The holiday season is upon us and this is the perfect time to buy a quality pair of truly wireless earbuds, whether for a friend or your best friend (you).
If price is important to you, but the quality is non-negotiable, look at the Realme Buds Air Pro, which is starred in this review.
Realme Buds Air Pro in black and white
Not only do they offer up to 25 hours of playback and excellent sound from a small form factor, but they add premium features like IPX4 splash resistance and active noise canceling for INR 4,999 / € 90.
Build quality and fit
The Realme Buds Air Pro come in a simple round case with a LED indicator for connection and battery life. The earbuds can be wirelessly charged, and the case itself charges via USB-C port. In the box of the Buds Air Pro there is a USB cable and three spare rubber ear tips – an extra pair of small tips, as well as a pair of medium and large ones.
The case and the earbuds themselves use a very glossy plastic that is very easily smoothed. The case mainly becomes dirty to the touch and scuffs up pretty easily. It will be dented and scratched if you put it in a bag with keys and coins. However, this is true with more expensive truly wireless earbud cases.
The lid of the box is very loose. It creaks and vocals and is easy to open by mistake.
The Realme Buds Air Pro itself is solid. They have a bulbous cone and tips that are stretched as much as the 2nd AirPods, and longer than the AirPods Pro. The 10mm driver is great for this class and sits behind rubber tips.
The tips are made of quality, but despite the provided different sizes, the reviewer has problems keeping the buds in his ears, no matter what sized tips are used. Ears are tricky to cut themselves, individual ears are quite a few. This is the first time I have issue keeping earbuds in my ears. But others who tested the Realme Buds Air Pro managed to get a good fit.
If the Realme Buds Air Pro are set correctly, they fit exactly. As with other housewives in-ear, they offer excellent isolation due to the vacuum they form in your ear.
The Realme Buds Air Pro do not stand out from the ear and weigh about nothing (5g each), so you do not feel them on long wearing sessions. They lack securing wing tips, which makes them less than ideal for sports because they can fall off.
The Realme Buds Air Pro has intuitive and customizable touch controls. They are easy to get used to and are the standard for operating many earbuds – double tap for play / pause, triple tap for the next song. With a press and hold on each bud, you can switch between standard mode, noise canceling and transparency mode by default, but you can enable or disable these in the Realme Link app. Press and hold both buds simultaneously, and you are in gaming mode, which enables 94ms low latency for gaming or watching videos.
As with most smart headphones, switching between noise canceling and other modes is cumbersome and slow. A tap and hold feels like times when you quickly need to adjust modes (like when you want to disable noise canceling and enter transparency). And every time you change a mode, the buds play a prompt that plays over your music or video. This is especially annoying when you are listening to a podcast or an audiobook, because it is not paused and played but overlay what you are listening to.
The Realme Link app lets you control a variety of options on the Realme Buds Air Pro. You can choose in which mode to be – noise cancellation, general or transparency – enable or disable the play mode, volume enhancer or Bass Boost + and select which double tap and triple tap do. Interestingly I disabled all the tapping functionality in the app for a test and the buds just accepted tap commands.
Regarding connection and signal strength, the Realme Buds Air Pro are excellent. The earbuds support Google Fast pair with Android phones and quickly paired. Signal was very strong here in the office, not dropping even after moving two rooms away from the phone.
The Realme Buds Air Pro support AAC and use the widespread SBC codec. There is no Qualcomm AptX support.
Sound, active noise cancellation, battery life
Realme’s Buds Air Pro sound amazing. They are very tall, noticeably more than competing products like the AirPods Pro or Huawei’s FreeBuds Pro.
The best way to determine the buds air pro ‘health is mass-pleasing, and I mean it in the best possible way. It has a pronounced midrange with good low bass and good vocals. We suggest keeping the volume enhancer, because it is signs for the overall sound and keep Bass Boost + off, because it brings a little extra bass, but it notices the quality noticeably.
Realme rate the active noise cancellation of the Buds Air Pro up to 35 decibels. We can evaluate the ANC as very beneficial on the Realme Buds Air, but when used with the correct expectations. ANC does a good job of reducing fast sounds such as a motor rumble (in a car) or a vacuum cleaner, a computer fan. It will not make a noticeable difference with human voices.
Active noise cancellation works fine when listening to music also additionally the sound.
Transparency mode improves the atmosphere around you, especially voices. This gives you a little better hearing and is a way to talk to someone without the need to take the earbuds.
Realme claims up to 25 hours of playback from buds and box combined, at 50% volume with ANC off. In our testing with the ANC, the Realme Buds Air Pro managed 4 hours and 20 minutes of continuous streaming.
In this case, the buds take 1 hour to return to 100%, while the case itself takes 1 hour of idle.
You can buy Realme Buds Air Pro for 4,999 rupees or 90 euros at the time of writing, but until recently discounts were available (4,499 rupees) and probably will be again before the year is over. This is a very competitive price, despite being the highest for any Realme audio product to date.
You would be hard pressed to find matching competition with the features and quality of other brands.
We recommend the Realme Buds Air Pro if only for their superb and powerful sound, even without a good battery life and active noise cancellation.