The TWS earbuds market in India is booming. TWS earbuds shipments in India grew by 156% in Q1 2021, as per a recent report from Counterpoint Research. You can now get a decent pair of wireless earbuds for as low as Rs. 999 in India. But Chinese giants like Realme and Xiaomi are beefing up their offerings with premium features such as ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), aptX support, and an IP rating, among other things. Priced at Rs. 2,499 in India, Realme Buds Q2 democratized ANC earlier this year. And now, Xiaomi has unveiled the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro with a dual-driver setup and aptX support at Rs. 2,999. So we decided to pit the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2 to see which is the best pair of affordable TWS earbuds under Rs. 3,000 in India. With that said, let’s check out which of these TWS earbuds you should buy.
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2: In-depth Comparison
Note: Before we talk about my experience with both the TWS earbuds, I wanted to mention that the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro was loaned to Beebom by Xiaomi for review purposes. I have been using the pink Earbuds 3 Pro for about 4 days now. I own the pair of Realme Buds Q2 used for this comparison.
What’s in the Box
The unboxing experience for both the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro and Realme Buds Q2 is pretty much the same. They both come in a kinda tiny packaging, adorned in their respective brand colors. You get the earbuds, charging case, extra eartips, and user manuals in the box with both these TWS earbuds.
The one extra thing that Realme offers with the Buds Q2 is a cute yellow USB Type-C charging cable. Redmi doesn’t include a USB cable in the box, so you will have to rely on an existing Type-C cable at home to charge the Earbuds 3 Pro.
And to round it up, here’s a list of everything you will find in the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2 box:
|Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro||Realme Buds Q2|
|2x earbuds||2x earbuds|
|charging case||charging case|
|3 pair of eartips||3 pairs of eartips|
|user manuals||user manuals|
|–||USB Type-C charging cable|
Design and Build
Moving on to the design, there’s quite a difference between what the two earbuds have to offer. Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro comes with a bulky charging case, but I like its soft matte finish a lot. The design of the charging case and earbuds remains the same as the previous-gen Redmi Earbuds launched in India. However, there’s a noticeable difference in size with this third iteration. The earbuds also have a matte finish, except for the glossy finish on the touch panel. I mean, it’s a reliable design, and I have no issues that Xiaomi is sticking with it.
Turning our attention to the Realme Buds Q2, you can see that it features a pebble-like design and the black color variant I have imbibes that idea. The charging case here looks tiny and cute in comparison to the Redmi Earbuds and is more easily pocketable. However, since the Realme Buds Q2 charging case has a curved base, it doesn’t sit stable on a table, especially when you open it to take out the earbuds.
As for the earbuds, they are lightweight but feel cheap and plasticky as compared to the more robust construction of the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro. Buds Q2 has a shiny reflective touch panel, which may feel a little flashy to many users, but it’s cool. Both the earbuds are lightweight, weighing around 4.5 grams, and they were comfortable to wear for a long period of time.
Also, you get two extra silicone eartips with both of these products, so you can take your pick for the perfect fit. And well, a perfect fit is very important for Redmi earbuds as they only support passive noise cancellation, while the Realme Buds Q2 have ANC support. One thing that Redmi does better than Realme is offering support for in-ear detection. It’s a useful feature, which automatically pauses the music when you pull out the earbud and plays it when you insert it back in your ear.
Moreover, both the Realme Buds Q2 and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro comes with an official rating. While the Buds Q2 has an IPX5 rating, the Redmi earbuds boasts an IPx4 rating. It means you can wear the Redmi earbuds at the gym or when it’s raining, whereas the Buds Q2 can also be worn during a shower. We suggest against it, though.
Coming to the most important section of the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2 comparison, which of these TWS earbuds sounds better? Well, let me give you the answer right away, and then explain why. Realme Buds Q2 will be my pick in the sound department.
Before I talk about my experience, let me quickly get the specs out of the way. Realme Buds Q2 has a 10mm bass Boost driver, while the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro includes a dual-driver setup. It packs a dynamic driver to handle the Bass (lower frequencies) and a balanced armature driver to handle the mids and highs.
Now, there’s no hiding the fact that Indian audio accessory makers love to launch bass-heavy products. The justification being that users in India prefer an “enhanced bass sound signature,” and that’s who they are primarily catering to. Now, both the Redmi Earbuds and Buds Q2 have a bass-heavy sound output by default, but it isn’t as boomy and engulfing on the latter, which is a good thing.
