Ears on review: Xiaomi Piston 3 headphones


Xiaomi’s version 3 of the piston range sees a complete redesign, higher weight and much more comfortable feel. Learn more in our ears on review.

Xiaomi have been making earphones for a few years now. They started with the all alloy Piston 1 then Piston 2 leading up to the new Piston 3 with an all new design.

Xiaomi Piston 3 Review: Design

At the ear end of things the Xiaomi Piston 3 are completely different in looks to the previous generation earphone, start at the other end though and we find some familiar features.

xiaomi piston 3 earphone

The 3.5mm headphone jack is all metal with a knurled machined finish on the headphone jack cover for better grip, and the plug itself is a 3.5mm gold plated model.

xiaomi piston 3 earphone

Leading from the plug are the wires to the remote and earphones. The wires get a Kevlar housing which is strong, flexible and is more tangle resistant than a regular plastic cover. My previous ver 1.0 Pistons suffered from broken wires under the Kevlar, these new versions have last a few months of poor maintenance without issue.

xiaomi piston 3 earphone

Around 3/4 along the cable the wire splits to two rubber coated wires that ultimately lead to the left and right earphone.

Further up on the right side we have a simple remote with 3 buttons for starting, stopping and skipping songs. The plastic bodied remote has the same knurled finish as the headphone jack and there is also a microphone built-in for hands free calling.

xiaomi piston 3 earphone

The earphones themselves are quite the departure from the original Pistons. They still feature an alloy rear, but are much more compact than the older CNC models. The Piston 3.0 are also much lighter and sit in place more securely than the older versions too.

Like most earphones the Piston 3.0 have a silicone tip, and a couple of different sizes are included in the package so you can get a nice comfortable feel.

Xiaomi Piston 3.0 review – Sound

Compared to the previous Piston, the Xiaomi Piston 3 are a more balanced earphone. They aren’t as bass happy as the originals, but they do handle mids and lows better than the previous generation.

Read Also:  Xiaomi is set to discontinue the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

Being a fan of Drum and Bass I thought the slightly subdued Bass might turn me off, but overall the sound quality, and clarity has been well beyond what I expected.

xiaomi piston 3 earphone

I do feel that the new compact design of the Piston 3 has taken a bit of the edge off the overall sound when compared to the Piston 2, but the trade-off is a better fitting and more comfortable earphone that I cast use while cycling and jogging.

I tested the earphones on the Xiaomi Mi Note and LeTV Le1 and was really stunned by the audio quality, but even on lower end models (Ulefone BeTouch) the audio is darn good too.

Another drawback of the new Piston 3.0 design is sound leakage. Previous Piston earphones never resulted in my wife hitting me over the head with a pillow and asking if I wanted to go deaf. Explaining that earphones with better sound isolation would cost hundreds of $s more than the Xiaomi Piston 3.0 soon put an end to that though.

Xiaomi Piston 3.0 review – Conclusion

The Xiaomi Piston 3 are a much better looking, and better fitting earphone than the previous generation Piston 2 and they retain their low price. While the older earphone might offer slightly richer sound, they are also more bulky and aren’t as secure when using in active situations, such as jogging and cycling.

Although bass is a little more subdued in the Piston 3.0 the overall audio quality cannot be denied. Overall a great looking and well-balanced earphone from Xiaomi at a wonderful price.

Thanks to Flosmall for sending the review pair over, and for offering a %50 discount to the first 10 customers buying the Piston 3 using the special code: gizpiston

 

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64 Comments

  1. Tizz
    July 24, 2015

    I totally agree with your review andi, the new pistons are just amazing!

  2. saor
    July 24, 2015

    Mine arrived in the post this morning!

  3. Oz
    July 24, 2015

    I have this model as well as piston 2 . I like the piston 3 more. I also have Sennheiser IE8 and Shure SE530 (these two models are high end earphone costing at 10 to 20 times more than the Xiaomis) for comparison purpose. I use the Xiaomi 3 on the One+ most of the time because I like the bass output of the Xiaomi. The Xiaomi is incredible value for money.

    • eliHd452
      July 24, 2015

      Made in China my friend! Tell your friends!

  4. Dante
    July 24, 2015

    The only thing pistons 2 had more was Bass which isnt always a good thing , the older pistons were a lot worse in other deparrments (soundstage,treble,mids,etc..) These fixed everything , it seems that you like the mainstream sound more Andi >:)

  5. Adam Irvine
    July 24, 2015

    Yep, had mine around 3 weeks now, I too am very impressed, I found the bass a little cr@p at first, but once I set the EQ up to plough more bass into them, they handle it fine and do really good things with it! 🙂

    • saor
      July 24, 2015

      Had to do same now wow

  6. balcobomber25
    July 24, 2015

    I got a pair of the original pistons free with my Mi4, I still use them to this day. One of the best sets of headphones I have ever used and build quality is excellent.

