In 2022, we at the editorial office were literally torn apart by the realme Buds Air 3 headphones . This is a model with an interesting design, decent functionality, high-quality noise reduction and sound that can outshine most devices from the pre-flagship segment. The time has come to give up the palm.
The realme brand has released Buds Air 5 Pro . We tested the new product and will tell you in this review why these are the top TWS headphones right now.
Design: visual continuity
The headphones are supplied in a branded yellow box. Inside, along with the gadget: a USB-C cable, a set of interchangeable pads of different sizes and various documentation. The realme Buds Air 5 Pro model is available in black (in our review) and white. The color of the test sample turned out to be unusual; at first glance, it resembles a chrome accessory.
The glossy surface with a dark tint, unfortunately, collects fingerprints very well. Despite this, the headphones look impressive. The gadget has a recognizable silhouette — the shape of the case and the headphones themselves are very similar in appearance to the previous model. The brand logo is printed on the lid under a transparent insert.
There is a pairing button on the right side, and a USB-C charging port on the bottom. The case opens with one finger with a slight effort — the lid does not dangle and closes with a pleasant click. Thanks to its oval shape, the realme Buds Air 5 Pro are almost invisible in your pants pocket, be it jeans or shorts. Inside, the headphones are securely held with magnetic fastenings and do not fall out even if you turn the case over and shake it.
There is a status indicator on the front surface. The design of the headphones themselves remained without visible changes. The manufacturer decided to keep the successful and comfortable solution, but at the same time upgraded the sound and functionality.
Thus, the development model followed an evolutionary path. The headphones fit very comfortably and comfortably in the ears. As usual, I tested the new product in three scenarios: on a treadmill, statically, and during a regular walk down the street. In all cases, realme Buds Air 5 Pro provide a secure fit.
Standard ear pads fit my ears; I didn’t have to adjust the size. The headphones are very light and hardly noticeable during long listening sessions. The degree of moisture protection of the headphones is IPX5. This means that they are not afraid of streams of water — they can be used for training or in the rain.
Functionality: everything is very good
I’ll start with the software. There is support for Google Fast Pair technology — an analogue of Apple magic. I opened the case and on the screen of my Android smartphone (tested with the realme 11 Pro+ smartphone ) an animation was immediately displayed with an image of the gadget and a proposal to connect it. To access all the features of realme Buds Air 5 Pro, you need to install the realme Link app. It is available on Android and iOS.
After connecting the headphones for the first time, a firmware update arrived. Download and installation took 3 minutes. The app displays the realme Buds Air 5 Pro status and charge level. On the main screen there is a switch for the noise reduction system, as well as activation of the transparency mode. The noise reduction level is adjustable:
- Smart — Automatically reduces noise based on the environment
- Max. — optimal level for noisy places, such as air travel or subways
- Medium — optimal for noisy places, such as streets or public spaces
- Moderate — suitable for home or office
Using the switch, you can select the most comfortable noise reduction mode and extend battery life. For example, what’s the point of using maximum noise reduction at home in silence and spending extra charge on it.
Speaking of noise reduction, it is also worth noting personalized noise reduction. This feature adapts the system to the structure of your ear canals. For it to work you need to pass a short test. The rest of the functionality is divided into several sections. Sound effects:
- Sound effects mode — presets and a 6-band equalizer are hidden here. I liked the “Clean Bass” preset.
- Gold Sound Profile—tailors the sound to your individual hearing needs. For the function to work, you must complete the test in complete silence, which takes approximately 3 minutes.
- Spatial Audio — As the name suggests, it provides surround sound based on your position in space.
- High Definition Audio — Includes LDAC codec
- Connecting two devices — allows you to quickly switch between signal sources, for example, a smartphone and a tablet.
- Game mode — reduces latency.
- Checking the fit of the headphones.
- Button Customization—Allows you to customize the touch keys on your headphones to control playback and other functionality.
Sound and voice transmission
And now to the fun part. The realme Buds Air 5 Pro headphones are equipped with dual coaxial drivers. A 6 mm microplanar tweeter is used for high frequencies, and an 11 mm bass driver for low frequencies. The frequency range has been expanded to 20–40 kHz, which is twice as high as the previous generation (20–20 kHz). The bass driver diaphragm diameter is 11 mm and is made of pure polyurethane.
The 6mm tweeter uses flat diaphragm technology and a new composite material increases the high frequency range to 40kHz. As mentioned above, there is support for the LDAC HD data transfer protocol. Its speed reaches 990 Kbps, which is three times higher than the traditional SBC codec and almost double the previous generation (500 Kbps). The sampling rate reaches 96 kHz/24 bit, which is twice that of the previous generation. There is also Hi-Res Audio certification. As a rule, devices with the highest sound quality receive it.
Before testing, I turned up the LDAC settings and set the preset to clean bass. Realme headphones with noise reduction turned on at maximum surprise again. The sound turns out great in all usage scenarios and with absolutely any genre, be it mathematically verified Neurofunk or some technical Deathcore. The stage is very wide — literally between your ears you feel the entire palette of sounds, which does not become a mess in the most difficult moments. Low frequencies are well formed and at the same time pronounced.
To understand: the bass of realme Buds Air 5 Pro does not hit you over the head with a forged boot, but softly envelops you and surprises you with its depth. The highs and mids are in perfect order.
For example, in some very bassy Deep House, the accents that the producer placed at the very top and in the middle are clearly audible and distinguishable. Voice transmission was not a fly in the ointment in this bottomless barrel of honey. It is provided by a hybrid microphone design with front and rear sound pickup, as well as the main microphone, which is used to broadcast voice during calls.
The array consists of 6 microphones with support for the new ENC (Environmental Noise Canceling) algorithm. Tested voice transmission in regular phone calls, as well as in voice and video calls via WhatsApp, Telegram, FaceTime and Zoom. In all cases, interlocutors note high-quality sound without distortion. The voice is transmitted with a natural timbre.
The battery life is up to 11 hours in playback mode and up to 40 hours with the case. In telephone conversation mode, this figure is approximately 5.5 hours. Supporting Dart Charge fast charging in 10 minutes, you can charge the headphones for 7 hours of playback.
Impressions: beyond competition
In 2023, the realme brand is once again jumping into the audio segment with two feet with its ultimate and uncompromising product. At the same time, they are somewhere far ahead, waving a hand to the catching up competitors thanks to a proven combination of cost, design, functionality, autonomy and sound.
To summarize, we usually briefly list the advantages and disadvantages of the device. In the case of realme Buds Air 5 Pro, this makes no sense, since the product has no weaknesses.