Reviews

Review: Realme Buds Air Pro

Realme is a relatively new company, an offshoot of OPPO, but now their own company in their own right. Best known for making great value smartphones that deliver decent specs at affordable prices they are now branching out to accessories, hoping to bring the same brief to that segment of the market.

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Realme’s new Buds Air Pro are their latest take on true wireless headphones and include active noise cancelling which is impressive for a sub-$200 set of earbuds.

Design

The Realme Buds Air Pro are the more traditional stem true wireless earphones in that they slot into the ear but with no fin or clip to hold them in place — just the fit into the ears of the rubber cap.

The stem holds a lot of the electronics which allow it to provide some form of active noise cancelling (ANC).  If these were white you could easily be excused for mistaking them for Apple-branded earbuds — they do come in white if that is your jam.

The Buds Air Pro support ANC for noise up to 35dB:

“Hybrid active noise cancellation combines both FeedForward and FeedBack microphones to detect unwanted noise both inside and outside the ear, and emits high-precision anti-noise waves to cancel them out, up to 35dB. It effectively blocks out the noise and offers a more immersive listening experience.”

Combined with their latency of just 94ms they promise to offer decent sound quality in all environments, matched to the source — no lag here.

As you would expect, each earbud has touch control on it to control playback of your media. Removing an earbud from an ear will also pause playback. You can also turn the ANC on and off using the touch controls.

Comfort and fit

The fit is one that is extremely important to get right — not just for the comfort but also for the ANC functionality.   These stem-type earbuds without any type of fin have never ever been able to fit comfortably in my ears without either falling out or feeling like they are about to fall out. 

Unfortunately I had the same issue with the Buds Air Pro.   They fit into the ear well but felt like they were going to fall out.  They did NOT actually fall out but they did not feel secure.  I changed over the ear tip cup a few times which did help a bit. Twisting the earbud into the ear also aids in securing it into the ear.

Sound quality 

Not surprisingly, it seems that the more you pay for your headphones the better they sound.  The sound quality from the Buds Air Pro was decent but not mind blowing.  I’d rate them below the Skullcandy Indy ANC I tested a few weeks ago — they are priced below them so it is not entirely surprising.

The bass is meant to be good on the Buds Air Pro thanks to a Bass Boost Driver and while they are better than the cheap ones we saw flood the market a couple of years ago, they are no match for the high-end true wireless earbuds we see on the market such as those from Bose, Sony and Sennheiser.

The quality of the ANC is decent — surprisingly decent.  It was a touch below the quality on the Skullcandy Indy ANC but not by much.  For ANC to have the best effect on these it is important to get the seal on the buds correct first — the passive noise cancelling provides for much of the noise cancellation.  Realme offer three different sizes of ear buds to get the best fit possible for you.

I managed to take a flight this past week and was able to test the Buds Air Pro with the jet engine noise.  The ANC in the Buds Air Pro was easily able to cancel out the noise of the plane while providing decent sound to the ears.

Battery life

The Buds Air Pro come with a charging case that allow for not just storage but fast charging of the earbuds.  Realme state that the case and buds will hold 20 hours of playback with ANC on.  If your battery does run out on the earbuds, insert them into the case for 10minutes to give yourself another three hours of playback.

Through my use and testing I was able to get close to those figures but not quite there — there is obviously an inverse relationship between battery life and ANC and the volume of earbuds.  My main issue was with the case itself.  It is small and didn’t open when I didn’t want it to which are obviously good things but it was actually difficult to remove the smooth and relatively slippery earbuds from the case itself.  This is a minor gripe though as the more I used them they better I got at this.

Where can you get them from?

The realme Buds Air Pro offer great value for money with good ANC and decent sound in a package that can be purchased for just $199. You an purchase them from realme e-store, JB HI-FI, Officeworks, Bing Lee, Make it Mine, mobileciti, 5GWORLD, Essential Appliance Rentals, Amazon, eBay and Catch.com.

Review: Realme Buds Air Pro
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