Moving beyond just smartphones, realme is expanding its product range to wearables and other AIOT devices that all offer a smarter, more enjoyable lifestyle. Among the latest devices they’ve introduced into the market is the Buds Air 2, true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation. Let’s check out how it performs.
The test unit that I received comes in black, although a white color option is available. As with other similar products, the earbuds are housed in a glossy oval plastic charging case that has a USB-C port at the bottom, a discreet button on the right, and a hinged cover on top. Each earpiece consists of an earbud attached to a thin round stalk. Each earbud weighs only 4.1g, so they’re easy to wear the whole day.
The core of the Buds AIr 2 is a 10mm hi-fi bass boost sound driver made with a diamond-like carbon coating. It is equipped with the latest Bluetooth 5.2 version for a more stable signal, a stronger connection, and lower power consumption. Active noise cancellation is achieved with the new realme R2 chip, while dual microphones come with an environmental noise reduction algorithm. The high-capacity battery can be fast-charged in 10min for 2hrs of playback. The earbuds can be used continuously for 5hrs, while the charging case adds an extra 20hrs for a total of 25hrs playback or over 1 whole day of non-stop use.
User Experience: 4/5
There are several features that I truly appreciated with the Buds Air 2. First is Fast Pair — from the first moment I opened the case, it automatically found and paired with my phone with no other action needed on my part. Amazing!
Second is its Active Noise Cancellation. I normally don’t like activating ANC because I want to stay aware of my surroundings in case there’s a delivery guy at the door, etc. And in some earbuds, ANC creates an echo chamber in my ear which I find uncomfortable. In the Buds Air 2, ANC reduces but does not totally muffle outside noise — some people would consider this a weakness, but I actually prefer it this way.
Third, I like its Smart Wear detection that automatically turns off/pauses the earbuds when you take them out of your ear and resumes playing when you put them back in.
With Bluetooth 5.2, connections stayed strong and stable even some distance from my phone, and with dual microphones, call quality remained clear throughout.
realme invited popular duo The Chainsmokers to help tune the bass boost driver of the Buds Air 2. You do get a rather strong bass — a bit too much for my taste. And while overall music listening is all right for its price point, separation on the mids and highs could be improved.
Apparently, you could tweak equalizer settings on the realme Link app, but the device is not yet supported on the iOS app. Also, while it can be paired with several devices, it’s a hassle switching to another device, so I’m resigned to just being able to use it with my phone and not my tablet.
With an SRP of PHP 3,990 on the realme PH website, the Buds Air 2 cannot be considered an entry-level device as it is actually one of the higher-priced audio products of the brand. You can get it for much lower, though, at around PHP 2,000 from other online sellers — not a bad bargain for what you’re getting.
- Sound driver: 10mm diamond-like carbon driver
- Audio codec: AAC, SBC
- Bluetooth: 5.2
- Noise cancellation: Active noise cancellation up to 25dB, dual-mic ENC for calling
- Charge time: 1hr to fully charge earbuds only, 2hrs to fully charge case & earbuds
- Battery life: Earbuds – 4hrs with ANC, 5hrs without ANC; earbuds + charging case – 22.5hrs with ANC, 25hrs without ANC
- Weight: 4.1g for each earbud
- Water resistance: earbuds – IPX5
- Others: Type C charging cable; earbuds – S, M, L
- Automatic pairing!
- Smart detection
- Active noise cancellation
- Device not supported on the realme Link app for iOS
- Not multi-point
With the Buds Air 2, realme has given us a pair of good-quality, affordable active noise-canceling earbuds.
Also published in Gadgets Magazine May 2021 Issue
Reviewed by Maribelle Alba