EVALUATION

OnePlus Buds Pro Long-Term Review: OnePlus’ Most Refined Headphones Yet

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OnePlus Buds Pro

8.50 / 10

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The OnePlus Buds Pro offer an exceptional audio experience with active noise cancellation and incredible battery life.

Key Features

  • IP55 water and dust resistant
  • 10-minute charge gives 5 hours of music playback
Specifications

  • Brand: OnePlus
  • Battery Life: up to 38 hours on a single charge
  • Noise Cancellation: Yes
  • Mono Listening: Yes
  • Bluetooth : Yes
  • Microphones: Yes
  • IP rating: IP55 water and dust resistant
  • Charging: Wireless charging and via USB-C
Pros

  • The pressure-sensitive stems work very well
  • Noise cancellation is excellent
  • Sound is clear at high volumes
Cons

  • No multi-device support
  • No volume controls directly from the earbuds
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OnePlus Buds Pro
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Over the past couple of years, OnePlus has dabbled with their Bullet line of earbuds, both wired and wireless, but in almost every case, they never pushed their audio products to be the best. The OnePlus Buds Pro change that; these earbuds finally feel like the company is trying, but should you buy them?

Design

When it comes to design, the OnePlus Buds Pro takes inspiration from a couple of different companies, mainly Apple's AirPods Pros, but OnePlus did a decent job with the fit and function of these earbuds.

Starting with the case, OnePlus opted to go with a very Apple-esque look, and it's a solid choice. On the top, you'll find the new OnePlus logo in all caps, and as you open the lid, you'll see the earbuds and the pairing button on the inside. On the front of the case, there's an LED to tell you when to charge, and around the back, you'll find the USB-C port for charging.

oneplusbudspro-case-3

This case is very much a blend of Apple's AirPods Pro design with the glossy white polycarbonate build and the silver trim around the OnePlus logo and hinge. In terms of functionality, it's more in line with Samsung's jewelry box-like design of the Galaxy Buds. That said, this case is one of the largest I've seen for wireless earbuds, and it can stick out compared to the likes of Apple and Samsung devices.

The hinge is another noticeable differentiator between these earbuds and the more expensive ones. It feels a bit flimsy and loose compared to Samsung's offerings, and it's not as satisfying to open and close. It might seem like a nitpick, but with earbuds like Google's cheaper Pixel Buds A-Series, these small details add to a better experience in everyday usage.

Onto the buds themselves, OnePlus did a great job. The earbuds again mimick Apple's AirPods Pro, but their stems are rounded and have a silver trim that makes them look excellent. Aside from that minor difference, earbuds are essentially a more bubbly version of the AirPods Pro. While seemingly unoriginal, this is a great design choice; the pressure-sensitive stems are a great way to take calls, play or pause, and activate ANC. The buds are also lightweight, weighing 4.35 grams, and they feel incredibly comfortable for long listening periods. I had no problem using these earbuds for the gym or work; they never felt cumbersome unless I pushed them close to two or three hours of use.

The earbuds and the case are dust and water-resistant, with the earbuds rated at IP55 and the case rated at IPX4, making them ideal for the gym or running. They come with silicon tips and have different sizes to choose from in the box to get a secure fit. I found the silicon tips are great for blocking out sound and making sure the earbuds don't fall out of your ear. Paired with the ANC, they offer excellent sound isolation.

OnePlus offers the Buds Pro in either Glossy White or Matte Black. Overall, the design of the OnePlus Buds Pro, while not very unique, is practical and offers substantial improvements compared to the previous earbuds released by the company.

Image Gallery (2 Images)

Audio Quality

The audio quality on the OnePlus Buds Pro is superb, considering the price. These earbuds have 11mm drivers, and that essentially means you're going to get some nice bass, a considerable amount of separation, and surprisingly decent mids and highs. I've mostly tested pop songs with these earbuds, and unless you're looking for Sony X100 level sound quality, the OnePlus Buds Pro is on par with the earbuds within its price range.

oneplusbudspro-earbud

The sound does begin to stifle in quality when you're listening at the highest volume, but aside from that, these earbuds deliver consistently great sound. They pair with OnePlus' HeyMelody app, which gives you a host of controls like transparency mode and ANC but unfortunately does not have an EQ for adjusting the sound profile of these earbuds.

