Realme has come quite a distance in a very limited time with its audio services and products. The range, now six products strong, includes wired earphones, wireless neckband earphones, and true wireless earbuds. All of these have already been launched in only about 18 months. Talking specifically about true wireless earphones, Realme has now launched its third such headset, the Realme Buds Q. At Rs. 1,999, this is the least expensive pair of true wireless earphones from Realme yet, as well as the first from the company having an in-canal fit.
Positioned to battle the Redmi Earbuds S and even the neckband-style OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, the Realme Buds Q may be the smallest and lightest yet from the organization. With modern specifications and design, and a promise of capable performance for the price, may be the Realme Buds Q the absolute most impressive product in Realme’s true wireless range yet? Find out in our review.
The Realme Buds Q earphones weigh just 3.6g each
I thought the 4.1g weight of each of the Redmi Earbuds S earpieces was impressive, but incredibly enough, Realme has managed to make the Buds Q even lighter. At just 3.6g each, the Realme Buds Q could barely be felt in my ears, and was very comfortable as a result. The in-canal fit and small size of the earphones helped aswell, giving them acceptable passive noise isolation and a broadly speaking non-bothersome fit.
The earphones have been designed in collaboration with renowned designer Jose Levy. The earphones and charging case both resemble pebbles, and so are available in three colour options – black, white, and yellow. I quite liked the understated elegance of the black variant which was sent for review, and I was also happy with the hint of Realme’s trademark shade of yellow that’s visible on the inside of the included ear tips. The case includes a magnetic lid and there is a Micro-USB port for charging at the trunk. It’s quite compact, and fits in my pocket easily.
Unlike other budget options, the Realme Buds Q has touch-sensitive controls on each earphone. However, these didn’t work nicely at all for me. The touch zones are too small, and weren’t simple to locate when I was wearing the earphones. Even when I firmly tapped either zone, it did not always respond. It frequently got to the stage where I’d just pick up my smartphone to regulate playback or even to receive calls, and this is really a major shortcoming for the Realme Buds Q.
The controls are customisable through the Realme Link app, and you can also invoke the voice assistant on your smartphone or toggle the low-latency gaming mode using these gestures – when they work, of course. The app also lets you see rough battery levels for every single of the earphones (in 10-percent increments).
While we usually see some form of status and battery level indicators on either the earphones or the charging case with most budget true wireless options, the Realme Buds Q has none. The only way to know the earbuds are switched on is through audio prompts, and you’ll need to rely on your smartphone to share with you simply how much power you have left. You’ll only realize that the case is out of power once the earphones aren’t getting fully charged. This isn’t terribly inconvenient, but it is really a drawback that accompany the purchase price.
The Realme Buds Q supports the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs, that is impressive for the price and form factor. The headset has 10mm dynamic drivers, and uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity. The earphones are IPX4 rated for water resistance. There’s also a low-latency gaming mode, which is said to reduce latency to around 119ms.
I surely could get around 3.5 hours usage from the earphones at higher volumes and with mixed usage. The case added another four charges for around 14 hours of total use per charge cycle. This isn’t particularly good, but it’s entirely acceptable given the Rs. 1,999 cost of the Realme Buds Q.
Improved sound quality on the Realme Buds Q
The Realme Buds Air and Realme Buds Air Neo are feature-filled true wireless earphones that obtain a lot right for the purchase price, but sound quality was not a strong point for the organization thus far. With the Realme Buds Q, things are very different. Sound quality is a bit better for me, and the earphones finally sound like they need to for the purchase price, helped along by AAC codec support and the in-canal design.
Starting with Mere Gully Mein from the Gully Boy soundtrack with the amount turned up, the sound was clean and far gentler on the senses than what we familiar with the Buds Air and Buds Air Neo. The sonic signature and tuning see some improvements, and the sound is a lot more balanced and uniform consequently. There’s still a noticeable bass bump and a certain drop-off in the mid-range, but the sound came across as more calculated and tight than aggressive.
There’s also a reasonable amount of detail to be heard, especially in some of the more unique Indian folk instruments used from the beginning of this hip-hop track. When the bass hook kicked in, it did take control the track as expected, but there was always a decent amount of detail to be heard in the softer components of the track. The rap segments by Ranveer Singh definitely sounded a bit softer than we’d have liked given that they are very important parts of the track, however the drop-off was not substantial enough to just take anything from the character of the track.
Although the earphones do sound best for the price, the Realme Buds Q is not a stand-out performer in the category. Sound isn’t quite as driven and to-the-point as on the similarly priced OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, so buyers searching for sound quality should be considering neckband style earphones for his or her better sonic abilities.
The Realme Buds Q sound their best at around the 90 percent volume level. Going to full volume makes the sound a bit shrill, while reducing the volume eliminates from every thing except the lows. Listening to All Of The Lights by Brasstracks, the saxophone riffs sounded sharp and unpleasant at the most volume, and too dull at such a thing below the 80 per cent level.
This rigidity when it comes to selecting the right volume might be bothersome for many, especially if you’re used to listening at lower volumes or need to have some ability to hear your surroundings. That said, even at the 90 per cent volume level, the Realme Buds Q wasn’t as loud as would have been the case on most other affordable true wireless earphones.
The Realme Buds Q was decent as a hands-free headset, barring the matter with the touch sensor that meant that I had to answer the decision using my smartphone. I possibly could hear and start to become heard obviously, and surely could have long conversations utilizing the Buds Q without many instances of trouble. The low-latency mode for gaming worked exactly as it did on the Realme Buds Air Neo; there clearly was a slight lowering of sound quality, with an equivalent improvement in latency. However, that quit an audible delay. If you’re a mobile gamer, don’t go throwing away your wired earphones just yet.
Interestingly enough, Realme’s least expensive true wireless headset also delivers the very best sound, and I do not mean ‘for the price’. At Rs. 1,999, the Realme Buds Q is a better option compared to Realme Buds Air and Buds Air Neo with regards to sound quality. The low weight and no-nonsense design also work nicely for this couple of earphones. Decent performance on calls is definitely an added bonus.
There are some problems with the gesture controls, and sound quality isn’t quite as impressive as on the similarly priced OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z. However, you do still need to pay hook premium for true wireless earphones, and the Realme Buds Q offers around is possible due to the fact. It’s an in depth call involving the Realme Buds Q and the Redmi Earbuds S, but the Buds Q almost edges past in terms of sound quality. It’s definitely worth taking into consideration if you’re thinking of buying a pair of true wireless earphones right now but want to spend as little as possible.
Price: Rs. 1,999
- Very light, looks good
- AAC codec support
- App for function customisation, battery levels
- Gentle, calculated sound
- Decent call quality
- Gesture controls don’t work well
- Doesn’t sound too good at low volumes
- No indicator lights on the earphones or case
- Average battery life
Ratings (out of 5)
- Design/ comfort: 4
- Audio quality: 3
- Battery life: 3
- Value for cash: 4.5
- Overall: 3.5
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