- TECH SPECS
- Contents of delivery
- Ergonomics, application
- Sound quality
- Working hours
- Type: in-ear headphones (half-in ear)
- Connection type: wireless (TWS), Bluetooth 5.0, AAC codecs, SBC
- Charging connector: USB Type-C
- Driver size: 12mm
- Autonomy: 3 hours of music playback at 50% volume + 14 hours with a case
- Weight: 4,2g each earbud, 42g carrying case
- Materials: plastic
- Color options: white
- Features: Supports wireless charging up to 10W, Gaming mode, Cutting off background noise during calls, Dynamic Bass Boost
- Cost: 4 990 rubles
Contents of delivery
- Carrying and charging case
- USB / USB Type-C cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card
The realme Buds Air headphones have finally made it to the Russian market, despite the fact that they were presented in mid-December last year along with the X2 smartphone. For Russia, they decided to time their announcement to the launch of realme 6i / 6/6 Pro smartphones, very curious models, I advise you to read the reviews of the devices.
So far, the only TWS earbuds in the realme portfolio have made the company wired models and wireless headband headphones. It would be strange if the young and daring company did not keep up with the times and ignored the powerful trend in TWS headphones, which was greatly influenced by Apple. In the case of the realme Buds Air, the influence of AirPods is felt to a greater extent than in the Oppo Enco Free, the models were tested at the same time, so I will involuntarily compare. The price positioning of Buds Air (at least in the Indian market) refers them to the super-budget segment, in Russia the cost of the headphones will be announced during the presentation.
I will not bend my heart, the visual similarity with AirPods can be traced here from and to: the shape of the headphones and case, similar materials and ergonomics are immediately striking. Apparently, realizing this, the manufacturer released the headphones in strict black and a very successful, in my opinion, yellow color, but at the moment there will be only a white version in Russia, there is no information about other options. In my opinion, color options in terms of popularity would be quite appropriate, especially given the competition in this segment.
The case is made of glossy plastic, there is one LED on the case, which is responsible for displaying the charge level. It is located in the front, whereas in AirPods it is in the back. If the case is more than 50% charged, the diode glows green, yellow light means that the charge is less than 50%, red means that it is time to recharge. Below the LED is a button to activate pairing mode. The Type-C connector and the original inscription “Designed by realme” finally dispel all doubts.
On the headphones themselves, the manufacturer’s name is absent, as well as the text, except for the letters L and R, the holes of the microphones and the proximity sensor are highlighted. Otherwise – the maximum similarity with Apple headphones. From the point of view of recognition and popularity, it would be nice to be able to buy covers for the case, as well as a separate left or right earphone in case of loss. It is clear that we are not in India, where there are such options, but their presence on our market would help to highlight the model favorably. The manufacturer has something to think about, Russian users are no worse.
The fit of the headphones in the ears in practice is not much different from the mentioned analogue from the company from Cupertino. The earbuds hold securely without any hint of in-ear placement, however, there is not that level of confidence and personalization for the features of the auricle as in the Oppo Enco Free. Each earphone weighs 4,2 grams, with time, as expected, you stop feeling them. The manufacturer compares a sheet of paper, which, depending on the density, weighs from 4,5 to 5 grams.
When you open the case, the headphones are removed with a little effort, the magnetic holders in the case work. The lid of the case creaks a little when you try to move it to the side when closed, there is no strong backlash. When closed, the lid is held by a magnet, and opening it instantly turns on and automatically connects the headphones with a previously paired device. Google Fast Pair technology is responsible for this. When you remove the earphone, playback is interrupted after about a second, it automatically continues when you return the earphone to your ear or double tap on the second earphone. It happens that the optical sensor is “wrong” and the music continues to play, but this rarely happens.
The first pairing with a smartphone or tablet is carried out in a standard way for this type of device: you need to hold down the button on the case for a few seconds, the diode will blink green, which means activation of the pairing mode. After that, you just need to select realme Buds Air from the list available in the Bluetooth settings and give them access to calls and contacts. A dedicated R1 chip is responsible for the stability and speed of the connection, as well as for controlling the signal delay, the analogy is clear.
