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Realme Buds Q True Wireless Earphones Review: Better Than Redmi Earbuds S?
Xiaomi and Realme have been fiercely locking horns in the budget true wireless earphones market. Both the companies have launched multiple affordable TWS earphones to bring true wireless audio experience to masses. Realme's most affordable TWS earphones until now - the Buds Air Neo received a tough competition from the Xiaomi's aggressively priced Redmi Earbuds S. However, I believe it was not a fair comparison due to noticeable differences in the form-factor and the pricing of both the products.
- Decent Audio On A Budget
- Super Comfortable
- IPX4 Certified
- Solid Battery Life
- AAC Codec Support
- Realme Link App Support
- MicroUSB Charging Port
- No LED Indictors On Buds
- Inconsistent Touch Controls
- Distortion At Peak Volume
- Lacks Proper Audio Tuning
The competition has just taken a new turn with the launch of the Realme Buds Q. Priced at Rs. 1,999, the new budget TWS earphones by Realme promises to deliver better overall performance than the Redmi Earbuds S at a slightly higher price-point. The Redmi Earbuds are available at Rs. 1,799 in the Indian market.
The Realme Buds Q have a more appealing design and form factor and have a claimed battery life 20-hours on one full charge (buds + case). The new Realme TWS earbuds are powered by 10mm dynamic drivers as compared to 7.2mm drivers on the Redmi Earbuds S. We have already reviewed the Redmi Earbuds S and today we are going to talk in detail about the performance of the all-new Realme Buds Q in the following review.
Realme Buds Q Design
The Realme Buds Q ships inside a tiny cobble-shaped case that has a smaller footprint than the charging cradle offered with the Redmi Earbuds S. With gentle curves on all sides, the Buds Q's case has better ergonomics and fits more comfortably in pockets.
However, the quality of plastic used in construction is similar to what Xiaomi has used and both feel rather flimsy. However, the Redmi Earbuds S case has a slightly better lid response and feels more assuring while opening and closing.
Three Color Variants, microUSB Charging Port, LED Light
Unlike the Redmi Earbuds S, the Realme Buds Q is available in three colors- White, Black, and Yellow that looks quite vibrant. The buds sit inside the housings magnetically and do not fall of even when the case is held upside down. There's an LED light at the front of the case which blinks red when you plug the charger and shows green light when the buds are fully charged. And as expected, the Realme Buds Q's case also lacks a Type-C port and ships with the dated microUSB charging port.
Lightweight And IPX4 Rated
Like the Redmi Earbuds S, the Buds Q are also IPX4 rated to offer water resistance from splashes, rain drops, and sweat in everyday use scenarios. As far as weight is concerned, each Buds Q earplug weighs 3.6g as opposed to the Redmi Earbuds S that weigh 4.1g for each bud. This is a very marginal difference and you won't feel any difference while using them in daily routine. It is worth mentioning that the Realme Buds Q with frosted texture feels slightly more premium than the Redmi earbuds S.
How’s The Wearing Experience?
Like the Redmi Earbuds S, the Realme Buds Q is also in-ear earphones. There's no stem to hang out when you plug them inside your ears. While both the Redmi Earbuds S and the Realme Buds Q offer a secure fit, I found the Realme Buds Q slightly more comfortable to wear for extended duration. The full curved body with no straight lines makes the Realme buds sit more naturally in ear canals. Moreover, the Realme Buds Q comes with three types of ear tips: large, medium and small and you can choose the right ear tips for your ear type.
I was able to wear the Realme Buds Q for longer duration than the Earbuds S in daily routine and would prefer them over the Redmi's TWS earbuds all-day use. The credit for designing more comfortable earbuds for Realme goes to the French artist- José Lévy who is a co-operated designer of Hermes.
Setup And Touch Controls
The setup and pairing process is fairly straightforward. As there is no pairing button on the case, all you need to do is open the lid and wait for your smartphone to detect the earbuds. Like the Redmi Earbuds S, the Buds Q also maintain a solid range for wireless audio transmission. The wireless connection holds up to 10m allowing you to freely move in the range while listening to music and attending voice calls even when you are not carrying the paired device. The wireless connection dropped at exactly the same spot while using both the Xiaomi and Realme earbuds with the same device.
The Buds Q supports touch gestures that can be customized via the Realme Link application, something the Redmi earbuds S are incapable of. You can double-tap on either of the earbuds to answer a call or play/pause music playback. A triple-tap will take you to the next song. You can press and hold either of the earbuds for 2 seconds to end a call. Also, press and hold both sides for 2 seconds to enter/exit the gaming mode. The touch controls are not very consistent because the touch sensitive portion has a rather small surface area. Your finger needs to land perfectly on the glossy area with Realme logo. The Redmi Earbuds S with physical controllers offered better response for on-bud controls.
To test the Realme Buds Q, I paired them with the OnePlus 8 Pro. These budget earbuds are powered by 10 mm dynamic drivers and offer support for AAC and SBC codec, something hard to find in this price-point. The sound produced is largely focused towards mid-to-high frequencies. These budget earbuds have a forward perspective towards audio thus creating an engaging overall listening experience.
Vocals sound crystal clear and the bass response is also decent, in fact the bass delivery is slightly better than the Redmi Earbuds S. I could feel clean dissipation of low frequencies in ‘Sol' by Alef and other bass-centric tracks. The Realme Buds Q also ensures the right amount of treble.
However, the loudness seems to override clarity at various instances and frequencies felt overlapping at peak volumes. I could also hear distortion at peak volume and to lower the volume for an optimal listening experience.
This is not the case with the Redmi Earbuds S. The Xiaomi's budget earbuds seems to have slightly better tonal balance than the Realme Buds Q. The audio produced by the Redmi Earbuds S is somewhat cleaner and has more warmth to it. Moreover, the instrument separation also seemed to be slightly better on the Redmi Earbuds S at peak volumes.
Streaming music at 80% volume gave the best audio output on the Realme Buds Q. Also, I would recommend you to fine tune the audio with some good apps for a better overall listening experience. It is disappointing that the Realme Link app does not offer a built-in equalizer.
Overall, Realme could have tuned these budget earbuds slightly better to make them sound cleaner and more immersive.
Voice Calls Response And Battery Life
Voice calls experience on the budget Realme Buds Q was pleasant and identical to the Redmi Earbuds S. I did not face any connectivity drops but the audio sounded slightly muddy. The other person on the call did not complaint about my voice though. The gaming mode also works really well on the Buds Q and reduces latency while playing games like PUBG and Call of Duty.
As far as battery life is concerned, the Buds Q lasts longer than the competition. These budget earbuds can easily last for four hours on one full charge with music being streamed at peak volume, if you can tolerate the distortion. The case can add four additional full cycles taking the total battery life to up to 17-18 hours on one full charge depending upon your usage. If you are using the Buds Q for gaming, the battery life will take a hit.
Overall, the Realme Buds Q have better endurance as the Redmi Earbuds S can only last for up to 12 hours on one full charge.
There's not much to complain about the Realme Buds Q at a price-point of Rs. 1,999. They make for a better true wireless earbuds in the sub-Rs. 2,000 price-segment than the competition due to better battery life, more comfortable in-ear fit, and slightly better audio performance. Also, the Realme Link companion application with some useful features gives them a definite advantage over the competition. Overall, if you are just starting with the true wireless earbuds, the Buds Q makes for a great pair of TWS earphones.