Active Noise Cancellation has always been associated with high-end audio products. Audiophiles love it as ANC guarantees immersive listening experience even in the noisiest environment by canceling excessive outside noise. With the advancement in audio technology, brands have now started offering ANC at a much lower price to bring premium sound experience at reasonable rates. Realme’s latest audio products- Buds Air Pro and Buds Wireless Pro come equipped with ANC and both are priced under Rs. 5,000.
- Decent Audio
- Good Design
- Excellent Battery Life
- Good Audio Customization Support
- Poorly Implemented ANC And ENC
- Voice Calls Response Could Have Been Better
Today we are going to talk about the Buds Wireless Pro. Priced at Rs. 3,999, the wireless neckband comes equipped with active noise cancellation, with a maximum noise reduction of 35dB. The noise cancellation is offered both for music playback and voice calling. The new neckband is powered by a sizeable 13.6mm bass boost driver and supports premium features like Sony LDAC Hi-Res Audio, magnetic Instant Connect, and 119ms Super Low Latency Gaming Mode. These are some impressive features for a pair of wireless neckband that cost Rs. 3,999 and are available at an introductory price of Rs. 2,999. We tested the Realme Buds Wireless Pro to find out if the impressive spec-sheet translates to good real-life performance. Here’s what we found out.
Voice Calls Experience And Gaming Mode
Despite the ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) algorithm, which works to suppress ambient noise during calls, the voice call response is largely similar to neckband earphones that come sans ENC. For instance, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offered a similar voice calling experience at a lower price. Many callers complained about the background noise while making calls on the Realme Buds Wireless Pro. The microphones have the tendency to pick up too much ambient noise. As far as the ‘Gaming Mode’ is concerned, the neckband performs wonderfully and you won’t experience any latency issues while playing games and streaming videos.
Design- Sporty Looks And Premium Build
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro is reminiscent of the company’s first neckband but feels slightly more premium and well-designed. The new neckband is available in two color options- Party Yellow, which has Realme’s signature black and yellow dual-tone color scheme, and the new Disco Green variant which looks very subtle and has a more upmarket feel to it. The overall design feels pretty durable as the brand has used good quality rubber, plastic, and metal in the construction. The Realme Buds Wireless Pro has the IPX4 water resistance rating which makes them suitable for intense gym workouts.
Physical Controls And Realme Link Companion App Usability
The right side of the neckband has the plastic-made physical controls (Volume up/down, Noise Cancellation, and a multifunction button in middle) which offer a satisfying click experience. The multifunction button serves as a play/pause button for music and also allows you to answer/decline incoming phone calls. The dedicated noise cancellation button lets you switch between various modes. You can shift to ANC, Transparency Mode and Normal mode with a single click and can activate Game Mode by long-pressing the button. Double-clicking the button lets you switch between paired devices as the neckband supports dual pairing, powered by Bluetooth 5.0.
Realme also allows you to customize the dedicated ANC and the tiny multifunction button in the middle via the Realme Link companion app. The home screen has ‘Multifunction button settings’ and ‘Mode switching’ sections to help you customize the actions.
Useful Magnetic Instant Connect Feature
There’s no power button on the neckband but it shouldn’t be much of an issue as the earbuds have magnetic clamps for an instant on/off mechanism. Simply clip them together to switch off the neckband and separate them to start playing audio. It’s a handy feature that should be made standard on all neckband earphones. Moving on, the neckband comes equipped with a Type-C charging port which is protected by a rubber flap to offer the necessary protection from sweat damage.
You can wear the Realme Buds Wireless Pro for an extended period without much discomfort. The soft material of the rubber neckband rests comfortably on your neck and the lightweight (33g) body ensures comfort fit even during all-day use. The in-ear fitting isn’t the most secure but thankfully Realme is offering three different size silicone tips in the package to help you find the best fit as per your ear size. Overall, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro is a pair of premium-looking neckband earbuds with a comfortable wearing experience.
As expected from a sub-5K wireless audio device tuned for the Indian audience, the sound profile has a warmer tone to it with good bass response, clear mids, and decent highs. Resultant, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro sounds quite musical and works well for a variety of tracks. The bass delivery is prominent and doesn’t leak into other frequencies, thus creating a very pleasant listening experience. The audio gets fairly loud, thanks to the big 13.6mm driver unit which produces more powerful audio than the competition. And despite streaming music at max volume, there’s no annoying distortion at play.
The aforementioned sound signature is only valid if you are streaming audio with ANC disabled. The moment you activate the ANC mode, the audio delivery experiences an instant shift to a brighter sound profile. Sadly, the sound becomes too crispy and unpleasant. Even the audiophiles who prefer grasping every little detail of acoustic instruments will find it mostly annoying. It does widen the soundstage but then the constant humming induced by ANC is another letdown. The tuning seems to be off by a fair margin with the Realme’s S1 ANC module in action.
Customize Settings For Better Audio Experience
There’s a trick to make things better but you must install the Realme Link app for it. Sadly, the app isn’t available for iOS users. With ANC enabled, switch off the ‘Volume enhancer’ and enable the ‘Bass Boost+’ from the companion application. The particular settings dramatically improve the audio response and make you appreciate the overall sound delivery. If you enable the bass boost+ with ‘General mode’, you will experience unwanted bass rumbling in the background and it’s not a very pleasant experience. Also, I wish Realme soon offers a built-in equalizer in the app for its audio products since the brand has become quite aggressive in the space.
Overall, the good customization and the Realme Link app has managed to make things better for these ANC-equipped sub-5k neckband earphones. Otherwise, the audio performance would have not impressed us much.
Battery Life And Connectivity
The Realme Buds Wireless Pro lasted for 14 hours with ANC turned on and music being streamed at 80% volume mostly on AAC. If you disable the ANC or use it moderately, the neckband will offer you at least 20 hours of music playback on one full charge. The battery life will vary upon incoming calls you receive and the fluctuations in volume level. The 160mAh battery cell takes about an hour and a half to get fully charged. The charging time is a bit longer for a battery of such a small size when the brand says that the audio product supports fast-charge. Thankfully, a 5-minute charge can give you 90-minutes of music playback if you use the features moderately.
The neckband works on Bluetooth 5.0 and has a range of 10m. The brand has offered support for LDAC, AAC, and SBC codecs. The LDAC offered the best audio listening experience on the new Realme neckband followed by SBC and AAC.
Priced at Rs. 3,999, the Realme Buds Wireless Pro brings high-end features to the sub-5k neckband category. Despite the poorly implemented ANC and ENC, the neckband still makes for a good buy because of two reasons; the competition fails to offer such premium features at this price, and the overall performance is quite impressive. You must grab them as soon as possible as Realme is selling them at an introductory price of Rs. 2,999 on realme.com and Amazon.in.
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Story first published: Thursday, October 15, 2020, 17:29 [IST]