Realme Buds Air Neo Review: Strictly For First-Time TWS Earphones Buyers

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Realme is aggressively populating its IoT portfolio in India with new wearables, Smart TVs and audio products. The company recently launched its second pair of truly wireless earphones- the Buds Air Neo alongside the Realme Smart TV and the Realme Watch. Priced at Rs. 2,999, the Buds Air Neo is the affordable version of the Realme Buds Air TWS earphones that were launched in December 2019, and are currently selling at Rs. 3,999.

 

Rating:
3.5/5

Realme Buds Air Neo Review

The difference in price-point is largely because of the lack of wireless charging and the Type-C port. Interestingly, the low-cost Buds Air Neo features slightly larger 13mm dynamic drivers as compared to 12mm drivers on the Buds Air. The low-cost TWS earphones also get the custom R1 audio chip for better connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0 and Super-low latency mode to please mobile gamers.

We tested the new Buds Air Neo to evaluate the sound quality, battery life and connectivity performance. Here's how they performed as budget true wireless earphones in daily routine.

Apple Airpod Inspired Design, IPX4 Rated And Nifty Touch Controls

Apple Airpod Inspired Design, IPX4 Rated And Nifty Touch Controls

Realme hasn't cut too many corners on the design front. Like the Buds Air, the Buds Air Neo are also built on the widely popular Apple AirPods design; however, the case does not support wireless charging and you have to make peace with the dated microUSB charging port. The charging case still gets the notification LED and the pairing button. The Buds Air Neo is available in three colors- Pop White, Punk Green and Rock Red.

As far as the earbuds are concerned, they are IPX4 certified for water-resistance and feature the same set of touch controls. You can double-tap to answer a call or play/pause the music playback. A triple-tap takes you to the next song and long-pressing the bud invokes the paired phone's voice assistant and ends the active phone call. If you press and hold both sides, you can enable/disable the Super Low Latency Mode.

How’s The Wearing Experience?
 

How’s The Wearing Experience?

The Buds Air Neo comes in ‘half-in' ear design which has its merits and demerits. While the half-in ear structure makes the buds comfortable for extended use, they fail to offer a confident and secure fit. The Buds Air Neo doesn't fall off that easily from ears but you have to keep a tab on them if you are working out in the gym or going out for an outdoor run.

Also, the audio leakage is a big issue with the half-in ear design and you just cannot expect passive noise isolation. The earbuds are made out of plastic and cannot be customized by using silicon-based tips which again is a bummer.

Fast And Seamless Connectivity

Fast And Seamless Connectivity

I used the Buds Air Neo with multiple Android devices and Windows PC. The pairing process is quick and the Buds Air Neo maintains a stable connection, thanks to the Google Fast pair and R1 true wireless chip. Backed by Bluetooth 5.0, the Buds Air offers a good wireless range for hand-free music streaming. These affordable buds offer support for the SBC and AAC codecs.

Audio Performance

Audio Performance

The sound delivery remains unaffected despite the significant price cut. In fact, the Buds Air Neo generates slightly louder audio output as compared to the Buds Air, thanks to the bigger 13mm drivers. That said, the sound signature hasn't changed much and largely resembles the Buds Air's audio response. Like the Buds Air, the Buds Air Neo also does not emphasize much on bass and focuses more on the mids and high frequencies.

The sound presentation is engaging as the vocals sound clear and the treble response is also good. But some tracks had too much apparent treble creating a very bright sound output. Add to this the mediocre bass response and the Buds Air ends up sounding tizzy. If you prefer weighty sound delivery, these are not the right pair of TWS earphones for you. Even the super affordable Redmi Earbuds S has a slightly heavier bass response and softer treble response than the Buds Air Neo.

We got the best bass response from the Oppo Enco W31. Priced at Rs. 3,999, the true wireless earbuds have a dedicated bass mode to spice up things. Moving on, the sound produced by the Buds Air Neo also lacks detail and character. Some tracks just sounded dull and the listening experience was not quite enjoyable.

Overall, the Buds Air Neo produces very entry-level sound and is not meant for serious audiophiles. As far as voice calls are concerned, I did not face any issues during calls made over the budget true wireless earbuds. The low-latency game mode is also a good addition to the package and lets you make the most out of gameplay on paired devices.

Battery Life

Battery Life

As far as battery life is concerned, the Realme Buds Air Neo can last for about 3 hours on one full charge with volume levels fluctuating between 80 to 100%. The case adds another 4 hours of charge taking the overall battery life to a good 15 hours. Interestingly, the Realme Buds Q delivers better battery life than the Realme Buds Air Neo and the Buds Air. They are priced lower, offer secure and comfortable fit and produce good audio on a budget price.

Verdict

Verdict

The Realme Buds Air Neo is a good pair of true wireless earbuds if you are making a shift from wired earphones to TWS earphones category and don't want to spend much on your first pair of TWS earbuds. The budget earbuds impressed us with the seamless and stable connectivity, decent battery life and crystal clear vocals delivery. For music enthusiasts, the Buds Air will mostly come across as a secondary pair of TWS earbuds as they fail to deliver a balanced and immersive audio experience.

If you can spend a little extra, the Mi true Wireless Earphones are a good option. And if you are tight on budget, the aggressively priced Redmi Earbuds S and the Realme Buds Q are worth checking out.

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