But in what the realme headphones surpassed their competitors: they have a special game mode Gaming Mode, the activation of which is available by simultaneously long pressing each of the headphones and is indicated by the sound of a running car engine. When you enable Gaming Mode, the already virtually zero latency of the picture and sound is reduced by 50% to the minimum values. This is something that can be extremely important for gamers and anyone watching streaming video from the web. This functionality can also come in handy outside of games; in the context of TWS headphones, there are often complaints about the sound delay, especially for older models. The exit from the game mode is carried out by the same command and is accompanied by a separate sound signal – a piano chord. According to my data, the use of Gaming Mode does not affect the autonomy of the headphones, at least I did not notice a critical difference, I constantly use this mode, including outside games.
As an alternative connection method for Android devices, the realme Link application is provided, which is conceived as a control center for the entire ecosystem of the manufacturer’s IoT devices, which in the future may include a TV, a soundbar for a TV, TWS headphones with active noise cancellation, smart clock and speaker with sound assistant. At the moment, only realme Buds Air and realme Band tracker are on the list. In the application, you can set commands for pressing (examples of commands in the screenshot), as well as update the headphone software. A kind of Mi Fit, just for realme. You will need to go through the registration procedure by phone number, it takes literally a minute, but by default India will be chosen as the country, possibly Russia will appear in the future. The interface language is English.
The format of TWS-headphones, with all the desire of manufacturers, can hardly be attributed to solutions with a top-end sound level. Yes, it will, but nothing more. So it is with realme Buds Air: in an apartment or office setting, the headphones perform well, half the volume scale is enough for comfortable listening. On the street, it immediately becomes necessary to increase the volume, because as such noise cancellation is not provided here, neither passive nor active, so use in transport or in conditions of noise pollution is excluded, it will definitely not bring pleasure. When talking on the phone through the headphones, the sound is good, there is no echo or distortion of speech, including on the street, the interlocutors note the minimum difference when talking through the phone speaker.
The realme Buds Air sound character is similar to the Oppo Enco Free. The Dynamic Bass Boost system works here, which makes the low frequencies more pronounced. The volume of sound depends entirely on the situation; at high volume, others will listen to your playlist with you, the sound leakage characteristic of TWS headphones affects. The high frequencies do not whistle or hiss, the general character of the sound is somewhat flat, in this the tested model does not differ much from the TWS model from Oppo.
From a fully charged battery, the headphones will work up to three hours, provided that the volume does not exceed 50%. Charging the headphones takes a few minutes, the case – about an hour and a half. The case will extend the total listening time up to 17 hours, the indicator is lower in comparison with competitors. There are also bonuses: the case supports wireless charging from a platform with a power of 10 W or more, it is not included in the kit, so you can use your accessory or smartphone that supports this functionality. Charging the case wirelessly will take about 2 hours. In terms of autonomy, it could be better, but don’t forget about the cost difference.
The left earpiece is the leading one, it discharges a little faster than the right one. In this case, you can use any of the headphones separately, if there is such a need. When any of the headphones reaches 20% charge, it will emit a beep, indicating the need to recharge.
In its segment in our market, the competition from realme Buds Air is quite tangible: first of all, and in addition to the legion of little-known Chinese manufacturers, these are models from Xiaomi – the relatively recent Mi True Wireless Earphones Lite and the noise-canceling model AirDots Pro 2. Such models are available for sale, like Huawei Freebuds Lite and uBear Vibe, their prices are roughly in the same range. Of course, the experience will be different, its character will depend primarily on the sound and how quickly the teams work.
Realme has turned out to be quite adequate headphones for working at home or in the office: good sound quality, as far as the TWS format can allow, there are no problems with control, as well as with ergonomics in general. Yes, some competitors work a little longer, but in the combination of price / quality realme Buds Air as a whole get into the market quite accurately. From wishes: I would still like to see a yellow version on our market, as well as in the future – a model with active noise cancellation, rumors about which have already flashed on the net. Let it be more expensive, but this is a logical evolutionary step.
Despite my relatively little experience with TWS models, I was generally able to appreciate this form factor, self-isolation and a relatively stable flow of test devices helped. If you need sound comparable to AirPods for an office or apartment with convenient control and a similar exterior for little money, then you are definitely here. Moreover, it is not at all necessary to have a smartphone from realme, the headphones work equally stably on any device, including iOS, however, in this case there will be no application for updating the software and adjusting the headphones.
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