Xiaomi Piston 3 Review: Impressive In-Ear Headphones

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The Xiaomi Piston 3 in-ear headphones offer incredible value at a budget price. Combining excellent build quality with impressive performance, the Xiaomi Piston 3 is a must-buy for those wanting quality in-ear headphones without breaking the bank.

Thanks to Pandawill for providing a sample for review. Click here to get the latest price.

Xiaomi Piston 3 Technical Specifications

  • Impedance: 32Ω
  • Weight: 14g
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Cable length: 1.25m
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Plug: 3.5mm Gold Plated
  • Rated power: 5mW
  • Frequency Range: 20~ 20,000 Hz

What’s in the box?

XiaoMi-Piston-3-Box-Front

Xiaomi have put alot of effort into the packaging of the product. Undoing the box’s seal, the packaging unfolds, revealing the protective case. This box doubles as the instruction manual. It’s entirely in Chinese, however, there’s really not much that needs to be explained.

Inside the box, you get a the Xiaomi Piston 3 headphones, protective case and 3 sets of rubber earbuds (XS to L).

XiaoMi-Piston-3-03

Xiaomi Piston 3 Design

I love the look of the Xiaomi Piston 3 headphones. Gone are the cylindrical design of the Piston 2 with it’s uncomfortably sharp edge.

XiaoMi-Piston-3-05

The Piston 3 features a more “traditional” shape, with a gentle curve guiding the earpiece into your ear. This makes for a very comfortable headset to wear. I’ve been wearing them for hours on end and they’ve never felt uncomfortable. Often, I forget they’re even in there which is great.

XiaoMi-Piston-3-02

I did find the pre-installed earbuds a little small, with the headphones falling out of my ear. Thankfully Xiaomi have included 3 sets of different sized earbuds in the package. Armed with the large buds, they’re perfect and don’t budge at all.

XiaoMi-Piston-3-Earbuds

Xiaomi have opted for a two-tone design for the earbuds. The main body is made of black plastic with a charcoal backing that features a cool-looking brushed metal effect. I’m glad that Xiaomi abandoned the gold color of its predecessor, as the black looks far sleeker and blends in better.

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A circular disk at the rear of the headphones feature a ribbed texture that looks awesome when the light hits it. Think of a record and you’ll get the idea.

The headphones feature a symmetrical cable, with the microphone located on the right side in a cylinder that features the same ribbed design as the circle on the back of the earbuds. There are buttons for volume up/down as well as a context sensitive button for answering calls.

Another cylinder joins the earbud wires together and the cable transitions to a braided design which offers improved strength and flexibility. An unanticipated bonus was that the braided cable doesn’t stick to fabric like rubber does. This means the headphones didn’t get pulled out of my ears when my messenger bag strap brushed over it. For me, this was worth the price of admission alone.

The 3.5mm audio connector is gold plated and uses a straight configuration. This makes it far easier to insert into devices with thick cases. Thankfully, the connector housing is compact so I didn’t have any issues inserting it into any of my devices, even those in bulkier cases.

XiaoMi-Piston-3-Plug

Using It

Using the Piston 3 is simple. Plug it in.

Seriously though, the main aspect you need to be aware of is compatibility.

I had no issues using the headphones to listen to music on both my iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S4. However, the inline controls only worked fully on Android. On iOS, the volume controls did nothing. However, I was able to use the “call” button to answer/end calls or trigger Siri. With Apple’s improved Siri capabilities, there’s still plenty you can do, even without the volume controls.

Xiaomi Piston 3 Sound Quality

I’ll preface this section by saying that I’m not an audiophile but I’m am a passionate music listener.

That said, I found the audio quality to be excellent. Compared to my Sennheiser CX300-II headphones, the Xiaomi Piston 3 blows them out of the water.

I was initially worried that, like many headphones, they’d be optimised for bass. As a metalhead however, there’s nothing worse than having amazing vocals drowned out by thumping bass, leading to muddy sounding music.

Thankfully, audio feels relatively balanced across all frequencies. It’s great to hear headphones that don’t prioritize bass over everything else. That’s not to say that the bass isn’t there, but that it works in harmony with the other frequencies rather than competing with them.

I listened to a variety of music genres including death metal, acoustic, rap and electronica and the headphones performed well across the board.

During acoustic tracks, instrument separation was good and audio felt warm. Electronic tracks sounded great, with bass maintaining “punch” but vocal elements were still audible.

Microphone sound quality was good too. When using the headphone microphone during calls, the other party said I sounded clear.

Getting One

I got my Xiaomi Piston 3 headphones from Pandawill. Click here to view the latest price.

[pw-piston3-deal]

They’re also available from Banggood.

Xiaomi Piston 3 Additional Photos

Pros

  • Excellent build quality and design
  • Impressive Audio Quality
  • Cheap

Cons

  • iOS Compatibility incomplete
  • Lack of international manual

 

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
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Michael is a technology expert with over 10 years of experience in IT, Home Theatre and Automation. Feel free to send Michael a message here.
  • saor

    Got my this morning one word clarity. They are excellent.I listen to rave so for that music range sweet

    • Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree – I found treble is well balanced with the bass. I’m a metalhead so it’s great to not have everything drowned out by bass.