realme Buds Q2 Review: Active Noise Cancellation on a Budget!

by Mayank
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Since its debut in 2018, realme has carved itself a significant share of the Indian market with its phones, laptops, smart watches and, more recently, earphones.

The earphones from realme are among the best-sounding in the budget segment, and they compete head-to-head with Xiaomi and OnePlus’s offerings.

The realme Buds Q2 is no exception. For the price, these TWS (True Wireless Earbuds) provide a lot of features as well as excellent audio quality. I recently purchased the Q2s for Rs. 1,999, which is significantly cheaper than the launch price.

I’ve been using them for a week now, averaging 4 to 5 hours each day, and here is a detailed review of the realme Buds Q2 TWS.

Contents:

Unboxing Experience

The box includes the charging case for the earbuds as well as the earbuds themselves. A startup guide, three pairs of earbud tips (one of which is pre-installed), and a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging the case are also included in the box.

The box contents

Physical Overview

The charging case for the Buds Q2 is really compact, and is matte finished. On the exterior, there is a single LED light that serves as the case’s charging indicator.

Inside the case, there are two grooves where you would place the buds, and it also charges the earbuds with the case’s battery power. There is also a small button for pairing the earphones with a device.

On the back of the case, there is a USB Type-C charging port, for which realme deserves credit, as some brands continue to use Micro USB even in 2022.

The earbuds have a touchpad on the side for music controls. The touchpad is a glossy surface, and has a rainbow-like gradient to it that adds to the overall aesthetic.

Design

Perfect is the term to describe the design of these earbuds.

The Q2s come in two colours: grey and black. I chose the black one, and I love how realme has paid attention to detail on this one. For example, you’ll notice realme’s yellow accent at the tip of the earbuds.

Credits: realme India

The earbuds themselves are well-designed and extremely lightweight. I’ve been wearing the Q2s for up to 6 hours a day and haven’t experienced any ear fatigue or pain.

Speaking of the case, it feels amazing in your hands because it has a good matte texture and a pebble form that easily fits in your pocket and looks premium.

Build Quality

Let’s talk about some real stuff: Build Quality

The case and the earbuds are made of plastic, but they are of a good quality and can withstand moderate falls.

The hinge of the case is average, and a tiny wiggle to the lid while it’s open closes it. The on the case magnets allow it to close with a satisfying click but I feel the hinge should have been sturdier. In comparison, I liked the hinge quality on the OnePlus Buds Z2, but they are twice as expensive than the Q2s.

The Q2s are water resistant and IPX5 certified. This does not imply that they can be used when swimming or in the rain. Water resistance is confined to moderate water exposures like sweat.

The realme Buds Q2 can withstand splashes of liquid

Another factor to keep in mind if you decide to purchase the Q2s is that the case’s pebble form implies that if you place it on a table and accidently push it a bit, it may roll and may fall down. This can be prevented if you purchase a case cover separately.

Battery Life

I was very pleased by the battery life of the realme Buds Q2. The buds themselves lasted 3.5 hours on constant use with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) switched on. If you turn off the ANC, you could easily be looking at up to 5 hours.

I just charged the case once when I originally purchased it a week ago, and it has been running on battery power ever since. The case can easily give up to 20 hours of battery life to the earbuds.

Let’s address the elephant in the room- ANC!

realme has provided ANC on the Buds Q2 at such a low price.

For the new audiophiles, ANC, or Active Noise Cancellation, significantly minimizes background noise so that you can have a comfortable listening experience. The ANC technology works by listening to background noise using the microphone present on the earbuds and produces an opposing sound that cancels out the actual noise. It is an excellent feature to have in noisy environments such as traffic or in long flights.

The ANC on the Q2s, although was not exceptional, did a good job of suppressing noise during my evening walks amid city traffic and near construction sites. If you’re used to premium headphones like the Apple Airpods Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, the ANC won’t be as gratifying.

