While many brands are selling capable products in the affordable true wireless segment today, Realme stands out for a few reasons. The brand has pushed the boundaries when it comes to value proposition, offering affordable products with features and specifications that you wouldn’t expect to see in the budget segment. The company’s Buds Air range of true wireless earphones is just that, and the latest product pushes it even further by offering quality and capability at a reasonable price.
Price Rs. 1,999, the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo is a more affordable alternative to the Realme Buds Air 3, which is priced at Rs. 3,999. On paper, both look similar in most ways with app support and other key features, the only major difference being the lack of active noise cancellation. You should pay Rs. Are these the best pair of true wireless earphones you can buy for less than? 2,000? Find out in this review.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo Design and Features
Although the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo is based on the slightly more expensive Realme Buds Air 3, it looks quite different. The earpieces have a stem design that blends in more easily with the rest of the mold, and the reflective finish looks great against the dull plastic on the back of the stem and driver casing. Like the Buds Air 3, the Neo has an in-canal fit for proper sealing and passive noise isolation.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo’s earpieces weigh 4g each and have touch controls that can be customized using the Realme Link app. Controls rely on three types of gestures — double-tap, triple-tap, and touch-and-hold — that can be set to control playback, volume, and launch the default voice assistant on your smartphone. You can also set gestures to activate low-latency gaming mode, which includes touch-and-hold gestures on both earpieces simultaneously.
I found the tap controls to be a bit iffy, with the triple-tap gesture often registering as a double-tap and the double-tap gesture doing nothing, sometimes. I preferred using my smartphone to control playback, as this was more reliable and firm taps sometimes upset the fit of the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo earpieces.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo’s charging case is similar in size and shape to the Buds Air 3, but the color and texture is slightly different and feels a little less refined. However, the translucent lid provides an interesting and attractive aesthetic. The front of the case houses the Realme logo and indicator light, while the bottom houses the USB Type-C port for charging. There are no wear-detection sensors on the headset, so you have to manually play and pause music as needed.
Rs. For a true wireless headset for less than. 2,000, the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo is quite well equipped. While there is no active noise cancellation, there are other features such as Dolby Atmos, environmental noise cancellation for calls, fast charging, 88ms low-latency mode and IPX5 water resistance for the earpiece. The sales package includes three pairs of ear tips and a small charging cable.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo App and Features
Realme uses the excellent Realme Link app to support many of its hardware products, including the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo. The app is especially useful if you have multiple Realme products, as you can use them all from a single app. That said, the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo is only supported on the Android version of the Realme Link app; Although the product was shown in my profile on the iOS app, I could not access the product functions.
On Android, the app performed as expected, offering a neat, tidy arrangement of functions and customizations for the earphones. This includes a battery level display for the earpiece (but not that), three equalizer presets to choose from, volume enhancer, Dolby Atmos, game mode and customization settings for tap control. It is simple, responsive and overall very easy to use.
The Realme Buds Air 3 Neo features 10mm dynamic drivers and uses Bluetooth 5.2 for connectivity with support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo performance and battery life
Realme has taken a while to get where it is in the true wireless segment, but most of its new products are now very capable and provide excellent value for money. The Buds Air 3 Neo is a value-driven headset priced at Rs. offers little more than a TWS headset for less than 2,000 with bigger, cleaner sound when it comes to features.
Standard codec support means the earphones are comfortable whether you’re using them on an iOS or Android device, although you’ll only be able to use the app on Android as mentioned earlier. The volume on the earphones is pretty loud and I usually don’t need to exceed 50 percent when indoors and rarely exceed 60 percent when outdoors. The sonic signature is the expected U-shape, giving a noticeable boost to the lows and highs even at the ‘balanced’ equalizer setting.
While listening to Calvin Harris’ Rollin’, the sound on the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo was decidedly heavy on the bass, with the thumps of the slow beat being loud even at relatively low volume levels. Vocals didn’t seem too stifled by the earphones’ normal loudness, but the Buds Air 3 Neo definitely draws attention to the beat above all others. However, the sound never felt awkward or out of place; The earphones are well tuned in that sense.
In non-bass-oriented tracks like John Mayer’s Neon, the focus shifts to the treble. Although it didn’t sound too sloppy, there were moments in the track where I found myself a little uncomfortable, like when the hi-hats in the drums hit. John Mayer’s soulful vocals were clean and audible throughout, maintaining the sound’s innocuous and straightforward nature.
In general, ‘passive’ is the best way to describe the sound on the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo. There’s nothing exceptional here, with a sonic signature tuned for pop and electronic music genres. However, Rs. That’s what I’d expect from a pair of true wireless earphones that cost less. 2,000 — straightforward, loud sound that combines good design and passive noise isolation to make the Buds Air 3 Neo perfect for everyday and commuter use.
Call quality on the earphones was decent for the price both indoors and outdoors. Realme Buds Air 3 Neo’s volume capabilities have given me no issues with calls in most cases. Connection stability was not an issue with the earphones working without issue at a distance of up to 3m between the smartphone and the earpiece. Dolby Atmos support, for now, seems to have very little impact on sound, including compatible tracks on Apple Music.
Realme Buds Air 3 Neo’s battery life is pretty good for the price, with the earphones lasting around six hours on a single charge at around 50 percent volume level. Three additional charges are added to the charging case for a total of 24 hours of battery life per charge cycle.
The Realme Buds Air 3 Neo is as simple as it is straightforward and to-the-point, and that’s what will make it appealing to anyone looking for true wireless earphones on a budget. Neat looks, comfortable fit, useful feature set, good battery life and decent sound for the price, this is one of the better options you can buy under Rs. 2,000 at present.
Alternatives from brands like OnePlus and Oppo may be worth considering, but the Realme Buds Air 3 Neo has a slight edge with app support. At this price, it might also be worth looking at neckband-style earphones like the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2, which sound a little better.