Realme may be best known for its smartphones, but the company has entered several product divisions since its debut in 2018. The company now sells television and streaming devices, earphones, wearables, laptops and tablets and smart home products in India. Recently, Realme has also entered the Bluetooth speaker segment, offering affordable models that you would not normally see in products of the same price range. The product I’m reviewing here, the Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker, promises all that and much more.
Priced at Rs 1,799 in India, the Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker offers many things that you would not normally see at this price level, including 5W sound output, USB Type-C charging and customizability via the Realme Link app. Is this the best portable wireless speaker you can buy right now on a tight budget? Find out in this review.
Realme Link app support for Cobble Bluetooth speakers
The name ‘cobalt’ is a reference to cobblestone which was a common building material for roads, sidewalks and even buildings. This speaker is oval in shape and has a large grille on top of the top-firing driver. A Realme logo is painted in the center of the grill and I got a black unit for this review. Cobble is also available in blue, with a striking camouflage pattern on the grill instead of a Realme logo.
The Realme Cobble is neither too long nor too wide, and because of the small rubber feet at the bottom it sits quite firmly on any surface. One side of the speaker has a fixed strap for easy handling and the other side has a rubber flap that covers the USB Type-C port. The Realme Cobble speaker is rated IPX5 for water resistance, and so it should be able to handle a few splashes of water.
There are two buttons on the front; One for power, and the other for multi-function buttons. The latter can be configured to control playback and other functions. Different button-press combinations can be customized through the Realme Link app, and the speaker automatically goes into pairing mode when it is not connected to a source device. The front has a microphone and an indicator light
The Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker has a single 5W driver. It uses Bluetooth 5 to connect with support for SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. Included in the sales package is a USB Type-C charging cable. The speaker weighs only 200 grams, making it convenient to carry around.
The Realme Link app can be used to customize button behavior, toggle the automatic power-off feature to save power when the speaker is idle for 15 minutes, to activate low-latency game mode, and to switch between equalizer presets. The app also displays the battery level of the speaker and can be used to set up stereo pairs if you have a second Realme Cobble speaker. This is a pretty good feature for an affordable wireless speaker, and most of the others in this price range do not have this kind of functionality.
Battery life is acceptable for a Bluetooth speaker of this size and price. Realme Cobble’s 1,500mAh battery powered it for about eight hours on a single charge and was capable of medium volume for music and occasional phone calls. It was close to the nine-hour playback time Realme claimed for Cobble.
Realme Cobble Bluetooth speakers sound reasonably loud and good
Most wireless speakers are priced below Rs. 2,000 is not too big, and ready for a personal or small-radius listening experience. Realme Cobble is exactly that. However, it is reasonably loud for its price and size along with its volume, and at about 80 percent volume level it sounds decent.
The top-firing speaker driver means that the sound spreads fairly well around the device and allows it to be used in almost any position, including hanging by its strap. Although it vibrates a lot in general use, the rubber foot keeps it stable on any flat surface and the multi-function button was easy to reach when I used this speaker on my work desk.
While listening to Everlasting Days by Nu: Logic with volume, the Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker was designed for a pleasurable experience, which was clear and integrated for a device of this size and price. Cobble was able to keep up with the changing speed and drive of this track, but it said the lower-end didn’t sound as impressive as I expected – the bass sounded a bit flat and lacked thumps.
Changing the equalizer preset through the app has improved the rumble and attack a bit, but on the flipside, I’ve noticed that the mid-range and altitude have suffered somewhat. I went back to the ‘Balanced’ EQ preset and heard Kings of Convenience’s The Girl from Back then much slower and more refined. Norwegian singer Erlend Nye’s lively voices sounded calm and precise, as were jazz pianos and saxophone riffs at the end of the track.
I was most comfortable listening to music at about 60 percent volume level on this speaker and it was kept about two feet away from me. Cobble can handle playback up to the 80 percent volume mark before the music sounds a bit harsh and distorted. At its highest reasonable volume level, Realme Cobble is loud enough and produces good enough sound to work in a reasonably sized bedroom. Of course you can take it with you from house to house and even use it outside.
The Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker is best used for music, but it also works well for occasional dialogue-heavy video content. It also has a microphone to enable hands-free use for phone calls and call performance was acceptable. Although the microphone picked up my voice politely enough, I couldn’t hear the callers very well. I often had to pick up the speaker and bring it closer to hear it clearly, even at high volume.
Realme’s first Bluetooth speaker in India is impressive for a number of reasons, but the one that stands out the most is the quality of the offer here. At Rs 1,799, it is a very good compact wireless speaker with a nice design, customizable via an app, IPX5 water resistance and decent sound.
While not as comfortable as many might expect, the Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker offers a clear, precise, and reasonably high sound for the price. There’s very little to complain about with the Realme Cobble Bluetooth speaker, and it’s easily become one of my best choices in this category.