The OnePlus Buds Pro is the corporate’s newest pair of wi-fi earbuds. It’s the primary mannequin of their vary to characteristic lively noise cancellation and is a tackle the Apple AirPods Pro, albeit at a a lot cheaper price. $149, in actual fact, which places them on par with the likes of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.
But whereas Apple and Samsung are not any strangers to this sport, that is OnePlus’ first foray into the considerably premium portion of the wi-fi audio market, having made solely entry-stage fashions up up to now.
To their credit score, the OnePlus Buds Pro include a variety of options, together with adaptive noise cancellation, transparency mode, a sound ID characteristic that customizes the sound to your listening to, water-resistance for the buds and the case, wi-fi charging, and even a white noise mode for leisure.
Having options is one factor however executing them successfully is one other matter altogether. So right now we’ll be having a look at how properly the OnePlus Buds Pro carry out in actual-life circumstances, together with testing all of their options and audio high quality.
The OnePlus Buds Pro packaging is unremarkable. Apart from the earbuds, you get three units of silicone ear ideas in three sizes and a brief USB-C charging cable.
The OnePlus Buds Pro have a very engaging design for the earbuds and the case. The case is compact and roughly the dimensions and form of a field of mints. It encompasses a clean matte texture with the OnePlus brand embossed on the highest.
There are not any different markings or textual content on the outside. The solely factor else you may discover on the surface is a small LED on the entrance and a USB-C port on the again for charging.
Opening the lid feels very similar to opening a jewellery case. Swing the lid open and the earbuds sit roughly proper on high somewhat than deep inside the case.
The inside of the case continues the matte end with solely the despair for the earbuds having a shiny end. If you look beneath the lid, you then’ll discover all of the unpleasant regulatory markings hidden inside the despair for the earbuds.
Inside the case, you may additionally discover the button for pairing positioned between the 2 earbuds.
Interestingly, whereas the matte end on the outside of the case is surprisingly smudge-resistant, the matte plastic on the within will get stained fairly simply.
The earbuds themselves are additionally fairly trendy. They characteristic a two-tone design that features matte plastic on high and shiny plastic beneath. It’s fairly a putting design and though the final form is much like the AirPods Pro, the general look is kind of distinctive and engaging. More so than the AirPods Pro, I’d say.
Apart from the Matte Black variant pictured right here, the OnePlus Buds Pro additionally are available Glossy White.
The OnePlus Buds Pro have ingress safety for each the earbuds in addition to the case. The earbuds have an IP55 score, which means they’re protected towards mud and water. The case, in the meantime, has an IPX4 score, which ought to defend it towards splashes of water.
For essentially the most half, the construct high quality, match, and end of the earbuds and the case are fairly good. However, the lid of the case was a bit unfastened on our review unit and rocked aspect to aspect when closed.
During my testing, I discovered the OnePlus Buds Pro to be comfy to make use of for prolonged durations. The dimension and form of the earbuds made them sit for hours with out poking or placing undue stress on any a part of the ear. I’d haven’t any situation sporting these over lengthy flights or whereas binge-watching content material.
The OnePlus Buds Pro are fairly small at 3.2cm x 2.32cm and weigh simply 4.35g, which contributes loads to their consolation. Inside is a single 11mm dynamic driver with a 20-20,000Hz frequency vary.
Interestingly, the earbuds can attain 102dB of SPL in India whereas they’re restricted to 98dB in different markets. This is seemingly resulting from restrictions in a number of different nations concerning how loud headphones may be. Our review unit right here is the Indian mannequin, which implies I’ve entry to the total quantity vary, and nobody can cease me from destroying my ears.
The OnePlus Buds Pro help lively noise cancelation, which is achieved utilizing three microphones positioned round every earbud. More on this later.
The earbuds even have strain-delicate stalks that may be squeezed to set off varied capabilities. You can squeeze as soon as to play/pause, twice to go to the subsequent observe, and thrice by default to the earlier observe. The triple squeeze gesture may be custom-made to additionally launch the voice assistant as a substitute.
