There’s no dearth of affordable true wireless earphones on the market. Xiaomi, Realme, and Oppo are just some of the players competing for a slice of the pie, and that’s great for customers. It’s spurred a price war, and you can find earphones focusing on value, features, and often a mix of both at every price point.
Realme’s first few true wireless earphones proved to be a bust due to an abject lack of quality control. Is the third time the charm? Learn more in our Realme Buds Q2 review.
What you need to know about the Realme Buds Q2
- Realme Buds Q2: Rs. 2,499 (~$34)
The Realme Buds Q2 are the Shenzhen-based company’s most affordable pair of true wireless earbuds featuring active noise-cancelling (ANC). The earbuds are available in two colors: black or grey.
The Realme Buds Q2 are priced at Rs. 2,499 and can be purchased via Realme.com, Amazon, or Flipkart from June 30. These earbuds are different from the Realme Buds Q2 sold in Europe. Those earphones are a rebranded version of the Realme Buds Q sold in India.
The primary enhancement over the Realme Buds Q is the addition of active noise cancellation, and it’s rather effective too. The company is claiming 25 decibels of noise attenuation. While I don’t have any way of testing that out, I could certainly tell the difference when toggling noise cancellation on and off as long as I had the right size ear tips selected.
Active noise cancellation and the inclusion of USB-C are welcome additions.
Now in their second generation, the Realme Buds Q2 are also focused on refinement — and there are plenty of examples of that across the board. The most obvious one is the shift to USB-C charging. It’s a small change that makes a world of difference in terms of daily convenience.
Battery life gets a boost too. The BBK sub-brand claims five hours of use with a single charge, and I got within spitting distance of that figure — with active noise cancellation switched on. Additionally, overall battery life gets a further boost up to 28 hours, including the charging case. That’s a significant improvement over the 20 hours offered by the Realme Buds Q.
It also helps that the Realme Buds Q2 sound pretty good for casual listening. The bass emphasis makes these true wireless earphones ideal for hip-hop or electronic music. Vocals aren’t the most pronounced in the mix, but what’s here is good, and the low-end doesn’t often mask vocal tracks. I wasn’t a big fan of the amplified highs, and the exaggeration is most apparent while listening to jazz music. Overall, they sound good for the money and are competitive with other budget true wireless earphones.
What’s not so good?
Despite the focus on refinement, the build quality of the Realme Buds Q2 continues to be rather shoddy. Realme isn’t the only one to cut corners to hit price points, but the plastics here are of particularly low quality. It doesn’t help that the earphones are a dust and fingerprint magnet. It will take tremendous effort to keep these clean.
The Realme Buds Q2 are a pain to keep clean.
The case is also substantial in size. While you can fit the Realme Buds Q2 in your pocket, I found the unsightly bulge in my skinny jeans less than ideal.
Realme Buds Q2 review: Should I buy them?
Overall, the Realme Buds Q2 offer a lot of kit for the money, but there are alternatives. If you are in the market for a pair of affordable true wireless earphones, you may also want to look at the Redmi Earbuds S. The Redmi Earbuds S sport a more compact design with good enough audio quality. Meanwhile, the Oppo Enco W11 earbuds deliver slightly better audio quality, albeit with lower battery life. However, neither option includes ANC.
The Realme Buds Q2 are great for cutting out ambient noise on a budget.
If you are looking for earphones that are comfortable for long hours of listening and cut out ambient noise while you’re working or when you are out for a run, the Realme Buds Q2 fit the bill. These aren’t meant for the discerning audiophile, and they’re most definitely not a premium product, but those are small concessions to make considering the budget price point.