OnePlus Buds Pro Review — Love bass? Your search ends here
Business Insider India
OnePlus Buds Prois a premium-grade truly wireless (TWS) earbud from the company.
- The company has made TWS in the past but this is the first with active noise cancellation.
- It’s loud and heavy on the bass, which makes it the go-to option for those who like to blast a party in their head.
AdvertisementOnePlus Buds Pro is the latest audio product from the company and seems like it has hit the right note with this one. It goes without saying that in a crowded market of truly wireless earbuds (TWS), it needs something special to mark its name in bold letters.
OnePlus had received a lot of praise for its neckband-style Bullets Wireless earbuds. Although the first few budget TWS buds from the company were alright-at-best in comparison with the competition. Priced at ₹9,990,
I have been using the Buds Pro for more than fifteen days and so far, there's little to complain about. It's the perfect product for OnePlus to claim the fame it had got for its commitment to quality, which was somewhat missing in the recent past and the OnePlus Watch was a proper case. What makes me say so? Let's find out in the review.
Buds Pro have a no-nonsense design and good fit
The OnePlus Buds Pro comes in glossy white and matte black variants, and as the name suggests, both colours have a different finish. For me, the size, pocketability, ease of opening and closing matter more than how the case looks. The case's design is very basic, but is well built, fits very well in the pocket and the matte finish makes it less prone to scratches unlike the more show-focused design and material on the Nothing's ear (1) transparent case.
While I liked the form factor and material on the case, it's not easy to open it with one hand. I had to use both hands to open it and initially it was difficult to spot which is the front side until I got used to looking at the 'OnePlus' branding on top.
Inside the case, the earbuds lay flat, unlike the cheaper OnePlus Buds which have the earbuds slid into the cavity. However, the magnets hold the buds quite well and it's easy to take out and place them into the case. The earbuds look a lot like the Apple Airpods Pro, but it has a dual-tone finish with a matte top and a glossy stem.
The fit and comfort are quite impressive compared to the regular Apple Airpods and the Galaxy Buds Pro. Although, this is something that differs as per the user because of the different shapes and sizes of ears. For me, it is among the most comfortable earbuds to wear for a long duration. They're also very lightweight — to put things in perspective one bud weighs 4.35 grams whereas AirPods Pro bud weighs 5.4 grams and Galaxy Buds Pro bud is 6.3 grams. You also get extra ear tips to find the best fit and comfort.
These are IPX4 and IP55 certified too, which makes both the buds and the case water and sweat resistant.
Surprisingly good active noise cancellation and bassy audio
OnePlus stressed a lot on the active noise cancellation (ANC) feature of the buds, and it is the first thing to surprise you as soon as you plug them in your ears. The ANC is comparable to its much more expensive counterparts like the Sony WF-1000XM3 or even Apple Airpods Pro and it's quite impressive for its price.
Don't expect it to block loud sounds nearby, but noises like a fan, people talking, and traffic noise is very well filtered at 50% volume. You can adjust between three levels of ANC — faint, smart and extreme — which lets you set the intensity as the name suggests. Smart mode adjusts the noise as per the surrounding, but I preferred 'extreme' in most cases.
As for the audio quality, the Buds Pro will impress those who listen to a lot of RnB, Hip Hop, EDM or essentially any genre that has punch and thump in the melody. While those who like to listen to rock, grunge and similar genres might want to look somewhere else.
AdvertisementIf you like to host a party in your head, these earbuds can do that with ease as they're loud, bassy and ooze a lot of energy. The mid-bass and sub-bass sound heavy and deep. What's good is that the heaviness of the bass notes doesn't mix with the lower frequencies and vocals to spoil it, but in some tracks, you might find it wobbling, which affects the details and resolution of highs and mids.
I listened to almost every song on my playlist ranging from Bollywood, 80s rock to 90s hip hop and everything that falls in between. What I learnt is there are few genres that you'd not want to blast on full volume. For example, tracks like Smells like teen spirit by Nirvana, High and dry by Radiohead sounded impressive to 70% volume, but audiophiles might not enjoy the imperfect sound staging and loss of details when multiple instruments kick in. At higher volumes, instruments like snare and hi-hat mixed with bass guitar sound unpleasant at times, especially with tracks mixed and mastered when production tech wasn't as good.
However, songs like Empire State by Jay Z, We're all we need by Above and Beyond and even Kabhi Kabhi Aditi by A R Rahman sound soothing and just how you would like them. Peppy Bollywood numbers and desi hip hop will make you groove in your head. Sadly, there's no option to customise the equaliser otherwise a little tuning might have allowed us to improve the imaging and tonality of tracks where multiple instruments are involved.
Overall, the strong bass profile of the OnePlus Buds Pro doesn't upset me and despite the shortcomings, it's the most dynamic sounding earbud in the price range. I own a Sony WF-1000XM3, and I can say the Buds Pro gives me just what I miss on the year-old premium earbuds from Sony.
How is it to use?
AdvertisementJust like AirPods Pro, you can squeeze the stems on the earbuds to play/pause, skip a song, and return to the previous song. A slightly longer squeeze switches between noise cancellation and transparency modes. While all of it works just how it is intended, I miss volume controls on the earbuds. Every time you want to increase or reduce the volume, you will have to go to the source device to do it.
The OnePlus Buds Pro is very easy to pair and start using. There's a Hey Melody app for non-OnePlus users to take control of ANC, sound settings and other features. For OnePlus users, the options are hidden inside Settings > Bluetooth > Media Devices. Within the settings, you get options to choose noise control for ANC on/off, transparency mode, customise pinch controls, options to choose between the Zen Mode audio, do the earbud fit test and take a hearing test to set a custom audio ID for your ear. It also lets you choose between AAC and SBC audio codecs, but I would recommend using AAC.
You can pinch and hold the stem for three seconds to activate Zen Mode Air, which plays a soothing white noise to increase focus and calm your mind. It does work really well, as I had to use it to finally finish writing the review for the buds.
Calling and microphone performance is also very impressive. Be it mic, performance, connectivity, range or reception, there hasn't been a single instance of struggle during calls.
The battery performance is also surprisingly good. A single charge lasts slightly over 5 hours of listening time with ANC and 28 hours with the case. With ANC turned off, you get around 7 hours and 38 hours with the case. I did not need to charge it for the first week of use, every time I popped them out of the case, they were at 100% battery. However, when I charged them finally, it took only 10 minutes to offer up to 10 hours of listening time. Additionally, you get support for Qi wireless charging, which makes it even more convenient to charge.
Should you buy it? Who is it for?
It might sound unreal, but the OnePlus Buds can be called the cheaper alternative to the Airpods Pro, and a solid competitor to the Google Pixel Buds A, Oppo Enco X and Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. The only shortcomings are missing equaliser in the app, no volume control on buds, wobbly bass at high volume, but that's where the negatives end.
For someone who loves slapping bass and thumping sound profile, this is the best option in its price range. That topped with features like IPX4 certification, Dolby Atmos support, fast and wireless charging, 94ms latency for gaming, a good battery and excellent call quality, makes for a steal deal at ₹9,990.
If you're an audiophile and prefer cleaner definition, imaging and soundstage then you might have to compromise on the loudness, bass and go for a slightly more expensive counterpart or a premium wired earphone.
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