The Nord Buds are the successor to the first Nord that launched in 2020, and these earbuds do a great job of expanding on the features that fans loved. Still, it’s impossible to test out even the best wireless earbuds without comparing them to Apple’s AirPods Pro, arguably the most advanced option on the market.
The Nord Buds go toe-to-toe with the AirPods in numerous different ways; in fact, I would argue they are to Android and OnePlus users what the AirPods are to iPhone users. That said, AirPods are still the superior choice if you’re on iPhone.
So what makes us say all that? Read on to find out in our full OnePlus Nord Buds review below.
What’s in the Box?
The Nord Buds come with quite a bit in the box:
- OnePlus Nord Buds
- Charging case
- User guide
- Three sets of ear tips
- USB-C cable
- Nord sticker
- Safety card
The Nord sticker is definitely a unique addition, but this brand has a style all its own that’s reflected in the packaging material.
OnePlus Nord Buds Specs
Right off the bat, the Nord Buds have a lot going in terms of sound quality and technical specifications. The earbuds come in two colors: Black Slate and White Marble.
The first thing you notice when you open the case is the design. The case lies flat and opens all the way, as opposed to other earbud designs that force you to hold the case open. The left and right Nord Buds are clearly marked and snap into the charging case with a satisfying metallic click.
You can expect about seven hours of continuous battery life from the Nord Buds. In testing, I used them for about five hours straight without a low battery warning before I took them out and replaced them. It’s worth noting that I was fighting an ear infection at the same time, and the ear pieces were comfortable enough that they didn’t irritate an already-sensitive area.
Combined with the charging case, you can get around 30 hours of overall battery life on a single charge. When it comes time to plug the Nord Buds in, an included USB-C cable is all you’ll need. Each earbud has a 41mAh battery, while the charging case has a 480 mAh capacity. You can also “flash charge” for 10 minutes to get up to five additional hours of playtime.
They’ll stay connected up to 10 meters away via Bluetooth 5.2, and connect to multiple devices at once. I swapped between my iPhone, Macbook Pro, and Echo Show 15 without any issues.
Both Nord Buds have IP55 water and sweat resistance, so don’t be afraid to use them while working out.
The Nord Buds have a low latency mode that works with OnePlus smartphones, as well as fast pairing through OnePlus Fast Pair or the HeyMelody app for Android devices. There isn’t a fast pairing option available for iPhone, but it wasn’t hard to connect the Nord Buds through the Settings menu.
OnePlus Nord Buds Audio Quality
The Nord Buds sound great — easily on par with the AirPod Pros. With a maximum volume of 98 db (or 102 db in India), they’re also loud — not that we recommend turning the volume up quite that high. The frequency response range is between 20 and 20,000 Hz.
With 12.4 mm Titanium drivers pushing sound through each Nord Bud, you’ll hear your favorite songs in a brand-new way. The buds are also compatible with Dolby Atmos, and that same sound quality is reflected in the calls.
I put these earbuds to the test with everything from J-Pop to the Six soundtrack, and they excelled every time. While they didn’t drown out external noise, the fit was tight enough that it dampened most ambient noise in my home.
It’s also worth mentioning that during calls, I frequently had the other person ask if I was still there because the background noise was zero. This is due to the four microphones that filter out background noise, along with the AI-powered noise reduction algorithms.
The Nord Buds did not disappoint, but they’re not perfect. The biggest issue came from using it with iPhone. It might be a compatibility problem, but even while in active use, answering a phone call did not automatically switch to the Nord Buds. I had to manually choose the Bluetooth option each time, even when swapping between calls.
The case itself also poses a bit of an issue. Unlike the pill-like design of the AirPods and similar Bluetooth headphones, the Nord Buds’ case is flat on the bottom and bulky. It doesn’t fit into the pocket quite as well as it could, especially if you are trying to fish it out while sitting down.
Those minor issues aside, the Nord Buds are an excellent option, especially considering their sound quality and price. At only $39, they deliver audio on par with $200 earbuds. While they lack many bells and whistles, the on-ear touch commands to play, pause and skip songs are intuitive to use. The Nord Buds present an excellent budget option for anyone that needs a decent pair of earbuds with great battery life.
The OnePlus Nord Buds deliver solid sound quality and on-ear controls that work with all smartphones but are definitely designed with Android and OnePlus phones in mind. It would be nice if there was an option for these to work better with iPhones, but even without the more granular controls granted through the app, I still enjoyed the experience of using these earbuds.
Should You Buy It?
Yes. The low cost of these earbuds, combined with their sound quality, comfort and ease of use make them a great budget choice for anyone that needs a new set of cheap earbuds. The long battery life is another plus. The only time I would urge caution is if you are an iPhone user; while the OnePlus Nord Buds work, they don’t work as well as they do on Android or OnePlus devices.
- Long battery life
- Good sound quality
- Intuitive and familiar on-ear controls
- No third-party app compatibility with iPhone
- Case doesn’t fit comfortably in pocket
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