Speaking of Active Noise Cancellation and transparency mode, the OnePlus Buds Pro offers some of the best ANC for $150 earbuds. The app lets you dial the amount of sound cancellation you want, or you can set it auto where the earbuds cancel out noise based on how noisy your surroundings are. I had ANC set to the maximum, and it was surprisingly comparable to higher-end earbuds. Transparency mode, on the other hand, was just ok.

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Transparency mode largely came down to the microphone quality. The OnePlus Buds Pro has three mics in each earbud, and they offer sufficient quality for things like voice calls and using virtual assistants. In terms of transparency mode, there's still has an artificial characteristic to it, which might come down to software, but it's not as good as more expensive "pro" earbuds like the AirPods Pro.

Overall, OnePlus did a superb job with the audio quality of the Buds Pro, and it's reflective of how they approached smartphones in their early days. The OnePlus Buds Pro nails the basics in terms of how they sound, the quality of their microphones, and the versatility of their Active Noise Cancellation capabilities.

Key Features

The OnePlus Buds Pro offers a couple of features unique to these earbuds, but the most useful ones are tied down to OnePlus devices only. The main feature that isn't available on non-OnePlus devices is low latency. These earbuds can support response within 94 milliseconds. This low latency mode is enabled through OxygenOS' game mode and isn't accessible on other devices.

The other notable feature of these earbuds is Zen Mode, which is accessible through the HeyMelody app. This feature lets you choose from a library of soothing sounds to help you relax and relieve stress. Overall, the HeyMelody app has a decent library, but I ended up just using these earbuds with 3rd-party apps like Headspace in this arena.

Something that is seemingly absent on the OnePlus Buds Pro is multi-device support. Currently, these earbuds can only connect to one device at a time. For earbuds that support Bluetooth 5.2, multi-device support would make them much more convenient, but until OnePlus decides to add this feature, you'll have to pair them as you switch between devices.

There isn't much in terms of individual features that set these earbuds apart from the competition. Low latency, which is very useful for many use cases, is only available to users that also own OnePlus phones. While the company is trying to create its ecosystem of devices, it's losing out on the market of non-OnePlus users that could potentially purchase these earbuds.

Battery Life

In terms of battery life, OnePlus doesn't disappoint. They offer five hours of continuous audio playback with ANC turned on, which increases to seven hours with ANC turned off. With the large charging case, the buds can go for an additional 23 hours with ANC.

oneplusbudspro-earbuds-in-case

I've noticed that the earbuds are very consistent with these numbers; I had no issues lasting an entire week without charging the case. The case charges via USB-C and supports wireless charging. The inclusion of wireless charging makes the buds resourceful when there isn't a dedicated charger around. Using reverse wireless charge on devices like the my Galaxy S21 or even OnePlus' 9 series of devices, the earbuds can get a quick top-up that will make them a last a decent amount before needing a real charger.

OnePlus states that you can get 10 hours of playback time with just 10 minutes of wired charging. Though I didn't get to test if this pans out in real-world usage, based on how uniform the battery life has been, I wouldn't doubt if this claim is legitimate. In general, the OnePlus Buds Pro has very fast charging speeds, and that is something that does hold true.

Overall, there's nothing to complain about the OnePlus Buds Pro in terms of battery life. They offer a very usable all-day battery life that is on par with other earbuds within its price bracket, as well as more premium options.

Should You Buy the OnePlus Buds Pro?

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The recurring theme that surrounds the OnePlus Buds Pro is consistency. The Buds Pro looks and feels like a blend of everything that came before it, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The pressure-sensitive stems carried over from the AirPods Pro are very intuitive, and the whole audio experience is more than adequate for most people.

Overall, these earbuds don't bring anything that sets them apart from other earbuds within the $150 range or even the budget $100 range with the Nothing Ear (1)'s, Google Pixel Buds A-Series, and the Huawei Freebuds 4i, but that said, the OnePlus Buds are an incredibly safe purchase. You're going to get a well-balanced experience in terms of sound, build, and battery life.

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