The highly competitive wireless headphone market is expanding with a new product called Realme Buds Air 2 Neo. These new earbuds not only offer long battery life but also deliver extra durability and surprisingly an active noise cancelling technology.
How did these seemingly likeable headphones from Realme do in the test and do they have any major flaws at all?
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Design: an inconspicuous egg
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Hardware
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Water resistance and durability
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Sound has a surprisingly decent ANC
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo: The Realme Link app
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Game mode and other features
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Controls and Gestures need some practice
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Battery gets you easily through the day
- Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Verdict
- Buy Realme Buds Air 2 Neo
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Design: an inconspicuous egg
The case of Buds Air 2 Neo resembles an egg, and apart from USB-C and an unobtrusive information LED, you will find only a decent logo of the manufacturer on the case. Considering the low selling price, it’s not surprising that the case (and the headphones) is completely plastic with a matte finish, which won’t leave any fingerprints on and even minor hairline scratches won’t be as visible as if the case would be made of glossy plastic.
The case fits nicely in the palm of the hand and, like the headphones, is very lightweight, making it easy to carry. What we didn’t like too much, on the other hand, is the workmanship of the hinge itself. Unfortunately, it lacks a spring that would “help” the top to flip up and keep it open.
In this case, when you just move/shake with the opened case, it automatically closes itself, which might be a bit annoying while taking the earbuds out of the case by one hand during some activities. Another complaint we might have is the recess that is supposed to make it easier to open the case which is unfortunately very shallow and doesn’t provide much room for inserting a fingernail/finger.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Hardware
When you manage to open the case, you will find, in addition to the pair of earbuds, a physical button that activates pairing mode. The Buds Air 2 Neo will then use Bluetooth 5.2 to pair with your device.
Pulling the earbuds out is very easy, as is putting them back in place, and thanks to the strong magnets they won’t fall out even if you turn the case upside down. The design of the earbuds is fairly plain, with a small amber inner end of the silicone earpiece. There are 3 microphones on the body of the earbuds, gold-plated pins for charging and also a touch pad in the form of a very shiny dark-blue circle.
The headphones fit (after choosing the right size of silicone attachments) in the ears without any problems (this will, however, depend on the individual ear shapes and preferences) and did not fall out even during rapid movements during sports activities.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Water resistance and durability
Pleasingly, the increased IPX5 durability means the earbuds just won’t break due to sweat or light rain. It is necessary to keep in mind, the Realme Buds Air 2 Neo are primarily affordable and that’s also the impression they left behind and should be treated with extra caution as the cheaper materials might not always provide 100% standard.
So unless you’re into high-value materials or a more elaborate case and prefer the lowest price, you shouldn’t be lacking anything to be satisfied.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Sound has a surprisingly decent ANC
While the ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) feature used to be the prerogative of more expensive models, nowadays we can find it even in very cheap headphones or earbuds, which is actually the case with the Realme Buds Air 2 Neo.
For sceptics who expected the difference between standard ambient noise transmission and activated ANC to be zero, we have some good news. The active noise cancellation works surprisingly well.
The Realme used its new R2 chip with ANC technology which also offers ultra-low battery use and good connectivity.
Regarding the sound, there is solid attenuation of ambient noise in the lower and mid frequencies (Realme states up to 25%), although it’s probably needless to add that the quality of ANC can’t be compared to much more expensive and earbuds headphones from Sony, Apple and other reputable manufacturers. On the other hand, if you look at the price-value ratio, you definitely won’t get five times better ANC technology for five times the purchase price either. As a result, we find the Realme Buds Air 2 Neo’s active noise cancellation to be working surprisingly well, given the Bud’s price tag.
We can’t even complain about the quality of the audio, which is taken care of by 10mm transducers (a device that converts energy from one form to another).
The presentation of the mids is not as distorted as in more expensive competitors and the highs may not be as clear, but even so, we can’t complain about the headphones sounding bad and it shouldn’t be really noticeable to a regular listener. The bass is quite punchy with the bass boost activated and provides a satisfying listening experience.
