Audio, News, Smartphone

Realme 5i & Realme Buds Air Land in Malaysia; Retails at RM299 & RM599

Realme just launched two new products for the Malaysian market. There’s the Realme 5i mid-range smartphone, and a new pair of true wireless earbuds, the aptly dubbed Realme Buds Air. Both of these products are meant to be budget-friendly, and if you’re quick, you can even get the Buds Air with a pretty good discount.

Out of the two products, the Realme Buds Air will be available for sale online first; it’ll be offered on Shopee from 21 January onwards. Retailing at only RM299, it’s a reasonably inexpensive pair of wireless earbuds with some interesting features.

If you want to get the Buds Air at an even lower price, get it from Shopee at 12AM on 21 January; it’ll be offered for merely RM199 on that day only. A RM100 discount is nothing to sneeze at.

As for the Realme 5i, the sole 64GB variant with 4GB of RAM is priced at RM599. At this price point, it’s really quite a good buy for those on a tight budget. For the sake of comparison, the Realme 5 – which is a slightly higher-end device than the Realme 5i – retailed at RM549 for the 32GB + 3GB model when it was launched here.

So what does RM599 get you with the Realme 5i? Well, for one, this budget-friendly smartphone has a very generous 5,000mAh battery. Paired with a relatively power-efficient 11nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, you should be able to get above average battery life – perhaps even up to two days of usage on a single charge.

Besides that, the Realme 5i also has a sizeable 6.5-inch 1600 x 720 HD+ IPS display. With an 89% screen-to-body ratio, it’s a rather sleek-looking device too, though we do wish it came with a smaller bottom bezel. Nonetheless, we’re quite a fan of the rear panel’s design, especially this Aqua Blue variant. If blue isn’t quite your thing, this phone is also offered in Forest Green.

Speaking of which, the Realme 5i comes with a rear fingerprint sensor too. Not quite as fancy as an in-screen sensor, but it should be quicker and far more accurate. After all, even in-screen sensors used in flagship smartphones still can’t quite match the performance of conventional capacitive fingerprint readers.

Just like the Realme 5, the Realme 5i features a quad camera system. It’s made up of a 12MP f/1.8 main shooter, an 8MP f/2.25 ultra-wide angle sensor, a 2MP portrait camera, and a 2MP macro lens. There’s no telephoto sensor here, but we imagine most folks will find more use out of the ultra-wide angle shooter anyway.

Rounding out the specifications of the Realme 5i include an 8MP f/2.0 selfie camera, a microSD card slot that can accommodate cards up to 256GB, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and ColorOS 6.0.1 based on Android 9 Pie out of the box. Unfortunately, this phone still charges via a microUSB port; a common trait of budget smartphones.

And then there’s the Realme Buds Air. One of the best selling points of this audio product is its low latency, making it ideal for gamers who don’t want to deal with the hassle of wired earphones. According to Realme, the Buds Air has a 119.3ms latency in Gaming Mode. In regular usage, it has a latency of 243.8ms.

Realme says that the Buds Air’s latency can be reduced this much thanks to the R1 Chip under the hood. Not only can it provide low latency, it also offers a stable connection along with better battery performance. Of course, it uses the newer Bluetooth 5.0 standard as well.

Battery life of the Buds Air is quite respectable too. On a single charge, it can last up to three hours. With the provided charging case, it offers a total of 17 hours music playback. When you need to charge up the case, you can either plug in a USB-C cable, or charge it wirelessly. That’s right, the charging case supports 10W Qi wireless charging; not a feature you usually find on wireless earbuds at this price point.

Like many other wireless earbuds, the Buds Air support a number of touch controls. A double tap either answers a call or play / pause your music playback, a triple tap skips to the next song, while a long press on one side of the earbuds launches Google Assistant or ends / declines a call. Oh, there’s also a quick shortcut to enter or exit Gaming Mode to reduce latency. A a long press on both earbuds will do the trick.

While the touch controls of the Buds Air are reasonably good, it would’ve been great if it was possible to control the volume as well. But hey, this is an affordable pair of wireless earbuds.

The Realme Buds Air will be available for purchase on Shopee from 21 January onwards at 12AM. For the time being, it will only be offered in White; the Yellow and Black models will arrive here sometime in the future. The Realme 5i, on the other hand, can be purchased at physical retail stores on 18 January. If you want to get the smartphone online instead, it’ll be available on Lazada from 28 January.