realme Buds Air 5: Groove without the noise

It was just a few years back when affordable wireless earbuds can't even last a full two-hour movie on its battery. Now, even with non-audio brands like realme, you can enjoy wireless earbuds that offer long-lasting performance, active noise cancellation, and high-quality sound.

This latest one from the brand, the realme Buds Air 5, claims to deliver a premium audio experience for an affordable price.

In this article, we will review the realme Buds Air 5 and see how they compare to other wireless earbuds in the market.

Familiar look with some improvements

The realme Buds Air 5 has a familiar design language similar to its predecessor, the realme Buds Air 3. They sport an almost identical design which at a glance would seem as if you could interchange their case with their buds. Differentiated by their texture, the Buds Air 5 this time, has a matte finish with a metallic realme branding at its center.

Underneath the charging case is where the USB-C charging port is located and beside it is a dedicated pairing button. I cannot stress how helpful this button is when pairing. I have experienced earbuds that don’t have this and it’s a big pain needing to unpair first from the previous host device just to pair with another.

Popping the lid of the charging case you’ll see a black inner lining which holds the buds inside. This is less prominent on this blue variant I have with me but the contrast of the black innards on the white variant looks very elegant. It’s actually quite difficult to choose between which color option looks better since the glossy finish of the white variant looks equally good.

The earpiece itself is pretty standard with a medium sized stem that also has a subtle groove where you can tap and swipe for gesture controls. You can also see that there are a number of holes on the device as this features a six microphone setup having three for each earpiece for clearer voice calls.

These holes may make you think that sweat would interfere with the functionality of the device: it is rated with IPX5 water resistance, so there’s no need to “sweat”. Pun intended.

Immaculate Active Noise Cancellation

I have auditioned the realme Buds Air 5 against three other wireless earbuds I am currently using, including the previous model the Buds Air 3. One thing I’ve noticed with realme Buds in general is that they seem to have the best Active Noise Cancellation when compared against other similarly priced buds.

On the realme Buds Air 5, this has just gotten even better. According to realme, this cancels out up to 50dB of noise which on paper is already on the level of its higher end competition.

In actual use, this is actually very impressive. You can barely hear anything if the sounds aren’t too loud or it belongs at higher frequencies that are harder for noise cancellation to block. Deeper sounds like the motor rumble and the usual traffic sounds will mostly be cut off. Even compared with more expensive earbuds at around twice its price, the ANC on the Buds Air 5 still keeps up.

Like most earbuds in the market, this can also be configured through its proprietary app, in this case, the realme Link app. Without using the app, doing a long tap on the buds would activate or deactivate its active noise cancellation. Through the app though, there are more options to choose from. There’s a Normal mode which is a middle ground from its Transparency and Noise Cancellation mode that can now be accessed.

On top of that, there are more noise cancellation levels starting from mild, to max and an additional Smart option which automatically selects the level based on your surroundings. I do feel that most of these wouldn’t exactly be very useful, as most users would probably just prefer to have it either on or off.

How does it sound?

The realme Buds Air 5 uses 12.4mm audio drivers which are often only found in the upper tier earbuds. Being physically larger than the usual, means this can output a wider range of sound frequencies. Reaching deeper on its bass while extending to higher end and sibilant resonances.

Having multiple comparisons, I can characterize the quality of sound from the Buds Air 5 to be deep and warm sounding. It’s the deepest from all the ones I tested and goes slightly deeper than the realme Buds Air 3. This is something you can change in its app, but for this test I went with the default.

For bass heads on a budget, I’m pretty certain this is something you’d enjoy. It goes well with the Michael Jackson inspired groove of Jungkook’s new song, Standing Next to You. The sound seems to be more inclined to sound boomy over giving a harder punch. This also makes the sound stage feel fuller and richer.

While at the higher end, I don’t think this quite provides the same detail and presence of most of its competition being a bit more toned down on this aspect. It doesn't feel like its lacking but I do understand that this may have a more versatile application for more genres of music.

Listening to JK Labajo’s single, Ere, his vocals as he curses through the chorus is something that is enjoyable to listen to. I greatly enjoyed the warmth of its sound that it never gets tiring to listen to even for extended periods of time.

For editing and reference monitoring, preferably the sound has to be as accurate as it can get. So I’d say this is not something I would prefer to use this for as it feels heavily enhanced to make most songs sound pleasing.

Despite that, I do use this for video editing as this features Bluetooth v5.3 which allows for low latency playback. You will still notice a bit of lag at times but that’s just something that we’d face with this current Bluetooth technology.

A nifty feature the realme Buds Air 5 comes with is Smart Wear Detection. This automatically stops and continues music playback whenever you remove or wear the earbuds. This is most useful when you happen to see someone talking to you, just take off the buds from your ear and music automatically stops.

Battery life

Having been continuously using this for a few weeks now, I’ve never experienced running out of batteries on a single use. The lowest I’ve seen it go would only be around 40 percent even after hours of listening. It’s also very helpful that the realme Link app shows how much juice the case and each earpiece have remaining so I always knew when I needed to plug it in.

According to realme, the Buds Air 5 is rated to last up to seven hours on its normal mode and four and a half hours with ANC activated. As for the charging case, this is rated to charge the device up to five times giving a total of 38 hours of battery life.


After testing different TWS earbuds at its price range, I'm confident to say that the realme Buds Air 5 is a very worthy choice.

Being priced at PhP 3,499 these buds provide great value for your money and even more when these go on sale. I have seen its price go as low as PhP 2,299 on Shopee and Lazada's sale and at that price, I can say this is a steal.

It’s not necessarily the buds I would pick if I were editing videos or projects that require sound accuracy and I also don’t think it would be a big upgrade if you already own the realme Buds Air 3. But with its amazing active noise cancellation, which might already be the best at its price range, it's hard to go wrong with this one.

Plus, if you like a warm and rich sound, the realme Buds Air 5 has you covered.

Andre Ibarle

Andre is the go-to tech guy for most companions. He loves to geek out on tech old and new and has a knack for storytelling through words, capturing moments with a camera, and bringing ideas to life on screen. With years of experience in writing, photography, videography and playing Super Mario World.

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