Launched alongside Buds Air 2 in Brazil, the Realme Buds Air 2 Neo it’s a true wireless headset with active noise cancellation for those who don’t want to or can’t spend a lot. Costing $499, it can be an aggressive response to the popular and darling Edifier X3 and Redmi AirDods 3, rivals that don’t have ANC technology. It remains to be seen if Realme’s wearables sound as good as these two. Is it worth it?
In addition to noise canceling, it hits the market with a dedicated app, IPX5 certification, 28 hours of full playback with the case, and fast charging. I’ve evaluated Realme Buds Air 2 Neo over the past few weeks and tell in detail if it’s a good deal.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo Review in Video
Notice of ethics
O Techblog is an independent journalistic vehicle that has helped people make their next purchase decision since 2005. Our reviews are not intended for advertising, so they highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each product. No company has paid for, reviewed or had advance access to this content.
The Realme Buds Air 2 Neo was provided by Realme on loan and will be returned to the company after testing. For more information, visit tecnoblog.net/etica.
Design, comfort and case
The Realme Buds Air 2 Neo has a capsule-shaped design identical to the Buds Q, which I tested earlier this year and which won my admiration for the entire set. The only difference is in the finish and the brand worked on few differentials on the outside that are visible on the rubber that brings a yellow detail on the inside, while on the outside there is another detail in bright blue.
Other than that, the Buds Air 2 Neo has a simple input earphone construction, being all covered in plastic. Like Q Buds, they are shaped to fit the ear canal, so passive isolation benefits. In the box, along with the power cord, the company sends three pairs of rubbers for different ears, but those that came pre-installed were already comfortable in my case.
In everyday use, the headphones remain snug without causing a nuisance, which is great for you looking for devices to use while exercising. And to give that added durability boost, they’re IPX5 certified, so they’re water and sweat resistant.
The case of Realme Buds Air 2 Neo is horrible. All in plastic, it is very simple and slips out of your hand very easily. It’s irritating because it always happens when you open the lid and I’ve unfortunately accidentally knocked it to the ground a few times. In its structure, Realme added the USB-C port for power, there is an LED on the front and an internal pairing button.
Features and connectivity
To better configure and enjoy the features of the phone, the Chinese offers the Realme Link app. In it I was able to activate and deactivate noise cancellation, transparency mode, game mode and even some sound effects that I explain better for what they are for later. I really liked Realme Link because everything you need is on the first screen and there are no secrets to using it. The brand also provides the battery percentage of the headphones and case. The configuration, it is worth mentioning, was very simple and quick.
The app also allows you to configure the ringtones to trigger the virtual assistant, to control the tracks playing or to activate and deactivate the noise canceling technology. With an eye on the gamer public, Realme added here the game mode that promises to reduce latency during matches. I’ve already tested this feature on other Realme headphones and I confess that I didn’t feel any significant differences. To be honest, I don’t even think it needed that way; the company could just deliver a device with low latency without turning it on and off.
Also in connectivity, Buds Air 2 Neo has Bluetooth 5.2, an excellent version that guarantees great stability. In my tests, connected to a Motorola Moto G50 5G, at times the audio was choppy when I walked away from the cell phone; when paired with an iPhone 11, however, communication was great, and even away, the headphones kept ringing.
Sound Quality and Microphone
The Realme Buds Air 2 Neo has a full-bodied sound that won my ears. It’s not quite as tight as the Redmi AirDots 3, but it delivers less aggressive bass and, at the same time, they don’t hurt other frequencies. The mids sound clean and lively, and the highs are appreciated with balance.
In the Realme Link app you find the sound effects menu for simple equalization. Bass Boost+ makes the low frequencies more impactful, with bass coming out, Dynamic, on the other hand, highlights the mids and trebles, but they get shrill very easily. And finally, the Brightness mode, in my perception, emphasizes the vocals and re-emphasizes the beats.
Now, without any of these modes, Buds Air 2 Neo has a satisfying performance. In different scenarios, with pop, rock, jazz, electronica and hip-hop, the phone did very well, delivering a lively and powerful reproduction. In hip-hop, however, it can happen that the beats get strong on some tracks. a rock, like Start Me Up, by the Rolling Stones, plays with outstanding vocals and instruments; the highs are balanced, while the mids and lows don’t clutter and remain stable.
The Buds Air 2 Neo microphone has a much lower quality: Bluetooth compression is very present in communication and using the headphones during a phone call in a noisy place is almost impossible, as the components cannot filter out the noise.
Noise and battery cancellation
The real highlight of Realme Buds Air 2 Neo is that it is an input Bluetooth headset with active noise cancellation, a technology still very restricted to intermediate and high-end headphones. But I’m going to make some people sad now, as this model’s ANC is quite shy and it hasn’t been able to reduce everyday sounds like dog barking, cars and motorcycles. Even though it creates a muffled feeling, noise cancellation won’t guarantee such a positive experience.
It also has a transparent mode that activates the microphones so you can hear your surroundings. This feature, yes, presented a good performance. Still on active noise cancellation, several times the feature stopped working in the app and I had to delete and connect to Realme Link again. They need to fix this as soon as possible.
In autonomy, Realme says that Buds Air 2 Neo can play for six hours with the ANC turned on or 7 hours with the technology turned off. With the ANC, the right phone rang for 6h06min and the left one turned off two minutes later due to lack of charge. They were connected to an iPhone 12 playing at 50% volume. This shows that the company fulfills the agreement, an excellent result. Fast charging is another highlight of the wearable: ten minutes in the case guarantees another 3 hours of sound.
Realme Buds Air 2 Neo: is it worth it?
As I said throughout this review, the Realme Buds Air 2 Neo is a cheap noise canceling headset. I could even recommend it to someone who’s just looking for a relatively cheap phone with ANC, but I’m still scared. The product’s reduction technology is weak and has not been able to deliver a good experience. Therefore, the new Redmi Buds 3 Pro, which can already be found in Brazil for up to R$ 500, can be a good alternative and, during my first impressions, the Xiaomi device’s ANC proved to be more efficient. The review will be published soon.
Otherwise, the Buds Air 2 Neo won’t disappoint. You’ll find lively, powerful sound quality and even a decent level of detail here. It’s a device for anyone who appreciates bass and likes to feel the beats of pop, hip-hop and electronica. The microphone is not the best for video calls, but it will do the job in quiet places. The app is another hit: it’s easy to use, has good features, and needs little tweaking.
In the same period that this review is going to air, Realme Buds Air 2 Neo can be found on sale for R$ 220, which is an interesting price for a phone with these characteristics. Looking at the whole set and excluding the ANC, I can conclude that it’s worth it, but if you want a model with efficient cancellation, you’d better go after the competitors because the Buds Air 2 Neo technology is very likely not going to suit you.
Fone Bluetooth Realme Buds Air 2 Neo
- Live sound with balanced frequencies
- Handset is comfortable and has a beautiful design.
- It has a dedicated app with good features.
- Active noise cancellation is weak
- microphone could be better