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Realme Buds Air Review - Great connectivity and audio even without the wires

Xtreme
The TWS (True Wireless Stereo) market is quickly growing and realme is aware of that. The result? The emerging tech brand jumped into the bandwagon and released the Buds Air.
Realme Buds Air Review - Great connectivity and audio even without the wires
The new budget buds to beat?

Sticking true to its principles, realme made sure that the Buds Air is jam-packed with features for its PHP 3,990 price tag.

Some of its key highlights include the R1 Chip + Super Low Latency mode for less audio lag (great for gamers), Touch Sensors for both ears, Wireless Charging + USB-C Port, Google Fast Pair, and a bass-boosted 12mm dynamic driver.

Basically, it is one of the very few with all of the above-mentioned features together for the price.

Sounds fun right? Let's see if it is the one for you. Here's our review!

Unboxing/Accessories

Familiar yellow realme box
Familiar yellow realme box

The Buds Air arrived with the familiar realme yellow box containing the case with earbuds inside, USB-C charging cable, and the paper manual with warranty information.
Everything inside
Everything inside

It would have been better if it has a protective pouch or a carrying case though.

The first 100 to purchase the buds at Lazada tomorrow (January 22) will get a FREE 10W realme wireless charging pad.

Build Quality/Design

Easy to open lid
Easy to open lid

Realme Buds Air has a lot of similarities with Apple's more expensive AirPods in terms of materials used and design.

Love it or hate it AirPods-like design

The buds and its case is made out of polycarbonate material with glossy finish and smooth curves. It comes in White, Black, and Yellow colorways. The white version is very AirPods and it could be too common for most.
There are similarities with the Apple AirPods
There are similarities with the Apple AirPods

The body of the buds has IPX2 water splash resistance so it is safe to use during workouts and it can survive accidental splashes of water.

It also has a left and right markings, dual-mic, and an open design with a metallic mesh filter. The filter is designed to prevent earwax and other types of dirt from entering the buds and prevent sound from coming out.
Easy to open lid
USB-C port below

The pill-shaped case has a flip to open design, a single pairing button in the middle, and a USB-C charging port below. The back has wireless charging support.

Overall, it is also quite small at 51.3 x 45.3 mm fairly thin at 25.3 mm which means that the case is pocketable.


Comfort/Isolation

Good comfort
Good comfort

Like most open buds, the realme Buds Air has a universal fit (one size fits all). It is very easy to wear and simply comfortable right off the bat.

Good comfort, weak isolation

I asked a few of my friends to try its fit and all of them are happy with its comfort level. Even without foamies, thanks to its smooth curves and lightweight design, it can easily sit in my ears for hours without me noticing it.

Note: Most likely, only a very few individuals will have a hard time getting the right fit as realme did a fine job to make sure that it will fit most ears.

Allow me to also add that it doesn't fall off too easily even while doing light runs on a treadmill.

Isolation-wise, do not expect too much. It has some sort of isolation. But, open buds are really designed in a way where it will still let you be aware of your surroundings while listening to music.

There's no ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) tech ala Huawei FreeBuds 3 to forcefully block outside noise even if it has an open design though. But that's understandable, it is more than 2x more affordable than what Huawei buds.

Battery

Wireless charging works well
Wireless charging works well

Realme said that the per earbud, it has around 30mAh of juice. Each bud that can work independently can last for up to 3 hours (around 60 percent volume) on a single charge. It may not sound that long, but its charging case can provide about 14 hours of extra battery capacity for a total of 17 hours.

The cool thing? It has USB-C charging and that's rare for budget buds. In addition, it has 10W wireless charging support which is even rarer for buds priced this low.

In our experience, either the USB-C or wireless charging pad can fully charge its case in around an hour. In its case, the buds will be fully charged in less than an hour.

Features

Realme Buds Air uses the R1 Chip with Bluetooth 5.0 technology for stable connectivity up to 10 meters. And yes, I'm happy to report that it is consistently stable.