  7. Tizz
    July 24, 2015

    I totally agree with your review andi, the new pistons are just amazing!

  8. saor
    July 24, 2015

    Mine arrived in the post this morning!

  9. Oz
    July 24, 2015

    I have this model as well as piston 2 . I like the piston 3 more. I also have Sennheiser IE8 and Shure SE530 (these two models are high end earphone costing at 10 to 20 times more than the Xiaomis) for comparison purpose. I use the Xiaomi 3 on the One+ most of the time because I like the bass output of the Xiaomi. The Xiaomi is incredible value for money.

    • eliHd452
      July 25, 2015

      Made in China my friend! Tell your friends!

  10. Dante
    July 24, 2015

    The only thing pistons 2 had more was Bass which isnt always a good thing , the older pistons were a lot worse in other deparrments (soundstage,treble,mids,etc..) These fixed everything , it seems that you like the mainstream sound more Andi >:)

  11. Ma xiao
    July 24, 2015

    I’ve had two problems with the build quality of the pistons 3. My first two pairs both lasted less than a month before losing sound in one ear. Did prefer the soundstage to the previous model and found they sealed better in my ear but I’m back on the pistons v2 for good now. Well, alternating with moxpads, kzs, coogol, astrotec, dunu, gediao depending on what day it is 🙂

    One more thing is that I hated the control placement, found it really awkward when adjusting volume, skipping tracks, answering calls.

    • balcobomber25
      July 24, 2015

      Just out of curiosity where did you buy them? The Pistons are one of the most widely replicated accessory out there and build quality issues are usually the first signs of a fake.

      • Ma Xiao
        July 25, 2015

        Bought from the xiaomi website, second pair was a replacement for the first. I could probably send them back again but twice is enough for one model, I’d rather try something else.

        I’m disappointed because I really like the pistons 2, they are incredibly durable and my only issue with them is they don’t seal very well so not great for blocking out general city noise.

      • crappkid
        July 25, 2015

        Where is it safe to buy them? It’s so difficult to buy original Pistons without paying 3x the Chinese price for them.

        • balcobomber25
          July 25, 2015

          That’s a good question lol. They are always overpriced and one of the most copied headphones.

        • sieber
          July 26, 2015

          http://www.gearbest.com/earphones/pp_169225.html

          ordered the 4 th pair, good ones, for all the family

    • Oz
      July 25, 2015

      I agree that I find the control keys on the piston 3 is awkward to use compared to my One+ earphone.

  12. Adam Irvine
    July 24, 2015

    Yep, had mine around 3 weeks now, I too am very impressed, I found the bass a little cr@p at first, but once I set the EQ up to plough more bass into them, they handle it fine and do really good things with it! 🙂

    • saor
      July 24, 2015

      Had to do same now wow

  13. balcobomber25
    July 24, 2015

    I got a pair of the original pistons free with my Mi4, I still use them to this day. One of the best sets of headphones I have ever used and build quality is excellent.

  14. Guest
    July 24, 2015

    I’ve had two problems with the build quality of the pistons 3. My first two pairs both lasted less than a month before losing sound in one ear. Did prefer the soundstage to the previous model and found they sealed better in my ear but I’m back on the pistons v2 for good now. Well, alternating with moxpads, kzs, coogol, astrotec, dunu, gediao depending on what day it is 🙂

    One more thing is that I hated the control placement, found it really awkward when adjusting volume, skipping tracks, answering calls.

    • balcobomber25
      July 24, 2015

      Just out of curiosity where did you buy them? The Pistons are one of the most widely replicated accessory out there and build quality issues are usually the first signs of a fake.

    • Guest
      July 25, 2015

      Bought from the xiaomi website, second pair was a replacement for the first. I could probably send them back again but twice is enough for one model, I’d rather try something else.

      I’m disappointed because I really like the pistons 2, they are incredibly durable and my only issue with them is they don’t seal very well so not great for blocking out general city noise.

    • Oz
      July 25, 2015

      I agree that I find the control keys on the piston 3 is awkward to use compared to my One+ earphone.

    • afghanPower
      July 25, 2015

      Where is it safe to buy them? It’s so difficult to buy original Pistons without paying 3x the Chinese price for them.

