Marking their entry into a heavily competed zone, Realme had announced its first set of wired earphones: The Realme Buds when they launched the Realme U1 way back in November. This move can be seen as an attempt by this ‘young’ smartphone contender to move beyond the description of just a smartphone maker and to capture the rather lucrative earphone market in India just like what other Chinese manufacturers like the Xiaomi have tried to do.
Not a few years ago mobile phone brands were quite keen on offering a decent pair of earphones with their brand new phone, in fact, some mobiles were marketed based on the quality of the earphones they offered. Sadly this has nearly vanished, thanks to stringent cost-cutting measures followed by manufacturers. Forget earphones it’s pretty hard to find those sweet 3.5 mm headphone jacks in phones these days!
The dongle that won’t let you use your wired headset while charging? The one you always have to remember to carry extra? The one you have to pay extra for? That which must not be named? The least I say about it, the better it is.
Realme’s first earphones are targeted not only at the Realme users but to smartphone users in general. Although it is a classic example of offering one product to a consumer and then luring them into an ecosystem of other devices or products from the same brand (gateway device), Realme deserves praise because let’s face it; these are dang good!
Design and Comfort
At first sight, these earphones feel pleasant on your eyes and comfortable in your hands, it’s worth all the drool and you even realise them to be quite funky. The earbuds sport a yellow and grey colour scheme which coincidentally (wink, wink) happens to match the colour scheme of Realme’s logo.
Some of you may also wonder if you have really shelled out just 500 bucks for these earphones because you find the build of this earphones to be much better than the earphones which cost 5 to 6 times more. As such, don’t be surprised to find heavy branding elements in many parts of the earphones like on the inline microphone remote and even behind the metallic earbuds. Realme also happens to ship these earphones with two extra pairs of good quality silicone rubber ear tips of various sizes with good detailing of yellow on its edges. You’ll also be surprised to find that the wires below the microphone are braided wires also these wires the company claims is coated with break-resistant Kevlar fibre which will protect the wiring. The point of connection between the earbuds and the wiring is held with a yellow fibre piece for strength. The right earbuds are connected to the three button remote which houses a microphone as well which is used to control music, handle phone calls and.wait for it, summon Google Assistant.
However, the wires above the microphone which houses the earpieces are not of the same quality and also the three buttons on the microphone seem to be very stiff and it requires an extra strong push to wake the buttons up. The build quality of the 11mm earpieces feel pretty premium and notches better than what its competition offers but there is something special too! These earbuds magnetically attach to each other from behind just like the One Plus Bullet wireless earphones. It is worthy to note that there are no other earbuds at this price point which offer this level of convenience.
Overall these budget earphones can last you for many years provided its stellar build quality.
While Realme Buds score super high on basic design, it also provides relatively good comfort. In order to make the buds fit comfortably in your tip, Realme has designed the ear tip to bend 45-degrees, which results in a snug fit. So you don’t have to worry about these earbuds falling off your ears every now and then.
India loves bass and that’s the formula which even Realme seems to have adopted in it’s latest offering. Yes, it’s very loud and also noisy most of you will also find the bass to be quite annoying and unnecessarily overexposed in some songs. Bass is so strong that other elements like trebles, mids and highs get muffled up and you even find a lot of noise distortion when you raise volume high. I’ve found songs to be muffled out by the bass. Even vocals don’t seem to be that very clear.
But at this price point, you really can’t complain a lot in fact performance is quite on par for the price you pay. However, you won’t be jumping with joy with the sound quality. If you’re good at tweaking the equaliser then maybe you’ll be a bit satisfied with the performance.
The quality of the mic in the microphone was a pleasant surprise. It is quite good for voice calls, there was an acceptable performance from the microphone and earphones, and you’ll be able to use the Realme Buds effectively enough for hands-free phone functionality. We could hear voices clearly enough, and people on the other end of our calls didn’t report any issues either. So if you use a lot of earphones over calls I’ll definitely recommend these earphones to you.
Also if you listen to a lot of bass heavy Punjabi item numbers and raps these earphones are just made for you. However, if you are an audiophile who wishes for all the elements of music to be well balanced then don’t even think of buying them.
Priced at Rs. 499 the Realme Buds don’t give us much room to complain. Although the sound quality is average at best, there’s more in terms of build and function on offer than most other competing products, which does to some extent make up for that. A lot of people use and store their earphones roughly, and these efforts in improving the build quality should go a long way in keeping the Realme Buds usable for some time.
•Excellent design and stellar build quality
•Three-button remote and microphone work quite well
•A lot of distortion in high volume
Ratings (out of 5)
•Design/ comfort: 4.5
•Audio quality: 2.5
•Value for money: 4