Realme Buds Air review: These Apple rip-offs sound good for the price

Mala Bhargava | Updated on December 19, 2019

There’s no other way to say it. Realme has gone and ripped off the design of Apple’s Airpods. If you’ve seen the Airpods you won’t be able to but shake your head at the sheer blatancy of the way the unique look has been lifted off. The long stem of the Apple’s Airpods was much ridiculed but it is a signature characteristic that was copied by some others.

Realme has taken that as well as the overall shape of the earbuds, the charging case (which is just a tiny bit smaller than the original Airpods) and even the round little pairing button on the back. They’ve even used the ‘air’ from the Airpods, in the name. If there are differences, it’s in details. Goodness. 

That said, Apple’s regular Airpods cost ₹14,900 and Realme’s Buds Air cost ₹3,999. We’re trying to avoid looking at the hundreds of low-cost earphones flooding the market on this page as they’re all roughly the same, but considering the Buds Air look so boldly like the Airpods, do they sound anything like them? 

In one word, no, but they do sound pretty good for the price. The Buds have both clarity and a nice amount of bass without seeming deliberate and boosted. They have volume and stay sounding good as long as they’re not too loud which messes up the quality. They’re not as detailed as some that have become affordable, but good enough for casual listening. I have a feeling customers in India will like them just fine. 

I’ve been happy enough listening to them until the battery runs out which is in just under three hours after which they get topped up again in their case. Incredibly for something at this price, they support wireless charging so if you have a wireless pad around, just put the case on top and leave it to charge. 

The Buds Air come in three colours: a glossy black, a canary yellow and the white that makes them look more like the Airpods than ever. I had no trouble pairing them at all. Just pressing the pairing button on the case connects them to your device after which just popping them into your ears will reconnect them so they’re ready for use. The Buds also have wear detection so when you take them out of your ears, the music stops. 

I found the fit both comfortable and secure, but this tends to be a very individual thing.They haven’t shown any signs of wanting to fall out as I tilt my head all the way to the side to the point of vertigo. The Buds are lighter and less well-built than the Airpods and have a distinctly plasticky feel about them in comparison. If you touch the stem, the plastic feel is more evident than ever. But let’s remember they cost less than a third of the price. 

The Buds Air have a few smart features on top of their acceptable sound quality and comfort. There are touch controls so you tap the earbud to pause/play, move to next track, long-tap (or push) to call up the virtual assistant of your choice, and tap to take calls. Calls were loud and clear for me at both ends though some reviewers have reported otherwise. But touch controls are not very sensitive, and on so plasticky a device are not a pleasant experience. I always had problems restarting music after tapping to pause, for example. And tapping on these pushes into your ear and makes a big thump sound which is far from pleasant. It’s particularly bad when you have to triple-tap to change tracks or push down to call up the assistant. It ends up being easier to just use the phone for controls.

Another smart feature is its low latency mode which again is activated via touch controls on both buds. This is meant to ensure that gamers don’t experience a lag between sound and action on the screen. 

The Buds Air work with Bluetooth 5.0 and are compatible with both Android and iOS though if you can afford an iPhone, you can afford its companion Airpods. 

ProsGood sound if not looking for detailed hi res listening, good volume and bass, comfortable, smart features included
ConsDesign blatantly copied, touch controls not sensitive and unpleasant, plastic feel is strong


Published on December 19, 2019

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor