We’re still not at a point where wireless earbuds can replace high-quality wired headphones for a great audio experience. But if you’re like me, you just want a pair of wireless earbuds that don’t make your music sound like you’re playing it out of a tin can. And there are tons of those options in the PHP 5,000 / EUR 60 space. There are decent options for enjoying whatever type of content you want to enjoy by yourself.
What sets them apart is what else they can give you. Out of all the options, why would you pick the one you’re looking at? In the realme Buds Air 3’s case, it has a lot more going for it.
realme Buds Air 3 audio quality?
Audio quality is as I expect from earbuds at its price point. realme promises “clear vocals and powerful bass” with a 10mm dynamic bass boost driver. But it doesn’t come off as too bass-heavy, which I don’t mind because it makes it easier to hear the highs and mids.
I’m not an audiophile that will pick apart the sound quality for you, but I find the realme Buds Air 3 adequate for my use. I wouldn’t mind picking it out of the earbuds I typically carry with me. I wouldn’t recommend maxing out the volume because you will hear the sound crackle. (Also, that won’t be good for your hearing.) Despite that, many users will find it sufficient for daily use.
If you need to know the supported codecs, these earbuds support AAC and SBC, meaning you can use them with Android and iOS devices. AAC is the codec used by Apple products. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for aptX support, you won’t find that here.
While audio quality is essential, that isn’t the only reason to pick up earbuds. Admittedly, the realme Buds Air 3’s audio quality seems similar to other wireless audio accessories I’ve tested at its price point. So, what makes it stand out? It’s the extras that make these earbuds shine. So, let’s talk about those.
Comfort is king
I am the type to use earbuds for extended listening sessions, so comfort is crucial to me. And the realme Buds Air 3 easily ticks that box. It has replaceable ear tips and an in-ear style, which helps for fit and comfort. The earbuds sit well on my ear, and I don’t feel strain even when I use them for hours. You’ll barely notice you have it on, with each bud weighing just 4.2g.
I sometimes nap with earbuds on, and this pair works for that, too. However, when I lean on one side, it can sometimes activate the on-ear controls and switch from transparency mode to noise-canceling. But basically, you can use this pair for hours without any issue.
The design isn’t too out there, with the case looking like a pebble. realme sent over the Galaxy White version, which is a clean design. The stems on the earbuds feature a silver color, which may or may not be to your taste. It does give it a bit of contrast, but it’s not my favorite look. I like the more standout Starry Blue it comes in. (There’s a race-inspired Nitro Blue option in some markets, too.)
The earbuds themselves are IPX5 water resistance rated. But as realme warns, this rating only protects them from splashing water. It’s still not a device meant to be soaked directly in water. It’s also not designed for intensive activities to avoid sweat from getting into the earbuds. But I have used it for walks, stretching, and even when I skip rope, and it worked just fine. It stayed in for most of that.
LiTT Tip #1: If you’re uncertain if the realme Buds Air 3’s ear tips fit you right, there’s an in-app test to verify for you. Open the realme Link app and select your earbuds (the realme Buds Air 3). Scroll down to the Other section, then tap on Earbud fit test. Press Play and let it assess for you.
realme Buds Air 3’s easy connectivity
Using the realme Buds Air 3 with an Android device is a treat, given it supports Google’s Fast Pair service. It allows compatible Android phones to detect when you open the case of these earbuds. Many existing Android devices support the feature, so you don’t have to dig into your phone’s settings to connect them via Bluetooth.
These earbuds support Bluetooth 5.2, with the perk that lets you connect the realme Buds Air 3 to two devices at once. That makes it easier to switch between devices, coming in handy for me when testing multiple devices. For your use case, it could mean you can connect it to a tablet and your phone simultaneously, allowing you to pick up a call on your smartphone even when you’re watching on the tablet. It’s been pretty seamless during my testing.
Another seamless feature of the realme Buds Air 3 is its in-ear detection. I always look for that in earbuds, and I’m happy to see it here. This feature pauses what you’re listening to when you take out the earbuds and instantly starts playing when you put the earbuds back in. I’ve had it work on laptops too, which is a nice bonus.
