realme Philippines has launched the successor of their first wireless earbuds — the realme Buds Air 2. We put this new iteration to the test, so read more to find out how it performs and if it’s worth the upgrade or a first-time purchase for those new to the brand.
Inside the Box
realme offers the Buds Air 2 in two colors: Closer Black and Closer White. However, realme takes on a different approach to differentiate themselves from other brands. The Black comes with a blue rod, while the White comes with silver making it reflective. Both earbuds come with a matte finish which prevents it from being a smudge-magnet. The earbuds also include two different sizes for its silicone tips — small and large to find that perfect custom fit. You’ll also find a standard Type-C cable, safety guide and warranty card.
Setting up the earbuds is simple and quick whether you’re an Android or Apple user thanks to Google Fast Pair. After this initial setup, the earbuds will automatically sync to your phone as soon as you open the charging case for a seamless experience. Smart Wear Detection also detects when you are and aren’t wearing the earbuds. Its presets are customizable using the realme Link App but these earbuds are still not compatible with iOS.
Portability and Features
In terms of weight and portability, the earbuds themselves weigh just 4.1 grams. That’s amazingly lighter than a typical A4 sized sheet of paper, meaning they do not weigh heavy on the ear. The in-ear experience is just as pleasant. The Buds Air 2’s design naturally conforms to the ear, and when combined with the eartips, make for a truly snug yet comfortable fit. Users can worry less too when wearing the earbuds due to its IPX5 water resistance rating that prevents rain, splash and sweat from potentially damaging the earbuds.
The earbuds feature an Intelligent Touch Control when you tap on the top part of the rod/spine. Below you can find some examples of primary functions you will be utilizing when either listening or on a call.
Noise Cancellation Features & Battery Life
The realme Buds Air 2 feature Active Noise Cancellation up to 25dB by utilizing a feed-forward microphone and a dual-mic noise cancelling algorithm. This means that the earbuds send a reverse anti-noise sound which ‘cancels’ out external sounds. However, it didn’t perform well as expected, as it simply just minimizes the background noise. Strangely, it also emphasizes wind sound if for example you’re seated right in front of an electric fan — you’d hear every detail of it and I’m not a big fan of these noises. For those WFH (work-from-homers), thankfully these earbuds cancel out noise coming from home appliances or TVs playing in the background. During calls, surrounding sounds are minimized significantly so that the voices within the call become highlighted.
Transparency Mode allows users flexibility when they need more ambient noise let in by ‘long-pressing’ the earbuds for two seconds. This mode allows you to easily listen and converse with people in public without the need to remove the earbuds.
In terms of tech, the realme Buds Air 2 upgrades from the previous generations’ chip with the new R2 Chip and Bluetooth 5.2 compatibility. This chip increases battery life by around 80%, while latency is reduced by 35%. Transmission and signal reception have been upgraded as well, by 2dB and 3dB respectively. The latest generation of Bluetooth tech also means that you can smoothly listen to what you’re playing on your device from as far as 10 meters away (with no blockages/walls in between).
In terms of battery life, the ultra low-power realme R2 chip combined with the large battery capacity provide users with up to 25 hours total of playback. This is calculated by combining the battery life for the earbuds (5 hours listening on a single charge) and a fully-charged charging case. In terms of fast charging capability, just 10 minutes of fast charging will net users 2 hours of listening.
Audio Quality Curated by The Chainsmokers
The collaboration between realme Music Studio and the Chainsmokers meant the music group’s input on the carbon diaphragm build, a premium material usually found on flagship headphones within the PHP10,000 to PHP50,000 range. The corrosion-resistance and hardness of the carbon means higher quality sound through an increased front-and-rear sensitivity and transient response. The realme Buds Air 2’s distortion rate has subsequently been lessened to just 0.5% – the audio industry’s leading standard. For those gamers out there, realme has upgraded the Game Mode with latency as low as 88ms – the industry’s lowest. This means that when playing games, your performance won’t be impacted by picture and sound not syncing properly.
realme Music Studio x Chainsmokers have also launched a new Bass Boost+ bass enhancement solution with the 10mm Diamond-class Hi-Fi Driver. This feature takes full advantage of the large dynamic coil and DLC diaphragm, but the bass could still use a bit of a boost. The hi-fi feature makes all the cymbals sound so crisp and vocals come through perfectly clear.
The realme Buds Air 2 is priced competitively at P3,990 — the same price as the realme Buds Air 1 when it was launched last year. These new earbuds came with quite a few upgrades – specifically the R2 chip, longer battery life and an all-new design. However, the earbuds do forgo wireless charging like its predecessor, but this doesn’t make them any less worth it especially for those who don’t utilize that anyway. Overall, with the realme Buds Air 2’s extensive noise cancelling features and sound quality, it’s definitely a bang for your buck and it really challenges other big players in the earbud market.