True wireless earbuds are great for a number of reasons including ease of use, the convenience of having no wires, and the fact that good options with them are now available at very reasonable prices. Realme has been in real wireless gaming for a while and with its recent launch, Realme Buds Air Pro is redefining exactly what users can expect for less than Rs. 5,000, with functional active noise cancellation and other useful features like low latency mode and Google Fast Pair.
However, if you look beyond the true wireless form factor to the more traditional wireless neckband style, Realme has headphones that are even more impressive on paper. The Realme Buds Wireless Pro offers active noise cancellation, support for the LDAC Bluetooth codec and the promise of great battery life – all for Rs. 3,999. Is this too good to be true, or is the Realme Buds Wireless Pro everything it claims to be? Find out in our review.
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro has the correct specifications
As for wireless headphones, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is one of the nicest recent launches I’ve seen, and the build quality is impressive. The headset has a flexible neck strap with plastic chambers at the ends. On the right there are four buttons for play, volume, and to cycle through the noise reduction and transparency modes. At the bottom right there is a USB Type-C port for charging, which is protected by a flap when not in use.
There is no power switch. The headset has a magnetic power switch that turns on when the earbuds are disconnected and turns off when they snap together. While this method is quick and allows fewer buttons, the headset in memory can be accidentally turned on. This was annoying at times as the headset would automatically connect to my smartphone, redirecting audio, and draining the battery.
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro comes in two colors, Disco Green and Party Yellow, with the latter definitely being the more sophisticated of the two. Realme’s signature combination of bright yellow and black works well. The cables, insides of the earplugs and microphone grids are highlighted in high contrast. The sales package contains a total of three pairs of silicone earplugs of different sizes and a short charging cable.
Where the Realme Buds Wireless Pro stands out is in its features and specifications. There is active noise cancellation, Bluetooth 5, support for the Bluetooth codecs SBC, AAC and LDAC, a low latency mode of 119 ms and IPX4 water resistance. The earphones each have a 13.6mm dynamic driver. Two of these points stand out: The active noise cancellation and the LDAC codec support are impressive for a headset under Rs. 4,000.
While the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is said to have a battery life of 22 hours, it can do so under certain – and rather unlikely – conditions of use. With the occasional active noise cancellation, volume around 70 to 80 percent, streaming music using the LDAC codec, and occasional use for voice calls, I was only able to use about 12 hours on a charge. This is no exception, but reasonable enough given the price and range of features.
You won’t find a better sounding pair of wireless headphones at this price point
With the Buds Wireless Pro, Realme has far surpassed all other headphones made to date and has also fundamentally changed my ideas about what to expect at this price. You are unlikely to find a better-equipped pair of wireless headphones than this for Rs. 4,000 or less.
I used the headphones with an Android smartphone for much of the review with the LDAC codec and active noise cancellation on. I also used my Apple iPad mini (2019) and MacBook Air and played music on the Realme Buds Wireless Pro via Tidal, Spotify and YouTube Music.
By supporting the LDAC codec, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro can in theory produce more high-resolution audio tracks, and testing the headset with music on Tidal quickly confirmed this. A lot of detail can be heard on the headphones, especially on Tidal Masters. The Weeknd’s Die For You sounded full, roomy, and intense, and largely different from what I would have expected from a pair of wireless headphones below Rs. 5,000. The weak elements at the beginning of the track were crisp and clear, and the bass sounded tight and refined.
What surprised me most about the sound quality was that it wasn’t just about the refinement of bass and detail. The Weeknd’s soulful singing was sharp and precise, while the highs were crisp and had just enough sheen at the top to be felt, but not uncomfortable. The most impressive aspect, however, was the soundstage, which felt significantly wider than I heard with headphones in this price range.
Using advanced codecs usually results in a significant drop in sound quality when listening to compressed audio tracks, and this is the case even with the Realme Buds Wireless Pro. Although the tracks on Spotify sounded a little less detailed with a slightly narrower soundstage, it didn’t detract too much from the overall quality of the sound.
Listening to Suomi by Chill House artist Cantoma was just as entertaining as the much more expensive aptX-enabled Creative Outlier Air that I could compare to. Although the level of detail was lower with the Realme headphones, their somewhat U-shaped sound signature remained just as pleasant and refined as with high-resolution music with calculated bass and precise midrange.
What I found strange about the Realme Buds Wireless Pro was how much active noise cancellation affected the sound. In addition to the apparent reduction in ambient noise, turning on ANC oddly also changed the way music played on the headphones, recording a bit of grunt and sharpness as well as the acoustic signature. I found that when the ANC was turned off, the headphones sounded significantly fuller and only used the feature when actually needed than always.
The active noise cancellation itself is reasonably suitable for the price and offers noticeable noise reduction. Normal household noises were reduced considerably, especially noises from air conditioning and fans, while urban outside noises also seemed to lose their bite. It’s not an exceptional performance, and there’s still a bit of roaring to be heard even with noise cancellation enabled, but it’s roughly on par with the ANC performance of the Realme Buds Air Pro.
The transparency mode was just as good as on the Realme Buds Air Pro and offered a natural-sounding listen-through effect. The low latency mode, which can be enabled through Realme’s companion app, disables the LDAC bluetooth codec and takes some load off the sound but offers a slight improvement in latency.
I had no issues with voice calls on the Realme Buds Wireless Pro, with decent performance on both regular and data-based voice calls.