Realme has been in progress for some time and the company has been able to make a name for itself successfully in the Indian smartphone space. Naturally, the brand is now looking to further expand its domain by expanding into other avenues, among which are launching custom merchandise for real-time fans, lifestyle accessories and especially audio gear. To that note, the company recently unveiled the Buds Air 2 TWS earphones, which is the successor to the original Buds Air launched a year ago. Priced at Rs 3,299, Buds Air 2 is packed with a number of features, including support for ANC or Active Noise Cancellation. But, would you say OnePlus Buds Z or OPPO Enco W31? Let’s find out in this review.
Design and Comfort
The RealMe Buds Air 2 is styled using a blueprint similar to the Buds Air Pro, and from the cobble-shaped case to the earbuds’ angled ear tips, two pairs of earbuds draw many parallels in the design section. However, unlike the Pro model, the Buds Air 2 does not offer many color options and can be chosen in a glossy black or two-tone white colorway. I sent it for review and to be honest, I was on the fence about unit aesthetics. On the one hand, the white paint job keeps earbuds smudged, but I’m not a big fan of the chrome finish on the stem. So, if your earbuds do not want to attract eyebrows and want something vague, I suggest choosing black.
Needless to say, Buds Air 2 was one of the most comfortable TWS earbuds I auditioned this year. Individual earbuds weigh more than 4 grams and, as a result, do not strain your ears when you are running or working out at the gym. The earbuds also provide a secure, comfortable ear fit, which can be identified by the unit’s expensive silicone tips along with a pair of angled nozzles that fit like a glove in my ear canal. Suffice it to say, Realme Buds Air 2 is a fun, ‘wear and forget’ fit.
Realm earbuds are equipped with some functional nighties, which feature customizable tap-based gestures on the trunk of the earbud, as well as clothing detection. Gestures can be used to control your music playback, as well as toggle ANC mode or answer / reject phone calls. I am very happy with the response of the controls mentioned above, however I prefer the sensitive tap to do the same thing. When things stood, I had to press very hard for the buds to enter my order, which was very uncomfortable in the case of ear type headphones. Other than that, Buds Air 2 is also shipped with IPX5 certification, so you can sweat while using Earbuds without having to worry about damaging this couple.
As for the charging case, it is built entirely using plastic and has the company branding on the front under the LED indicator. The unit comes with a physical toggle on the right, which can be used to place Buds Air 2 in paired mode. There is also a Type-C port for charging in this case, and the company has tied a bright yellow Type-C cable in the box, so there are no complaints here.
ANC and application properties
The USM of RealMe Buds Air 2 is that the earphones come with ANC support, which is unheard of in its price segment (pun intended). ANC onboard buds are of the feed-forward type and from my test, are strong enough to dissipate a good portion of the environmental noise. Since earphones do not provide pin drop silence, for the price, it does not improve at all, so you need to keep your expectations in check here.
Now, just like any other TWS on the market, you can get to know some of the features of Buds Air 2 through the company’s RealMe Link app. On that note, buyers who choose this pair can customize the tap-based gestures within the app, toggle Boss Boost + mode and switch between different ANC modes (transparency, normal and noise cancellation). Where I stand, Realme Link is an excellent application because it provides a nonsensical UI and everything is neatly labeled, ensuring that users do not have to sift through menus to find a specific setting. The app allows users to upgrade the firmware of Buds Air 2 and at the time of writing this review I have already received an OTA update on my unit. I will not forget, Buds Air 2 is also shipped with gaming mode, which limits the audio delay to 88 milliseconds. Consequently, even if you can play movie titles like Jenshin Impact without any issues, I still suggest sticking to the wired headset for fast action shooters like Call of Duty Mobile.
Sound quality and battery life
So, how does Realme Buds Air 2 sound? Inside each earbud the unit transports with 10mm dynamic drivers, which provide bass-forward sound. Although the low-end is very heavy, it is not as tight or precise as I would like. Correspondingly, Buds Air 2 provides a boomy boss that, at times, bleeds over the rest of the frequency spectrum. Case in point, beat drop in Goosebumps Via HVME. Around the 50-second mark, you will notice that the roaring beats echo a lot and, as a result, cast a shadow over the remaining frequencies. In a similar vein, Billy Elish’s’ Hence I, At relatively high volume levels, the beats from the kick drums and the tune from the bass guitar suppress the synthesizer’s notes in the first verse of the song.
Don’t get me wrong. For the price, you have very little to complain about the sound quality of TWS. I like Buds to provide a little tamer low-end output, most customers like the roaring, roaring bass. Consequently, if you have a lot of EDM / hip-hop tracks on your playlist, you’re at home with Buds Air 2. What’s more, like Buds Air Pro and Buds Wireless Pro, Buds Air 2 also offers Rumi Soundstage. It’s not exactly audiophile-grade and I can not tell where the noise is coming from, I can clearly say that the audio is not given to my ears in a single file. Unfortunately, this couple has more than I can say for imaging and it can be hard for you to tell from one device to another in chaotic songs like The Avalanches. Frontier Psychiatrist.
Thankfully, Buds Air 2 offers a stellar mid-range that is highlighted in soundtracks from artists such as Louis Kapaldi. The vocals are also to my liking, however, for the lack of a good word, I want the Company Treble to be nicely crafted as a dull, guitar-like instrument.
In terms of battery life, Buds Air 2 lasted me over four hours on a single charge. My use is to use parts in paired ANC and parts in normal mode. This case adds three charge bikes in addition to the Buds Air 2 and all said and done, you can go for a few days without plugging the Buds Air 2 into the wall outlet.
So, for their asking price of Rs 3,299, do you really get Buds Air 2? Well, the company’s latest pair of TWSs inevitably comes as a compelling purchase, thanks to its excellent battery life and ANC chops. Quite frankly, while I’m not impressed much with the sound quality of this couple, I agree, it’s very difficult to set the Buds Air 2’s feature in its category. Therefore, if you are in the market for a pair of budget TWS, you should definitely consider Realme’s latest offering. Those looking for a more refined sound signature can also look towards the OnePlus Buds Z, which, to my ears, provided a more subtle bass output, even without the ANC.
Photos by Raj Root