Real budget wireless earphones are no longer the basic, featureless devices they used a few years ago. Instead, manufacturers are slowly improving by incorporating some interesting features into making their true wireless offers accessible to the public. Realme is one of the companies that has been instrumental in bringing premium features to the budget segment. Its latest product, the Realme Buds Q2 is an entry-level pair of authentic wireless earphones equipped with Active Noise Cancellation. Priced at Rs 2,499, the earphones come with Realme Link app support which allows users to customize the buds. So, let’s find out if Realme Buds Q2 is one of the best value for money ANC TWS in Indian market.

Construction and comfort

Realme Buds Q2 Review

Realme Buds Q2 is a stemless true wireless earphone with a rectangular shape. Each bud weighs 4.5 grams, so they are quite light, which is a boon if you wear earphones for a long time. In terms of design, Realme Buds Q2 is definitely an improvement over its predecessor Realme Buds Q. The earbuds are available in two colors – black and gray, and we got the latter for review.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

The outer panel of the earbud is reflective and has an attractive iridescent effect. Realme calls it ‘glaming lamination technology’ and the look is definitely unique in this price range. This iridescent zone also doubles as a touch sensor for onboard control. Although dust and fingerprints accumulate easily on the surface, keep in mind. Earpieces are initially made of plastic and seem a bit plastic and cheap to the touch, but at this price it is expected.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

The earbuds have an in-canal fit and the company has provided three different sized silicone ear tips to accommodate different sized ears. We found it to be quite smooth and comfortable for the most part, however, sometimes the buds slip and we need to re-adjust them. This happened especially when we were walking fast or running with buds. Because all ears have different shapes, the fit you get from the bud will vary depending on the quality of your experience.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

Moving on to the charging case, the Realme Buds Q2 has a compact and discreet case that can be easily carried in the pocket. Although the smooth surfaces feel delicate to the touch, the material, again, feels somewhat inferior. It is almost impossible to open the case with one hand. In fact, we sometimes had trouble opening it with both hands and we had to examine the groove and then strategically place it between our fingernails to open it. We hope the process is well implemented but you will get used to it as soon as you use it. The case does not even sit flat on the surface due to the round bottom. You have a USB C port on the back of the case for charging, an indicator light on the front and a pairing button inside the case.

Features

We’ve reviewed a lot of affordable TWS over the years, and one advantage we’ve found that Realme has got more than others is the excellent app support. The Realme Link app is available for both Android and iOS devices and provides a fantastic, user-friendly experience. The app lets you switch between noise-canceling modes, activate game mode, select EQ presets, update firmware, and customize our favorite, touch controls.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

Often the default controls in earbuds are not something that will be universally liked Thus, the ability to customize controls to the user’s liking is often a game-changer, especially at lower price points. Users can customize the controls for a variety of activities such as double-tap, triple-tap and long press on both earbuds. You can choose between controls like play / pause, next track, previous track, voice assistant, switch noise control mode, game mode and off. Our only problem here is the lack of volume control. It is a real pain to remove your smartphone from your pocket or handbag whenever you want to adjust the volume.

The app also has a volume booster mode, however, we will move away from this mode as it causes some distortion in the sound. The volume of the buds is loud enough to not use this mode, so there is no need to use it. We usually listened to music in buds at about 60 percent volume without volume booster. Passive isolation is great if you can find a good fit. It combines with ANC to provide an immersive sonic experience without increasing the volume.

For connectivity, Realme Buds Q2 comes with Bluetooth v5.2. It supports SBC and AAC audio codecs. Earphones come with Google Fast Pair, which is very convenient if you use an Android phone, which allows the buds to connect to your device instantly. The buds are rated IPX5, so they should be able to stop sweating and light splash. There is voice assistant support and mono mode support, where you can listen to a single earpiece independently. It’s missing wear detection (automatic pause / play) and multipoint connectivity, but we don’t really expect these features at this price, especially since earbuds have ANCs and have to make some concessions. Overall, earbuds are feature-rich for the price and underestimate the importance of competitors like the OnePlus Buds Z in terms of features.