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro offers a really boomy bass, with the sub-bass overpowering everything else happening in the track. For example, the lower frequencies on the track Death of a Bachelor by PATD! were drowned by bass. The same was the case in AP Dhillion’s Insane, where the bass not only bled into the mids, but the vocals sounded very bland. The sound signature of the Redmi earbuds didn’t appeal to me but could be perfect for EDM and techno music enthusiasts.
Since Xiaomi doesn’t have a companion app for its audio devices, unlike Realme, many users might not be able to tweak the EQ settings to their liking. To tame the bass-centric sound output, I looked towards the Wavelet app (Free, Android) and the Bright audio profile did help a little, revealing how clean the sound output of the Earbuds 3 Pro could have been if it was tuned right. However, the mids still felt a little lackluster in Ohio by Crush. Earbuds 3 Pro sounded better than the Buds Q2 in this case, though.
Now I’m not saying the Realme Buds Q2 have a perfect sound signature, but the Realme Link gives you the power to make it sound a little better. You can switch between Bright and Dynamic audio profiles, depending on whether you are in the mood for thumping bass. Also, they are louder than the Redmi earbuds, and the vocals don’t sound drowned and bland on the Buds Q2. Instead, they are clean and get you in the groove, but the highs could be a little sharp for some people’s tastes. The instrument separation isn’t as good due to the high frequencies being too harsh at times, but it’s still decent for the price.
Note: Game Mode on Realme audio products, including the Realme Buds Q2, lowers the latency to as low as 88ms for a lag-free gaming experience. Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro can also operate at as low as 86ms latency, which is great. There wasn’t any noticeable audio lag during my testing.
I also tested out the microphone quality on both of these earbuds, and well, they are both decent. The noise cancellation works just fine in less noisy environments (ceiling fan running in the background). The audio recording of the Realme Buds Q2 sounds a smidge better than Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro. You can check out call recordings from both the earbuds right here:
Lastly, the Realme Buds Q2 supports Active Noise Cancellation, which is a rare feature to have under Rs. 3,000. But, it is sub-standard and offers only up to 25dB noise reduction. That means it can easily cancel out background noise at home or at the gym. However, the ANC will not be as effective in crowded areas like metro trains, markets, and more.
Customization & Controls
Moreover, both the Realme Buds Q2 and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro come with touch controls, and we have listed what each gesture does on these earbuds right here:
|Touch Controls||Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro||Realme Buds Q2|
|Double Tap Right earbud||Play/ Pause audio||Play/ Pause audio|
|Double Tap Left earbud||Activate voice assistant||Play/ Pause audio|
|Double Tap Any earbud||Pick up Incoming call|
Hang up ongoing call
|Play/ Pause audio|
|Touch and Hold Right earbud||Play Next Song||Enable/ Disable Game mode|
|Touch and Hold Left earbud||Play Previous Song||Switch noise cancellation modes|
|Triple Tap Left earbud||–||Next Track|
|Triple Tap right earbud||–||Previous Track|
While the touch controls on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro are pre-defined and cannot be changed, you can customize each gesture on the Realme Buds Q2. Thanks to the wonderful Realme Link app, you can customize each of the gestures listed above.
For example, touch and gestures on both earbuds are set to switch between the noise cancelation modes. But, I have customized the “touch and hold right earbud” gesture to enable/ disable the Game Mode. That means I will no longer have to open the Realme Link app to turn on Game Mode before every BGMI session.
Well, the usefulness of the Realme Link app (Free, Android and iOS) doesn’t end there. You can use the app to keep an eye on individual battery levels of each earbud, switch the audio profiles (choose between Bright, Dynamic, and Bass Boost+), and enhance the volume if you don’t already find Realme Buds Q2 to be loud enough. The app also lets you adjust the noise cancellation modes.
Now, the Realme Link app is the true ace up the company’s sleeve and makes for an efficient way to manage the earbuds’ features. On the other hand, Xiaomi doesn’t offer any companion app for the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro, and it is something I needed direly to tame the boomy bass during my testing.
