Realme Buds Air 2 Review – budget boss (ANC earbuds)

Now, Realme has always been an overachiever child who at a young age shot for the moon and grabbed the stars with its exceptional range of smartphones and the same has been replicated in the TWS category. I would say, they essentially brought the TWS revolution to India. With buds Air, Buds Air Neo, Buds Q, Buds Air Pro, and now the second generation Buds Air 2, all priced under Rs 5,000.

Today, I have with me their latest TWS earbuds, the buds Air 2. We have been testing these buds Air 2 for more than 2 weeks now. For those unaware, Realme launched their buds Air 2 at an aggressive price of Rs 3,299. Why aggressive? we talk about that in the detail below. 

Design And Comfort

The realme Buds Air is small and lightweight, each earbud weighs 4.1 grams. They come in two colours in India, Black and White, I received the White, which looks premium and comes with a metal finish for extra elegance. Realme has moved on to the original Apple-esque design and offers a glossy egg-shaped charging case, which is easy on your palm, and it weighs only 34.5 grams. Its glossy nature makes it prone to scratches, but it isn’t a fingerprint magnet. 

Speaking about the indicators and the port, there’s an LED indicator showing the Bluetooth connectivity and battery life. There’s no button to initiate the pairing, as soon as you open up the flap, the TWS starts looking up for devices to pair. The Red light means the case needs to fuel up, green light means it has plenty of charging left, while the blue light means they are in pairing mode. 

Talking about the design of the earbuds, Realme has gone ahead with an in-ear design compared to the first generation, which came with Apple-esque looks. You are unlikely to find any elements from the predecessor. This set of earbuds are tuned by Grammy-winning music producer, The Chainsmokers. With a selection of diamond-like carbon diaphragm, Realme was able to achieve flagship-level audio quality available on pair of headphones priced up to Rs 1 Lakh. We speak about the audio system later in the next section. 

Now, moving on to the part which you seek when you set out to buy a pair of earbuds. Are they a good fit or not? Realme has designed Buds Air 2 to be a restful fit and rather easy on your ears. That’s what makes them comfortable for long durations, without a doubt we can be binge-watching the Netflix, Prime, and Disney+ Hotstar content. I’m happy to report, they are comfortable to wear and won’t fall out of your ear. But notably, you might need some adjustments after the first episode of WandaVision. For people, who have watched it, it’s a relatively short episode compared to the final three episodes in the first season. I hope, you get my point. You get all size of ear tips and can use them according to your preference. 

Overall, I found them quite comfortable to wear, with no complaints to report. That’s a big move considering I wasn’t happy with the design of the first generation, because they keep falling off my ears quite frequently. This time around, there’s a bump in the IP rating too. You get IPX5 water resistance. All in all, they are a thoughtfully designed pair of earbuds.   

Specs, Gesture Controls, And Battery Life

Unlike brands like Samsung, LG, or even OPPO, Realme doesn’t partner up with audio brands but the music producers who (one might argue) know better what and how the audience would like to listen to the music. This unique partnership program by realme is easily a better marketing play than its competitors. On the specs part, you should know they come with 10mm dynamic drivers, against 12mm on the predecessor. The Bluetooth 5.2 version support brings quite reliable support and dual-channel transmission brings multi-device connectivity at once.

Notably, there is only one audio codec support (AAC). In this price bracket, it’s already too much to ask for. As for controls, you do get gesture controls and wear detection. Over two weeks, I could not recall any occasion when the gesture controls weren’t responsive. On the other hand, wear detection works well, almost all the time. Further speaking about the controls, the Link App allows you to change the functionalities according to your liking. The one thing only missing here is the volume control functions using gestures. I would love to see an update being rolled out here for this feature. Other TWS earbuds have spoiled me by giving that functionality. 

I have been using them across multiple devices like MacBook, iPhone, and Android devices that I’m currently reviewing. Realme Link app is only available for Android, iOS users will be missing out on a lot of features like Base Boost, Gaming Mode, and reassigning actions according to needs. That being said, I wasn’t able to test these earbuds with a realme smartphone, at the time of reviewing them, I didn’t have a realme smartphone with me. 

