“The Riversong Air X3 is quite possibly, the best pair of budget truly wireless earphones”
It’s no secret that Apple’s AirPods lit a fire in the truly wireless audio segment, which now encompasses over thousands of products from various manufacturers. Having tested over a dozen or so pair of wire-free buds, I noticed that while you can get good sounding truly-wireless buds, you’ll usually have to spend upwards of Rs 10K. That is, until I auditioned the Riversong Air X3 earphones, which cost less than earphones with cables and yet, sound surreal. I’ve been itching to pen my thoughts on the product, so without any further ado, let’s get on with the review.
Design and Comfort
Spoiler alert – the Riversong Air X3 sound great, but their unique design deserves a mention too. Unlike the herd of all-black truly-wireless earphones sporting a plastic build, the Riversong’s offering instead features a sandstone finish on both, the individual earbuds as well as the charging case. The product’s design language is, in a word, refreshing and I’m glad the company didn’t let its pricing hold it back.
The Air X3 is indeed an eye candy but what stuck out to me was how comfortable the pair was to wear over extended listening sessions. What’s more, despite not shipping with fins, the earphones stayed anchored in my ears even during rigorous workouts in the gym. Now, the unit doesn’t ship with any IP certification, but having put the pair through some sweaty workouts over the last month, they still work flawlessly, so make of that what you will.
I’d also like to point out that the docking case bundled with the unit facilitates numerous purposes. While you will use it to store the earbuds and charge them, the case also features a USB Type-A port, allowing buyers to use it as an emergency power bank should their phone run out of juice. That’s ingenious and I hope to see more manufacturers incorporate this feature in their truly wireless offerings.
My only qualm with the design of the Air X3 is that the pair falls under the ‘phone-dependent’ category of truly wireless earbuds. Consequently, while the earphones let you listen to music without cables asphyxiating your neck, you’ll have to rely on your phone to switch between tracks or to control the volume level. That’s quite a bummer, as the Air X3 does ship with two buttons on either bud, however you can only use the toggles to put the earphones in pairing mode or redial the last number in your recently dialled list.
Before I wrap up the design section, allow me to briefly sum up the Air X3’s other noteworthy features –
1 – The charging case is extremely sleek and therefore, you can comfortably carry it in the pocket of your jeans without worrying about a bulge.
2 – The charging case also features LED indicators towards the front, which will give you an idea of when it’s running on fumes.
3 – The sandstone finish on the earbuds and the case is quite robust, and despite dinging the case on my desk and clumsily dropping the earbuds on concrete, there are no scratches on the unit.
Sound Quality and Battery life
I’ll be honest – I didn’t have high hopes from the Air X3 in the sound department. But, after testing the earphones for a month, I think I’ve stumbled upon a hidden gem in the truly wireless space. Specs-wise, the unit is backed by a pair of 6mm drivers positioned inside each earpiece and comes with support for SBC and AAC audio codecs.
Now, unlike other budget truly wireless earphones, the Air X3 connect to compatible devices over Bluetooth v5.0, which paves way for a stable connection and reduced power usage thanks to BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). Now, the buds can connect to two devices simultaneously too, but the caveat is that the right channel is presumed as a separate audio device.
Consequently, you will only be able to connect only one phone or laptop to the earphones at a time. Regardless, the Air X3 retained a rock-solid Bluetooth connection to my OnePlus 7 Pro (review) and there were rarely any instances of track skips or link drops during my time with the earbuds.
Coming to the sound quality, the Air X3 breaks away from the norm and offers a balanced sound signature as opposed to a bass-heavy output. Correspondingly, there’s no clear emphasis on any frequency group, which paves way for a joyous listening experience. Now, I will admit, the earbuds might leave EDM-heads wanting for a little more oomph in the low end. However, I didn’t find the bass lacking by any means and to my ears, the beats had a good attack, punchy thumps, and minimal decay.
As for the mids, the earphones impressed me yet again and I revelled listening to melodic Blues on the Air X3, simply because the pair did justice to a singer’s vocals. The buds reciprocated the entire vocal range of a singer cleanly and clearly to my ears, and even at relatively higher volumes, the Air X3 didn’t sound sibilant. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the earphones relayed highs too. Granted, the pair could do with slightly better instrument separation, but for the price, I couldn’t have asked for more – the strums from an electric guitar felt energising and even with the volume cranked up high, rock songs didn’t sound like complete gibberish either.
As for the battery life, the Air X3 offers around 2.5 hours of music playback off a single charge, which isn’t a whole lot. However, the bundled case ships with a 2,000mAh cell, which, per the brand, can charge the earphones completely as many as 15 times. In a nutshell, you won’t have to connect the case to a power brick every other day.
The Riversong Air X3 carries an MRP of Rs 5,999, but you can find it on Amazon for as low as Rs 3,500. For its discounted price, the Air X3 offers immense value for money as it looks good, and sounds great. Suffice it to say, if you have a limited budget and want to get your hands on a pair of truly wireless earbuds, the Air X3 should be at the top of your wishlist.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Good-looking design
- Good sound for the price
- Case is sleek and can be used as a power bank
- Not very bass-heavy
- Case lacks a USB Type-C connector