Well, all hope is not lost, though. Xiaomi India’s audio category lead Rohit Ghalsasi has recently revealed on Twitter that the company is “evaluating bringing a dedicated app for Xiaomi audio devices” in the future. You can check out the tweet right here:
Finally, let’s talk about the second most important aspect of TWS earbuds after sound quality.
But first, let’s get the specifications out of the way. The Earbuds 3 Pro packs a 43mAh battery in each earbud, whereas the Buds Q2 offers a slightly smaller 40mAh battery per earbud. As for the charging case, the former has a massive 600mAh battery (can recharge buds around 6 times), and the latter only has a 400mAh battery (recharge buds around 4 times). And thankfully, both the TWS earbuds include a USB Type-C port to fill up the charging case when it’s depleted.
Now, Realme and Redmi claim to deliver up to 28 hours (with ANC turned off) and 36 hours of total playtime (earbuds + charging case). They both also claim to offer up to 7 hours of music playback via the earbuds on a single charge. Realme Buds Q2 also promises up to 5 hours of playback time with ANC turned on. So, I decided to put these claims to the test.
Talking about the Realme Buds Q2, I tested it with ANC turned off, and the earbuds managed to last around 6 hours and 35 minutes on a single charge. That’s slightly less than the promised 7 hours (at 50% volume) backup, but I mostly listened to content at 70-80% volume. My testing involved a mix of music playback, YouTube and Twitch video streaming, and a couple of audio calls.
Moving to the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro, I seemingly stumbled upon a peculiar bug during my testing. The earbuds worked perfectly fine for around 6 hours, with the battery draining from 100% to 25% during this period, which is fine. At this point, I believed that Redmi earbuds would easily offer me over 7 hours of playback, besting its own claim. However, the battery drained quickly from that point onwards and dipped from 25% to 5% in just 35 minutes. It was disappointing.
I will continue testing the battery backup of Redmi earbuds to see if this was a one-off thing or a bug that needs to be fixed via a firmware update. I will update this review with my findings at a later date. Still, the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro delivers about the same battery backup as the Realme Buds Q2 on a single charge.
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2: Pros & Cons
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro
- amazing build quality
- in-ear detection support
- no lag in gaming and streaming
- clean audio experience with bright EQ
- long-lasting battery life
- a little bulky compared to previous-gen Redmi Earbuds
- boomy bass and drowned vocals. sound quality could’ve been better
- battery drains quick after 25% charge left
- lacks touch control & audio customizability
Realme Buds Q2
- tiny, lightweight, and easily pocketable
- supports Active Noise Cancellation
- decent sound quality
- customizable via Realme Link app
- good battery life
- supports low-latency Game Mode
- lacks in-ear detection
- sound stage could have been wider
To round up everything, here’s a quick look at the specifications of Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2:
Specifications Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro Realme Buds Q2 Weight:
4.6 grams each
4.5 grams each
Drivers dynamic driver + balanced armature driver 10mm Bass Boost Driver ANC Support No Yes Battery Life earbuds: 7 hours on a single charge
charging case: additional 30 hours
earbuds: 7 hours on a single charge (ANC off)
earbuds: 5 hours on a single charge (ANC on)
charging case: 28 hours (ANC off)
charging case: 20 hours (ANC on)
Water Resistance Yes, IPX4 rating Yes, IPX5 rating Supported Audio Codecs aptX Adaptive, aptX, SBC AAC, SBC Active Noise Cancelation No Yes, up to 25dB Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2 Bluetooth 5.2 Color variants Blue, White, and Pink Active Black, Calm Grey Price Rs. 2,999 Rs. 2,499
Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro vs Realme Buds Q2: Which One Should you Buy?
So yeah, that’s pretty much everything you need to know about the Realme Buds Q2 and Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro in detail. You now know how these two TWS earbuds compare on the build, sound quality, controls, and customization front. Redmi has a lot more misses than hits, and that includes everything from its bulky build and sound signature to its battery backup issues.
With that said, what’s going to be my recommendation? Well, for Rs. 500 less, I would suggest you buy the Realme Buds Q2 without a doubt. You will get a more likable and crisp sound quality as well as an easily pocketable charging case, ANC, Realme Link app support for customization, and more. I was really excited to try Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro as it offers a dual-driver setup and aptX support at Rs. 3,000, but I was left disappointed by the tuning. What are your thoughts on the Redmi Earbuds 3 Pro? Let us know in the comments section below.