You may squeeze and maintain to cycle between the three noise-canceling modes. Like the AirPods Pro, you possibly can select to have all three (on, off, transparency) or any two. By default, on and transparency are chosen.
The management mechanism for the earbud works very well and is likely one of the most nice strategies I’ve seen employed on wi-fi earbuds. The stalks are very responsive and each squeeze is responded with a ticking sound within the earbuds. While there’s a small concern of upsetting the seal and placement of the earbuds each time you contact the stalks, it beats having to faucet and press the earbuds into your ears as seen on nearly all different fashions.
The OnePlus Buds Pro help as much as Bluetooth 5.2 however can solely join to at least one gadget at a time with no option to rapidly swap between units aside from manually unpairing and pairing.
The codec help contains SBC, AAC, and LHDC v3. There’s no help for LDAC or any of the aptX variants.
The LHDC help is fascinating. It is at the moment the least supported codec in the marketplace. Within OnePlus’ product portfolio, solely the most recent Nord 2 helps it. OnePlus says that the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro will probably be getting LHDC help in a future software program replace, however it will not be coming to older units. The firm additionally made the somewhat odd declare that not one of the Nord telephones will probably be getting LHDC help. But as I simply talked about, the most recent Nord 2 does help this codec.
For these unaware, LHDC stands for Low latency HD audio codec and is created by Taiwanese audio firm Savitech. Like LDAC, it is usually licensed for prime-decision audio because it helps as much as 24-bit, 96kHz audio at as much as 900kbps. Like LDAC, it additionally helps different bitrates, particularly, 560kbps, 400kbps, and 256kbps. By default, the gadget will swap robotically based mostly on connection power. There’s no option to inform what bitrate is getting used except the person locks it manually via Android’s developer settings.
The LHDC implementation on the OnePlus Buds Pro has one limitation, whereby it’s restricted to 24-bit, 48kHz. This means it is not fairly excessive-decision audio, though, to be truthful, OnePlus does not declare it to be, both. Still, for many content material, a sampling fee of 48kHz will probably be satisfactory.
All the customization occurs inside the software program, which on OnePlus telephones is completed via the built-in OnePlus Buds app. This app presents itself as further choices inside the Bluetooth settings when a appropriate pair of earbuds are linked however is in any other case inaccessible instantly. The expertise is much like utilizing the settings inside the Bluetooth menu for Apple AirPods fashions.
For non OnePlus telephones, you need to use the Oppo HeyMelody app, which is offered for Android and iOS. This app helps quite a lot of OnePlus and Oppo Bluetooth audio merchandise and also you get the identical set of options and customization choices from inside that app as inside the OnePlus Buds UI.
In some methods, the app is healthier as a result of it is simpler to entry, whereas the OnePlus Buds UI is buried deep inside the Bluetooth settings.
The software program has two fascinating options. The first is the OnePlus Audio ID, which runs a take a look at that features enjoying again a collection of beeps at totally different frequencies and amplitude and checking when you can hear them. At the tip of the take a look at, the software program produces a profile based mostly in your outcomes, and that’s then utilized to all audio performed via the earbuds.
The different characteristic is Zen Mode Air. Zen Mode on OnePlus telephones is a characteristic that makes the telephone unusable for some time so you aren’t getting distracted or tempted into utilizing it. Zen Mode Air is not the identical; what it does is play a soothing sound over the earbuds that will help you loosen up.
The app contains 5 white noise samples – Warm dawn (nature sounds together with birds), Meditation (a relaxing tune), Summer seashore (sound of waves crashing on the seaside), Nighttime tenting (sound of campfire and cicadas), and Iceland (calming tune however Icelandish???). Whenever you decide one, it’s then transferred over to the earbuds. This means it may be performed any time, no matter which gadget the earbuds are paired with.
Some of those are respectable (Summer seashore and Nighttime tenting are my favorites), however I did not care a lot for the others. Also, I seen they sounded a bit too compressed, seemingly resulting from having to be small to suit on the onboard reminiscence of the earbuds. It’s particularly noticeable on Warm dawn. The compression artifacts ruined any possibilities of me stress-free to those sounds, though your mileage could fluctuate.