Moving to the battery details, I got an average of 4 hours of playback from a single charge. That’s not better than most of the TWS in this price range, but it’s certainly better than the predecessor. The company claims up to 5 hours battery life with ANC OFF, and around 4.5 hours ANC ON. My usage mostly comprised listening to music, watching YouTube videos, occasional calls and gaming. In case you are wondering about volume levels, it was consistently at 70%. Plus, the USB Type-C charging case provides additional four cycles, which adds up to 20 hours of playback in real life vs 22.5 hours claimed by the brand. Know that this is ANC ON. Without ANC, realme claims Up to 25 hours of playback. Notably, the wireless charging support is missing, which was available on the predecessor.  

Audio Quality And ANC

For me the Buds Air 2 excels in the audio quality part, with the support of the AAC codec, it can play high fidelity audio at your convenience. The lows, mids, and highs are balanced, thus, you don’t have to worry about the audio output. The bass and treble seem to be working in tandem accordingly. Whether you are a bass-heavy listener or likes to enjoy live music, it’s been taken care of by the realme Link app, with specific equaliser modes. As far as music and movie streaming is concerned, I have had a really good experience testing them. 

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room, the ANC (Active Noise Cancelation) support. Realme claims their Buds Air 2 can cancel out up to 25dB noise. We didn’t go to lengths to test those exact claims, but I can assure you that the ANC feature at this price point on a TWS earbud is unbelievable. Currently, most brands in this price range offer only ENC (Environment Noise Cancelation) using microphones. I took them out for a spin on multiple occasions. And I’m happy to share the assessment that ANC is not a gimmick here. It works fine, not as good as flagship earbuds would offer, but it’s a satisfactory result. It cancels out ambient sounds and helps isolate yourself in the crowd.

You are welcome to take a look at my Spotify and Apple Music playlist that I usually use to test the TWS earbuds. This pair of TWS has made quite an impressions on me, as I kept going back to them even when I had a chance to use other TWS earbuds on my desk. I have no major complaints regarding audio quality, neither about the ANC feature. Overall, it’s an exceptional pair of earbuds, especially at the retail price.  

Connectivity And Call Quality 

The Buds Air 2 comes with Bluetooth 5.2 version support and that makes it capable of delivering reliable connections up to 10 metres. I would like to report that Bluetooth connectivity has been excellent with all the paired devices. There’s no significant moment of failure I could recall during the usage period. No slight hiccups to report either. Notably, the lack of multi-point connectivity is irksome, you can’t switch between the connected devices.   

Finally, coming to the most highlighted concerns by our audience, the call quality. Now, after spending two weeks using this pair of TWS, I’m glad to report that the sound quality is more than satisfactory as reported by other parties over multiple calls. With dual-mic support on each bud, you can be assured that there won’t be any suffering  

Should You Buy The Realme Buds Air 2? 

Realme has always had an edge over its competitors in terms of specs-to-pricing ratio. With Buds Air 2, they are repeating a similar story. No one in the market is offering ANC feature on their TWS earbuds around Buds Air 2 pricing. We now live in a world, where the ANC feature comes in handy not only for a noise-free binge-watching experience, but for more things like work calls, and workouts at home. Realme is indeed democratising the Active Noise Cancellation for Indian users. 

Overall, I had a fantastic experience reviewing the earbuds. They offer a value for money package of good battery life, comfortable fit, exceptional call quality, and ANC support, all this at just Rs 3,299. If that appeals to you, then you should go ahead and buy the new pair or gift one for your loved ones. 

So, this concludes our detailed assessment of the realme’s Buds Air 2. Tell us, what do you think of these Realme TWS? In case you have any queries, please write them down in the comment section below. Or tweet us @TheMrPhone. We would love to answer them and help you make a purchase decision.  

Rating: 9/10

Pros

  • Phenomenal active noise cancelling (ANC)
  • Exceptional call quality 
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent fit

Cons

  • No volume controls

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Vishal Toshiwal
vishal.toshiwal@u2opiamobile.com

Vishal is the Swiss-knife at Mr. Phone, he takes pride at his behind the camera skills of shooting poor portraits. He’s a creative thinker who comes up with the weirdest ideas. You can find him posting on Instagram or tweeting his thoughts on south Indian music and cinema.