Xiaomi is known for its simple, inexpensive accessories almost as much as it is for its phones, and the company’s latest effort is particularly eye-catching: AirPods-style wireless earbuds for under $30. They’re called AirDots and feature much of the same functionality as Apple’s product, including tappable controls and a compact charging case. Unlike AirPods, however, the AirDots have silicone tips that could allow for better sound isolation and a more secure fit. They also support Bluetooth 5.0.
At 199 yuan (about $29) for pre-order in China, it’s very unlikely that the AirDots will match up to the AirPods in audio quality or performance reliability. I recently tried out Oppo’s O-Free wireless earbuds, which sell for 699 yuan ($100) and offer the most AirPods-like experience of any similar product I’ve seen to date — and even they weren’t able to come close to the original.
But it’s clear that the technology for wireless earbuds is going to continue to trickle down to the point where they could plausibly be included in the box with phones soon. Xiaomi itself has form in this regard; after announcing a $15 wireless charger earlier in the year, now it’s part of the package you get with the new Mi Mix 3 phone.