Performance

Realme Buds Q2 is an amazingly decent performer when it comes to sound quality, especially below 3K. Within this price range it performs better than a well-sounding real wireless earbud and some competitors like boAt Airdopes 441, and Oppo Enco W11. We found that the sound quality is very similar to the OnePlus Z.

The sound is quite clear and sufficiently detailed, with a boosted low which does not cover too much of the middle and height. We’ve noticed some Realme earbuds with a much more aggressive base response that throws up the word balance, so the Realme Buds Q2 is a refreshing adoption of the company that will appeal to base lovers, but won’t leave out a large portion of the details in the middle and high.

Listen Bad habits By Ed SheeranWe were pleasantly surprised by the clarity of the voices and instruments, despite a pretty strong base beat running throughout the song. The bass beats were quite clean and sharp without being overly aggressive. Inside Mona Lisa Ballad By Panic! At the disco, The voice is clear enough but when Brendon Uri hits the high note, the sound has a slight amount of civility. Inside Highway Tune By Greta van Fleet, The vocals and lead guitars have a strong presence and are clearly audible in the mix, however, the claps and hi-hats are somewhat submerged. The soundstage is a bit narrow, but it’s common with earphones, especially at this price point. Still, for the most popular genre of music, Realme Buds Q2 is a good performer that should work well for audiofiles.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

RealMe Buds Q2 (Yellow) vs. Reference IEM (Orange) Raw Frequency Response

Studying the frequency graph of Realme Buds Q2, you can see that the lower bass and the higher bass have been widened, which means that the mixture will feature bus notes. Mids are nice and consistent and there is not too much dip or climb in this frequency range, which provides for clear and consistent sound. There is a slight peak in the 2K-4K frequency range, which can cause sibilance in the voice. Overall, Realme Buds Q2 has a warm, pleasing sound signature that should work well for people who listen to genres like pop, rap, EDM, Bollywood, ballad, etc.

Let’s move on to Active Noise Cancellation Performance. As can be seen with most budget earphones, including the ANC, the Realme Buds Q2 surround does not provide an impressive level of noise reduction. Nevertheless, they manage to submerge constant, low-frequency sounds such as the buzz of an AC, an aircraft drone and others. The human voice is not suppressed too much, and other words such as typing on a mechanical keyboard or a high-speed fan will also come through. But ANC is suitable for the price of Rs 2,499 and Realme has again made ANC more democratic. Earbuds come with a transparency mode that is nothing special but works just for its intended purpose. Surrounding sounds extend to a good degree but they can sometimes sound a bit unnatural.

For the connection, you get Bluetooth 5.2 and the connection is extremely stable between the source device and the buds. Earbuds can also maintain connections for a respectable distance. The low latency mode for gaming improves sound response somewhat, but it’s not something that will be abundantly clear. The quality of the call, however, was hollow with our voice hollow and listening away from the receiver. If you are someone who often calls using their headphones, you should take note of this.

Battery life

Realme Buds Q2 promises a total of 28 hours of battery life when the ANC is off and 20 hours when the ANC is on. The buds also support fast charging where a quick 10-minute charge will give you 3 hours worth of playback. This is convenient when charging your earbuds with a pinch.

Realme Buds Q2 Review

In our experiments, while the ANC is always on, the earbuds of Realme Buds Q2 last about 4 hours 40 minutes on a single charge. The volume was set near the 60-70 percent mark and we were using an Android phone as the source device. The charging case has risen 3 times, some juice is still left. If you turn off the ANC and listen to music at low volume levels, you could easily get more play time from Realme Buds Q2, although we’re not sure if that would hit the company’s 28-hour claim.

Judgment

Due to the huge demand in the Indian market, brands are pushing regular budget true wireless earbuds. Realme is one of the brands that releases multiple products a year to meet demand. Realme Buds Q2 is another step towards democratizing the ANC in Realme, and it is a commendable step. Realme Buds Q2 is one of the most valuable for buying money at sub 3K price points with ANC, excellent app support, good battery life, and satisfactory sound quality. Priced at Rs 2,499, Realme Buds significantly outperformed Q2 competitors, making it our pick for the best price for TWS in 2021 so far.

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