For a brand that has usually been ahead of the curve, OnePlus arrived somewhat late at the True Wireless Bluetooth earbuds party.
The OnePlus buds debuted in the second half of 2020 by which time earbuds became a vital element in the WFH kit. OnePlus quickly followed that with the aggressively priced OnePlus Z buds. While both these products focused on convenience with a strong value for money proposition, the brand has upped the ante with its third product in this category. OnePlus believes that its new TWS earbuds will please serious audiophiles. It’s why it becomes the first OnePlus audio product to wear the ‘Pro’ tag. So, is third time the charm?
The first thing that impressed us even before we plugged in was the charging case. OnePlus has nailed the design – it’s slim, just the type you can slip into those tight jeans. OnePlus manages this despite packing a 520 mAh battery in this compact case and pegs the battery life at a whopping 38 hours. While I was unable to validate this claim during the whole week that I tested the buds, it seems quite accurate based on my usage. These buds should comfortably last for about 5 hours with ANC on.
It’s not just the case that’s almost weightless, the buds weigh just 4.35 gm each. They’re not just featherlight but the premium shortened-stem design ensures a great fit. I managed a good ‘ear seal’ with the default silicone tips; there are an additional set of three pairs of ear tips (along with a charging cable) in the box. We dig the metallic finish on the stem, while these stems don’t have a clearly indented area for the sensor, these controls are easy to find and allow you to switch to ANC (Active noise cancellation) mode without a fuss. My gym is the perfect spot to test the efficacy of ANC and these buds did a stellar job of filtering out the gym playlist in the background. The buds also offer other standard controls like play/pause and skip that are a regular feature across most rivals. You can customise these controls with OnePlus’ Hey Melody app.
Pairing is a breeze. I hooked this device up with an iPhone 12 Pro Max and also with a OnePlus Nord 2. Just like Apple and Samsung, OnePlus offers extra enhancements if you are within the OnePlus ecosystem. You can experience a low-latency ‘Pro Gaming mode’ (with a response time of just 94 milliseconds) if you’ve paired this device with a OnePlus smartphone with OxygenOS 11 or above. While that’s a great feature to have, there are some other cool touches like Zen Mode Air (available on both iOS and Android) that allows you to play a list of calming tracks that are stored on the earbuds with a long press. Just what you need to find your zen moment next to an annoying fellow passenger who refuses to use headphones. Other handy features include wireless charging, IPX 4 water resistance for the case (that’s great at this price) and IPX 55 for dust and water resistance for the buds.
Call quality is a win for these buds that are loaded with three microphones on each earpiece. My callers could hear me clearly when I was outdoors and in the gym with background music. While call quality is a key purchase driver for consumers looking for earbuds, I’d also recommend these buds for the sound quality. These buds are kitted with 11mm dynamic drives, with a standard frequency response of 20Hz to 20,000 Hz. I enjoyed tuning into my evening ‘wind down’ electronic playlist with tracks from Joris Voorn and Alex Lustig. The bass was reassuring and these earbuds deliver a balanced performance with great sound isolation. If you’re looking for earbuds and have about Rs 10K to spare, it’s easy to recommend the OnePlus Buds Pro.
The OnePlus Buds Pro cost Rs 9,990 and come in Matte Black and Glossy White colour ways.