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Review #2: Mi In-ear Headphone (Pistons v2)

I had bought this pair to accompany my ageing SIII as the inline controls are a must for me when commuting. It was replacing the venerable Sony MH1C (working fine but for the controls) and thus had big shoes to fill.
Starting with the box, it was a delight to unpack the product and was orders of magnitude better than characterless sealed plastic packages (that would be the Sennheisers). It contained the expected 3 size ear buds as well as a simple, but effective shirt clip.

Coming to the product, the braided kevlar covering feels good and should stand the test of time, but I have my doubts over the split which seems to be the weakest link and might be the first to give away. The microphonics are not in the least bit annoying. The inline controls are standard fare and would work with any Android phone. However, the buttons lack tactile feedback and hence are not the easiest to press based on feel alone. Also, while I can understand the reason behind having the action button on the opposite side to the volume buttons, it is not a particularly easy arrangement as care needs to be taken to avoid inadvertent presses on the other side. The product also shows a lack of attention to detail by not including the 3-dot braille marking to distinguish the left from the right which I have always found convenient when putting on any earphone.

Turning attention to the audio, I can only draw a comparison to the MH1C which I have been using for a year until now. To compare the two, the Piston lacks quite a bit of bass and is a bit muddier. The high pitch sounds, while clear, don’t seem to be particularly spread out and hence seem to lack a bit of detail. The mids connect the two quite well but is passable compared to the two ends. The soundstage seems good but is a bit narrower compared to the MH1C. With a good equalizer setting, it is quite possible to get a lot out of this pair.

To conclude, I am a tad disappointed with the performance, but it is only because I am coming from the MH1C, which to be fair cost me about double the amount (that too in a wholesale pack). This is hands down one of the best earphones (with inline controls) that you can find in the price range of 2k and may be a bit beyond. However, it would be an exaggeration to state that it wades the waters of quality earphones that cost 3 times or more. If you are someone who is simply looking for a solution beyond stock earphones, then this is your best. Worth every paisa.

Originally published on Amazon on 11th September 2014.

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