It is also important not to forget (again) about the low price and not to compare them unnecessarily with models several times more expensive which aim for an entirely different consumer base.
The headphones also performed well in the quality test during phone calls, when we could hear the other party clearly and loudly enough. With the higher volume, however, you might experience the earbuds letting the sound through as they don’t seem to handle sound directing very well.
The Realme Buds Air 2 Neo support both AAC and SBC codecs.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo: The Realme Link app
In the Realme Link app, which you’ll need to install if you plan to use not only the ANC but also other functions, such as battery status of all three components, transparent mode, which amplifies ambient noise and can be useful for cyclists or anyone who wants to stay safe and keep an eye on what’s going on around them while listening.
The app also includes three different sound modes: Bass Boost+, Dynamic and Bright. The names correspond to the sound presentation – Bass Boost+ is appreciated by lovers of more pronounced bass, Bright puts more emphasis on the highs, while Dynamic is simply something in between and tries to be as balanced as possible.
Buds Air 2 Neo Game mode and other features
Considering the low price, Realme Buds Air 2 are bringing a relatively large number of features for its users, as it is also possible to activate the so-called Game mode in the mobile app, which reduces the earbuds’ latency up to 88 ms for better, more precise gaming experience.
It has also an Auto answer feature which will automatically accept an incoming call when you pick the earbuds out of the case. There’s also an extra Volume enhancer that will increase the volume should you find the system volume too low, which can be a very useful tweak on some smartphones.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Controls, Gestures need some practice
You can control the earbuds via touchpads on their surface that manages to recognize three types of commands: double tap, triple tap and finger hold on the sensor.
The sensors’ ability to correctly detect the gestures will feel rather weak for some time and requires a bit of patience and training for a couple of days to find the right way to control them accurately.
Very commendable, on the other hand, is the earbud’s ability to map all the available control gestures and assign them to selected functions to your own preference. You can then assign one of the three gestures to select next/previous track, pause/play, switch between ANC and transparent mode, activate Game mode or turn on the voice assistant.
Buds Air 2 Neo Battery gets you easily through the day
With a combined capacity of 480mAh (400mAh cell in the case + 2×40mAh in the earbuds), Realme Buds Air 2 Neo battery promises a total life of up to 28 hours per charge without ANC. Without charging in this case, the earbuds themselves should be able to play for about five hours with ANC, or 7 hours without ANC, which roughly correspondent to the real-life tests (many reviewers report around 4.5 hours of music listening with ANC on at 70 – 80% volume), so you don’t have to worry about charging too often.
The Buds Air 2 Neo uses a USB-C cable to charge them (via the case), which, apart from the adapter is included in the box. You can alternatively use charging from one of your PC’s or laptop’s USB ports if you don’t have an adapter with you at the moment. The Buds Air 2 Neo, although not surprisingly due to the given price tag, don’t support wireless charging.
Buy Realme Buds Air 2 Neo
The earbuds are not for sale in the UK, Europe or the US yet. You can, however, take a look at other similar and currently available earbuds from Realme.
Check Realme Buds Air 2 price at Amazon.co.uk
Check Realme Buds Q price at Amazon.co.uk
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Verdict
|Active Noise Control||Long battery life||USB-C|
|IPx5 water resitance||Customizable gestures||Perfomance/price ratio|
|Case lid loose|
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo are very decently equipped wireless headphones that will delight with long battery life (similar to how long the Apple’s Airpods can last), solid sound quality and surprisingly good ANC. If you don’t mind the cheaper manufacturing process and used materials and are looking for headphones with a top-notch price/performance ratio, we can highly recommend buying the Buds Air 2 Neo.
The Buds Air 2 Neo is starting its sale in Pakistan for a starting price of PKR 8,000, which is around £38, €44 or USD $53 (the prices will most likely slightly differ due to other factors in the destination). The new Buds should get to the European and global market a couple of weeks after that.
In the box, apart from the Buds Air 2 Neo, you will also find the Charging case, USB-C charging cable, User guide and warranty card and 3 pairs of spare Silicone earbud tips (large, medium and small).