Realme Buds Air 2 Review: An excellent pair of TWS earbuds that punch well above their price

The combination of good sound and ANC help the Buds Air 2 pull ahead of the competition.

March 08, 2021 / 11:01 AM IST
Back in February, Realme launched India’s most affordable 5G smartphone in the form of the Narzo 30 Pro 5G. And while the Narzo 30 Pro was undoubtedly the main highlight of the launch event, the company also launched a budget Narzo 30A and a new pair of affordable TWS earbuds. Our focus today is on the Realme Buds Air 2, the most recent addition to the company’s audio accessories in India. The Realme Buds Air 2 brings considerable improvements over their predecessors, all while debuting at a reasonable Rs 3,299 price. But just how do these TWS buds fare in real-world scenarios; stick around and let’s find out.
Back in February, Realme launched India’s most affordable 5G smartphone in the form of the Narzo 30 Pro 5G. And while the Narzo 30 Pro was undoubtedly the main highlight of the launch event, the company also launched a budget Narzo 30A and a new pair of affordable TWS earbuds. Our focus today is on the Realme Buds Air 2, the most recent addition to the company’s audio accessories in India. The Realme Buds Air 2 brings considerable improvements over their predecessors, all while debuting at a reasonable Rs 3,299 price. But just how do these TWS buds fare in real-world scenarios; stick around and let’s find out.
The overall design of the Buds Air 2 TWS earphones look relatively premium. It retains the stem design but gets a new two-tone finish. The Buds Air 2 are available in Closer White and Closer Black colour options. We got the Closer White model, which looks better, with its white and silver finish. The matte white finish looks pretty neat, while the metallic silver stem gives the appearance of metal. Overall, the design on the Buds Air 2 seems like a nice improvement over its predecessor. It was quite comfortable to use during workouts and jogs, while the IPX5 water resistance rating didn’t hurt.
Design & Build Buds | The overall design of the Buds Air 2 TWS earphones look relatively premium. It retains the stem design but gets a new two-tone finish. The Buds Air 2 are available in Closer White and Closer Black colour options. We got the Closer White model, which looks better, with its white and silver finish. The matte white finish looks pretty neat, while the metallic silver stem gives the appearance of metal. Overall, the design on the Buds Air 2 seems like a nice improvement over its predecessor. It was quite comfortable to use during workouts and jogs, while the IPX5 water resistance rating didn’t hurt.
The charging case looks similar to the Buds Air Pro, with its cobble shape and a side button to pair the earbuds. The case has a glossy white finish and is made of plastic, while the metal hinge from the Buds Air Pro has been replaced with a plastic hinge. The case also has an LED indicator in the front that turns green or red depending on the battery level. The Realme branding is embossed just under the LED indicator. The case is well designed and fits in the pocket nicely, although the gloss finish and plastic body are prone to scratches and smudges.
Design & Build Case | The charging case looks similar to the Buds Air Pro, with its cobble shape and a side button to pair the earbuds. The case has a glossy white finish and is made of plastic, while the metal hinge from the Buds Air Pro has been replaced with a plastic hinge. The case also has an LED indicator in the front that turns green or red depending on the battery level. The Realme branding is embossed just under the LED indicator. The case is well designed and fits in the pocket nicely, although the gloss finish and plastic body are prone to scratches and smudges.
The Buds Air 2 features a touch-sensitive surface on the back of the stems to control music, calls, and the voice assistant. The controls were quite responsive and worked effortlessly allowing you to control music with a few taps. The touch surface is also disabled when the earbuds are removed, which is a great new addition. Another cool feature is automatic Smart Wear Detection, which stops or resumes playback when the buds are removed or inserted back in the ear. Because the buds work independently, you can also hear music on one bud. The touch controls on buds were easy and convenient to use.
Touch Controls | The Buds Air 2 features a touch-sensitive surface on the back of the stems to control music, calls, and the voice assistant. The controls were quite responsive and worked effortlessly allowing you to control music with a few taps. The touch surface is also disabled when the earbuds are removed, which is a great new addition. Another cool feature is automatic Smart Wear Detection, which stops or resumes playback when the buds are removed or inserted back in the ear. Because the buds work independently, you can also hear music on one bud. The touch controls on buds were easy and convenient to use.
The Realme Buds Air 2 arrive with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a standout feature for budget TWS buds. Realme claims that the Buds Air 2 cancels noise up to 25dB using a feed-forward microphone that captures ambient noise. The company uses the new R2 chip to support active noise cancellation on the Buds Air 2. In terms of real-world usage, the Buds Air 2 do a decent job of filtering out low-frequency sounds like noises from fans, ACs, washing machines, and similar such sounds. The volume enhancer can block out more noise outdoors, although noise from TVs, car horns, etc. are audible through the buds. Overall, the level of ANC falls short of something like the Oppo Enco X, but is still easily noticeable, making it a great addition to a set of affordable TWS buds.
Active Noise Cancellation | The Realme Buds Air 2 arrive with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), a standout feature for budget TWS buds. Realme claims that the Buds Air 2 cancels noise up to 25dB using a feed-forward microphone that captures ambient noise. The company uses the new R2 chip to support active noise cancellation on the Buds Air 2. In terms of real-world usage, the Buds Air 2 do a decent job of filtering out low-frequency sounds like noises from fans, ACs, washing machines, and similar such sounds. The volume enhancer can block out more noise outdoors, although noise from TVs, car horns, etc. are audible through the buds. Overall, the level of ANC falls short of something like the Oppo Enco X, but is still easily noticeable, making it a great addition to a set of affordable TWS buds.
