Realme Buds Air 3 Review: Headset with better sound and ANC at a lower price

A little over a year ago, true wireless earphones were rarely seen in the affordable category. But in the recent past, there have been several brands that have launched TWS models with essential features like active noise cancellation and app support. Some products launched initially in this segment like – Realme Buds Air 2 were mediocre in terms of performance and capability. But brands like Oppo and OnePlus have come a long way in this regard and set a benchmark by offering everything you would expect from a TWS headset under Rs 5000.

Realme launches its latest true wireless headset Buds Air 3 has been launched. These are similar to the Buds Air 2 but they seem to make up for the shortcomings that were left in the old model. It can be said that after their arrival, the competition in the market has become tougher in which Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro And OnePlus Buds Z2 are also included. Are these the best TWS headsets under Rs 5000? You will find out in this review.

Compact and efficient design of Realme Buds Air 3

The Realme Buds Air 3 is priced at Rs 3,999 in India and comes in Stary Blue and Galaxy White colours. Recently, the company has also launched their Nitro Blue version, on which white colored racing stripes have also been given. The price of this variant is Rs 4,999.

A new product version usually means that you will see some improvement. In terms of design, some useful changes have been made in the Realme Buds Air 3. The earpiece and charging case are slightly smaller than the older model, even though they look and feel the same. They have a great in-canal fit, which further enhances the noise isolation in active noise cancellation.

Like the Buds Air 2, the stem in the Realme Buds Air 3 has been moduled separately from the main chamber of the earpiece. Their color is also different. My review unit stem was in silver color and the earpieces were in white colour. Like the old model, this time too the ‘L’ and ‘R’ marks have not been given on the earpiece. The earpieces have an IPX5 rating for water resistance and weigh 4.2 grams each.

I really liked the look of Realme Buds Air 3. Its compact design and comfortable fit worked great for me. The cell package includes a short charging cable and three pairs of silicone ear tips of varying sizes to provide a customizable fit. The outer side of the stem is sensitive to touch controls. These can be customized through the Realme Link app. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms.

I liked the performance of its touch controls. However, on several occasions the triple tap gesture registered a double tap, or did not register at all. The touch sensitive area on the earpiece is quite small and not even shown. Maybe that’s why he was not able to read the input. Through these touch controls, it is possible to control playback, switch between ANC and hear-through modes, activate the default voice assistant on paired devices, and activate game mode directly from the earphones.

The color and finish of the charging case of the Realme Buds Air 3 is similar to that of the earpiece. There’s an indicator light at the front, a USB Type-C port at the bottom, and a Bluetooth pairing button on the right. At the top is the Realme logo. The review unit sent to me had my name printed on the back of the case, but realme has confirmed that it is not yet available for customers in India.

Like other wireless audio products of the company, the Realme Link app has been given to support the functions of the Realme Buds Air 3. Through the app, users can switch between ANC and hear-through modes, activate game mode and control other features such as dual device connectivity. You can also customize the touch controls on the earpiece through the app.

You can choose from three equalizer presets using the app, or you can tune through a customized audio tuning process. I used the ‘Balanced’ sound preset. While a custom audio signature may suit some people, you may need to go through a hearing test to get the tuning set specifically for you.

The Realme Buds Air 3 packs 10mm dynamic drivers and supports SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. For this, connectivity of Bluetooth 5.2 has been given in them. The ANC is claimed to reduce the sound by up to 42dB. Latency is up to 88ms in low latency game mode. It also has the feature of connecting two devices simultaneously.

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Battery life was good in the wearable. It lasted for 4.5 hours on a single charge. In the charging case, you get three complete charging cycles. The charging case is slightly smaller than the older model and gives more charging cycles.

Improvement in ANC and sound of Realme Buds Air 3

The old model was average in terms of sound. It also had very minor active noise cancellation. There is a lot of improvement in Realme Buds Air 3. The support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs means that it will get the same music experience on Android and iOS devices. I used an iPhone for this review. I heard Martin Solveig’s Intoxicated on this. The sound quality was much better than any other headset I reviewed from Reality.

Its sonic is tuned for its signature strong bass, but the low points of the track sounded very clean and tight. While this is not available in other devices in this price range. The high points of the track were also comfortable and clean. Mid range was a bit low. The track felt very clean, especially with its strong and fast beat.

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Childish Gambino’s Feels Like Summer had a decent level of detail. It’s a down tempo and soothing track that sounds great at different volume levels. This is where the Realme Buds Air 3 has improved to deliver enjoyable and comfortable sound.

The sound of the Realme Buds Air 3 feels quite comfortable in the ears. I didn’t feel tired while listening to music. However, in terms of attack and drive sound, the earphones lag behind Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro and OnePlus Buds Z2.

Active noise cancellation in the Realme Buds Air 3 was much better than its older model. This feature worked well even indoors. The hum sound of AC was heard very little. At the same time, the noise of the office and the noise of the streets in the outdoors were lightened a bit. This improved hearing, but you’ll get better ANC performance on slightly more expensive options like the OnePlus Buds Z2 or Nothing Ear 1.

Transparency mode felt over-amplified but I was clearly able to hear my surroundings better. I found it more comfortable to rely on the automatic play and pause function while taking short calls while listening with one earpiece. Its connectivity is very good. The earpieces work great up to a distance of 4 metres. Multipoint connectivity also worked well. I was able to use these earphones for calls without any problem.

Verdict

Realme maintains a very good track record in terms of value for money products. Realme Buds Air 3 has carried forward this feature of the company. This time the sound quality and active noise cancellation have improved. It also comes with some useful features like multi-point connectivity. If you are looking for true wireless earphones under Rs 5000, then you can take them.

In terms of price, the sound quality and ANC performance in Realme Buds Air 3 is quite good. Although the quality is less than Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro or OnePlus Buds Z2. Nevertheless, the overall experience makes this handset worth buying in this price range.

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