In addition, it has GFP (Google Fast Pairing) to ensure quick and easy pairing to your Bluetooth device. As a matter of fact, all you need to do is open the lid of the case and you can easily see it in the Bluetooth settings of your device to pair.

After pairing, the reconnection speed is very fast. In my 1 week with the buds, I only had one occasion where I have to pair it again with my device.

A lot of useful features!

Each bud also has up to triple-tap support. Just double-tap to answer calls or pause multimedia playback, triple-tap to skip songs, long press on one side to launch voice assistant (Google Assistant), and hold both sides to enter or exit Gaming Mode.

Gaming Mode provides up to 51 percent low-latency that's great while playing games. It reduces audio delay and it could be useful to those who are serious with the games they are playing.

While I am not a gamer, I tried it while playing mobile games and I find the audio to be in sync.

For calls, it has a total of 2 microphones. The other mic is for ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation). Upon testing, my voice is clear on the other side. But on my end, it is not that in sync.

Note: My call issue was fixed after restarting my phone.

Audio

Great for music, movies, and games
Great for music, movies, and games

For music playback, it is on the above-average quality for me. Some of you may even find its audio to be on par with several more expensive buds.

First, it is easy to drive. Using my phone, I only needed 60 percent loudness to make it shine. On my PC, 70 percent is enough.

Close to stellar sound for the price!

While it has minimal distortion, anything above that could not be that safe to the ears. It can really good loud and it could have peaks that are not that comfortable to our ears at above 70 percent.

Its signature is a bit warm with emphasis on the lows and highs. I wound not call it U or V-shaped as the highs are more pronounced than the lows.


This means that it has a strong and well-extended bass, but highs are clearer. It has great sparkle but could be a bit peaky and a piercing on some tracks.

Going back to the lows, even if it is marketed as a bass-heavy TWS earphones due to its Dynamic Bass Drivers, it is not too overpowering for me. It is still a bit tight and fast. Sub-bass is present on tracks where it is needed as well. It can go deep, not just to the level of other higher-end buds.

The vocals are surprisingly crisp and clear. It has decent levels of voice and instrumental separation as well. There are tracks where the lows could overpower the mids, but fortunately, it doesn't happen most of the time.

Like most buds, it has wide soundstage. The soundstage could be even wider when you use the game mode. The game mode is not only good for gaming, but it is good for watching movies too.

The music mode should work nicely on most tracks especially live recordings and concerts.

Pros - Splash resistant body, comfortable fit, USB-C port, fast wireless charging, above-average audio quality, consistent and stable connectivity, fast reconnection speed, the game mode works, the affordable price tag for all its features
Cons - Common design, minimal isolation, battery life could be better

Realme Buds Air Specs

CPU: R1 Chip
Driver: 12mm dynamic driver
Microphone: Dual-mic w/ ENC
Battery: Up to 17 hours w/ 6W charging and 2W Qi wireless charging
Sensors: Optical Sensor for Wear Detection
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 w/ GFP
Others: IPX2 water splash resistance, triple-tap controls, USB-C, Colors: white, black, yellow
Dimensions: 51.3 x 45.3 x 25.3 mm (case)
Weight: 4.2 g per earbud, 42.3 g w/ case
Price: PHP 3,990 (PHP 2,990 Lazada)

Verdict


For the price, the realme Buds Air nearly nailed it on every aspect. It is the most feature-rich and it has close to stellar audio quality for the price.

I also like the fact that it has one of the fastest and most stable connectivity around, the game mode works, and it has the not that common wireless feature despite the low price tag.

While it is not perfect and I would have liked it better if it has a slightly stronger battery life, it is simply too attractive for the price.

It should be great for anyone who simply wants to listen to music while on commutes, gamers, and even some fitness buffs.

To get better buds than this, you will need to spend more.

Note: You can get it cheaper at Lazada on January 22, 29, and Feb 6 with a whole day price of PHP 2,990. In addition, the first 100 buyers will get a FREE 10W wireless charging pad.

Build/Design - 4
Comfort/Isolation - 3.25
Battery Life - 3.75
Features - 4.75
Sound - 4.25
Average - 4/5
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