Realme’s latest TWS buds pack 10mm drivers inside each earbud. Realme also claims that it has used a diamond-like carbon diaphragm, which is usually seen on higher-end headphones. The Buds Air 2 tend to pump out a punchy bass response but lacks some detail. On occasion, the punchy bass also tends to leak into the rest of the frequency spectrum. The Buds Air 2 also has a wide soundstage and decent instrument separation, but imaging is not good. When not enveloped in the bass, mids and vocals sound decent. Overall, the Buds Air 2 tend to focus on bass at the expense of some clarity but sound pretty good for a set of affordable TWS earbuds.
Audio Quality | Realme’s latest TWS buds pack 10mm drivers inside each earbud. Realme also claims that it has used a diamond-like carbon diaphragm, which is usually seen on higher-end headphones. The Buds Air 2 tend to pump out a punchy bass response but lacks some detail. On occasion, the punchy bass also tends to leak into the rest of the frequency spectrum. The Buds Air 2 also has a wide soundstage and decent instrument separation, but imaging is not good. When not enveloped in the bass, mids and vocals sound decent. Overall, the Buds Air 2 tend to focus on bass at the expense of some clarity but sound pretty good for a set of affordable TWS earbuds.
While the Realme Link app doesn’t have an equalizer, you can amp up the bass by switching to the Bass Boost+ mode. However, it doesn’t offer a significant increase over the already-high bass. You also get a Lively and Clear mode. The buds also support auto-connect and Google Fast Pairing protocol. Apart from ANC, you also get a general and transparency mode, the latter of which allows more ambient sound to pass through. There’s also a low-latency gaming mode that reduces the latency to 88ms, which is quite impressive for a pair of affordable TWS earphones.
Modes | While the Realme Link app doesn’t have an equalizer, you can amp up the bass by switching to the Bass Boost+ mode. However, it doesn’t offer a significant increase over the already-high bass. You also get a Lively and Clear mode. The buds also support auto-connect and Google Fast Pairing protocol. Apart from ANC, you also get a general and transparency mode, the latter of which allows more ambient sound to pass through. There’s also a low-latency gaming mode that reduces the latency to 88ms, which is quite impressive for a pair of affordable TWS earphones.
The Realme Link app a neat user interface, making it easy to access and customise features on the buds. The app can be used to switch between modes and customise touch controls. The Buds Air 2 also features two microphones on the stems with Environmental noise cancellation (ENC) that aid in improving call quality. The microphone quality was good for a pair of affordable true wireless earphones. There is a dip in call quality outdoors, but indoor call quality is solid.
Realme Link App & More | The Realme Link app a neat user interface, making it easy to access and customise features on the buds. The app can be used to switch between modes and customise touch controls. The Buds Air 2 also features two microphones on the stems with Environmental noise cancellation (ENC) that aid in improving call quality. The microphone quality was good for a pair of affordable true wireless earphones. There is a dip in call quality outdoors, but indoor call quality is solid.
The Buds Air 2 has an advertised total battery life of 25 hours with the buds and charger combined without ANC. In our testing, the Buds Air 2 lasted for a little under four hours with the volume set to 60 percent and ANC turned on. The charging case delivered a little over four additional charges before completely losing its juice. According to Realme, the buds also support Fast Charging, delivering 2 hours of playback (ANC off) with a 10-minute charge. The earbuds take about an hour to fully charge, while the case is powered through the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The battery life of the Buds Air 2 was certainly above average and among the best in their class.
Battery | The Buds Air 2 has an advertised total battery life of 25 hours with the buds and charger combined without ANC. In our testing, the Buds Air 2 lasted for a little under four hours with the volume set to 60 percent and ANC turned on. The charging case delivered a little over four additional charges before completely losing its juice. According to Realme, the buds also support Fast Charging, delivering 2 hours of playback (ANC off) with a 10-minute charge. The earbuds take about an hour to fully charge, while the case is powered through the USB Type-C port on the bottom. The battery life of the Buds Air 2 was certainly above average and among the best in their class.
The Realme Buds Air 2 certainly makes a compelling case for the best budget TWS earbuds. At Rs 3,299, there is very little to complain about here. Sound quality is decent for the price, but the number of features on offer is hard to rival in this segment. We also appreciated the refreshed design, although the case is prone to scratches. ANC was another big surprise on the Buds Air 2 and was very much evident. With its expansive feature set, the Realme Buds Air 2 can easily go head-to-head with any pair of affordable TWS earbuds, while the addition of active noise cancellation pushes them past the competition.
Verdict | The Realme Buds Air 2 certainly makes a compelling case for the best budget TWS earbuds. At Rs 3,299, there is very little to complain about here. Sound quality is decent for the price, but the number of features on offer is hard to rival in this segment. We also appreciated the refreshed design, although the case is prone to scratches. ANC was another big surprise on the Buds Air 2 and was very much evident. With its expansive feature set, the Realme Buds Air 2 can easily go head-to-head with any pair of affordable TWS earbuds, while the addition of active noise cancellation pushes them past the competition.
Carlsen Martin
first published: Mar 8, 2021 11:01 am

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