realme Buds Wireless vs Mi Neckband Bluetooth earphones detailed comparison and review

realme is really going hard at the audio products category with its own offerings. After the realme Buds 2, which I reviewed recently, the company has now introduced a pair of wireless earphones. These earphones are very well-priced too. Now, you guys have been asking me for the best pair of wireless earphones under Rs 2000 for a while now. And therefore, this was the right opportunity for me to pit the realme Buds Wireless against the Mi Neckband Bluetooth earphones 

So, today I am going to be comparing these two across six key parameters. In fact, this detailed comparison can also serve as the full review for both these earphones. Killing two rabbits with one stone. 

Design, fit and comfort

Starting with the design, while these are both neckband-style earphones, there are some differences. For example, the Mi earphones come with chunkier neckband called the Micro-Arc design. In comparison, the realme Buds come with a thinner band that wraps around your neck. The advantage of a thicker band is that it helps secure the fit in place and there is not much movement around your neck. The same cannot be said about the realme Buds Wireless. It does keep moving around. 

Also read: Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC review: the noise canceling headphones for audiophiles!

Having said that, I still prefer the realme’s fit to the Mi Neckband’s primarily because it is lighter and the wires don’t stretch out in an arc as they do on the Mi earphones. This is irritating because you can constantly feel that the wires are closer to your face. Also, if you sweat a lot, the Mi Neckband’s thicker frame adds to the discomfort. In fact, even the realme’s housings are more comfortable inside with the ears thanks to the wingtips. While they don’t fit me perfectly, the wingtips help secure the earphones in place. 

Anyhoo, coming back to the actual design. Both the earphones re predominately Black in colour, but the Mi Neckbands have a slightly greyish neckband that looks okay. But, it is the realme’s yellow accents that add a dash of character. I also like the addition of the realme logo on the control pad and the outer side of the housings. Moreover, the matte finish across the design – including the earphone housings – are very nicely done. I definitely prefer the realme Buds Wireless’ design over the Mi Neckband’s. 

Interestingly, both the earphones come with a magnetic lock for the housings but only the Realme Buds can play/pause music. That comes in pretty handy in my opinion. As for the controls, I find the Realme Buds easier to control. 

Overall, design-wise the Realme Buds are clearly my favourite pair and could easily be yours as well when you check the two earphones side-by-side. 

Sweatproof/waterproofing

This is where the realme Buds Wireless has an immediate advantage. These are IPX4 certified and can withstand splashes of water. Therefore, I am guessing sweat shouldn’t be much of an issue either. So, if you are someone who loves to exercise with neckband-style earphones on, the realme Buds Wireless is a better option compared to the Mi Neckband Bluetooth earphones. Also because the realme Buds Wireless has those wingtips that I mentioned before. 

Connectivity and Bluetooth range

Both the earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0 support. However, both cannot connect to two devices at once. This is a big bummer. As for the Bluetooth connectivity range, both the earphones promise up to 10 meters of a strong connection. Now, I did a rudimentary range test and noticed that the realme Buds Wireless managed to hold on to connection for the furthest distance compared to the Mi Neckband. 

Okay, now for the one test that matters the most for most Indian users: the gaming audio lag test. I fired up PUBG and noticed a definite audio lag in the realme Buds Wireless. Heck, the audio lag is even more pronounced on the Mi Neckband. So yeah, you are out of luck if you wanted to pick one of these up for PUBG gaming. 

Sound signature and microphone quality

So, here we are; the most important part of this comparison review where we discuss the sound signature of the earphones. The realme Buds Wireless totally took me by surprise. These earphones have an exciting sound signature that is lively and fun to listen to. In comparison, the Mi Neckband goes for a decidedly warm sound with a bloated bass. The treble extension is way better on the realme Buds wireless and that is evident from a song Chasing Marrakech by ZHU. Moreover, the instrument separation and sound-staging are better too. 

Undoubtedly, the sound signature of the realme Buds Wireless is far more appealing compared to the bloated low-end sound of the Mi Neckband Wireless. I would have liked it if the realme Buds Wireless’ soundscape was a bit cleaner. But from the tonality to the dynamics, the Buds Wireless truly sound a couple of notches better than the Mi Neckband Wireless. I really want to commend the sound engineers over at realme for creating such a musical and exciting sound signature with punchy, tight bass. The bass bleed on the Mi Neckband Wireless just ruined the whole experience for me. 

I mean, the realme Buds Wireless is not perfect or anything. In fact, it has slightly subdued mids that could be off-putting for folks that listen to a lot of vocal-heavy tracks. But, in all honesty, for its asking price, the realme Buds Wireless is punching above its weight. 

Also read: 1MORE Dual Driver BT ANC review: these well-priced noise cancelling IEMs also sound good

While the sound quality is important, the microphone quality is equally vital for a lot of users. And, both the earphones don’t disappoint in calls. What I noticed is that Xiaomi has better noise cancellation but that affects the voice clarity. This is not a problem with the Realme Buds Wireless. It sounds slightly clearer. You take your pick: better noise cancellation or a clearer sound. 

Battery life

The Mi Neckband has a larger 120mAh battery compared to the 110mAh unit inside the realme Buds Wireless. As per my testing, I could charge the realme Buds Wireless from 0 to 100 in under 1 hour and 30mins, which is as promised by the brand. The Mi Neckband takes longer to charge. It took me around 2 hours and 10 mins. Despite the slightly larger battery, the Mi Neckband chargers at a slower pace. 

As for the battery life, the realme Buds Wireless last longer for sure. I got around 11 hours and 40 minutes of playback on the realme Buds whereas I got around 8 hours with the Mi Neckband. So yeah, even the battery performance is better on the realme Buds Wireless. 

Value for money

Both the earphones are under Rs 2,000, but I feel that the realme Buds Wireless provide more value thanks mainly to the fact that it has a far more refined sound signature. Moreover, the realme Buds Wireless also offers IPX4 certification. I mean, I know that the Mi Neckband earphones are cheaper now with the 20% discount but still the realme Buds Wireless are a better VFM even at Rs 1,799. 

Which one should you buy?

This time it is an easy question. I’d strongly suggest that you pick up the realme Buds Wireless over the Mi Neckband Bluetooth earphones. Almost everything about the realme Buds Wireless is better. So, what do you guys think? Are you going to cop the realme Buds Wireless when it goes on sale? Do let me know in the comments section below. 

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Ershad Kaleebullah
ershad.kaleebullah@u2opiamobile.com

When Ershad isn't writing, he spends time killing virtual zombies on his PS4. Having worked with a slew of renowned publications like PCWorld, Channelworld, CIO, NDTV Gadgets (now Gadgets360), MySmartPrice, The Inquistr, and 91Mobiles, Ershad brings a whole world of experience to Mr. Phone. He is trying hard to convert all the team members into Apple fans but is facing a lot of resistance. Is anyone willing to help?