The last pair of realme wireless earbuds that impressed me was the realme Buds Air Pro. (Didn’t get the chance to try out the Buds Air 2 last year but I heard they were good too.) I even went so far as to compare them to the AirPods Pro (and fared very well, I might add). With all of that in mind, I expected good things from realme’s third crack at this. Here’s my review of the realme Buds Air 3.
Disclaimer: realme Philippines sent me the Buds Air 3 in Galaxy White on April 19, 2022. I did purchase the Starry Blue one and got it on March 21, 2022. Since then, I’ve been using these earbuds for a month.
Design and Comfort
The design of the realme Buds Air 3 case really looks similar to the AirPods Pro. (I’ll be comparing the former a lot with the latter throughout this review.) If it wasn’t for the more rounded shape and the Starry Blue color, I would probably confuse one for the other. I’m glad that the case has a more compact design than the Buds Air 2. (The Air Pro shared the same design as the Buds Air 2. I found it too bulky to put in my pocket along with a phone.)
As for the buds, I like that they have shorter stems compared to the realme Buds Air Pro or the Buds Air 2. The stems themselves still stick out unlike AirPods, but I didn’t really mind that part. If there’s one downside to the realme Buds Air 3’s earbud design, it’s the comfort. I found the Buds Air Pro comfier than these.
The main change is on the ear tips themselves. It may differ for you, but I get some sticky moisture on the tips themselves. (I also get them on the AirPods Pro, but not as much moisture.) These buds feel more invasive on the ears to me but it’s not a huge dealbreaker. (It may also be because I’ve been using in-ears for years now.)
When it comes to their touch controls, they’re a hit and miss for me. The stems are sensitive enough near the top but it gets annoying whenever I get unintentional touches. This is one area where I prefer the pinch controls of the AirPods Pro since it mostly gets out of the way.
Overall, I’m actually happy with the design of the Buds Air 3. The Starry Blue color really made me wanna get these for the looks, but I’m fine with using it despite the comfort downgrade.
Sound and ANC
I don’t know how realme does it, but the Buds Air 3 really maintains the sound quality that I got from the Buds Air Pro. When listening to music, the vocals are clear enough to hear. The mids and highs are well-defined and the bass is punchy enough for music. While listening to podcasts or YouTube videos in the background, I can hear the voices clearly enough.
With that being said, its 42dB Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) enhances all of that for me. I actually enjoy using these buds especially when I need to listen to or watch something while the TV is on. It really drowns out more of the TV sound even compared to the AirPods Pro. (The TV can get loud at times, so its ANC really impressed me.)
Features and App Experience
Another strength of the realme Buds Air 3 is the features I get with the realme Link app. (You can get the app on both iOS and Android, which is a plus for me.) Setup can be done either through Google Fast Pair (Android only) or through the realme Link app. I did get a firmware update as soon as I had them set up.
My experience while setting up these buds with the app was really easy for the most part. I didn’t really encounter major issues. After the setup, I checked out the features I can use in the realme Link app.
realme Link Features
In the app, I saw the usual features carried over from previous realme earbuds. There’s the customization of touch controls, mode switching, Game mode, and Bass Boost+. One thing I didn’t know before opening the app was Dolby Atmos support! It may seem gimmicky at times, but having it is better than nothing. Two new standout features that came with the Buds Air 3 are dual-device connection and customized audio tuning.
Being able to connect to two devices at the same time is really a game-changer for me. Even though it isn’t exactly a new feature in earbuds, seeing them in a more affordable pair is refreshing. I also love that you can customize the audio based on your ears. The app even saves the customization in case you wanna tune the buds again.
Another feature that I appreciate is Google Fast Pair. I don’t even need to install the realme Link app to be able to connect to these buds as long as I have an Android phone! I’ve already used these buds with multiple Android phones and they just connect easily.
A good way to determine whether battery life on earbuds is good is when you don’t really think about it. I did get that feeling while using the realme Buds Air 3. Both the buds and the case get 22 hours of battery life with ANC or Transparency Mode on and 30 hours in Normal mode. Each bud gets 5.5 hours of battery life with ANC or Transparency Mode on. The battery life really impressed me here and I would go almost a week without charging the case through its USB-C port.
Should You Buy the realme Buds Air 3?
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the realme Buds Air 3 are the best wireless earbuds I’ve ever tried. Despite the comfort downgrade, the ANC, sound quality, and the rich feature set it provides for the price is simply a miracle. These make me question why I spend more than P10,000 on wireless earbuds when I can get these for P3,990. The Starry Blue color is just icing on the cake at this point! If you’re looking for good wireless earbuds without breaking the bank, then this is it.
- Starry Blue color option
- Battery life is excellent
- Best ANC for its price
- realme Link app is feature-rich
- Connecting to two devices at once
- More compact charging case
- Ear tips aren’t as comfy
- Touch controls can be finnicky at times
- iOS support isn’t as strong
- Lacking customization when connected to two devices
- Transparency mode is okay
You can get the realme Buds Air 3 in realme’s Flagship Store in Lazada for P3,990. It comes in two colors: Starry Blue, and Galaxy White.