Realme Buds Wireless Pro Review: a splendid offering WITHOUT ANC
ANC on budget done almost right!
Expanding its product portfolio, Realme has, of late, introduced a variety of devices across different categories. The latest ones to add to the tally got announced at a special event earlier this month, where the company unveiled close to a dozen new products. Of these announcements, Realme had two new audio products: Buds Air Pro and Buds Wireless Pro — its latest wireless offerings with a variety of features, including active noise cancelation (ANC). While the Buds Air Pro is a pair of TWS earphones, the Buds Wireless Pro is a neckband-style offering, with ANC and support for LDAC codec being two of its biggest highlights.
We have been testing the Realme Buds Wireless Pro for almost a week now, and here’s what we feel about them.
Realme Buds Wireless Pro: Box Content
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro come in a large rectangular box. When opened, the first thing you get access to are the earphones themselves, housed within a plastic encasing. The box opens up from the bottom to reveal the essential accessories, which include a USB Type-C cable, along with three pairs of silicone ear tips in three different sizes.
Design, Build, and Fit
Being a successor to the Buds Wireless, the Buds Wireless Pro have a design language that appears pretty much identical, except for a few changes. Of these, one of the most noticeable changes is the omission of wingtips, which is quite prevalent across some active-style earphones. [Well-implemented wingtips are a nice touch to the earbuds. They provide a snug fit in the ear and prevent the buds from falling off.]
Talking about the build, the earphones come with a rubber cord — split into two parts — that runs between both earbuds. The quality of the material used here is smooth to touch and feels premium. Moreover, the neckband rests comfortably around your neck and does not add much bulk. Similarly, the other half of the cord, which attaches directly to the two earbuds, also feels sturdy. And it features a textured finish to improve the overall strength and prevent the ends from tangling.
Towards the end of the neckband on both sides, the earphones have a pit, with a metal casing on top that adds a certain heft to the earphones — in a good way — and makes them sturdy. On the right pit, you get in-line controls, which give you the ability to play/pause music, adjust volume, summon voice assistant, and cycle through different modes: normal, transparent, and noise cancelation. Moreover, the pit also constitutes a charging port (USB Type-C) and a microphone. To prevent the port from getting tainted and keep it clean, the earphones offer a flap, which helps in blocking dust and water ingress.
Moving to the earbuds themselves, the design appears clunky at first glance, which is pretty obvious since the earbuds pack in the tech for (active) noise cancelation. In case you haven’t noticed so far, the Buds Wireless Pro are in-ear style earphones. They feature metallic pistons (buds) and have magnets on the back of each earbud, which holds them together and prevents the earphones from swaying around.
In terms of fit, the earphones, being on the bigger side, do not sit in as snugly in your ear canals as some of the other in-ear style earphones — the Bullets Wireless 2, for instance. You can, however, curb the fit issues to a certain degree using the ear tips that come bundled with the earphones. Furthermore, as a result of that chunky design, the earbuds do not sit flush in your ears and protrude out significantly. But, that said, despite being clunky, they do not feel uncomfortable at all — even when worn for longer durations.
Although you get an IPX4 rating on the Buds Wireless Pro, which gives you the confidence to use them during workouts, their clunky build does not exude much of the same. During our testing, we found the earbuds falling off our ears numerous times while working out. So, if you have an active lifestyle and are looking for a pair of wireless earphones that complement your active lifestyle, you should keep your options open.
Performance and Features
On the inside, the Buds Wireless Pro runs on the Realme’s S1 chip, which is the same silicon found on their latest TWS offering, the Buds Air Pro. S1 is built on the 28nm manufacturing process. It employs resources for all the processing and noise cancelation (ANC) functionality while also ensuring low power consumption.
The earphones connect over Bluetooth v5.0. When you try to pair them with an Android phone for the first time, you get Google’s Fast Pair pop-up that instantaneously establishes a connection. Realme suggests an effective range of 10 meters on the Buds Wireless Pro in an obstacle-free environment. During our testing, we found the connectivity on the earphones to be extremely reliable, with a pretty impressive range, be it on an Android or an iOS device. The earphones did not jump tracks or showcase any connection issues whatsoever. Similarly, the auto-connect functionality, aka instant pairing, also proved to be very reliable, as the earphones turn on and connect to a previously connected device instantly.
As mentioned initially, the Buds Wireless Pro feature in-line controls, which allow you to perform quick actions remotely without having to use your phone. You can play/pause playback, skip tracks, summon voice assistant, and switch modes using these controls. The button arrangement on the earphones have a (3 + 1) layout, which is well-spaced out, and you can easily operate them once you get the hang of their placement. Furthermore, to add to the experience, the buttons also feel tactile. When compared to some of the other neckband-style offerings, which have kind of mushy buttons, the ones employed from Realme feel easier to operate and offer better tactility.
Moving to features, you get a bunch of them on the Realme Buds Wireless Pro. To start with, the earphones promise super-low latency of 119ms, which is primarily to draw the attention of smartphone gamers. In our time testing the earphones, we did not notice any audio-video sync issues while consuming content on Prime Video, Hotstar, or even YouTube. Nor did we face any perceptible lag on games like Call of Duty: Mobile and Real Racing.
Similar to the Buds Air Pro, which pack in a couple of sound augmentation features like volume enhance and bass boost+, the Buds Wireless Pro also offer the same features via the Realme Link app. However, in our opinion, since the earphones can themselves get quite loud, we don’t think you would find the need to use the volume enhancer mode at all. Similarly, the same also extends to the bass boost+ mode as well, which appears to boost the low-end frequencies on the spectrum to offer a more powerful bass. The reason we say that is because the earphones already offer an impressive bass, and enhancing it any further would suppress other frequencies in the spectrum — the mids, in particular, which could, in turn, compromise the sound quality.
