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realme has been making waves in the market over the past few months. They also recently released the realme Buds Wireless – which is a neckband. It is only logical for realme’s next audio product to be true wireless earphones – and here we have it. This is the realme Buds Air.

Before we begin, yes – we know. It looks like an AirPods clone. But I can assure you that this is a more featureful copy of the AirPods, unlike the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (review). Here are what we think about the new realme Buds Air.

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Design

Obviously, this is very close to the original Apple AirPods design. It has the same glossy white plastic enclosure but with a longer, thicker, and rounder cradle. The button is also moved to the front.

realme Buds Air

Other than that though… it’s very similar to the Apple AirPods. There are a few minor differences that don’t offer any benefit in terms of usage.

Features

I have to say, the realme Buds Air does come with a lot more features compared to the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (review). Most notably is the ability to play/pause automatically when wearing/removing the pods from the ear. This is made possible thanks to the optical sensor on both pods. However, this feature only works if both pods are worn. It would’ve been great if can play audio at one side only if only one side is worn.

realme Buds Air
Proximity sensor for wear detection.

And obviously, the realme Buds Air also has touch-sensitive areas on each pod. However, it doesn’t have as many controls as other true wireless earbuds/earpods, as shown below:

realme Buds Air

It’s similar to the Ugreen True Wireless Earbuds, which doesn’t have single-tapping gesture to prevent accidental actions. And once again, the last one is what makes everything interesting – “gaming mode”.

Audio delay benchmark

The realme Buds Air has something called “gaming mode” which I have to give credit to realme for being more transparent than Razer as realme explains what their gaming mode does. They also provided their own numbers of how much audio delay is reduced.

51% latency reduction data were obtained from realme Laboratory. The delay in the normal mode of realme Buds Air was 243.8ms and the delay in the gaming mode was 119.3ms.

From realme India’s website

Since we are the “audio delay guys”, we tested the realme Buds Air’s audio delay with our scientific-ish method to verify realme’s claims. And here are the results:

realme Buds Air Audio delay test benchmark

And wow – the results are pretty amazing. Entering gaming mode did reduce the audio delay dramatically – about 42%. However, the audio delay is still more than double of aptX LL (which we have tested here). That means, it is still not suitable for time-critical games or applications – like PUBG Mobile and COD Mobile.

Sound quality

I think most of these pod-like earphones sound better similar to one another. The main reason is that there is no seal around the ear canal, hence there is a lot of sound leakage and poor noise isolation. But I prefer this type of earphones and I don’t feel tired or annoyed after wearing it for hours.

The realme Buds Air does sound okay. For me, when I adjusted the position of the earbuds, I can get a better sound quality – and I enjoyed my experience with it so far.

realme Buds Air

Like many other pod-style earphones, the vocals are the most apparent here. The highs are quite muffled. The bass is certainly given more emphasis here as realme also stated that they’re using big bass drivers. However, the bass doesn’t thump since – once again – no seal around the ear canal.

Battery life

When it comes to these true wireless pods style of earphones, I personally think battery life matters since I can dangle them on my ear for a longer time. But then again – the realme Buds Air only lasts for about 2.5 hours under comfortable listening volume – which is about 50%.

realme Buds Air

Comparing the battery life of the realme Buds Air with other true wireless earphones – it’s just disappointing.

The cradle can charge the pods for about 6 more times – and that totals up to about 15 hours of listening.

By the way, the realme Buds Air can be charged wirelessly – and yes, we can charge it via the Samsung Galaxy S10+‘s Wireless PowerShare and it worked.

realme Buds Air

Wrapping up the realme Buds Air review

Let’s look at it this way – the realme Buds Air is a well-made copy of the AirPods. It has all the bells and whistles such as autoplay when wearing them, auto-pairing, touch panel, and even has wireless charging.

While realme did also mention about the “gaming mode” that the Buds Air has, realme is very honest and transparent by providing numbers and a disclaimer. I can give them a pass on that – but you’ll have to take note of the audio delay.

realme Buds Air

Sound quality is pretty decent too – which is all that matters at the end of the day. As of now, we do not have the official Malaysian pricing – which is unfortunate I am unable to give our complete judgment of the realme Buds Air.

Using India’s price of ₹3,999, it’s at around RM227.84 in Malaysia. I think if realme Malaysia is to sell the Buds Air at RM250, I think it’s an okay price – but I need to emphasize again – the realme Buds Air still has audio delay in gaming mode.

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UPDATE: Here’s the price for the realme Buds Air

On 21st January 2020, you can get the realme Buds air for RM199 on Shopee. This promotion is only for one day.

The usual price of the realme Buds Air will be at RM299. Click here to buy them!


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