Realme Buds Air 2 Review: ANC is the cherry on top of overall good audio
Realme Buds Air 2 comes with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) support, Smart Wear Detection, IPX5 water resistance, and more features at Rs 3,299. Is it a good option for under 5k? Read on to find out.
Updated:Mon, March 08, 2021 8:03am
Realme has an established presence in the audio segment in India. The company decided to take a step forward in the league with the launch of the most recent Buds Air 2 truly wireless earphones, which comes with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) as the main highlight.
With an easy-to-use form factor and trending features, the Realme Buds Air 2 is another aim to sort people's audio needs on a budget. And, when the price is as low as Rs 3,299, one is bound to get attracted. I spent over a week with the Realme Buds Air 2 and here's how the pair is like to live with for less than Rs 5,000.
When it launched the first-ever TWS, Realme took a major chunk of design inspiration from the Apple AirPods. But one year later, the company has chosen to bring about the Realme element and launch something that is it's own. The Buds Air 2 and the recent Buds Air Pro are examples of just that. While there is the presence of a stem design, again, like the Apple AirPods, the 'Realme-ism' over here is the in-ear design touch with a dual-tone finish. This makes the Buds Air 2 different, especially from the first-generation Buds Air that looked just like the Apple TWS.
This stands true even for the oval-shaped charging case that the pair comes in. The case has a total of three elements: the Realme branding, an LED, and a button for connectivity all making for a subtle presence.
The earbuds come in two colour options, namely, white and black. I got hold of the former and it isn't the usual white earbuds we have been seeing lately. It includes tints of silver for a two-tone look. This inclusion pleases the eyes and looks stylish. Another good thing about the pair is that it is extremely lightweight, which ensures comfortable long-time usability. Having used the Apple AirPods, the Realme Buds Air 2 feels plasticky.
Overall the package is a good deal for the price and the fact that Realme is moving towards a slightly different design ethos and bringing about a refreshment is appreciable.
Tech features, specs
The main USP of the Realme Buds Air 2 is Active Noise Cancellation, which supports up to 25dB of noise cancellation. There is also the Transparency mode that allows users to hear some ambient sounds instead of cancelling out the noises. You can also listen to music without any of these modes.
There is the presence of the new R2 chip, environmental noise cancellation for clear calls, 10mm Bass Boost driver for a focus on the bass, reduced latency in gaming mode, Smart Wear Detection, Google Fast Pair, IPX5 water resistance, and support for the Realme Link app. There's also support for smart touch controls that can be customised via the Realme app. Additionally, the pair supports Bluetooth version 5.2 and a USB Type-C port for charging.
As soon as the Realme Buds Air 2 arrived, it became my companion while working, travelling, and when I had nothing to do. I am well-acquainted with how the Realme audio accessories work, but for the uninitiated, it's a simple process to follow. Enable Bluetooth> Tap the button on the case for a few seconds > the Realme Buds Air 2 will appear on the Bluetooth device list > Tap on it and you are good to go. The process is even faster for Android phones, thanks to the Google Fast Pair functionality.
Once this part of the process is completed, you can finally dive into listening to your favourite songs. I used the Buds Air 2 with both my Android and iOS devices and mostly used popular streaming apps such as YouTube Music, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Music, and even Wynk Music. This involved a number of genres such as EDM, Punjabi, Bollywood, and even some Hip-Hop.
Let's first talk about its main attraction -- ANC. This is the second ANC-enabled Realme device I have used and I am not disappointed. Given that there is support for 25dB ANC, the pair was able to cancel out noises sufficiently.
While wearing the earbuds in my office, the keyboard typing, the sounds of the laptop fans, people chattering were all cancelled. Although, high-pitched sounds could still be heard. ANC proved impressive for situations when I was travelling. While I could hear the cars vrooming away, the overall noises in crowded places were precisely restricted from entering my ears and I could pay attention to the music I was listening to. After all, you wouldn't want to get disturbed while your favourite jam is being played! The Transparency mode worked well too and helped me in situations when I needed to hear a particular conversation while the song was on in the background. Overall, it might not be the best ANC, but for the price, it did try to deliver the near-perfection.
How does it sound?
For me, it is one of the earbuds that proves to be quite there for the price it comes with. Having used almost every pair the company has made, I can safely say Realme has upped its audio game in the past year. My one week with the pair has been pretty joyful and when you have fun while listening to music, the mission feels accomplished.
The audio pair is able to cater to many music needs of people. You get good bass in some songs and good vocals and treble in others. For instance, bass-focused songs such as Aaja by Nucleya not only highlights the bass right, the guitar is equally good. The BassBoost+ adds that extra bass you need for headbanging! The famous song Animals by Martin Garrix is where you will find balanced bass. Although, at times it feels slightly distorted, especially when transitioning from mids to highs.
The Buds Air 2 feels like an apt audio accessory for Bollywood numbers. The song, Tumse Milke Dil Ka from Main Hoon Na highlights the Tabla and the vocals well. Nazar Na Lag Jaaye from Stree is another song you will enjoy, for the pair will highlight the instruments and the vocals quite well. It feels like a delight. Punjabi songs are quite joyous too. Na Ja by Pav Dharia feels quite peppy, and Mauja Hi Mauja from Jab We Met is another song that sounds quite decent with the pair.
We didn't miss the classics. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queens is one song you thoroughly enjoy listening to, with all the elements that compose the song being well-balanced and well-highlighted. However, the Buds Air 2 failed to do justice to Sweet Child O'Mine as the song felt slightly distorted. Although, the treble was decent.
Overall, the Realme Buds Air 2 is a decent pair of earbuds considering the price. It will be liked by those looking for bassy earphones, or by those who prefer meaty mids and highs. However, one thing that remained constant in all cases is the heaviness you feel while wearing them. This is one of the reasons you can eventually feel the discomfort upon longer usage.
Among others, the touch controls worked decently (you can customise them via the Realme app) and the volume levels were decent too. However, the wear detection isn't as smart as intended and fails to stop the music at times even when it has been removed from the ears. It's quite moody! The Realme Link app helped me customise my music in a better way and use the smart features with ease, including ANC. I was able to switch between the bass modes too with the app.
The Realme Buds Air 2 is claimed to last up to 22.5 hours with ANC-enabled and up to 25 hours without the tech. I used the earbuds for over 4 hours every day and it was able to last me for 4 to 5 days on a single charge. This totals up to around 21 hours of usage, which appears quite decent. As for the charging time, with the help of USB Type-C and fast charging, the charging case (with the earbuds in it) ate up all charge in about an hour and a half, which seems pretty decent for an audio pair.
The Realme Buds Air 2, at a price of Rs 3,299, is a TWS pair that aims to provide good audio on a budget. For such a low price tag, you get decent ANC, good audio, good looks, and the comfort of a lightweight accessory.
It might not cater to the audiophiles quite well; the audio can feel a bit overwhelming due to the heavy sound output, plus, the smart features aren't well-implemented and tend to falter at times. But more often than not, the Realme Buds Air 2 will allow for a more-than-decent audio experience and when the price is this low, I couldn't have asked for something like that.
Hence, if you want to spend something close to Rs 3,000 or Rs 4,000, the new Realme Buds Air 2 is a good option to go for. When compared to the OnePlus Buds Z, Mi TWS Earphones 2, Oppo Enco W31, it comes across as a solid choice with the added advantage of ANC.