The Realme Buds Air Pro is one of the most affordable pair of true wireless earbuds that offer active noise cancellation. The ANC does a good job, though the overall sound quality is a mixed bag. Apart from that, the Realme Buds Air Pro is feature-packed and the companion app support makes it easy to use.
ANC on a budget
Good for calls
Sound needs more refinement
Design of buds is chunky
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The Realme Buds Air Pro is the company’s first truly wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. The company is expanding its audio range in India and for the initial asking price of Rs 4,499, this is one of the most affordable pair of wireless earbuds available in the market with ANC. It offers better battery life compared to the Realme Buds Air.
While the sound quality is not perfect on the Realme Buds Air Pro, you get a wonderful soundstage and the base is just like what most of the people in India like. For those who want more, Realme has also added Bass Booster+. However, the overall sound quality is a mixed bag here. The battery life is also pretty impressive both with ANC turned on and off.
The talking point of the earbuds is the ANC which does a pretty decent job and welcome addition in this price segment. The touch functionality is also excellent here which is always responsive and intuitive. With all the feature and tech loaded on tiny 5-gram earbuds what makes the Realme Buds Air Pro is the companion app, the Realme Link. With the app, you can customise and take full control of the earbuds.
Overall, the Realme Buds Air Pro is one of the best earbuds you can get under Rs 5,000 in India currently and surely makes it into our list of the best TWS.
Realme Buds Air Pro price in India and availability
The Realme Buds Air Pro made its global debut in India on October 7 along with a bunch of new AIoT products. The Buds Air Pro is the company’s first earbuds with noise cancellation and overall the third TWS for the Indian market after the Realme Buds Air and Buds Air Neo.
The Realme Buds Air Pro is priced at Rs 4,999, but during the festival season, Realme is offering a price cut of Rs 500. The Realme Buds Air Pro will be available for Rs 4,499 in the initial period. It will be available on Flipkart and Realme.com. You can pick from Soul White and Rock Black colour options.
Design and fit
While the design of the Realme Buds Air was inspired by Apple AirPods, the Buds Air Pro takes a different approach here. It comes in a cobble-shape design which is similar to the design of recently launched OnePlus Buds and Vivo TWS Neo. The case itself is smooth and shiny, it has a glossy finish which in my opinion gave a good grip to hold.
On the front of the case, you get the lid, an LED indicator and Realme branding. Opening and closing the lid with a single hand is possible here. The lid felt quite fragile at first when I started using it but, as I get used to it, I was proven wrong. The hinge on the backside is made of a metal which does an excellent job and adds to the durability of the Buds. The LED indicator can turn to Green and Red depending on the battery level.
You also get the pairing/reset button to the right of the case which just feels like accessing the power button on your smartphone. The placement is perfect, feels convenient, and is ergonomic as well. And, lastly to the bottom you get a Type-C port. The wireless charging which was seen on the Realme Buds Air doesn’t make a cut here. Considering the target audience, that’s fine.
Next up, the Realme Buds Air Pro earbuds. To start off, the buds are placed too close to each other when placed inside the and thanks to the smooth and silky build, removing the buds from the case itself is a tiny task. But, once you find the knack to take them out, you’ll feel comfortable. The magnets inside the case are strong enough to keep the buds in place, which is good.
The Buds themselves weigh 5 grams and they are a bit chunky as they pack in a lot of tech into the small head. As for fit, I was not 100% satisfied with it as it could not sit tightly in my ear. Although the buds are in-ear style, it doesn’t completely feel like it and the chunky upper part of the buds won’t fit in the ear properly. It looks like an extended version of the half in-ear style design.
The buds fell out of my ear 2/10 times but got loosened more often than that. The box also comes with three additional pairs of ear tips with which you'll be able to get the fit close to perfect but not perfect. And lastly, the buds are IPX4 rated for water resistance and the case does not come with any protection against water or dust. The buds can be used in the gym or even slight rain.
The buds come with touch controls with a long press, double-tap, and triple-tap options. All of which can be customized in the Realme Link app.
Overall, the design of the case and the buds are good but when it comes to fit, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The White colour can get dirt and scratches easily in the long run and so, I’d recommend you to pick the Black version.
Sound quality and noise cancellation
The Realme Buds Air comes with Bluetooth 5.0 and supports Google fast pair feature. It is packed with Realme S1 chipset along with 10mm bass boost drivers. The connectivity on the Buds Air Pro was pretty solid and I didn’t lose connection at any time, Realme has done a great job here. Complementing that is the range that the buds offer. I could keep the phone in one room and travel across the hall and another room without losing connection.
They support AAC, SBC codecs but miss out on aptX HD support. This is Realme’s first pair of TWS earbuds that offer active noise cancellation. The ANC is claimed to be capable of cancelling up to 35dB. More on noise cancellation in a bit. With Realme Buds Air Pro, you get three modes to switch between - General, Noise cancellation, and Transparency. The transparency mode allows you to listen to the outside as well as the media on the buds. This feature is generally present flagship ANC headphones and was good to have on budget earbuds.
The sound quality of the Realme Buds Air Pro is a mixed bag. Starting off with the soundstage, Realme has done a fabulous job here with a wide soundstage. The instrument separation was clear and distinct. The imaging was also top-notch here.
