The holiday season is approaching and it’s the perfect time to buy a pair of quality wireless headphones, either for a friend or your best friend (you).
If price is important to you, but quality is not negotiable, take a look at the Realme Buds Air Pro, the star of this review.
Realme Buds Air Pro in black and white
Not only do they offer up to 25 hours of playback and fantastic sound from a small form factor, but they add premium features like IPX4 splash resistance and active noise cancellation for € 4,999 INR / € 90.
Build quality and fit
The Realme Buds Air Pro comes in a simple circular box with an LED indicator for connection and battery life. Inside the headphones can be charged wirelessly, while the case is charged via the USB-C port. In the box of the Buds Air Pro is a USB cable and three spare rubber tips: an additional pair of small tips, as well as a pair of medium and large ones.
The case and headphones use a very shiny plastic that stains very easily. The case, in particular, becomes brutal to the touch and is scratched quite easily. If you put it in a bag with keys and coins, it will scratch and scratch. But this is true in the case of more expensive wireless headphones.
The lid of the box is very loose. It makes streams and oscillates and is easy to open by mistake.
The Realme Buds Air Pro itself is solid. They have a cone bulb and tips that extend as much as second-generation AirPods, and more so than AirPods Pro. The 10mm driver is great for this class and is located behind the rubber tips.
The tips are made of quality, but despite the different sizes provided, this reviewer has had trouble keeping the buds on the ears, regardless of the size tips that have been used. The ears are difficult to adapt, the individual ears differ quite a bit. This is the first time I have trouble holding the headphones to my ears. But others who tried the Realme Buds Air Pro got a good fit.
When the Realme Buds Air Pro is put on properly, it fits perfectly. As with other intra-ear buds, these offer superior isolation due to the void they form in the ear.
The Realme Buds Air Pro doesn’t protrude from the ear and weigh almost nothing (5 g each), so you don’t feel them in long sessions. They lack the tip of their wings to secure them, making them less ideal for sports as they can fall.
The Realme Buds Air Pro has intuitive, customizable touch controls. They are easy to get used to and are the standard for operating many headphones: double tap to play / pause, triple tap for the next song. Pressing and holding any of the buttons will toggle between normal mode, noise cancellation, and transparency mode by default, but you can turn those in the Realme Link app on or off. Hold down both buttons simultaneously and you will be in game mode, which allows a low latency of 94 ms for playing or watching videos.
As with most smart headphones, switching between noise cancellation and other modes is cumbersome and slow. If you tap and hold, it seems like ages when you need to adjust modes quickly (like when you want to turn off noise cancellation and switch to transparency). And every time you switch modes, the buttons play a prompt that plays your music or video. This is especially annoying when listening to a podcast or audiobook, as it does not pause or play, but covers everything you listen to.
The Realme Link app allows you to control various options on the Realme Buds Air Pro. You can choose the mode you want: noise cancellation, general, or transparency: Turn game mode, volume boost, or Bass Boost + on or off, and select what you double-tap and triple-tap. Interestingly, I turned off all app tapping features to do a test and the buttons continued to accept plug-in commands.
In terms of connection and signal strength, the Realme Buds Air Pro are excellent. The headset supports Google Fast Pair with Android phones and combines quickly. The signal was very strong here in the office, it did not fall even after moving away from two rooms on the phone.
The Realme Buds Air Pro supports AAC and uses the widespread SBC codec. No Qualcomm AptX support.
Sound, active noise cancellation, battery life
Realme’s Buds Air Pro sounds amazing. They are very strong, significantly more than competing products like Huawei’s AirPods Pro or Huawei’s FreeBuds Pro.
The best way to describe the sound of Buds Air Pro is to please people and I say it in the best way possible. It has a pronounced medium range with good bass and good vocals. We recommend that you keep the volume booster on, as it works wonders for the overall sound and keep the Bass Boost + off, as it adds a bit of extra bass, but they pretty much detract from its quality.
Realme values the active noise cancellation of the Buds Air Pro up to 35 decibels. We can appreciate the ANC as very beneficial to Realme Buds Air, but when used with the right expectations. The ANC does a good job of reducing stable sounds, such as an engine rumble (in a car) or a vacuum cleaner, a computer fan. It will not make a noticeable difference to human voices.
Active noise cancellation works great when listening to music and adding a level of softness to the sound.
Transparency mode enhances the environment around you, especially voices. It gives you slightly better hearing and is a way to talk to someone without the need to take off the headphones.
Realme claims up to 25 hours of playback from the combined buttons and covers, with 50% volume with ANC turned off. In our 100% volume tests with ANC on the Realme Buds Air Pro we managed 4 hours and 20 minutes of continuous transmission.
Inside the box, the buds take 1 hour to return to 100%, while the box itself takes 1 hour to be empty.
You can buy the Realme Buds Air Pro for INR 4,999 or € 90 at the time of writing, but there were discounts until recently (INR 4,499) and they will probably be produced again before the end of the year. This is a very competitive price, despite being so far the highest of all Realme audio products.
It would be hard for you to find competition that matches this level of features and quality of other reputable brands.
We recommend the Realme Buds Air Pro, even if only for its excellent and powerful sound, even without good battery life and active noise cancellation; this makes our recommendation even easier.