– Pleasant design, comfortable in-ear fit
– Companion app offers customization of sound and controls
– Good battery life (24+ hours), supports fast charging
– Compatible with Bluetooth 5.2, low latency
– IPX4 sweat resistant
– Sounds good in Bright sound profile
– Excessively bass-heavy in other profiles
– No volume control on the buds
– Below average call quality
– The pricing needs to be more aggressive
Price: Rs 1,999
We have often said that the Rich buds Q2 has a stranglehold in the sub-Rs 2,500 true wireless (TWS) earphones segment thanks to its vibrant sound output and a long list of features that also include active noise-cancellation (ANC) at this price point. The company has now launched a new pair dubbed the Buds Q2s, which look quite similar to the Buds Q2 but without ANC and with a slick body. And of course Rs 500 cheaper.
The rest of the features like customizable controls and multiple sound profiles through the Realme Link app are also available here. Is there more to it than you think? Does it sound better than the Buds Q2? Does it have to exist at all? Read on to know the answers and everything else about the Realme Buds Q2s earbuds.
Realme Buds Q2s: design and comfort (8/10)
The design of the earbuds is the same as the Buds Q2, only you get more color options in the Q2s. We got the Paper Green variant to test, which looks quite appealing. Despite the similarity in nomenclature, it doesn’t feel like the back of the Realme GT 2 Pro to touch but has a smooth matte finish. On the back of the buds are circular glossy touch zones with a different texture underneath. Aesthetically, the combination works well and the build quality is more than satisfactory.
Another change in design elements concerns the lid of the charging case. While the case shape is similar, the lid is transparent with a greenish tinge. While it may be prone to scratches and smudges over time, it looks cool and catches the eye. The case features a charging indicator LED on the front and a USB-C charging port on the back. The case is compact but slightly thicker. So expect a bulge in the pocket when you slide it in.
The earbuds are lightweight and the in-ear fit is pretty snug. They don’t cause any discomfort in the ear even after a few hours at a time and offer fair passive noise isolation with the three included silicone tips of the right size. The earbuds have an IPX4 rating for sweat resistance, a slight downgrade from IPX5 protection for the Buds Q2. But IPX4 is good enough to protect them from a sweat or light drizzle if you happen to wear them to the gym or for a jog.
Realme Buds Q2s: features and specifications (7/10)
As I mentioned in the beginning, the Realme Buds Q2s have a similar feature set as the Buds Q2 with the exception of ANC. These buds also each house a 10mm dynamic driver. As with most Realme earbuds, the Realme Link app lets you configure touch gestures and choose between three sound profiles. It is available for both Android and iOS. Once paired, you can assign gestures such as double-tap, triple-tap, or touch and hold to play/pause, previous/next track, or voice assistant functions. There is no way to assign the volume control yet.
By touching and holding both buds at the same time, you can switch between the low-latency gaming mode. Similar to their pricier products, the latency can also be as high as 88ms according to the company, which is good news for gamers. The Realme Buds Q2s are Bluetooth 5.2 compatible and support AAC and SBC codecs. The wireless range is perfectly fine as the buds maintain a stable connection of up to 10 meters with no obstacles between the earbuds and the source device.
Realme Buds Q2s: Performance (6.5/10)
These earbuds are pretty loud even without the volume enhancer enabled in the app. For most purposes, they are perfectly audible at 50% volume. In the Realme Link app, you get three sound profiles – Bass Boost+, Dynamic and Bright. Most of the company’s previous audio products saw little use of the Bright profile, but on the Buds Q2s this is the only usable profile unless you like boomy and excessive bass.
The default sound is overly bass-heavy even in the Dynamic profile, even more so than in Bass Boost+ mode on most of their previous products. So for a more balanced sound it makes the most sense to switch to Bright mode. Some may initially find the bass a bit too low, but it’s adequate. More importantly, the bass doesn’t overwhelm the mid-range frequencies in this mode or make them sound muffled like it does in the other two. The mids have a more than decent presence with good voice clarity.
Instrument separation is relatively clearer with noticeably better detail in the audio. Since it is the bright mode, the highs sound sharp and generally well tempered, but sometimes sound a bit harsh, especially at higher volumes. The soundstage isn’t too wide, but it’s a given in this budget. Latency is quite low even without switching to game mode. There was no noticeable lag between video and audio when streaming content from OTT platforms.
Realme Buds Q2s: call quality (6/10)
The call quality here is only average. Not many complaints indoors with people on either end of the call audible to each other with reasonable clarity. Outdoors, the mics pick up a significant amount of ambient noise that interferes with conversation. The company mentions AI noise cancellation for calls, but I think it needs more work. But again, the Buds Q2’s sound quality wasn’t outstanding, and I wasn’t really expecting size here.
Realme Buds Q2s: battery life (7.5/10)
The Realme Buds Q2s do well in this department. The company states that the buds can last 7 hours alone and 30 hours in total with the charging case. These claims are not entirely wrong. I managed to get almost 6 hours out of the buds at 50% volume and the charging case was able to juice them 3 more times with a tiny bit left in the tank. That takes the total battery backup for the buds and case combined over 24 hours. Not bad at all for budget TWS earbuds.
The case features a USB-C port and it takes around two hours to fully charge the case and buds using a standard Type-C charger. These buds also support fast charging, where 10 minutes of charging can give you almost 3 hours of playtime. Very nice characters again.
Realme Buds Q2s: price and verdict
Time for the most important question – should you buy it? The Realme Buds Q2s can be purchased for Rs 1,999 with a one-year warranty, which is not a bad price for what it offers compared to the non-Realme competition. But it pales in comparison to the Realme Buds Q2, which sell for just 500 rupees more with no discounts. And it’s not just ANC that the Q2 offers, its sound quality is noticeably better than the Q2s too, with tighter bass and more detail.
To make matters worse, the Buds Q2 are often sold for Rs 1,999 on Flipkart and Amazon India, making the Q2s redundant at their current price. It wasn’t really necessary for Realme to launch another product at this price point; it would have made more sense by Rs 1,500. Until the Buds Q2 die out (hopefully for a long time), at their current price point, we have no reason to recommend the Realme Buds Q2s unless you’re blown away by the new shades or the transparent lid, which is a higher priority than it the sound quality or ANC.
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