The true wireless earphones category is rising exponentially in India. Everyone wants to grab a pair of wire-free earbuds that are reasonably priced and offer good audio performance. I have been testing a range of truly wireless earbuds since last few months, and the latest one to join the list is the newly launched Realme Buds Air.
Priced at Rs. 3,999, the much-hyped Apple AirPods 2nd gen. lookalikes from Realme come in multiple colors and work on Bluetooth 5.0 technology. The company has surely done its homework and has packed the Realme Buds Air with some noteworthy features such as auto wear detection, dual-mic support for calling, dynamic bass boost driver and a claimed battery life of 17-hour wireless playback.
Now when we have tested the Realme Buds Air as our daily audio drivers, we bring you the review of the company's first-ever true wireless earphones. Let's have a look.
The AirPods like Realme's wireless earbuds are neatly tucked inside a tiny charging case that also shares a very close resemblance with the Apple AirPods capsule. The minimally designed earbuds and the charging case come in a glossy finish and will be available in three colors- yellow, white and black. We have got the white color variant that looks the most subtle among the lot. But you must check out the other two color variants, especially the yellow one as it truly stands out.
The charging capsule comes in a full-arc design and has a smaller and lighter footprint making it easy to carry around. With dimensions of 51.3 x 45.3 x 25.3mm and 42g weight packing inside earbuds that weigh just over 4 grams each, you can comfortably keep them in a shirt or a jeans pocket.
The charging capsule has an LED indicator at the front that notifies about the battery status. The green light shows the capsule has ample battery left while the yellow light signifies below 60% battery life. If the LED light starts glowing red, it means the battery level has reduced to below 30%.
A pairing button is also placed on the front to initiate a pairing request with a Bluetooth-enabled device. I am glad that Realme isn't stuck with microUSB port and has offered a Type-C port with the charging case.
Realme Buds Air true wireless earbuds work on Bluetooth 5.0 technology with an effective range of 10 meters. You only need to pair them once with your phone as they are smart enough to auto-connect to your device next time you open the case lid. I paired the Buds Air with Realme X2 and some other Android devices and did not face any connectivity issues. The company has successfully managed to replicate Apple's auto-connect feature on the budget true wireless earbuds. It works like a charm and quickly pairs the earbuds with the source devices.
Realme Buds Air also comes equipped with ‘Smart In-ear Detection' mode. It is effective for most of the part but there's a slight latency in the operation. Each earbud comes integrated with an optical sensor that enables wear detection, something like the W1 chip-equipped Apple AirPods. The earbuds can automatically turn on the music playback when you place them in ears and can pause the audio once you remove them. While the earbuds turn on the music instantly, the auto turn-off operation has a slight delay. You will experience a slight latency in the operation.
Like premium true wireless earphones, Realme Buds Air also supports touch controls, which work seamlessly for most of the part. You can double-tap to answer a call or to play/pause audio files. You can skip to the next song by triple-tapping on the touch surface, which is slightly inconsistent. A long press on the earbuds activates the Voice assistant and can also be used to end or decline an incoming phone call. Besides, you can long-press on both sides at the same time to enter/exit the gaming mode. Sadly, you cannot control the volume via earbuds. You would require the source device to increase/decrease the volume, which comes as a disappointment.
Each earbud weighs 4.16 grams and feels very light on ears. As the Buds Air come in ‘half-in' ear design, the stem dangle out from the ears but still maintain a decent hold. However, we have experienced better grip with some budget earbuds than the Buds Air.
Talking about the wearing comfort, I was able to wear the Buds Air for more than an hour without any discomfort. The wear-duration can vary based upon your wearing experience with truly wireless earbuds. Overall, these are one of the most comfortable truly wireless earbuds you can buy in the market.
Realme Buds Air true wireless earbuds sound good, especially when you are streaming hi-res. Audio files. Powered by 12mm bass-boosted drivers, the true wireless earbuds produce crisp sound at moderate volume levels. The audio remains crisp even at higher volume levels but bass drops almost to zero and audio loses depth. The background noise makes things worse as the noise isolation isn't very effective.
I tuned in to my favourite tracks on multiple streaming apps and audio quality remained consistent; however, these wireless earbuds are best sounded when tuned with high-resolution audio files. For instance, hi-res. files of the Goodbye theme from Netflix's Dark series and Familiar (Agnes Obel) sounded much better and detailed than the ordinary files on the popular streaming apps.
The soundstage on these budget wireless earbuds isn't very immersive; however, for a pair of truly wireless earbuds that cost Rs. 4,000, I wasn't expecting them to sound exactly like premium wireless earphones. These are budget true wireless earbuds and aren't going to impress the true audiophiles in the room.
As far as voice calling performance is concerned, Realme Buds Air serves as a very good wireless daily driver. The dual-microphones ensure you are heard clearly to the person on the other side. There was not a single instance when a caller complained about not hearing my voice clearly.
The gaming mode also works well and reduces the latency while you play the popular game titles on your device.
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Realme Buds Air lasted for a little more than two and a half hours with continuous usage with one full charge. I had to put them back inside the charging case for a quick refill. The charging capsule backed by a 400mAh battery lasted for almost 16-hours on one full charge. It is not the best battery life we have experienced in a sub 5K wireless earphones segment; however, it is also not the worst. Realme Buds Air support Qi wireless charging and wired Type-C charging.
If you have always wanted to own an affordable version of the Apple AirPods, the Realme Buds Air is the answer. The look and feel of the capsule and the earbuds combined with features like auto connection and wear-detection make the Buds Air a fair deal in sub 5K price category. However, if you are a true audiophile, look further as the Buds Air isn't the best sounding wireless earbuds in the sub 5K price segment. These are budget true wireless earbuds designed specifically to give price-conscious consumers a cable-free audio experience.
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