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Realme Buds Air review: Me too AirPods

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Gadgets Now
14th January, 2020 17:58 IST
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Apple’s AirPods have received the biggest compliment with the launch of its first truly wireless earphones — Realme Buds Air — that look starkly similar to the second-generation AirPods but cost less than half of their price. It is one of the many truly wireless earphones that we expect to flood the global and Indian market thanks to the immense popularity of the Apple AirPods.

At Rs 3,999, you get the promise of instant and stable connection with the smartphone, up to 17 hours of battery life and accessible smart controls. But does the promise hold? We find that out in our review:

Design
As mentioned above, the design of the Realme Buds Air is heavily inspired from the Apple AirPods. Perhaps choosing the design of the world’s ‘most popular in-ear headphones’ is a safer bet for Realme for its first truly wireless earphones.
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Just like the AirPods, you get a wireless charging case that works with Qi-compatible charging pads. The case is pretty compact yet sturdy and houses a single button and LED light on the front side. Depending on the battery life, you will see green, yellow and red colour on the LED indicator. You can charge the case using a wireless charger or make use of the USB Type-C port at the bottom. In the box, you get a small Type-C cable along with the Realme Buds Air.


Overall, the design of these Realme earphones is quite subtle. These truly wireless earphones have Realme branding with a small text ‘Designed by Realme' written on the back. This is the only branding you will see on them, just as you see on the AirPods. Realme clearly thought that if it was going to get ‘inspired’ by Apple then it shouldn’t leave any stone unturned.

Opening the top of the case and pressing the button is enough to connect it to the Realme Buds Air to any device. And if the device is already paired, the process is even more simple as opening the case and plugging-in the earphones also works.

We were quite satisfied with the fit of the Realme Buds Air as they snugly fit the ear capsule. But that being said, this may not be the case with everyone as some may find it slipping easily.

Performance
The Realme Buds Air come powered by a custom chipset — R1 chip — and pack 12mm dynamic driver. They offer Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and a feature called Super Latency Mode. In order to activate this mode, you have to long press both the buds together and you will know that the mode is activated when you hear the noise of a car engine starting. This mode is only usable in cases where you feel that there is lag in the visual and audio output but that does drain more battery so you may use this feature less.
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Just as it is the case with Apple AirPods, the Realme Buds Air come with support for touch gestures. For instance, double tap will answer a call or play or pause music. Triple tap will skip the song, long press on one side will open voice assistant or end call. The commands were in sync with the gesture most of the time but in one of the rare circumstances a simple touch on the bud also opened the voice assistant.

We were impressed with the smart in-ear detection feature of the Realme Buds Air that ensures that the audio/video pauses the moment user takes off the Buds. So in case you need to speak to someone you don’t need to reach out to your device to first pause whatever you’re listening to.
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In terms of audio quality, you may have to give it some days for the Realme Buds Air to get better. That is because as the drivers on the earphones burn, the audio quality gets better and better. While initially you may feel that the vocals are dull, after continued usage for some time, you feel that the bass is quite heavy and the vocals are also quite clear. However, even after some days of usage, we felt that there isn’t just enough treble as it is not too sharp. The strong point of these headphones is definitely the bass. In terms of call quality, you may occasionally hear complaints from the person who you are speaking to in the volume levels of the audio output. Many a times the person on the other side fussed about too much disturbance at our end.

Overall, you get a satisfying performance from the Realme Buds, considering its price.

Battery

Speaking of battery, you can expect three hours of continuous battery life from the Buds Air, which is a bit less than what we would have liked. This is especially problematic if you plan to use these on a long flight or plan to binge watch something on your device. We were left with no choice but to plug them back in the charging case. While using the Realme Buds Air you can always check the battery status on your phone.
image With the charging case, you can get approximately 15 hours of total juice, which is also a bit less than what you like if you want to replace your wired earphones with the Realme Buds Air. We were impressed with Realme to include the wireless charging support for up to 10W at this price.

Verdict

Overall, we can say for the asking price of Rs 3,999, Realme Buds Air offer more than their worth. You get them in Black, Yellow and White colour options. White should be your ideal choice if you want people to believe you’re using AirPods as any on-looker may find it hard to tell them apart from far. And this similarity doesn't end at the design as you get wireless charging support and same gesture controls in Realme Buds Air. We’d recommend that you can pick them not so much for the audio quality, but if you want to feel the ‘AirPods experience’ without burning a hole in your pocket.

Images courtesy: Shaurya Shubham

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