I didn’t notice any delays between sound and video synchronization. But if you’re particular about that, the realme Buds Air 3 has an 88ms super-low latency mode, a.k.a. Game Mode. You will need the realme Link app for this.
Yes, I know installing another app for your earbuds can be annoying. But that app will also come in handy for other things like firmware updates and the extra features on these earbuds. It is missing a built-in equalizer, but in its place, there are default “Sound effects.” That includes Bass Boost+, Balanced, and Bright (focuses on vocals/voice). realme recommends you use Dolby Atmos sound on your device to tweak your listening experience further. My OnePlus 9 has it, so I’ve been able to take advantage of that. Some realme smartphones also have that, so it’s worth looking into. If your phone supports the feature, you’ll see a shortcut to it in the realme Link app.
LiTT Tip #2: Now, if you want an improved listening experience, the realme Link app offers Customized Audio Tuning. You will need to do a listening test to get a personalized audio enhancement. It’ll boost frequencies it needs to suit your hearing, so you enjoy your music better. To access the feature:
- Open the realme Link app.
- Select the realme Buds Air 3.
- Scroll down to Sound effects, then head into Customized audio tuning.
- Tap on the Start test option. You’ll need to be in a quiet room to get the best results.
Impressive noise canceling
Another feature the realme buds air 3 excels at is its noise canceling. The company was right to hype up this feature. As with any other noise-canceling option, these earbuds won’t completely block out all external noise, but they manage to keep most of that background noise out. I haven’t tested it in a plane, but I have used it in a coffee shop and was impressed by the results. It cut out the wind from the aircon and the chatter of those around me. If you need a device to help you focus, this will help you out.
There are two noise-canceling options (Strong and Mild) and Normal and Transparency modes. Normal switches off noise cancellation, while Transparency lets a bit of that external noise in so you can hear what’s happening around you while still listening to your tunes. The latter comes in handy when you listen to music outdoors and want to stay aware of your surroundings.
You can quickly toggle between the different listening modes through on-ear controls. These controls have been pretty responsive throughout testing. What I am missing is the on-ear volume control. For earbuds with a similar feature set, that option is available.
Back to noise cancelation, realme had TÜV Rheinland certify this pair of earbuds’ 42dB active noise cancellation for high noise-canceling standards. It uses dual microphones (one feedforward and one feedback) to help get rid of the noise. These mics also come in handy for calls.
I haven’t had any complaints about call quality on these earbuds. I took a quick 15-minute call the other day on these earbuds sitting near an electric fan. The person on the other end only complained once when I moved a bit too close to the fan, but otherwise, I heard them, and they heard me clearly.
I use these earbuds with noise cancellation enabled most of the time. And I’ve still enjoyed seven- to eight-hour listening sessions. realme claims a maximum 30-hour total playback on these earbuds, which keeps well within that range. These earbuds offer three extra charges out of the case and an hour to charge between each use (around two hours of charging for the included case and earbuds), which is pretty good for a pair of earbuds at its price point.
LiTT Tip #3: If you want extra help with noise-canceling while taking calls or listening outdoors, the realme Buds Air 3 has a Smart de-wind feature accessible in its app. To enable it, head to the realme Link app and select the realme Buds Air 3. Under the Noise control section, toggle the Smart de-wind technology option.
What’s lit and what’s not
What’s lit about it:
- Sound balance between highs, mids, and lows is pretty good
- Comfortable and lightweight earbuds
- Clean, minimalist design
- IPX5 water resistance against splashes
- Supports Google Fast Pair for quick connectivity
- Connects to two devices at once
- Comes with in-ear detection
- Low latency mode for better synchronization
- Get extra features through the realme Link app
- Excellent noise cancellation
- True-to-its-claim battery life
What needs the extra spark:
- Not for those who want that bass-thumping sound
- Sound quality crackles at max volume (don’t do that anyway)
- No aptX HD support
- No equalizer in the realme Link app
- Need to install another app to get extra features
- No on-ear volume control
The realme Buds Air 3 does what it claims to do and then some, making it a compelling buy. It’s not a perfect device, but it tries to compensate for that with the extras. And if those extras are important to you, it might be worth the purchase.
The realme Buds Air 3 retails for EUR 59.99 or PHP 3,990.
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