Realme’s Buds Air: Have the budget AirPods landed?

Truly Really True Wireless Contenders!

by: - Last updated on: December 15th, 2019

After boarding the wireless earphone train with the Realme Buds Wireless, the Chinese brand is all set to join the true wireless buds bandwagon. The company is expected to launch Realme Buds Air on December 17, 2019, which it hopes will be its ticket to the truly wireless audio party. We got our hands on the earbuds a little early and while our review (and other features) will go up in a few days – hey, we just got them buds – here is what we think of them based on a few glances and a bit of the spec sheet.

Realme Buds Air: AirPod feels in a Realme box

The minute you lay your eyes on the Buds Air box you will know that the product comes from Realme. Dipped in the brand color, yellow, the Buds Air come in a square-shaped box. Pull the lid up and you will find the case Realme Buds Air inside. We received the white unit of the device, which reminded us of an awful lot of Apple’s Airpods. The shiny, white, plastic-y case comes in a similar Squoval (a blend of square and oval) shape with a small circular button on the front, which allows you to pair your earbuds with a device, and a USB Type C port (yes!) on the base for charging. There is also a small LED indicator on the case right above the pairing button to indicate pairing and connectivity. The back of the case has “Designed by realme” written in very small grey font.

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Pop the hood of the case open, and the nostalgic AirPod breeze (the plain AirPods, not the AirPods Pro, we need to point out!) will hit you again when you see the two earbuds nestled perfectly in their slots. Just like the AirPods, the Buds Air also have small spherical heads with speaker grilles on the side. Right next to the grille the buds have two small black sensors. A long stem then extends out of the back of the bud’s head. There is a very thin silver ring around the end of these stems while the base of the stem has two golden connectors that connect the buds to the case. The inside of these stems have “R” and “L” markings as an indication of right and left earbuds.

In terms of design, both the case and the buds look like a more affordable version of the AirPods. The same squoval case, with the circular button for connectivity (which is present here on the front as opposed to back on the AirPods), LED light and charging slot on the base. Even the buds tell the same story. The design, apart from a few details, is largely the same as the AirPods.

The design is very AirPod-ish, although these seem a little more plasticky and lighter – some might not mind the latter.

Realme Buds Air: Feature-packed

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They might not feel super high-end but the Realme Buds Air come with a number of features that can be comfortably called high-end. Perhaps the most significant is the fact that their case supports wireless charging – unlike the AirPods, there are no wired and wireless charging case options here! The buds come with Realme’s custom R1 chipset and Bluetooth 5.0 and will get connected automatically to paired to the device as soon as the hood of the case of flipped opened and the buds are taken out. The earbuds also come with the real-time dual-channel transmission, which means the two buds operate independently and there is no master earbud in the pair. They also have a dedicated Gaming Mode which as per the company reduces latency by 51 percent to sync audio and visuals better.

Like many high-end true wireless earbuds, the Realme Buds Air also comes with a number of touch controls. Double-clicking the heads of the buds will allow you to receive a call/ play or pause music. You have to tap thrice to skip a song and you can long-press on either one of the buds to summon voice assistant or decline a phone call and long-pressing both earbuds at the same time will activate or deactivate gaming mode. It is kind of interesting that at this point of writing, a single tap does nothing (we might discover something by and by). The buds also have smart in-ear detection feature which means they have sensors that can detect whether the buds are being used or not and will play or pause audio accordingly.

Realme Buds Air: Really won’t be priced like the AirPods

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Just how well these actually work will be revealed in our review – and yes, we will be comparing them with the AirPods as well. But right now we can say that all of these features and its design make the Realme Buds Air a good proposition. A lot will also depend on the price tag attached to them, but if Realme sticks to its tradition of extremely competitive pricing, these actually might be the budget AirPods everyone has been waiting for. Imitation might be the most sincere form of flattery, but we do not think Realme is in any mood to flatter Apple in the price department.

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