The sound signatures on low frequencies were heavy and the bass dominated most of the time. The lows were not that punchy as we’d have liked. Mids felt unpleasant at times. The mids and highs often reproduced hollow sound signatures. With full volume on, the Buds Air Pro does tend to produce distortion a bit in some titles. The bass is punchy and will please for what most Indians need out there. Overall, the sound quality is not audiophile-level but it is right above average.
Let’s now talk about the key features of the Realme Buds Air Pro, the ANC. Realme claims that the noise cancellation can go up to 35dB. The Realme S1 chip built on a 28nm process (which is actually pretty good for a wearable) will help achieve this with feedforward and feedback microphones. These microphones collect the ambient noise outside the ear and noise inside the ear respectively. Then, it generates the reverse sound waves to cancel out the noise.
After using the buds for a few weeks, we can say that the ANC does work and I could feel the difference when it was turned on and turned off. I used the earbuds in regularly while I was working from home with my fan turned on, some construction work going on near my room, and live traffic. The Realme Buds Air Pro could cut most of the noise for me. Turning on the ANC mode is quite easy, you just need to long-press the earbud. Needless to say, the ANC mode will eliminate the incoming noise and will offer a better listening experience. When it comes to eliminating the high-frequency noise like a doorbell or mechanical keyboard typing, the ANC is not as effective as it was in the first case. Overall, the ANC is quite good on these but not as good as the ANC from flagship headphone level but you get what you pay for
Realme Link app and features
As said earlier, the Realme Buds Air Pro offers touch controls with tap and long-press options. You can customize the options in the companion Realme Link app. You can pick double-tap and triple-tap options for each bud. You can pick from a bunch of options which includes play/pause, next track, previous track, voice assistant, and switch modes.
Long pressing both the buds together will take you to gaming mode which brings down the latency to just 94ms and making gameplay easy. I did not face any lag in audio while using this for gaming. The app also shows the juice left in the case as well as the buds. You get the option to switch between three modes in the app itself and you can also turn on game-mode here.
Realme has added a couple of features in the app which makes the experience better. Firstly, the volume enhancer will further increase the volume of your buds if you are already not impressed with the output. I didn’t have to use this much as the volume was already loud for my liking. Secondly, you get Bass Boost+ which will bring in a lot more dynamic bass. But, there is just a slight difference between this mode and normal mode which we could notice. The wear detection works really well on the buds.
The Realme Link app is where Realme is beating its competition recently, the app is feature-rich and customizable and is open to all Android devices also. With the app, the Realme Buds Air Pro is also capable of getting firmware upgrades.
Call quality is one area where most of the budget TWS struggles but, we are happy to report to you that’s not the case with Realme Buds Air Pro. For calls, it uses environmental noise-cancelling tech a.k.a ENC. You get dual microphones for calls that do a good job. I was able to clearly listen to the person on the other and vice-versa. The ENC reduces the surrounding noise fairly and allows both parties to go through calls without any hassle.
Realme Buds Air Pro case is packed with 486mAh battery. The company claims the battery to last for 20 hours with ANC turned on and with the ANC turned off, it can go up to 25 hours including the case where volume is set at 50%. However, in real-life usage, the battery life with ANC turned on gave about 3.5 hours with volume at 90% and up all the time. With the ANC turned off, I could get about 4.5 hours of listening at 70-80% volume.
The battery life can vary on the volume level and audio codec you listen to and it is safe to say, you will get at least 3 hours with ANC and 4 hours without ANC before putting back to the case for a top-up. The case can get you 3 to 4 full charges again, depending on your usage. In my case, I could get three and a half charges.
For charging, the Buds Air Pro comes with a Type-C port which takes about 1 hour to charge the earbuds from 0-100% and double that to charging both the case and earbuds to 100%. A quick 10 minutes charge will get about 3 hours of playback as per Realme but I got around 2 hours, which is still quite good.
While we don’t get wireless charging, the battery life on the Realme Buds Air Pro is above average and even better than what the Buds Air offered.
Buy it if…
You want noise cancellation
The Realme Buds Air Pro is one of the cheapest TWS in the market with ANC. The performance is good for what you pay and you can easily notice the difference when ANC is turned on and turned off.
You play games
While lot of earbuds offer a dedicated gaming mode, the Realme Buds Air Pro comes with a 94ms low-latency gaming mode which makes it one of the best for gaming.
You are looking for a TWS with good mic
Mic quality on the Buds Air Pro are one of the best in the segment and that's a big upgrade from the last gen TWS from Realme. The calls were crisp and clear always.
Don't buy if...
You need wireless charging
One of the features that didn't tag along from the Realme Buds Air is the ability to charge the device wirelessly. If you want this convenient feature, you'll have to look else where.
An earbud with nice fit
One of the major issue with the earbuds is the in-ear fit and feel. After using it for extensively, we can say that the fit is no way near perfect and you'll have to keep adjusting the buds every now and then.
Better sound quality
While the Realme Buds Air Pro shines in almost every department, the sound quality at the end of the day is a mixed bag. For audiophiles, this may not be your cup of tea.
Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.