Lastly, it’s also possible to run a match take a look at to verify if the ear ideas you will have chosen are the precise dimension for you. Regardless of what ideas I used, the app all the time stated I had a superb match.
The OnePlus Buds Pro help fast pairing with OnePlus units. Open the case subsequent to a OnePlus telephone and an AirPod-model immediate seems on the display screen and with one press, the earbuds get paired with the gadget. For non OnePlus telephones, you possibly can simply press and maintain the button inside the case to enter pairing mode.
The app and the firmware on the earbuds (v467) have been largely steady, though I did come throughout a difficulty the place, on a few events, the earbuds simply powered down on their very own for no purpose. They needed to be positioned again into the case for a second to show again on once more. For what it is value, each occasions this occurred was when utilizing the earbuds with a non-OnePlus telephone.
Aside from that, the OnePlus Buds Pro labored fairly properly.
In phrases of tonality, the OnePlus Buds Pro have a reasonably typical v-formed sound signature. There is a big emphasis on the bass and treble areas of the sound with a laidback mid-vary presentation.
The OnePlus Buds Pro have a fairly substantial bass response. There is a wideband enhance utilized throughout the primary few hundred hertz of the frequency vary, which ends up in a really bass-ahead sound.
The bass on the OnePlus Buds Pro lacks articulation and element and simply comes throughout as overpowering. There’s typically a definite rumble current within the sound, which may be fascinating in video content material however tends to be overwhelming and distracting in music. Depending upon your alternative of music, it may also be fatiguing after a while.
The mid-vary is extra laidback and dialed down compared. The decrease mid-vary has a good physique, however it loses steam because it strikes up the frequency ladder. Upper mids are rather more suppressed compared, which causes the vocals to be pushed again a bit within the general combine.
The treble response begins with this downward trajectory, because the decrease treble additionally has a number of the laid-again traits of the mid-vary, which ends up in a extra relaxed and fewer shouty vocal presentation.
However, as we go additional up the frequency vary, the treble tends to spike up aggressively, leading to a pointy rise in sibilance. Audio content material with heavy use of ‘s’ and ‘t’ sounds can get fairly overbearing, and the hiss of the treble may also be distracting.
The general tonality of the OnePlus Buds Pro is somewhat brash and garish. The bass and treble dominate the sound a lot, the mid-vary will get drowned out a bit. It additionally makes the sound fairly fatiguing to hearken to over prolonged durations.
In phrases of technicalities, the element retrieval was fairly common, regardless of the huge bandwidth of LHDC. Imaging efficiency was admittedly fairly good, however the soundstage was slender and unremarkable.
The OnePlus Buds Pro have mediocre microphone high quality. Voices sound robotic and considerably unnatural, and there are a variety of compression artifacts current within the audio. It does, nevertheless, do an okay job of tuning out background noise in your callers.
The OnePlus Buds Pro characteristic two ranges of lively noise cancellation. There is a typical noise-canceling mode and better max noise-canceling mode. The default, nevertheless, is a mode known as good, which adjusts the extent of noise cancellation robotically based mostly on ambient noise ranges.
The noise-canceling efficiency on the OnePlus Buds Pro is spectacular for essentially the most half. The earbuds do an excellent job of tuning out low and low-mid frequencies. The sound of autos passing by, air conditioners, and the final chattering in public locations is muted successfully. And whereas I have not examined this personally, I really feel that the earbuds must also do a fairly good job on flights.
The situation with the tuning out of the upper frequencies. The lively noise canceling does not deal successfully with increased frequencies, so they have a tendency to seep in and keep audible. This is considerably of a difficulty with in-ear headphones greater than full-dimension headphones, because the latter are likely to bodily cowl your complete ear in a means that makes increased frequencies troublesome to cross via.
