Realme Buds Air 2 Review: Best budget TWS earbuds with ANC


realme launched its latest true wireless earbuds — the Realme Buds Air 2 last month as the successor to its first Buds Air earbuds that was launched back in 2019. This adds ANC, improves the battery life, which was one of the main concerns in the predecessor, and comes with Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC audio codec. So, are these the best true wireless earbuds with ANC for the price? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Box Contents

  • realme Buds Air 2 in Black colour
  • Ear tips in Small and Large sizes
  • USB Type-C cable
  • User guide

Design and Build Quality

Starting with the design, the headset comes in a round charging case that fits in your pocket. You can see the charge indicator on the front. The case is shiny and attracts fingerprints. The white version gets dirty easily, so I would prefer the Black colour. The charging case measures 60.3x57x24mm and weighs just 34.5 grams.

There is a function key on the right side and USB Type-C port is on the bottom.

The headset has a plastic finish that is shiny which is prone to fingerpints and scratches. The earbuds weigh about 4.1 grams, which is light. These feature an in-ear design and also come with medium-sized ear tips pre-installed. You can change to bundled Large or Small sized ear tips if you wish. There is an Optical Sensor for Wear Detection so that it can automatically pause the audio when you remove it from your ears and play when you put it back. There is a microphone on the back of the headset for noise cancellation and the bottom microphone is used for calls. You can also see the contacts for charging in the stem.

Below the microphone there is a touch-sensitive area on the outer surface, to control play/pause, open Google Assistant and attend or disconnect calls. Overall the headset offers a decent build quality for the price and fits your ears perfectly so that they don’t fall off your ears easily even when running or cycling. The earphones also have IPX5 water resistance rating to prevent splash, rain, and sweat in everyday use scenarios, but you can’t use it when swimming.

Connectivity, Pairing, and Controls

The realme Buds Air 2 supports Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC high quality audio  codec. The connection range is around 10 meters, which is common in most headsets, but the connection quality is good. The pairing process is very easy, simply press and hold the function button on the case for 3  seconds until the status light blinks white, this means that the headset is now ready to be paired to a device. Now open the Bluetooth settings on the phone, and it shows up as realme Buds Air 2, and you can connect to it. As soon as the connection is established, the blinking LED should go off. You can take the earbuds out of the case and start using.

Since it has Google pairing mode that supports compatible phones, it automatically pairs to the phone when you bring the case with the headset close to the phone with Bluetooth turned on. We tested it on the realme X7, Redmi K20 Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy A52, and never faced any pairing related issue. Since the phone pairs with the case and not the headset, you will need the case if you want to reconnect it. The touch controls are easy to access and are decent.

Function Left earphone (L) Right earphone (R)
Answer call / Hang calls Double tap
Reject calls Long press 2s
Next or previous track Triple tap
Switch between ANC and Transparency Mode Long press one of the earbuds for 2s
Turn on the game mode Long press both earbuds 2s

The headset has Smart wear detection that can sense when they’re in the ear and automatically pause the music when taken out and resume when you put back. Also, for a better wearing experience, when you take one earbud off, the other will automatically switch to Transparency mode. This is very useful.

You can customize the controls from the settings in the realme Link app on Android and iPhone. You can change actions for the double tap, triple tap, touch and hold one bud and also touch and hold both the earbuds easily, but there is no option for volume control.

Audio Quality,  Call Performance and Noise Cancellation

The realme Buds Air 2 packs a 10mm Diamond-class Hi-Fi Driver, which the company says has diamond-like carbon diaphragm that is present only in high-end earphones. In addition to Lively and Clear modes, it features new Bass Boost+ Mode tuned by Chainsmokers, an American electronic DJ and production duo. If you prefer heavy bass, then this is the mode you need. With the AAC enabled, audio quality is good with clear vocals and good amount of bass, thanks to the 10mm driver that handles high, middle and low frequencies well.

The low-latency gaming mode is useful when gaming since it reduces the latency by up to 35% compared to the previous generation, and we could feel the difference. The company says that the latency is  reduced to 88ms in the gaming mode during internal testing. This is achieved by real-time dual-channel transmission and the new R2 chip. It is also easy to enter the gaming mode when you long press on both sides of earbuds. You get an engine revving noise, and when you exit there is a musical chime.

The earbuds offer a good amount of noise isolation, and dual microphones help when it comes to voice clarity during calls. The earphones also reduce the background noise to a certain extent that helps in a crowded or noisy environment and wind when you are travelling, thanks to its ENC noise-cancelling algorithm. For the price it’s decent, but it could have been better.

Regarding the Noise cancellation, the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) blocks the ambient sound up to 25dB that helps in most cases. You can feel the difference when you are listening outdoors. The realme Buds Air Pro has up to 35dB ambient noise cancellation, so you can feel a slight difference in the quality. However, for the price it does a good job. The Transparency mode is also useful.

Battery Life

The earphones promise  hours of standalone battery life and 4 hours with ANC enabled and 5 hours without ANC in 50% volume. During my run with AAC, I got about 4 and half hours with mixed use of with and without ANC in about 60% volume, so it is decent. Without AAC and noise cancellation off, it can last over 6 hours. It also has fast charging support. The company says that you get 120 minutes of playback on 10 minutes of charge (earbuds and charging case combined). This is very useful when you need a quick charge.

With the 400mAh charging case, it promises up to 25 hours of total battery life without ANC and 22.5 hours of total battery life with  noise cancellation enabled. I got about 23 hours with mixed use which is decent. The green light in the case indicates that the battery is full, and when it turns red, it is low. You can also see the charge left in the case in the realme Link app when the earbuds are placed in the case. Charging the case fully take about 2 hours and charging the earbuds fully takes about an hour. The charging case doesn’t have wireless charging which was present in the predecessor.

Conclusion

Overall, realme Buds Air 2 is the best true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) you can get for a price of Rs. 3299. It offers good audio quality with noise cancellation, and the battery life is good as well with support for fast charging. It is available for purchase from Flipkart and realme.com online through sales every week, but the demand is high.

Pros

  • Good audio quality with AAC support
  • Bluetooth 5.2 offers strong connectivity
  • Good call quality
  • Low-latency gaming
  • Good ANC for the price
  • Good battery life with fast charging

Cons

  • Glossy case is prone to scratches
  • No volume control option
  • Call noise cancellation could be better

Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram