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OnePlus Buds Pro Review: Near Perfect TWS Earbuds For Music Enthusiasts
OnePlus recently forayed into the premium wireless audio market with its Buds Pro true wireless earbuds. Priced at Rs. 9,990, the TWS earbuds is the company's first TWS earbuds with adaptive noise cancellation (ANC) and wireless charging. The premium-looking true wireless earbuds also offers water resistance for both the buds and the charging case, which is something hard to find in the sub-10k price bracket.
- Incredibly Powerful & Loud Audio
- Impressive Bass Delivery
- Both Buds & Charging Case Are Water-Resistant
- Effective ANC
- Wireless Charging
- Lacks Multi-device Connectivity & Quick Switch
- In-ear Fit Isn’t Very Secure
- Sound Signature Isn’t For Everyone
Some other cutting-edge features include a white noise mode and an AI-based Sound ID feature that is said to customize each piece of music based on your sensitivity to different sounds for a more personalized music listening experience. The spec-sheet is pretty good, and as it goes with most OnePlus products, the OnePlus Buds Pro is marketed very well in the country.
But do they also sound good and can rival Apple's truly wireless earbuds? Moreover, does the newly launched Google Pixel Buds A-Series should be considered as a competition since they also carry the same pricing? Let's find out.
OnePlus Buds Pro Design
The Buds Pro is indeed the OnePlus' most premium-looking true wireless earbuds. These buds come in a stealthy-looking black matte finish case, which is IPX4 water-resistant and supports wireless charging. The case has a smooth matte texture with the minimal OnePlus branding embossed at the top. It is pretty lightweight (52g) and portable. A Type-C charging port is positioned at the back and an LED light rests at the front.
The LED glows solid red when the case is kept on charging and turns green when you open the lid. It starts blinking white you press the pairing button placed inside the case. Nothing about the case or the earbuds feels flimsy. Even the lid closes with a very satisfactory thud. It is worth mentioning that the matte exterior of the case is smudge-resistant and does not attract fingerprints.
Stylish Two-Tone Earbuds
The cute-looking earbuds come in a two-tone finish. The top portion carries the same matte texture that resists smudges while the stem part flaunts a premium chrome finish. The shiny metallic texture gives these buds a very upmarket feel. The design looks striking and the quality of the material used is top class. Each bud weighs only 4.35 grams.
As far as durability is concerned, the buds are also IP55 rated. You can wear them in the gym during workout sessions under humid conditions without worrying about any possible damage from sweat and dirt. We got to test the matte black variant but you can also check out the glossy white variant as it looks striking.
Can You Wear Them For Long?
The OnePlus Buds Pro proved to be the second most comfortable earbuds in our testing. The first spot is grabbed by the Pixel Buds A-series, which have a very distinctive in-ear design allowing for a slightly more comfortable wearing experience for marathon listening sessions. The in-canal fit of the OnePlus Buds Pro is
Also, the OnePlus Buds do not feel as secure as the Google Buds feel in the ears during running and intense workouts. I had to keep a check on them while running on the treadmill or during outdoor cycling.
You might have a different wearing experience with these buds since the in-ear fit varies from person to person. OnePlus offers three high-quality silicone tips (S, M, L) with the Buds Pro.
OnePlus Buds Pro Touch Controls & Smartphone App
OnePlus opted for a very unconventional touch-control mechanism for the Buds Pro. Unlike most TWS earbuds featuring touch-sensitive controls, the OnePlus Buds have pressure-sensitive stalks that need to be squeezed to trigger touch actions. Below are the actions supported by the pressure-sensitive stalks on the Buds Pro.
Please note that some of these actions are customizable from the Bluetooth settings on supported OnePlus devices. For non-OnePlus handsets, you would need the HeyMelody app installed on your device.
- Squeeze once to play/pause the track (Not customizable)
- Squeeze twice to go to the next track (Not customizable)
- Squeeze thrice to go to the previous track or to invoke the voice assistant (Customizable)
- Squeeze and hold the stems to change noise-canceling modes
- Long touch and hold (3 seconds) to enable the Zen mode.
The squeeze actions are very well-implemented and have better accuracy than the conventional touch controls; however, you can easily affect the buds' placement in the ears while squeezing the stem. I had to manually replace the buds at their spots almost every time while squeezing the stalks.
OnePlus Buds Pro Special Features
Before we talk about the sound signature, you must know about the extra bills and whistles OnePlus has thrown in. The most important is the OnePlus Audio ID feature, which plays an important role in the overall sound signature and music listening experience. The software runs a test by playing a series of beeps to create a unique sound profile that works best for your hearing preferences.
You must take this test as the outcome made a big difference in our listening experience. OnePlus'AI algorithms modified the sound signature and made it warmer and more enjoyable for my listening preference. You can even hear a small demo of before and after sound signature that will help you better understand the differences in the sound signature.
Adaptive Two-Level ANC
The active noise cancellation on the OnePlus Buds Pro is very impressive. The adaptive ANC works on three microphones placed on the earbud and has two levels- Standard and Max noise cancellation. By default, the ANC is set to a smart mode that senses the ambient noise and provides the required isolation. You can easily tweak between the two levels of ANC but the difference is fairly marginal.
The ANC on the Buds Pro does a good job of cutting down the unwanted noise. The low-end frequencies such as noise from air-conditioners, vehicle's movement, fan noise, etc. are cut almost to half. If you stream music, even at 50% volume with ANC enabled, you won't hear any outside noise at all. You also get a workable transparency mode that comes in handy if you like to be aware of your surroundings while enjoying music.
Lastly, the OnePlus Buds Pro features a built-in Zen mode that can help you ease up some tension by listening to soothing sounds of nature. Accessible via the HeyMelody app, the Zen Mode Air offers five white noises (Warm Sunrise, Meditation, Summer Seashore, Nighttime camping, and Iceland) that can help you sleep, or perform meditation exercises such as yoga or breathing.
Sadly, the duration of the white noises is not more than 1-min. A bigger catalogue with an extended duration of white noises could have been better if the dedicated mode has been offered on the true wireless buds.
OnePlus Buds Pro Sound Delivery
The OnePlus Buds Pro's powerful sound signature can be broadly categorized as bright, bass forwarding, and extremely engaging. It almost gives V-shaped sound signature feels with a little more emphasis on the bass response. The buds are powered by 11mm dynamic drivers with an impressive frequency response range of 20-20,000Hz creating an incredibly loud audio signature. Most rivals in the same price bracket sound less powerful in comparison to the OnePlus Buds.
We tuned into our favorite music on a couple of handsets including the latest OnePlus flagships. Most of these handsets stream music with the AAC codec. We experienced engaging audio with bass-heavy numbers. The drum beats in the Megalithic Symphony by Awolnation were spot on; however, the low-frequency sounds overpower other frequencies.
Moving on, the vocals mostly sounded suppressed and the treble response felt pretty aggressive causing a certain sparkle in the sound signature. This particular sound signature works with some music genres and yield impressive results. However, the constant rumble of the low-grunt frequencies and the overbearing high section of notes can cause fatigue with extended music sessions. OnePlus seems to be very confident with its Audio ID feature since there's no built-in equalizer for the buds in the companion app.
Google Pixel Buds A-Series Are More Natural Sounding
This is where we liked the Google Pixel Buds A-series and the Oppo Enco X. While Google's TWS earbuds offer a much more natural sound, the Oppo Enco X has the right detailing and slightly better imaging than the OnePlus Buds Pro. These two earbuds offer a better overall listening experience for a wider range of genres.
Overall, the OnePlus Buds Pro sounds impressive for the most part but it isn't the finest tuned TWS earbuds out there. The focus is clearly on the bass and treble regions with laid-back middles making these buds suit well for fast-paced electronic tracks. If you prefer such tuning, the OnePlus Buds Pro won't disappoint you.
OnePlus Buds Pro Battery Life
The OnePlus Buds Pro offered a continuous music playback of 4.5 hours on one full charge with ANC enabled on the AAC codec. The volume levels fluctuated between 70 to 90%. We experienced similar battery life on the Google Pixel Buds A-series; however, you must note that the Google Buds don't have ANC.
If you disable the ANC on the OnePlus Buds, the battery life extends to another 40 to 50 minutes, which is pretty good for the tiny buds carrying 40mAh battery cells. You can add another three refills with the charging case's 520mAh battery cell taking the overall battery life to 19-20 hours. This is not an extraordinary battery life but gets you through a day without needing to refuel the buds or the case.
OnePlus Buds Pro Connectivity
As far as the connectivity is concerned, the OnePlus Buds Pro established a solid connection with the devices we paired them with, thanks to the latest Bluetooth 5.2 standard and good codec support including SBC, AAC, and LHDC. The buds lack LDAC and aptX codec support.
And even the choice of LHDC codec is questionable since not many phones support it. Even OnePlus' portfolio has very limited devices to offer LHDC codec support. There's no multi-device support and quick switching, which is a bummer. Lastly, the Buds Pro also served well for voice calls, both on the mobile operator and WhatsApp calls. The microphone response is good if not the best.
The OnePlus Buds Pro is undoubtedly impressive, but isn't for everyone. These are feature-packed true wireless earbuds with a heavy emphasis on bass delivery and treble response. The aggressive sound signature isn't going to sound impressive for long if you prefer a more natural music listening experience. These are enthusiast's buds and not for mature listeners.
If you want to explore the market, you can read our review of the Google Pixel Buds A-series and the Oppo Enco X. Priced similarly, these true wireless earbuds do not match the OnePlus product in terms of features but the sound signature is welcoming and enjoyable.