Mifo S review: sports, sports, sports
Although newer TWS earphones models feature water resistance and are therefore more suited for wearing while doing sports or working out, they’re often not as good as dedicated earphones in one of the most important aspects: comfort. The Mifo S sport (pun intended) just that, a design that’s made to stay comfortable while doing physical exercise, with good success. But is that enough?
Disclaimer: I received a free unit directly from Mifo, whom I thank for their willingness to listen to feedback, even when it’s negative. The Mifo S sell for $139.99. They’re also available on Amazon.
Packaging & Accessories
I was quite surprised at the packaging for the Mifo S, as it is very stylish and well-thought. The box is divided in two halves: in the bottom one there’s the earphone case behind a transparent plastic lid, while in the top one there are the accessories. Those are a USB to USB-C cable and a set of silicone tips in three sizes, plus a manual.
Design & Comfort
The Mifo S are… weird. Both the earphones and the case are covered in text of various sizes and colours, from black to white, with the “sport & outdo” logo in its bright green colour strip being the most prominent thing. The fact that it says “outdo” appears to be intentional as it’s repeated elsewhere as well – I expected it to be “outdoors”, as to my non-native ears it sounds like a natural co-location, but that’s not the case. In fact, Mifo explained to me that it’s intended and it stands for their attitude to go above and beyond. In any case, this use of typography looks quite modern and stylish and I quite like it.
Like many sports-focused earphones, the Mifo S too are shaped like a half moon so that the upper part can help stabilise them. Contrarily to many others, though, in this case this flange is part of the shell and is therefore rigid. Surprisingly, this doesn’t impact comfort at all. The circle with the “S&O” logo in green is the touch-sensitive area which you can use to control the earphones.
Overall, build quality is very good and the Mifo S feel well put together. They’re extremely light at just 3 g (according to my admittedly imprecise kitchen scale). They also feature IP67-certified water resistance, so you can actually submerge them for up to half an hour and they won’t be damaged – which makes them great for prolonged workouts as well.
Thanks to both the shape and the light weight, comfort is absolutely fantastic. The half-moon shape in particular really does work at making the earpieces fit snugly in the ears without causing discomfort, even when working out.
Despite offering ANC, the Mifo S lack in passive isolation, a fact which makes ANC less effective in the end: while the cancellation of low-frequency noises is effective, the rest of the spectrum is untouched and this means that you have to raise the volume anyway to counterbalance ambient noise.
The case feels quite solid and has an opening mechanism for the lid which is fantastic, as it springs open after pressing the button on the front and then stays open. Inside there are three LEDs that give you an estimate of the remaining charge, while on the back there’s a USB-C port. The case is quite small and it’s quiet pocketable and easy to handle thanks to its circular shape.
Extra Features & Battery Life
The Mifo S offer Bluetooth 5.2 compatibility and SBC plus AAC codecs. The range is quite good, as I can walk around the house without issues and I’ve never had any trouble while out and about, even in an environment like the gym where there’s lots of Bluetooth devices.
Touch controls are quite intuitive and the set is complete: a double tap plays or pauses music as well as answers or ends a call; a tap-and-hold cycles between the ANC modes; five taps enable the low latency mode (useful to watch videos or play games); a single tap on the right hand side raises volume and on the left hand side lowers it; a triple tap skips to next (right hand side) or previous (left hand side) track; a triple tap enables or disables sleep mode.
ANC works decently well with low-frequency noise, but is then hampered by the lack of passive isolation, which makes voices and other higher-pitched sounds stand out more. The result is that you have to raise the volume anyway, even with ANC enabled. The presence of a “mild” mode seems unnecessary given this, and the “transparent” mode is only useful if you listen to music at very high volume (which is highly discouraged!).
Mifo also offers a so-called sleep mode which enables strong noise cancelling and which also disables the power-saving mode if no other device interferes by trying to pair with the Mifo S, meaning that the earphones will keep on cancelling noise until the battery runs out. This should ensure better sleep, according to Mifo (and I am not qualified enough to confirm or disprove this claim, so take it with a grain of salt).
Battery life is satisfying enough at 7 hours per charge and the case offers about 5 more charges. Considering the small size of both the earphones and the case, this is quite a good achievement.
Sound & Specs
The Mifo S are laser-focused on the wearing experience more than on sound, their performance in this regard is not really for audiophiles. The sound signature is the one you would expect from sports earphones, so a lot of bass and treble with recessed mids. This is not an issue per se, but there are peaks in the lower treble region that can get quite fatiguing over a long period of time. It’s especially felt with tracks that already have a lot of cymbals and other high-pitched instruments.
Bass is decently deep, considering the size of the diaphragm, and has enough physicality. It is emphasised, so it does tend to leak a bit over the mids when it’s already abundant in the track. Detail and speed are sufficient.
Midrange, on the other hand, is recessed and privileges the upper region: female vocals and high-pitched instruments are therefore more emphasised, while male vocals lack body and sound a bit hollow. Detail is (again) sufficient.
Treble, as I mentioned previously, these earphones’ Achilles’ heel: in terms of quality it is fine, as it offers a good level of detail, but its multiple peaks make it fatiguing. This is the only thing that I consider an issue.