“Bro, which truly wireless earbud should I go for?” Lately, I’ve been asked this a lot. Well, it’s for obvious reasons – these tiny buds look cool, are comfortable to wear, and easier to carry around. Not too long ago, you’d have to spend a chunk for a fine TWS pair. But now with the advent of players like Realme, things have changed. Take the titular buds, for instance, which comes at a rupee shy of ₹3000.
Buds Air Neo mark Realme’s second foray into the TWS space. The original Buds Air (review) is said to have sold over 1 million units. So, as their trimmed down sibling arrived, like you, I was intrigued to know how the latter fares.
For the past week or so, I’ve been using them. And here’s my experience.
But first – you know the drill – we’ll have a quick glance at the specs:
Realme Buds Air Neo Specs
|Model||Realme Buds Air Neo|
|Bluetooth||5.0, 10m radius|
|Color||Pop white, Punk green, and Rock red|
|Noise cancellation||Single Mic Noise cancellation|
|Touch Controls||Yes (configurable using Realme Link app)|
|Battery Life||3 hours one time
17 hours total playback
Followed by the inbox contents:
Realme Buds Air Neo: Box Contents
- Realme Buds Air Neo × 2 (Left and Right)
- Charging Box × 1
- Charging Cable × 1
- User guide and warranty card × 1
And the review. Herein, we’ll be covering –
- Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Design
- Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Sound
- Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Connectivity
- Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Battery
Buds Air Neo comes in a cute little cradle that’s easy to toss into a pocket or bag. The case has a glossy sheen with nothing but a tiny indicator lamp and a multi-function button on the surface. That LED shines green or red to signal the state of charge and pairing.
You can easily flip open the lid which I must say offers a satisfying snap & clasp. Inside, you would find the buds sitting tight in their respective cavities.
Pick ’em out and you’ve got an Airpods-inspired design – with a half-in-ear head and a stem. Look, I don’t mind that a bit. But, what I do mind is that this design causes pressure on my ear canals due to the way the nozzles are shaped. Thus for better comfort and sound isolation, I prefer an in-ear design.
ALSO READ: Realme Buds Wireless review
But, my pet peeve aside, these look really elegant, especially in that white color. If that isn’t your color, you could also choose between red and green. Moreover, they do stay stable in the ear, which is one less worry for a wireless pair.
Realme has also offered touch-based controls for music playback, voice assistant, and calls. These require tap combinations, which sometimes don’t register. I guess they demand precise touch input. You can customize the controls from within the official Realme Link app downloadable from Google Play Store.
Before we scroll to sound review, you should know the absence of wear detection (no auto play pause) and the presence of IPX4 water resistance.
That’s all to talk about design. Moving on…
To me, music is cathartic, and, if anything, the current rut has amped my listening hours. After using the Realme Buds Air Neo for quite some time now, here’s what I concluded about the audio output:
- Neo sufficiently loud at 100 but if you bring down that volume to say 50 or 70-percent, it sounds meek. That is while I’m cooped up inside. I fear it might struggle in the noisy outdoors. In comparison, playing the same tracks on the Skullcandy Method ANC ‘neckband’ (review), gets painfully loud at full volume.
- The highs sound bright enough without piercing the ears. (Ref: Communion by Park Jiha)
- Although one could feel the bass, it isn’t tight enough. (Ref: The Hills by The Weekend)
- In the mids, you’ve got clear vocals with fair separation from instruments. (Ref: Hurt by Johnny Cash)
While the general sound quality of Neo might not be for audio aficionados, it should suffice a casual listener.
They serve other purposes too.
- Firing up the buds is simple and seamless. You get a hassle-free initial pairing thanks to Google Fast Pair support. Post which, the buds connect in a blink of an eye.
- Calls were okey-doke. Nothing worth underlining.
- I did once suffer an audio sync issue (by a Milli) while watching YouTube, but it was easily solved by the low latency gaming mode.
- Like the original, this one also comes with AAC and SBC codec support. In case you aren’t wary of the terms, AAC is better, if not the best option out there.
ALSO READ: Redmi Earbuds S Review
Individually, the buds eke out 3h 11 mins of continuous playback. And in total, Neo offers 17 hours of battery life. So, do the math.
To charge them, stow them back in the case. The buds take slightly over an hour to juice up.
All that’s fine. The only thing I don’t understand is the micro-USB socket on the case. Hello, it’s 2020 and the time to bid it goodbye. Bring on USB Type-C.
Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Verdict
Should I buy Realme Buds Air Neo? Is Realme Buds Air Neo worth it?
Gone are the days when you had to hunt through a horde of chi-fi earphones to find one fine-sounding pair. Gladly, now we have budget buds like the one in this review.
For ₹2999, the audio is reasonably well. Not just that, Realme slides in niceties like low latency transmission, workable touch controls, IPX4 water resistance, and good-to-go battery life.
Now, the experience isn’t without shortcomings. For example, I would’ve preferred an in-ear design like the upcoming Realme Buds Q. Silicone or foam housing could draw out some of the noise, thereby making the calls and music experience a bit more pleasing. This takes precedence, especially while travelling on rail or road or over the rainbow.
That said, if you are fine with the semi in-ear design and are restricted by a budget, then Buds Air Neo is worth the asking price. You may add these to the cart.
For an extra 1000 bucks, you’d get in-ear detection, secondary mic, wireless charging, and Type-C port on the Buds Air.
- Stable Connection
- Decent audio quality
- Low latency gaming mode
- IPX4 rating
- Iffy touch response
- Meek volume levels
- Poor noise isolation
Realme Buds Air Neo FAQ
Make sure both earbuds are in the case, open the case, and hold the pairing button for 3s. Find Realme Buds Air Neo in the Bluetooth list. Then connect.
This is for the first time usage. However, post that, the buds will auto turn on and connect to the previously paired device as soon as you take them out of the charging case.
Yes, Google Fast pair is supported on the Realme Buds Air Neo.
The battery of buds lasts for 3 hours of music playback on a single charge. The battery could deplete faster if you are taking too many calls.
Open the case and if you see a continuously lit indicator, it means the battery is above 20%. If the light is blinking, it means the battery is below 20%. The remaining battery of earbuds can be displayed on the phone’s Bluetooth list.
You can also find the battery status of individual buds from within the Realme Link app.
Open the charging box, and if the battery is sufficient, the indicator light will stay on. However, if the battery is low, the indicator flashes.
Realme Buds Air Neo supports HFP, A2DP, ASP, AVRCP profiles.
Yes, Realme Buds Air Neo is IPX4 water-resistant.
Just put the earbuds back in the charging box and it will enter sleep mode.
Make sure both earbuds are in the case. Open the case and hold the button for 10s until the indicator light starts blinking fast. Then reconnect again.
Yes, Realme Buds Air Neo should work on both iPhone and Android phones.
Realme Buds Air Neo currently costs ₹2,999.
Realme Buds Air Neo will be soon available in offline stores.