OnePlus Buds Review: Best wireless earbuds

One-minute review

The OnePlus Buds are finally here and they’ve exceeded every expectation we’ve needed in terms of price and battery life.

Regrettably, following Apple’s layout to the tee likely was not the best idea.

The AirPods are not famous for being exceptionally comfortable, drop out rather easily and also have little to no passive noise isolation, and the same is true for the OnePlus Buds.

On the feature front, they lack active noise cancellation and a means to summon Google Assistant on any device other than a OnePlus phone – at least for today – and additionally the touch controls are rather limited for anyone who doesn’t own a OnePlus phone.

All that said, if you’re a OnePlus proprietor and you’re looking to dip your feet into the pool of authentic wireless earbuds, the OnePlus Buds are a cheap entryway. They last for up to 30 hours between wall fees and they use Warp Charge which provides 10 hours of battery life in just 10 minutes without having any special cables or chargers.

If you can live without a lot of higher-end attributes like ANC and may suffer through a tight fit that may cramp your outer ear, then the low-cost OnePlus Buds might be the AirPods option you’ve been waiting for and worth auditioning for their funding entrance price.

Cost and release date

Concerning price, the OnePlus Buds are significantly less costly than every other rival authentic wireless earbuds on the market, priced at #79 / $79 (about AU$110). They’re less expensive than the $159 / #159 / AU$229 Apple AirPods. They’re cheaper than the 129 (#130, around AU$200) Sony WF-XB700 that we genuinely thought would be one of the least expensive name-brand true wireless earbuds of 2020.

But before you call us out onto it, we are aware there are other similarly priced or cheaper authentic wireless earbuds out there on Amazon such as the Lypertek Tevi we gave a perfect score. But in case you’re seeking the most affordable earbuds from a big phone manufacturer like OnePlus, these are really the cheapest option available at this time.

Design

If you should lay the OnePlus Buds on their backs and asked people to identify the headphones, many would say these are AirPods.

The obvious difference here is that the AirPods use a rounded back and are smaller, while the bigger OnePlus Buds have opted for a touch-capacitive horizontal panel on the back. Regrettably, though, without doing some customization to the controllers, they are super limited. Basically, it’s simply skip with a double tap or answer phone calls using one tap. That’s it.

Talking to OnePlus about it, they say control customization is arriving after launch and there will be more choices soon. For the time being, be prepared to have little control over your own music.

1 nice design touch to offset the shortage of controllers is the earbuds do have sensors inside them which will automatically pause the audio if you take the buds from your ear and then restart it when you put them back . That’s a smart move that aids the Buds attain their 30 hours of battery life and is helpful if you’re the type of person who’s always putting in and taking their earbuds.

Not great, really. We’re utilized to wearing earbuds with flexible eartips that may accommodate ear canals and outer ears of all sizes and shapes. Due to their all-plastic design, the OnePlus Buds can’t be tailor-fitted for every ear and, in our experience, became painful to wear after the first hour.

That only upside to the Buds being as big as they are is that they hold in fairly well while you are exercising that, given their sweatproof IPX4 rating, make them acceptable gym companions if you do not mind hearing weights slam in the background due to their lack of active noise cancellation.

The Buds themselves sit within a super slick case that’s roughly the same form and size as the Google Pixel Buds case. The OnePlus Buds are a bit lighter inside their case at around 46g, however, and have an outside LED status light that makes it easy to tell when they’re fully charged and ready to go. Last but not least, the situation uses USB-C which is a great modern touch compared to the luddite holdouts still utilizing microUSB.

Features

While the OnePlus Buds do not have active noise cancellation they’ve”environmental sound cancellation” for phone calls that reduces the background sound others hear when speaking to you. That is not a fantastic tradeoff, obviously, but we do have to give OnePlus some credit for making telephone calls seem almost like they do when using our cellphone’s built-in speakers.

That ecological noise reduction technology would have been a fantastic pairing for an always-listening helper… However, that’s not some thing the OnePlus Buds support until an OTA update comes later this month that will allow users to personalize the double-tap role of the earbuds. But even once the assistant arrives, it won’t be always-listening such as Siri does on the Apple AirPods 2nd Gen or the Google Assistant does about the Google Pixel Buds that is a relatively disappointing piece of information .

The other missing features here are aptX HD or LDAC codecs that would have enabled the earbuds to flow Hi-Res Audio. Rather, the Buds only support SBC and AAC that surely makes the audio sound decent, but not shine the same way the Sony WF-1000XM3 can.

Happily they do encourage Bluetooth 5.0 and only have about 103ms of latency (0.1s) to assist the audio keep pace with all the visuals when you’re watching movies and shows.

Yes, others have offered fast-charging before, but it’s usually closer to five hours of charge in 15 minutes instead so 10 hours in 10 minutes feels like a huge step up.

Finish on another positive note, OnePlus has also contained a Locate My Earbuds attribute and a super simple setup procedure for OnePlus smartphone owners who simply need to start the case of the earbuds near a OnePlus phone to begin pairing. It is another thing the firm lifted from Apple, Google and others, yet this time it certainly functions to OnePlus’ benefit.

Performance

The OnePlus Buds pass the biggest test when it comes to sound performance – they remain connected and do not fall out of sync. When there’s 1 deal-breaker for true wireless earbuds, that is it, and we are glad to say that we didn’t have any problems there.

We would have liked a slightly wider soundstage, but they seem as good as a set of non invasive over-ears headphones before we went in and tweaked the EQ a little.

While OnePlus does not currently have a means that you alter the EQ through an app, you are able to use Android’s built-in EQ to up both sub-bass and treble in the 10-15Khz range, two places that we felt were only a hair lacking with the Buds’ default audio profile.

We put the OnePlus Buds through their paces using a number of genres and songs and felt they were equally comfortable with pretty much every type of music, even though bassheads certainly won’t be writing home about them and should rather have a peek at what Beats have been around at the authentic wireless area.

In terms of calling functionality, voices came through as incredibly clear on my end, and people we spoke to over the telephone said we came through clearly, also. When we did a A/B testing with the speakerphone, those we spoke to said we seemed louder when using the phone’s microphone instead of the earbuds, however, stated it was a slight gap.

Well, in terms of sound quality alone, they’re as good as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus and Google Pixel Buds, in our opinion, but the Sony WF-1000XM3 still wins out thanks to their noise-cancellation, aptX HD/LDAC support and amazing audio quality.

Things could possibly be different once OnePlus provides Dolby Atmos support that’s anticipated soon via an OTA update, but according to data sent to us by OnePlus, which will only be available to OnePlus 7 Series and OnePlus 8 Series owners — take it with a grain of salt.

Battery life

The 2 takeaways on battery lifetime are that these things last forever at 30 hours of combined fee — 7 hours at the Buds, 23 at the case — and can be recharged in a matter of minutes thanks to Warp Charge. When we requested OnePlus when Warp Charge may hurt the overall lifespan of the lithium-ion battery inside the Buds, they stated they had found that Warp Charge did not hamper it all and didn’t pose a safety threat because the earbuds cap the charging at 5v 1.5A to avoid harm.

What that means here is that, in terms of battery life and performance, the OnePlus Buds are bulletproof and only one of the Finest in the category

 

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