Realme Buds Air 3 review: A better-sounding earbud with ANC at a lower price

A little over a year ago, true wireless earbuds were a rarity in the affordable category. But lately there have been several brands that have released TWS models with essential features like active noise cancellation and app support. Some of the products initially launched in this segment, such as the Realme Buds Air 2, were mediocre in terms of performance and capacity. But brands like Oppo and OnePlus went ahead and set a benchmark by offering everything you’d expect from a TWS earphone for less than Rs 5000.

Realme has released its latest Buds Air 3 true wireless earbuds. These are similar to the Buds Air 2, but seem to make up for some of the shortcomings left over from the previous model. It can be said that after its arrival, competition in the market has become tougher, which also includes Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro and OnePlus Buds Z2. Are these the best TWS earbuds under Rs 5000? You will find out in this review.

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Compact and efficient design of Realme Buds Air 3

The Realme Buds Air 3 is priced at Rs 3,999 in India and comes in Starry Blue and Galaxy White colors. Recently, the company has also launched its Nitro Blue version, in which white competition stripes have also been applied. The price of this variant is Rs 4,999.

A new version of the product usually means that you will see some improvements. In terms of design, some useful changes have been made to the Realme Buds Air 3. The earpiece and charging case are slightly smaller than the previous model, though they look and feel the same. These have a great fit in the channel, which further improves noise isolation with active noise cancellation.

Like the Buds Air 2, the stem of the Realme Buds Air 3 is modularized separately from the main chamber of the earbud. Its color is also different. My review unit came with a silver stem and white ear cups. Like the previous model, there are no ‘L’ and ‘R’ markings on the earpiece this time either. The earphones have an IPX5 water resistance rating and weigh 4.2 grams each.

I really liked the look of the Realme Buds Air 3. Its compact design and comfortable fit worked very well for me. The cell pack also comes with a short charging cable and three pairs of different sized silicone ear tips for a customizable fit. The outer side of the stem is sensitive to touch controls. These can be customized via the Realme Link app. The app is available on Android and iOS platforms.

I found the performance of its touch controls to be okay. However, on several occasions the triple-tap gesture registered the double-tap or did not register at all. The touch sensitive area on the ear cup is very small and doesn’t even show up. Maybe because of this he couldn’t read the input. Through these touch controls, it is possible to control playback, switch between ANC and direct listening modes, activate the default voice assistant on the paired device, and activate gaming mode directly from the headphones.

The color and finish of the Realme Buds Air 3 charging case is similar to the earphone. There’s an indicator light on the front, a USB Type-C port on the bottom, and a Bluetooth pairing button on the right. There is the Realme logo on the top. The review unit that was sent to me had my name printed on the back of the case, but it really confirmed to me that it is not yet available for customers in India.

Like other wireless audio products from the company, the Realme Link app has been provided to support the features of the Realme Buds Air 3. Through the app, users can switch between ANC and direct listening modes, activate the game mode and control other features, such as the connectivity of two devices. You can also customize the touch controls on the headset through the app.

Using the app, you can choose from three equalizer presets, or you can tune through a custom audio tuning process. I used the ‘Balanced’ sound preset. Custom Audio Signature may be suitable for some people, you need to have a hearing test so the tuning can be set specifically for you.

The Realme Buds Air 3 feature 10mm dynamic drivers and support SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. For this, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity has been given in them. ANC is claimed to reduce sound by up to 42 dB. Latency in low latency gaming mode is up to 88ms. It also has the feature of connecting two devices simultaneously.

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Battery life was good on the handheld. It lasted 4.5 hours on a single charge. You get three full charge cycles in the charging case. The charging case is slightly smaller than the previous model and offers more charge cycles.

Improvement found in ANC and sound of Realme Buds Air 3

The previous model was average in terms of sound. Active noise cancellation was very small on that, too. There are many improvements in Realme Buds Air 3 from that. Support for the Bluetooth SBC and AAC codecs means you’ll have the same music experience on Android and iOS devices. I used an iPhone for this review. I heard Martin Solveig’s Intoxicated about this. The sound quality was much better than any other Realme headset I’ve reviewed.

Its sonic signature is tuned for strong bass, but the low points of the track sounded clean and tight. While this is not available on other devices in this price range. The high points of the track were also comfortable and clean. The midrange was a bit low. The track felt very clean, especially during its strong and fast beat.

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The level of detail in Childish Gambino’s Feels Like Summer was decent. It’s a smooth and relaxing track that sounds great at different volume levels. This is where the Realme Buds Air 3 have improved to offer a pleasant and comfortable sound.

The sound of the Realme Buds Air 3 feels quite comfortable on the ears. I did not feel tired while listening to music. However, in terms of attack and driving sound, the earphones lag behind the Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro and OnePlus Buds Z2.

The active noise cancellation on the Realme Buds Air 3 was much better than its previous model. This feature worked well even indoors. The hum of the air conditioning was barely audible. At the same time, office noise and outdoor street noise were slightly reduced. This made for comfortable listening, but you’ll get better ANC performance on slightly more expensive options like the OnePlus Buds Z2 or the Nothing Ear 1.

Transparency mode sounded a bit over-amped, but I was obviously able to hear my surroundings better. I found it more comfortable to rely on the automatic play and pause features while taking short calls while listening with a headset. Its connectivity is very good. The headphones work very well up to a distance of 4 meters. Multipoint connectivity also worked well. For calls, I was able to use these headphones without any problem.


Realme has a very good track record in terms of value for money products. Realme Buds Air 3 has carried this quality of the company forward. This time the sound quality and active noise cancellation have improved. Some useful features have also been provided such as multi-point connectivity. If you are looking for true wireless earbuds under Rs 5000 then you can grab these.

In terms of price, the sound quality and ANC performance on the Realme Buds Air 3 is quite good. Although the quality is lower than Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro or OnePlus Buds Z2. However, the overall experience makes this phone worth buying in this price range.

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