does a better job at low frequencies with the bass sounding a lot more natural. Percussion instruments also sound crisper than the AirDots. When it comes to treble, both the T1S and the AirDots sound harsh making them less than ideal for metal/rock music. And for midrange, I would place both equally, they do a job for the price, nothing too spectacular.
Overall, the T1S outperforms the AirDots a bit when it comes to sound quality. The bass and midrange are more natural sounding with good detail in the music I tested it with. The AirDots are no slouch when it comes to sound too, the only drawback is that bass sounds a bit muddy. The AirDots makes up for this deficiency by offering a better soundstage over the T1S.
One small quirk I noticed with the AirDots is that the sound is not well balanced, I feel like the right earphone had more thump and crispness in the sound, while the left earphone was struggling to hold up. This is probably a firmware issue, which Xiaomi will hopefully iron out in the future.
So, if you are someone who watches a lot of videos and movies, then the AirDots would be the better choice. But if you want the best music performance from an affordable true wireless earphone, then the T1S are your best bet. So, choose based on your needs.
The QCY T1S and the Redmi AirDots are both feature-packed to the brim, and it is surprising how QCY and Xiaomi have managed to offer such a complete package at such affordable prices.
The QCY T1S comes with an AAC codec, very good controls, and offers Bluetooth 5.0, which is great for latency and range. The T1S is also IPX4 rated, making it splash and sweat-resistant, allowing you to wear it during workouts. The T1S are equipped with microphones for calls.
The Redmi AirDots comes with an SBC audio codec, which is not as good as AAC but will do the job. The AirDots also come with Bluetooth 5.0 for the best connectivity. AirDots don’t come with any IP rating but the product page says they are sweat-resistant, so you can use them for workouts too. You get microphones on AirDots too for calls. And the AirDots have native support for voice assistants, making them great for hands-free usage.
Since these are wireless earphones, there will always be a delay when you are using them. The delay is most noticeable in games, for example, there will be a delay between what you see on the screen and when you hear it. The delay for both the AirDots and the T1S here is around 100 ms.
Both earphones use Bluetooth 5.0 making them on par with even the best earphones out there. They are easy to pair and connect with a good connectivity range and low latency. The AirDots do offer a slightly better range over the T1S in my experience though.
Overall, you won’t be let down picking either of these earphones up when it comes to connectivity, as they are very evenly matched with a very slight advantage to the AirDots.
When it comes to budget products, there are always caveats that break the experience in some way, this means you will have to adjust and just live with the problem. That’s not the case for the Redmi AirDots or the T1S. These are some of the most complete true wireless solutions for the price I have ever tested.
They sound good for the price, have good connectivity, come with all the necessary features, and are very affordable. Both have excellent battery life, are lightweight, and feel good in the hand. There are glaring faults and they work every time I need them to.
In the end, it’s all about personal preference, if you need a decent pair of truly wireless earphones, both the T1S and the AirDots are an amazing choice to choose from. The T1S sounds a bit better while being a little uncomfortable. On the other hand, the AirDots offer better connectivity, better surround sound, and is more convenient for day-to-day use. You won’t feel let down picking either, there is no clear winner. They are both excellent products for the price.
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