The different situation with the OnePlus Buds Pro is that the ANC itself provides a excessive-frequency hiss to the sound. Testing the earbuds in a quiet place with the ANC off after which on, it is easy to detect the presence of the excessive-frequency hiss, which is in any other case absent within the ambient noise and even when the earbuds are worn with ANC disabled.
I hope OnePlus addresses this with an replace because the hiss simply provides to the noise ground of the earbuds and considerably defeats the aim of sporting noise-canceling earbuds if it is simply going to interchange the ambient noise with its personal.
Regarding the 2 ANC modes, I could not fairly determine the distinction within the noise attenuation ranges between the 2. Perhaps it is just noticeable in very noisy environments, however in your traditional dwelling or workplace setting, you would be onerous-pressed to note any change in any respect within the noise ranges when switching over to the max setting.
The OnePlus Buds Pro additionally characteristic a transparency mode that additionally works moderately properly. The sound remains to be a bit synthetic sounding, however after some time, you get used to it and do not even discover that you’re listening via the audio system because the localization of the sound is kind of good.
The OnePlus Buds Pro have good latency efficiency whereas watching movies. Regardless of which codec was used, the earbuds have been capable of sync with the video content material effortlessly with minimal delay.
Gaming latency was acceptable. OnePlus claims lowered latency with sure OnePlus smartphone fashions however even when used with an iPhone, the latency wasn’t notably distracting for informal gaming. I’d nonetheless follow wired earbuds for extra critical gaming and voice chat use.
The connection high quality on the OnePlus Buds Pro was completely steady all through my testing. Even when set to the utmost 900kbps mode with LHDC, the earbuds have been working completely nice at over 30 ft of distance with no obstructions in between. There was no situation with the opposite codecs, both.
The OnePlus Buds Pro has a rated battery lifetime of 5 hours with ANC enabled and seven hours with ANC disabled. In each circumstances, the codec used is AAC.
For my battery life testing, I saved the ANC enabled and set to Max mode for consistency. Then I ran the take a look at twice, as soon as with AAC and one other with LHDC.
In the AAC mode, the OnePlus Buds Pro performed for about 4 hours and quarter-hour. That’s off by some margin from OnePlus’s declare, though it is seemingly OnePlus did not use the Max setting for ANC for his or her testing.
In the LHDC mode, the OnePlus Buds Pro performed for about 3 hours 45 minutes. Since we haven’t any quantity to check this towards, we’ll simply must take it for what it’s.
OnePlus additionally did not make any claims about how lengthy the earbuds would final when you have been to cost them for 10 minutes from flat. In my testing, I obtained 2 hours and 10 minutes of playback with a ten-minute cost in AAC mode and 1 hour 50 minutes of playback in LHDC mode.
The battery life on the OnePlus Buds Pro is common. For steady use, even the roughly 4-hour determine with max ANC and LHDC must be adequate for many listening classes. However, if you wish to eke out extra hours, you could need to contemplate disabling the ANC.
The OnePlus Buds Pro are a good try at a semi-premium pair of wi-fi earbuds. Several issues stand out about them, together with the design, consolation, person-pleasant controls, and noise cancellation. They aren’t excellent at these issues, however they do a ok job.
Less spectacular issues embrace the sound high quality, which is simply means too overtuned and aggressive. While most different points of the earbuds really feel suitably premium, the audio tuning looks like one thing you’d discover on low-cost, entry-stage earbuds. It’s a disgrace that OnePlus’ audio tuning has devolved into having as a lot bass and treble as doable, as the corporate’s earlier fashions confirmed a way more refined and mature presentation. Also not notably spectacular is the microphone high quality.
Depending upon your style in music and the way necessary microphone high quality is to you, the OnePlus Buds Pro should be a worthwhile choice for you on the $149 value. There are loads of good issues about them that also makes the general package deal interesting.
- Attractive design
- Water-resistance for earbuds and case
- Good noise cancellation and transparency mode
- Intuitive and person-pleasant controls
- Wireless charging
- Aggressive audio tuning is fatiguing
- Mediocre microphone high quality
- Noise cancellation provides a little bit of excessive-frequency noise