AirPods are seen as Apple’s most successful device in recent years. They seem to be everywhere, from airports, cafés to co-working spaces. But the success of AirPods have inspired many other companies to launch their own truly wireless earbuds, and Realme is the latest in the list. The smartphone maker has launched its first truly wireless earbuds with a wireless charging-compatible case. The pair mimics the AirPods’ signature elongated design, although the Buds Air are cheaper than Apple’s wireless earbuds and come in a few different colour options, including black and yellow.
Ever Since Realme started teasing the Buds Air, I wanted to try them. Now that they are here, I am eager to compare the Buds Air with the AirPods. I used the Buds Air for a few days, and here’s what I’ve found.
Realme Buds Air price in India: Rs 3999
Realme Buds Air review: Familiar design
The Buds Air looks exactly like Apple’s AirPods. They don’t go inside your ear canal to make a seal, similar to the AirPods. I don’t know whether Realme ever acknowledge the striking similarities in design between the two earbuds, but it takes courage to create a product that looks strikingly similar to another device. The only difference between the two is that Realme’s Buds Air also come in black and yellow, unlike the AirPods which are only offered in white. The review unit we got came in black.
Realme Buds Air review: Fit
I’ve always found the AirPods to be comfortable and stable in my ears. The Buds Air sit comfortably in my normally-sized ears, but there were times the Buds Air became somewhat loose, especially during brisk walking. But again, it really depends on the size of your ears. If you ask me, I can happily wear the Buds Air for a couple of hours.
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Realme Buds Air review: Wireless charging case
Wireless charging is another feature on the Buds Air. It is a bit surprising to see such feature coming to a pair of truly wireless earbuds that cost Rs 3,999. In contrast, the AirPods with the wireless charging case, cost Rs 15,999. Nevertheless, wireless charging works well. Just drop the case on the wireless charging pad and a small indicator light on the front of the case tells you they are getting charged. However, if you don’t own a wireless charging mat, you can always use a USB-C cable to charge them.
Realme Buds Air review: Making calls and Siri/Google Assistant
Similar to the AirPods, Realme’s Buds Air don’t have power buttons. They have sensors that automatically detect when they go in and out of your ears, a feature taken from the AirPods.
A long-press of the Buds Air activates Google Assistant or Siri (I paired them to my iPhone 11). You can use a voice assistant, just like you would control Siri on the device. Taking calls while wearing the Buds Air is a similar experience as one would get with the AirPods. I was surprised with how well the Buds Air picked up my voice in a crowded metro. I think the earbuds should work well in noisy environments. Double-tap on the earbuds can be used to answer and end calls.
Realme Buds Air review: Pairing
The Buds Air come with its own charging case, which looks no different from the one you get with the AirPods. It’s simple and practical, though on the chubbier side.
Realme claims the Buds Air features the R1 chipset (it did not go into detailed specs). Although the wireless earbuds are designed to work with Android smartphones, they also work with iOS devices. If you’re an iPhone user, simply turn on Bluetooth, and keep pressing the button on the Buds Air case phone and pop open the top.
Realme Buds Air review: Audio Quality
The Buds Air are decent-sounding truly wireless earbuds. Surprisingly, they have a well-balanced sound profile, making them perfect for listening to a wide range of music genres. They are loud and clear enough for you to enjoy podcasts. However, they lack bass and treble. So if you listen to a lot of R&B and hip-hop songs, the Buds Air are not the right ones for you. That said, they still offer excellent sound quality, given the price segment they are catering to.
Realme Buds Air review: Battery and noise cancelling
Realme claims the Buds Air will last 17 hours if you have the charging case with you. I think the battery will last close to that.
I am surprised to see how good the Buds Air are at blocking background noise. Unlike the high-end AirPods Pro which feature active noise cancelling, the Buds Air use less superior environment noise cancellation technology to filter background noise. And to some extent, the Buds Air do manage to isolate low-end noise like music playing on the HomePod or background chatter. However, don’t expect the Buds Air to negate engine drones.
Realme Buds Air review: Conclusion
Realme Buds Air are not expensive truly wireless earbuds. They cost Rs 3,999, and I think the price is right. The main reason why Realme launched the Buds Air (I wish they had come with an original design rather) is to bring a pair of truly wireless to the masses. Other wireless earbuds options cost more, such as Apple’s AirPods and Samsung’s Galaxy Buds. Realme might have a winner here.
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