Ameya DalviMay 23, 2022 4:51:07 PM IST
Price: 3999 rupees
In early 2021, Realme changed the game in the segment of budget genuine wireless headphones (TWS). launch of Buds Air 2. Never before have there been features such as active noise reduction (ANC), customizable controls, multiple sound profiles, wear detection along with good sound quality, a total of well under 4,000 rupees. This pair of headphones is still hard to beat in the segment.
As competition approaches Realme is looking to further raise the bar with the release of its successor, Buds Air 3, which promises to make it better than its predecessor, in almost every department. In addition to better sound quality, the new Realme headphones claim to offer a better backup battery and 42 dB noise reduction, a huge jump of 25 dB, which is considered normal for a course in this segment. Are these really the best TWS headphones for Rs 5,000? Let’s find out.
Realme Buds Air 3: Design and Comfort (8/10)
The design language of Realme Buds Air 3 was borrowed from its predecessor. The shape is similar, but the new buds have shorter stems. We got a review of the Starry Blue version, which looks elegant. Just like Buds Air 2, the stems have a slightly different shade of blue compared to the bud shells. You have two more shades to choose from – Galaxy White and Nitro Blue.
While the buds look similar, the case here is much more compact and equally pocket-friendly. The blue metallic matte finish looks beautiful and does not attract stains and fingerprints. Despite the miniature body, it has a larger battery capacity of 546 mAh, which provides 30 hours of playback at full charge. We will check this statement soon. The case has a tiny LED power indicator on the front, a Bluetooth connectivity button on the side and a USB-C charging port on the bottom.
The body weighs only 37.2 g, and the kidneys – 4.2 g each. The build quality of the buds as well as the body leaves no room for grievances. The strength of the buds is further enhanced by the spray resistance of IPx5. So you can wear them to the gym or for a jog without worries. They can withstand more than a few drops of sweat. Unlike the OnePlus Buds Z2, the case is not protected from impact.
The headphones fit snugly and are very comfortable to wear for long hours. Silicone tips fit well into the ear canals and provide good passive noise insulation. Three pairs of earbuds are included, and it is important to choose the right size pair for optimal ANC. The Realme Link companion program will help you choose the right option if you can’t make a decision on your own. The upper area of the stems is included by touch, and the sensitivity to touch is generally good.
Realme Buds Air 3: Features and Specifications (9/10)
At the heart of Buds Air 3 is the new Realme R3 chip, which claims to be more energy efficient and better attenuates noise. Each headset contains a 10mm driver with liquid crystal polymer and a pair of microphones for calls and noise reduction. Just like Buds Air 2, you get wear detection sensors that stop the sound when you remove the button from your ear, and restore it when you put it back. It works as expected.
You hear a beep each time you tap the areas turned on by the touch path. This gives you an idea of the number of taps registered for different controls. Touch gestures work well most of the time, with the occasional exception of triple tapping. A third tap sometimes can’t register if you tap too fast. You can always assign something less important to this gesture, thanks to the Realme Link app (available on Android and iOS), which allows you to customize the controls.
Through An app to which you can assign play / pause, previous / next tracks, switch ANC, voice assistant or anything to double, thrice tap or touch and hold gestures. For some reason the ANC switch can only be designed to press and hold a gesture here. In earlier versions of Realme, such as Buds Air 2 or Buds Q2, you could also assign it a triple tap. You still can’t assign a volume control to anything. Simultaneous touching and holding of both buttons allows you to switch to game mode, where the delay can be reduced to 88 ms.
Realme Buds Air 3 is compatible with Bluetooth 5.2 and supports AAC and SBC codecs. The headphones also support Dolby Atmos if the source device is compatible with Atmos. You can switch between three ANC modes – ANC enabled, normal and transparent mode, which transmit ambient noise. As I mentioned earlier, these headphones can eliminate noise up to 42 dB, which is a significant increase of 25 dB than most competitors. suggestions. Even better, it works great!
Realme Buds Air 3: Performance (8/10)
Except for the decibel numbers, the ANC on the Realme Buds Air 3 is easily the best I’ve come across in a TWS headphone priced south of Rs 5,000. The fact that this product costs below 4K makes it even more commendable. Although, of course, not in the league of premium headphones from Sony, the price of which is 4-5 times higher, the ANC here significantly reduces low-frequency sounds such as AC hum or indoor fan hum. This greatly reduces traffic noise on the street as well as human chatter on public transport or at work.
