With the Du Smartbuds Pro, the Chinese manufacturer Baidu launches an exciting true wireless in-ear headphone under its hardware division Xiaodu, which can easily be labeled as a comparatively cheap AirPods Pro clone. However, in our Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro review, the Bluetooth headphones reveal a few exciting unique selling points.
|Maximum operating range||12m (without obstacle)|
|Battery life||Up to 6.5hrs, up to 32hrs total with charging case; (varies depending on volume level and audio content)|
|Charge Time||2.5 hrs. (for headphones); 2.5 hrs. (for charging case via USB-C)|
|Size charging case (W x H x D)||65 mm x 50 mm x 25 mm|
|Weight||55 g (charging case & earbud); 5.5 g per earbud|
|Most important features||Transparent mode; Active noise cancellation (ANC)|
Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro review: scope of delivery
Compared to other in-ear headphones, the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro come in a comparatively huge white cardboard box, which leaves a high-quality impression at first sight.
Inside is the charging case, which is also white and houses the two Earbuds. The scope of delivery is rounded off by a USB-A to USB-C charging cable, as well as three additional pairs of ear tips in sizes XS, S and L – whereby the ear tips in size M are already pre-installed.
Design and workmanship
I was quite amazed during my Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro review how much the Chinese hardware division of the Chinese search engine market leader “took inspiration” from Apple for the design. An AirPods Pro clone is one thing, but when it comes to the charging case and the Earbuds themselves, it’s almost a 1-to-1 copy of the successful and outstanding headphones from Cupertino.
Well, so be it. Once again, the guiding principle applies in this case: better a good copy than a bad one. Let’s start our test with a look at the charging case of the Du Smartbuds Pro. It is 65 mm long, about 50 mm high and 25 mm deep and thus easily fits into a trouser pocket.
The manufacturer’s logo is emblazoned on the front under an LED that informs about the battery status. Above that, the opening where the lid is connected to the case is positioned in a small indentation. A USB-C port is located at the bottom, which supplies the charging case with power. On the right, we find a round button that can be used to trigger pairing.
The metallic hinge on the back reminds us directly of the Apple AirPods Pro, like so many other things. In direct comparison, however, the charging case of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro relies on additional curves and thus finds a similarly poor hold on a table as the Apple model.
The Earbuds themselves also have one or two parallels. Here, too, the Chinese manufacturer relies on a white color scheme, which is once again strongly reminiscent of Apple in terms of shape. The earbud’s stem, which protrudes from the ear, is slightly longer at 30 mm and has flat edges. The magnetic holders and microphones are set off in silver as a small detail.
Workmanship of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
But fortunately, not only the design of the “China Airpods” is strongly based on the original, the build quality is also on a comparably high level. That is surprising, since the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro are about half as expensive as the Airpods.
The charging case convinces with a high-quality build including clean edges and a locking mechanism that leaves a robust impression. The Earbuds themselves also impress with a pleasant feel, no gaps and convincing quality. In any case, there is absolutely nothing to complain about in this area.
Comfort of wearing the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
I similarly like the wearing comfort of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro, which can also keep up with the Apple top dog in this area. Among other things, the earbuds owe this to their low weight of about 5.5 grams per earphone and the soft and comfortable silicone ear inserts.
As already mentioned, the earbuds are available in four sizes and should thus fit small, medium and even large ears equally well. For me, the pre-installed model in size M was perfectly suitable and provided pleasant comfort for several hours in the test.
Similar to the AirPods Pro, the Du Smartbuds Pro are inserted into the ear and then twisted in slightly for an ideal fit. Conveniently, there is also a “Fit Test” within the companion app that provides information on the best possible fit for the Earbuds. This way, the wearing comfort can be additionally improved.
Features and battery life
Wirelessly, the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro radio with connected audio sources in the modern Bluetooth 5.2 standard. Also worth mentioning is the IP54 certification, which protects the Earbuds from water and dirt. Thus, they should also be very suitable for sports.
Advantage over Apple: Thanks to multi-device connectivity, the Smartbuds Pro can be paired with two audio sources at the same time and thus be used on smartphones and PCs, for example. Pairing is uncomplicated in all cases and takes only seconds – exemplary.
This is joined by active noise cancellation (ANC) along with the associated transparency mode, which amplifies voices, for example, but also outside noises. Especially in road or long-distance traffic a useful feature.
Special feature: the translator function
Another special feature that makes the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro even unique in its function is the integrated simultaneous translation function, which can be accessed within the companion app.
It is divided into two sections. “Dialogue translation” for translating spoken texts or words from one language to another, and “Simultaneous interpretation” for translating conversations of two languages simultaneously in both directions.
