There’s a likelihood you’re familiar with OnePlus and its line of Android-based smartphones, many of which are more than worthy contenders to the Apples and Googles of the space. Not content to rest on their laurels, OnePlus also has a line of consumer audio products, the flagship of which is their recently debuted OnePlus Buds Pro earbuds. OnePlus provided SPY with a set of the Buds Pro to test for ourselves; this is what we found.
OnePlus Bud Pro Bluetooth Earbuds
OnePlus Buds Pro Review: What We Liked
The Buds Pro are the third iteration of OnePlus’ foray into consumer audio and are priced around a midpoint price level to compete with AirPods and the like. The package is sleep and relatively minimal, putting the focus on the decidedly square charging case. Size-wise, the case is about half the length of a credit card and just a touch wider but is relatively thin compared to some other earbud cases I’ve seen in the past. The matte finish of the case feels good in your hand, and the OnePlus branding on the top provides just enough texture to let you know whether or not the case is upward or downward in your pocket.
The earbuds themselves are, once again, pretty similar to a set of AirPods, with their stem-like construction, and do come with additional ear tips if the standard ones don’t work for your individual ears.
When it comes to actual audio performance, the Buds Pro are pretty impressive. The 11mm drivers are a little more bass-forward but not overwhelming so; as per usual, my testing of Tame Impala produced plenty of punch with an overall clear and steady sound. Once you take that into consideration alongside the more than worthy ANC noise cancelation, you’ve got a really well-rounded set of earbuds. The ANC doesn’t quite hold up to the ANC on Sony’s excellent earbuds but is strong for this price. The ANC removed a majority of the chatter from my DC metro ride and even cut down on the sounds of the train’s arrival in the process. Not bad for a set of earbuds costing less than $200.
What’s most impressive about the Buds Pro is their battery life. I charged the case when it arrived about a week ago and haven’t needed to do a full recharge since. I’ve averaged a listening time of about three to four hours a day and never once was concerned about battery life in any capacity. It charges quickly, too (either by USB-C or Qi-certified wireless charger), giving a full charge back in about an hour or so. The Buds Pro also feature an IP55 water-resistance rating which won’t protect them if you’re in a downpour without an umbrella or a rainjacket but will certainly ensure a sweaty workout doesn’t cause them to short-circuit.
OnePlus Buds Pro Review: What We Didn’t Like
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of how the controls on the OnePlus Buds Pro work. I, personally, don’t love the “squeeze-to-control” functionality of AirPods, much preferring touch controls instead. This is undoubtedly a personal preference thing, but it’s much more difficult for me to squeeze the stem when I want to skip a song during a run or a workout than it is for me to just tap an earbud. This isn’t a dealbreaker in any capacity, however.
Yet, what might be a dealbreaker for some is the premium features that are (more or less) kept from you if you don’t have a OnePlus phone. Using the buds in conjunction with a OnePlus phone allows you to use a handful of features like LHDC, low-latency mode, and Dolby Atmos. These, frankly, are huge features to have on a set of earbuds (especially for this price!), but it’s a huge disappointment you have to be a OnePlus phone owner to take advantage of them.
Verdict: Oneplus Buds Pro Offer a Lot To Love but Could Do More
I’m really happy with the OnePlus Buds Pro. They’re a worthy challenger to my Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds as my go-to, day-to-day set of earbuds. But I can’t help but feel sour about the fact so much of the Pro’s true potential is restricted to owning a OnePlus phone. That being said, there’s still a lot for non-OnePlus users to love, and it certainly makes them an attractive option to consider amongst the other large swaths of true wireless earbuds on the market.
For OnePlus to get so many things right on just their third try is a really encouraging step, but let’s take those premium features out from behind a paywall next time round.