One minor issue I would like to point out is that the bottles sound a little different with the ANC on and off (a little more detail in normal mode). Most may not even notice the difference, but it needs to be fixed in a future firmware update. Transparency mode, although it does not sound quite natural, does its job. It amplifies the surrounding sounds so you can know about the surroundings or talk without removing the buds from your ears. The wireless range is good with a strong connection at a distance of 10 meters without interference between the source and the buds.
If we talk about sound quality, it is slightly different from its predecessor. While the Buds Air 2 had a fairly balanced sound, the Buds Air 3 slightly amplified the bass with more noticeable bass. Fortunately, it is quite dense and sharp and does not obscure the middle. The reproduction of the middle here is pretty good with enough vocal clarity. The separation of the instruments is not so great, which may be the result of a rather narrow sound stage, which makes the sound seem to be trapped in a smaller space.
The highs are quite sharp; they are usually well hardened and at the same time have enough shine. However, they tend to sound a little hissing if you exceed the volume by more than 80%, which you won’t need to do very often. All said and done, the overall sound output looks a little more refined and nicer than the Buds Air 2, and will appeal to the masses. There were no problems with latency without noticeable lag between video and audio when streaming video. In most cases, these Realme headphones are quite loud, about 50% to 60%.
As always, Realme Link offers three sound profiles – Balanced, Bass Boost + and Bright, of which I thought Balanced was the best. This time the company has for you a little more in the form of a custom sound profile. It raises certain frequencies depending on your hearing abilities and creates a personalized equalizer. The concept is similar to the Audio ID feature found in the more expensive OnePlus Buds Pro. It may or may not make the buds sound better than the Balanced profile for everyone, but it’s worth a try.
Realme Buds Air 3: Call Quality (7/10)
The call quality in Realme Buds Air 3 is pretty decent, but I can’t call it an improvement over Buds Air 2. Shorter stalks only add a small distance between the microphones and your mouth, which will probably result in a slight drop in voice clarity compared to . The people on the line were perfectly audible to each other indoors as well as on the street. But occasionally had to be repeated at the request of the listener.
Wind noise reduction usually works well, but not flawlessly. Sometimes you need to adjust the direction of the stems to eliminate wind noise. The buds have managed to control other ambient noises quite well. Another improvement here is support for multipoint or dual pairing. Realme Buds Air 3 can connect to two devices at once, and it works well. Oddly enough, this feature is disabled by default and you need to enable it from the app.
Realme Buds Air 3: Battery Life (8/10)
The company promises 22 hours of playback with ANC on and up to 30 hours with ANC off for headphones and case together. During our testing, when the ANC was turned on all the time and the volume was about 60%, the buds lasted almost four and a half hours. And with the ANC disabled they lasted almost 6 hours. The case can charge the headphones at least three times longer, taking up a total battery life in the range of 18 to 25 hours depending on the time for which the ANC is turned on.
This may not match the advertised figures, but the backup battery is more than satisfactory for this segment. These headphones also support fast charging. A 10-minute charge gives you almost 100 minutes of normal playback. It takes about an hour to fully charge from scratch, while the case takes just over 90 minutes. The battery level of each earphone and charging case can be seen in the accompanying app.
Realme Buds Air 3: Cost and Verdict
Realme Buds Air 3 can be purchased for Rs 3999 with a one year warranty. It’s a few hundred rupees more expensive than the Buds Air 2, but you can easily recoup your money thanks to more refined sound quality, a better backup battery and, most importantly, a leader in the ANC category. These features also make it one of the best TWS headphones in India costing less than Rs 5,000.
The main competitor to these Realme headphones is the OnePlus Buds Z2, which has similar features. Its ANC may not be as good, but the sound quality and battery life is a little better than a thousand bucks extra. If ANC isn’t a requirement as well as touch control, and you’re looking for excellent sound quality and a reliable battery in this budget, you should carefully consider Soundcore Liberty 2 and Lypertek Levi. But if you’re looking for a multifunctional pair of TWS headphones with the best ANC under 5K, it’s hard to look beyond Realme Buds Air 3.