When it comes to the best wireless earbuds, users really are spoilt for choice. Every price point is generously peppered with models that range from the good to the outstanding, leaving consumers with a host of options to choose from.
As something of an audiophile, great headphones mean a lot to me. And, as the most convenient form to travel with on a day-to-day basis, a top quality pair of wireless earbuds are an absolute must.
They need to be comfortable enough for long listening sessions, have a battery life that doesn't leave you tethered to wall socket all day, and be simple and easy to operate. For bonus points, they should be stylish and as compact as possible.
Recently, I've found myself reaching for an older pair of AirPods more often than not. It's a decision made out of convenience, but it definitely came at the cost of audio quality. Don't get me wrong, AirPods aren't the worst quality in the world, but they lack the detail that audio fanatics require.
It's safe to say, though, that my AirPods are set for a stint on the sidelines, because the new Xiaomi Buds 4 Pro have blown me away. These earphones have six levels of noise cancellation – up to 48dB – and three separate transparency modes. They got a perfectly long battery life – up to nine hours in one go, and 38 hours with case charges in-between, and high fidelity audio comes courtesy of Sony's LDAC technology.
In practice, all of that makes for a seriously stellar listening experience. Listening to your favourite songs is like another experience entirely, with clarity across the entire audio spectrum. Bass is impressive, handling all but the lowest of lows and offering the kind of lower-midrange distinction that so few can get right.
Stereo separation is fantastic, too – no doubt thanks to the dimensional audio, which leaves you feeling like you're sat in a room with your favourite artist. I've yet to try them while watching a movie, but I can only imagine the results are superb.
When it comes to pairing with your devices, the experience is truly effortless. I half-expected to be let down here – particularly pairing to an iPhone, where the AirPods have such a seamless integration. But no, it's just as simple – top marks, Xiaomi.
The Buds 4 Pro are offered in two colours – Star Gold and Space Black. The reflective material on the top half of the case is a total fingerprint magnet – don't say we didn't warn you – and is married to a similarly-toned matt bottom half, in a space capsule style.
Priced at £239.99, these certainly aren't cheap headphones, but you really do get what you pay for. They're just effortless in all aspects – fantastically comfortable, easy to use and with the kind of sound quality that makes you want to spend hours listening to audio. Expect a full review soon.