Lastly, there is the USP of the Buds Wireless Pro: active noise cancelation (ANC). Realme is employing a hybrid approach to offer ANC on the earphones, which is similar to what it is doing on its TWS-style Buds Air Pro. For this, the company is using a combination of two microphones: feedforward and feedback, which work together to produce anti-noise that cancels out the ambient/environment noise. Turning on the feature for the very first time, we were quite impressed with the noise cancelation that the earbuds exhibited — especially for their form factor. Be it the hum of an air-conditioner or the constant whir of a ceiling fan, the earphones managed to do a good job at cutting-down (minimizing) the distracting ambient noises by a fairly decent level. However, that said, we could hear the typing sound on a keyboard or the high-pitched squeaky noise of a chair to some degree. But in all honesty, that isn’t a shortcoming by any stretch.
While Realme has done a good job with its ANC implementation on the Buds Wireless Pro, there is still a noticeable flaw with the functionality that keeps it from being perfect. And that is with regards to the sound quality. [More on that in the following section.]
The last feature on the list is the support for the company’s very own companion app, Realme Link. Essentially, the app is a portal to a plethora of different functionalities that can be accessed and employed on the Buds Wireless Pro remotely. For instance, you can use it to customize the button actions for the in-line controls on the device, switch between normal, transparency, and noise cancelation mode, among others.
Talking about what’s present inside those chunky nozzles, Realme plants 13.6mm (dynamic bass boost) drivers within each earbud. In addition to the driver, the company also employs the dynamic bass boost (DBB) algorithm, which it suggests improves the bass quality on the earphones. In our testing, we found the bass to be apt, with not an entirety of emphasis on the low frequencies. As a result, there is not noticeable bass bleeding in the mids and the highs, and the earphones offer pretty clear and distinct vocals. That said, even though the highs do not feel mushy, they are not as sharp either, which something that a lot of earphones struggle to get right. But, from the standpoint of a regular user, they should be perfectly alright. Needless to say, one can always tune the sound to their liking using Wavelet or any other equalizer app.
Talking about the soundstage, you get a wide soundstage on the Buds Wireless Pro that sounds very roomy and gives you a sense of well-distanced instruments in the surroundings. Similarly, the instrument separation is also neatly done on the earphones, and more often than not, we found the sound reproduction to be precise as well.
Finally, talking about the USP of the earphones, again, as already highlighted initially, one of the biggest gripes we have with the Buds Wireless Pro is with the implementation of active noise cancelation. Even though the ANC delivers on its principal objective diligently, it invariably also affects the sound quality of the earphones. For, the moment you switch to noise cancelation, the earphones shoot up the highs considerably, and that accompanies the frequencies in the mid-high region along and produces a chaotic sound, filled with distortion. To sum up, we would say that the sound quality of the Buds Wireless Pro, with ANC enabled, is substandard, to say the least.
One of the significant factors for some people when buying a pair of wireless earphones is call quality. During our time with the Buds Wireless Pro, we could clearly hear the voice of the person on the other end of the call, and so were they. However, when it came to canceling out the environment noise, the earphones fell short of our expectations. Since the recipients on the other end were able to listen to the background noises at our end. To add to that, in a couple of instances, especially with very noisy backgrounds, we even got complaints about the background noise and had to move to a quieter place to continue with the call.
However, all that said, with Buds Wireless Pro, you get a decent calling experience. And it suffices to say that, for regular usage, the call quality is clear and pretty good.
Now, on to another crucial deterrent in the earphone selection process for some, the battery life. Based on the company’s spec-sheet, the Buds Wireless Pro pack in a 160mAh battery, which promises 16 hours of playback with ANC and 22 hours of playback with ANC turned off. And, they charge using the USB Type-C port that claims 100 minutes of playback in just 5 minutes of charge.
Using the earphones with ANC turned off, we were able to get close to 18½ hours of playback time at around 60% volume. The mileage was reduced to 16 hours when we occasionally had ANC turned on/ off during testing. As for charging, the earphones utilize the USB Type-C port, which enables fast charging and fuels up the juice in around 1½ hours.
Realme Buds Wireless Pro: Verdict
For an asking price of Rs 3,999, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is a solid contender in the wireless offering space in the market — given that you do not mind a few caveats that tag along. It offers a good sound quality for its price with effective noise cancelation and very impressive battery life. You also get a decent calling experience, and features like support for the Realme Link app and Sony’s LDAC codec further add to the experience. However, all that said, if you want the best of both ANC and sound quality, you might be a bit disappointed with the Buds Wireless Pro as the sound quality on these earphones takes a major hit with noise cancelation.
Overall, in a similar price range, while there are some of the best sounding wireless earphones like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 and the Oppo Enco M31, if you want to hop on to the ANC bandwagon — granted you do not listen to music with ANC turned on — the Realme Buds Wireless Pro are a good purchase.
- Impressive range and connectivity
- Tactile buttons
- Good ANC implementation
- Decent sound quality
- Excellent battery life
- App support
- Clunky design
- Not ideal for workouts
- Substandard sound with ANC enabled
|Build & design||
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro is a pair of wireless earphones, which have ANC and LDAC support as their USP. Is it worth your money? Here's our in-depth review to help you decide?