    • balcobomber25
      July 26, 2015

      That’s a good question lol. They are always overpriced and one of the most copied headphones.

    • sieber
      July 26, 2015

      http://www.gearbest.com/earphones/pp_169225.html

      ordered the 4 th pair, good ones, for all the family

  15. G'n'T
    July 24, 2015

    I recently got a pair of these as well and the quality is really good. Is there a special trick to getting them to skip songs? When I use the controls on my Be Touch 2, it only increases or decreases volume.

  16. G'n'T
    July 25, 2015

    I recently got a pair of these as well and the quality is really good. Is there a special trick to getting them to skip songs? When I use the controls on my Be Touch 2, it only increases or decreases volume.

  17. saor
    July 25, 2015

    What are the instructions for the playback controls/mic on the wire?

    • Ivo001
      July 25, 2015

      I recommend using the app Jayz Headset Control to modify the remote button functions to your liking.

      Put it on advanced mode and choose what it has to do for single/double short/long clicks per button.

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.jays.headsetcontrol&hl=nl

      • saor
        July 25, 2015

        Can’t get top and bottom keys to work only centre

        • Dante
          July 25, 2015

          + and – buttons work only with xiaomi devices with the pistons
          its an Android limitation

          • saor
            July 25, 2015

            Nuts!

            • Dante
              July 25, 2015

              And Bolts!

              (Subtle Banjo-Kazooie Reference)

          • Ivo001
            July 31, 2015

            I don’t have the Pistons 3, but it worked for me with the Pistons v1 and v2 on my iNew and Elephone.

        • Ivo001
          July 29, 2015

          Did you try advanced mode? IT might be that top and bottom buttons are reversed.

          • saor
            July 29, 2015

            Yeah tried but Dante explained why .they are designed for miui.

  18. Lazar Prodanovic
    July 25, 2015

    Finally a good quality durable one’s. Now make on ears model (like KG441 with lower price) with same quality & I will buy ones.

  19. saor
    July 25, 2015

    What are the instructions for the playback controls/mic on the wire?

    • Ivo001
      July 25, 2015

      I recommend using the app Jayz Headset Control to modify the remote button functions to your liking.

      Put it on advanced mode and choose what it has to do for single/double short/long clicks per button.

      https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.jays.headsetcontrol&hl=nl

    • saor
      July 25, 2015

      Can’t get top and bottom keys to work only centre

    • Dante
      July 25, 2015

      + and – buttons work only with xiaomi devices with the pistons
      its an Android limitation

    • saor
      July 25, 2015

      Nuts!

    • Dante
      July 25, 2015

      And Bolts!

      (Subtle Banjo-Kazooie Reference)

    • Ivo001
      July 29, 2015

      Did you try advanced mode? IT might be that top and bottom buttons are reversed.

    • saor
      July 29, 2015

      Yeah tried but Dante explained why .they are designed for miui.

    • Ivo001
      July 31, 2015

      I don’t have the Pistons 3, but it worked for me with the Pistons v1 and v2 on my iNew and Elephone.

  20. Lazar Prodanovic
    July 25, 2015

    Finally a good quality durable one’s. Now make on ears model (like KG441 with lower price) with same quality & I will buy ones.

  21. Dante
    July 25, 2015

    I wish xiaomi would make premium in ear Iems
    ones for at least 45 dollars to compete with the ttpod t1s or vsonic vsd3s havi b3 pro’s etc
    they could actually get some even better reputation on head fi… I know that the 2’s have been. Most likely made by dunu (designed by 1more)

  22. Dante
    July 25, 2015

    I wish xiaomi would make premium in ear Iems
    ones for at least 45 dollars to compete with the ttpod t1s or vsonic vsd3s havi b3 pro’s etc
    they could actually get some even better reputation on head fi… I know that the 2’s have been. Most likely made by dunu (designed by 1more)

  23. gary donovan
    August 7, 2015

    for $30 you’ll be enjoying them in few days, get the at http://www.zorook.com/shop/original-xiaomi-piston-3rd-generation-edition-earphones-black/

  24. gary donovan
    August 7, 2015

    for $30 you’ll be enjoying them in few days, get the at http://www.zorook.com/shop/original-xiaomi-piston-3rd-generation-edition-earphones-black/

  25. Qidamin
    August 19, 2015

    I have just ordered the Youth edition for 39 yuans, waiting for them. I have read that there is not much differences in sound quality between the youth and normal version.

  26. Qidamin
    August 20, 2015

    I have just ordered the Youth edition for 39 yuans, waiting for them. I have read that there is not much differences in sound quality between the youth and normal version.