In 2020, Realme has fast transitioned as a lifestyle brand. At its recently held AIoT product launch, the company celebrated its lead in the affordable TWS segment with the launch Realme Buds Air Pro – one of the rare few budget TWS options with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). (Realme Buds Air Pro review हिंदी में पढ़िए.)
Recently Realme loaned us one to test out. We have been actively testing them for a few weeks and will now share our thoughts in our full Realme Buds Air Pro review:
Realme Buds Air Pro design
The outer charging case once again takes design inspiration from a cobble. It has a smooth, glossy finish with sassy curves and we found it easy to carry and pocket.
The lid at the top has a metallic hinge and feels rigid and can yet be opened and closed using a single hand. On the front, there’s a LED indicator and the button for pairing and resetting the device is on the right side edge. At the bottom, there’s a USB Type C port for charging.
Open up the lid and you will find two earbuds that magnetically cling and snuggly fit within their cavities. The buds have a glossy finish which at times makes it difficult to pull them out. The oval-shaped head, long stem, and silicon ear tips match the ergonomics of the Oppo Enco w51.
Weighing merely 5 grams they feel comfortable in-ear but they are not very efficient at passively blocking ambient noise.
Realme Buds Air Pro Review: Setup, controls and connectivity
The Realme Buds Air Pro setup process is fairly simple. They come with Bluetooth 5.0 and require a one-time pairing. These buds support Google Fast Pair and the fast pair pop-up card shows up on my Android phone when I open the lid. I faced no connectivity related issue here. With Realme Buds Air Pro I was able to move around my home without any connection drops while my phone was stationed in my bedroom.
Realme tap and long-press controls also worked well. Realme Link app comes really handy to change these touch gesture controls. One can replace double-tap and triple-tap options for each bud. The app lets you choose between play/pause, next track, previous track, voice assistant, and switch modes options.
If one long press both the buds together it will activate ‘Game mode’ that cuts down the latency to just 94ms. The latency we experienced during gaming was perfectly acceptable. You can turn on the Game mode directly from the Link app as well.
You get the option to switch between three ANC modes from within the app itself. It also has option to toggle on/off game-mode, Volume enhancer, and Bass Boost+ modes.
The Buds Air Pro have wear detection sensors that plays music as soon as you put buds on and pauses as you pull any of the two buds out. With the Realme Link app, the Realme Buds Air Pro can receive firmware upgrades which is a nifty feature to have.
Realme Buds Air Pro Review: Sound quality and noise cancellation
The Realme Buds Air Pro buds pack 10mm bass boost drivers which are powered by Realme S1 chipset. It supports SBC and ACC codecs but there’s no support for Qualcomm’s aptX HD.
The sound quality leaves us with mixed feelings. Realme has nailed it when we talk about soundstage with clear instrument separation. However, the sound signatures lean too much towards low frequencies and the bass tries to dominate while lacking the necessary punch. The mids and mid-highs are unrefined which suppresses high frequencies and makes them sound a tad lifeless.
We enjoyed watching movies and videos using these buds as dialogues were clearly audible.
Let’s talk about Active Noise Canceling which is the marquee feature. Realme’s first-ever ANC TWS claims to be capable of canceling up to 35dB. There are three modes on offer – General, Noise cancellation, and Transparency. While general mode only uses passive noise isolation, the noise-canceling mode offers ambient noise suppression and then transparency mode passes through ambient sounds so that you remain aware of your surrounding even during music playback.
We found the noise cancellation on the Realme Buds Air Pro pretty decent considering the price. No, it does not offer Active noise cancellation up to the same level as Sony WF 1000XM3 (review) but it is good enough to almost mute AC noise and to soften the hum of a ceiling fan. Just don’t expect it to work wonders.
Realme Buds Air Pro Review: Call quality
We found the call quality on the Realme Buds Air Pro to be satisfactory at best. We had no issue while listening to the caller but the person on the other side complained about ambient noise.
Realme Buds Air Pro Review: Battery
Realme Buds Air Pro with the case can last for 20 hours with ANC turned on and 25 hours with the ANC turned off, as per the company. Buds alone with ANC turned on and volume set to 50 percent can last for 5 hours, again these are official claims.
We found the battery to last for 4 hours and 37 minutes with ANC turned on and volume set to seventy percent. From the case, we were able to refill our buds about three and a half times.
Realme Buds Air Pro Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
Realme’s aggressive pricing of the Buds Air Pro makes it a really enticing package at Rs 4,499. These are in fact cheapest truly wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation we have tested so far. While they didn’t really wow us, but if you have a limited budget and you are looking to buy a TWS with ANC under Rs 5,000 these are good value for money option to consider.