Realme Buds Air review: It only looks like Apple AirPods
Realme Buds Air is available online for ₹3,999. Here’s our detailed review of the Apple AirPods-lookalike.
Product: Realme Buds Air
Specs: R1 headphone chip, touch control support, dual-mic ENC, Bluetooth 5.0, Google Fast Pair Technology, 10 meters range.
Why buy Apple AirPods when you can buy Realme Buds Air for less than half of its price? To begin with, Realme Buds Air's sound quality is nothing like Apple's AirPods. It may look like Apple's wireless earbuds, but it's not the same.
Realme Buds Air's design is clearly 'inspired' by Apple AirPods. But if you look closely, there are some differences as well. Let's break down the design first. Realme Buds Air comes in a glossy plastic charging case, which appears to be much smaller and curvier than Apple's. The rear has "Designed by realme" branding whereas the front has a button for pairing and LED indicator. The base houses the USB Type-C port for wired charging. Once you pop the top cover, you get the wireless earbuds tucked in.
There are a few basic problems with the charging case design. Once you pop the top cover, the case no longer stands vertically on a horizontal surface. A little breathing space in this compact box could have made pulling the earbuds out and in more convenient. The lid of our case has already become loose.
A lot of people did mistake Realme Buds Air for Apple AirPods. Realme says the earbuds come with a "full-arc design." Each single earbud weighs about 4.2 grams, which is quite light. The catch with the earbud design is that it's simply not a great fit. Unlike some of the premium earbuds such as Galaxy Buds, Realme Buds Air falls easily and is not the gym companion you're looking for.
While the unoriginal design is a bummer, Realme does try to make it up with features. Realme Buds Air comes with touch controls, allowing you to play or pause music with a single tap on the bud. You can also use it for controlling volume and even summon Google Assistant. Another highlight of the earbuds is automatic wear detection. By tapping both earbuds simultaneously, you hear an engine revving up sound, which means buds have activated the low latency mode - a special mode for gaming fans.
Realme Buds Air is powered by an R1 chip and comes with 12mm dynamic drivers under the hood. The earbuds handled a few deep bass tracks like "Bagbak" well but we did notice sound getting muddled at times. Tracks such as "Teri Deewani" from Kailash Kher and "Tere Bina" from Guru lacked depth. As expected, the clarity fades when you crank up the volume closer to the maximum. The sound quality over regular voice calls is fine, though.
As far as battery life goes, Realme Buds Air is claimed to deliver up to three hours of backup when "listening to music continuously." During our usage, we managed to get a similar life from the earbuds.
Should you buy Realme Buds Air? At ₹3,999, the wireless earbuds do have a price edge over the competition. It does a good job of mimicking Apple AirPods' looks. Buds Air, however, sounds average at best. The design is underwhelming for a wearable. Looking at these critical shortcomings, it's difficult to recommend Buds Air to you.