In total, both translation tools can handle a whopping 40 languages, including German, English, French, Chinese or Swahili. The translation is quite reliable and – as far as we can tell – accurately translates our announcements. Only sometimes the Earbuds do not seem to understand us very well. Nevertheless, it is a practical feature, especially when traveling.
Battery life of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
According to the manufacturer, the Buds, including the charging case, last for around 35 hours together. The Earbuds themselves are supposed to offer 4.5 hours with the ANC function activated, as well as 7 hours with the noise cancellation deactivated.
We could not quite reach these values in our Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro test, but with 4.5 hours with and 6.5 hours without ANC, as well as almost 32 hours in combination with the charging case, we came to really convincing values.
Thanks to the USB-C and fast-charging function, the case can also be recharged quickly and is ready for around two hours of music playback in just 10 minutes when connected to the mains. The Smartbuds Pro can therefore convince in terms of battery life, only a wireless charging function is conspicuous by its absence.
Operation of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
In terms of operation, the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro rely on touch control, which allows various commands on both sides by single, double or triple tapping, squeezing and wiping up or down the touch surfaces on the inside of the pens.
Theoretically, the different control commands cover all important commands. Unfortunately, the touch control works noticeably delayed and not very precisely, which is why my inputs are sometimes not interpreted at all or wrongly. Unfortunately, the Earbuds waste a lot of potential here.
Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro: audio quality, ANC and microphones
In terms of sound, moreover, the difference with regard to the price range to the Apple AirPods Pro becomes immediately audible, because the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro cannot even begin to keep up here. This already starts with the maximum volume, which is much lower than other TWS in-ear headphones. However, they are still sufficiently loud at maximum volume.
However, the Smartbuds Pro also rank on a mediocre level in terms of sound quality. First of all, the accentuated low-frequency range stands out, which underlines a typical mix that is aimed at listening fun. Basically, the bass foundation is quite precise, but doesn’t reach very far down.
The mids turn out to be the most convincing in terms of sound, which reproduce especially voices in a multi-faceted and clear manner. Nevertheless, the mix is comparatively cool and not very differentiated, which quickly degenerates into a sound mush, especially in complex songs.
The same picture emerges with the treble, which is the biggest weakness of the Du Smartbuds Pro and reveals glaring weaknesses especially with elaborate instrumentation. With the eponymous title track Halo from the new album by the Finnish melo-death band Amorphis, the Smartbuds Pro proved to be completely overwhelmed. There is a lack of dynamics, volume and character. In-ear headphones that are sometimes half as expensive manage this much better.
ANC and transparency mode
In contrast, the active noise cancellation and the transparency mode do a much better job. Here, too, you can’t keep up with the more expensive competition, but in the price range around 100 euros, both sound modes are on a good level.
The ANC filters out especially conversations and low ambient noise more than satisfactorily, although a slight “diving bell effect” is perceptible – especially in the voice range. In transparency mode, voices and ambient noises are amplified very well and comparatively clearly, as well as reproduced relatively undistorted, which allows clear communication with earbuds in use.
Microphone quality of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
The quality of the built-in microphones is similarly good. Even though our own voice lacks a bit of warmth and dynamics and individual syllables are rarely swallowed, we are always clearly understood by our counterpart. This is the case in loud environments as well as in relatively strong wind. The microphones are absolutely sufficient for infrequent phone calls, even though you cannot keep up with the more expensive competition in this area, of course.
App connectivity: Xiaodu
The companion app used for the Du Smartbuds Pro is the Xiaodu app, which can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android. It is only available in English and cannot fully convince in terms of functionality.
The app informs about the battery status of the charging case and Earbuds on the homepage. The translation functions already described can also be started there. The main menu is accessed via “Device Settings”, where you can switch between ANC, normal sound and transparency mode, among other things.
There is also the option to display the individual touch commands. A bit strange: Only the command when pressing the touch surface (Press) can actually be changed, but not the different inputs when pressing (Tap) or swiping (Swipe).
Below that, you’ll find the practical Ear Tip fit test, as well as the option to activate or deactivate the automatic wear detection. An equalizer, presets or other options within the app are unfortunately in vain.
Summary of the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro
For the price of around 100 euros, the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro offer a lot. The downright brazen AirPods Pro clone can definitely keep up with the obvious template in terms of design, build quality and wearing comfort, and even leaves much more expensive in-ear headphones behind in these areas.
In terms of audio quality and operation, however, the Earbuds then afford themselves glaring weaknesses, which is why I find it difficult to make a real purchase recommendation. Especially since there are already headphones for around 60 euros that sound much better. However, ANC and transparency mode work on a good level again. The translation function is also practical and works really precisely, well and quickly in most cases.
The result is a bit sobering in the end. Because with a bit more focus on the acoustics, the Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro could have been a real price-performance hit. Thus, it is unfortunately difficult for me to recommend the Earbuds to anyone.
Xiaodu Du Smartbuds Pro price comparison
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