Credits: realme India

The Q2s are an ideal place to begin if you’ve never used active noise cancelling headphones before. The ANC on the Buds Q2 will serve you well inside a gym or when you are travelling.

 The best part is that the earbuds themselves can switch between ANC, Normal, and Transparency modes. You may also switch modes using the realme Link app. More about the realme Link app will be covered over the upcoming section.

Call and Microphone Quality

When it comes to earbuds, microphone quality is another major consideration. The Q2s, according to realme, include dual microphones that aid with noise cancellation.

I feel that the microphone quality is average after using these earphones for up to an hour of conversations and receiving feedback from the person on call. The feedback I received was that my voice was low and sounded deep and a bit harsh.

In addition, when I took calls near city traffic, the dual microphone array did not do a good job of filtering background noise.

So, you should not expect an excellent call quality from the microphone array.

The Pairing experience and the Bluetooth Range

The realme Buds Q2 works with any Android device. On first use or when you wish to connect a new device, just place the Q2s inside the case and press and hold the pairing button on the case, and a popup window with the Connect button will appear on your phone.

Once the Q2s are paired, they connect to your device within 2-3 seconds after you open the charging case. iPhone users need to go to the Bluetooth settings and manually connect them.

The pairing and connection with the realme Buds Q2 is blazing fast

Given that the Q2s support Bluetooth 5.2, the range is rather impressive. I live in a four-bedroom house, and I’ve never had a problem with connectivity while my phone was in a different room than me.

realme has you covered for practically everything, including the realme Link app. This app is available for download from the Play Store, and I strongly advise you to use it if you buy the Buds Q2.

The following are some of the app’s key features::

  1.  Separate battery indicator for the left and right earbuds.
  2. You can switch between Active Noise cancellation, Normal and Transparency mode through the app.
  3.  There are 3 modes that you can choose from: Bass Boost+, Balanced and Bright mode.

The Bass Boost+ option boosts the bass, while the Bright mode enhances the highs.

  •  When you remove either earbud from the case, the Auto answer feature will automatically answer the phone.
  •  The coolest feature of the app is the ability to personalise the buttons on the earphones themselves as you want.

Sound Quality

You can’t talk about an audio device without mentioning its sound quality. So, how did I find the audio quality with the realme Buds Q2?

Pretty good actually.

Note: I’ve used the Q2s in the Balanced mode since the other two modes aren’t doing a good job, and I’d recommend that you use the Q2s in the Balanced mode because the bass gets shaggy in Bass Boost+ mode and the highs sound unpleasant in Bright mode at higher volumes.

The audio reproduction was “Fun” which is preferred and enjoyed by all of us who enjoy Indian music, and this implies that the bass and highs sound nice. The bass is well-balanced and does not sound bloated. Likewise, the highs are as good as they can be for a TWS at this price. Even at higher volumes, the treble is not harsh.

The larger 10mm driver enhances the lower frequencies (Bass)

I won’t say the audio is well-balanced or incredibly detailed. The reason for this is that the mids are a little recessed (vocals are OK, but the sound of the instruments isn’t very crisp), but you won’t notice the nitty-gritty unless you’re an audiophile.

Overall, realme has done an excellent job with the audio quality of the Buds Q2, and you won’t find this level of sound quality in any other TWS in this price range.

Minor Complaints that I have with the Buds Q2

  • Lack of equalizer in the realme Link app.
  • In case you misplace your earphones, a Find me option that sends a beep or vibration to the earbuds would have been handy.
  • On a few occasions, the buds were automatically disconnected from my Windows laptop when it went to sleep mode but they got re-connected automatically.
  • I once had a problem where earbud did not connect to my phone, so I had to put both of them back in the case and reconnect them.

Final Verdict

When the realme Buds Q2 were launched for Rs. 2499, they were already the best in the market. You shouldn’t think twice now that the price has dropped. Go for it! The Buds Q2 have good sound quality, are loaded with a lot of features, look and feel nice, are lightweight, and the ANC works well.

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