Introduction: The Rise of TWS Earbuds
Since Apple removed the headphone jack from their devices, the market for True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds has exploded. Notably, while traditional audio giants like Sennheiser took their time entering the wireless earbud arena, smartphone manufacturers quickly jumped on the TWS bandwagon, with some even mimicking the iconic AirPods design.
Now, with Apple’s AirPods dominating the market share, competitors are stepping up their game. Among them, OnePlus has introduced the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, a feature-rich TWS earbud that comes at a fraction of the price of Apple’s flagship. This begs the question: how does the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 stack up against Apple’s AirPods Pro 2? Let’s delve into the comparison.
Specifications at a Glance
Before diving into the details, here’s a quick look at the key specifications of both earbuds:
- Apple AirPods Pro 2
- Weight: Earbuds – 5.3 grams each, Case – 50.8 grams
- Bluetooth Version: v5.3
- Supported Codecs: SBC and AAC
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes
- Wireless Charging: Yes
- Battery Life: Up to 30 hours (with case) and ANC
- IP Rating: Earphones – IPX4, Housing – IPX4
- OnePlus Buds Pro 2
- Weight: Earbuds – 4.9 grams each, Case – 47.3 grams
- Bluetooth Version: v5.3
- Supported Codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3, and LHDC
- Active Noise Cancellation (ANC): Yes
- Wireless Charging: Yes
- Battery Life: Up to 25 hours (with case) and ANC
- IP Rating: Earphones – IP55, Housing – IPX4
Design and Comfort
When it comes to design and comfort, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 has a few advantages. The earbuds themselves are equally premium and luxurious as Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 but weigh slightly less. The OnePlus earbuds weigh just 4.9 grams each, while the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds weigh 5.3 grams each, a small difference but one that contributes to comfort during long listening sessions.
Moreover, OnePlus offers more color options for the Buds Pro 2, with choices like Arbor Green and Obsidian Black, while AirPods Pro 2 is only available in white. OnePlus also adds a unique two-tone finish to the Buds Pro 2, with a glossy stem and matte finish elsewhere.
In terms of durability, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 boasts an IP55 rating, offering better protection against dust and water compared to the IPX4 rating of the AirPods Pro 2.
However, it’s worth noting that the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s design bears a striking resemblance to the AirPods Pro 2, with similar stem length and outer shell curvature. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 has a slightly thicker stem, but otherwise, they appear quite similar.
Both earbuds are comfortable for extended wear, but some users may find that AirPods Pro 2 fit better. It’s worth experimenting with different ear tips for the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 to find the perfect fit.
Both earbuds come with high-quality charging cases that also double as portable chargers. The cases feature dedicated buttons to initiate pairing and LED status indicators. Magnetic latches inside the cases keep the earbuds secure. Both cases are also IPX4 certified.
One minor difference is the mechanism for closing the cases. Some users might prefer the AirPods Pro 2 case’s closing action, while others might favor the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 case’s design.
Compatibility and Features
Compatibility is a significant factor to consider. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 works well with most Android devices, as well as Apple iPhones, but excels when paired with OnePlus smartphones. Certain features, like enhanced audio playback with the LHDC codec, are exclusive to OnePlus phones. The Buds Spatial Audio feature, for instance, only works with the OnePlus 11.
On the other hand, AirPods Pro 2 offers a seamless experience within the Apple ecosystem, with features like seamless pairing, spatial audio support, and Find My network integration. While they work with Android devices, some features, like automatic ear detection, are limited or absent.
When it comes to compatibility and features, the choice between the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 can greatly impact your overall listening experience. Here’s a more detailed exploration of how these earbuds stack up in this regard:
OnePlus Buds Pro 2:
- Android and OnePlus Compatibility: The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is designed to work seamlessly with Android devices, and it’s especially optimized for OnePlus smartphones. This means that if you own a OnePlus device, you’ll get the best experience, including exclusive features and deeper integration.
- LHDC Codec: OnePlus offers LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec), which is a high-quality audio codec that delivers superior sound quality with low latency. However, LHDC support may be limited to OnePlus devices.
- Buds Spatial Audio: OnePlus introduces the Buds Spatial Audio feature, which enhances the audio experience by providing a more immersive and spatial soundstage. This feature is primarily available on the OnePlus 11 series.
- HeyMelody Companion App: OnePlus provides the HeyMelody companion app, which allows you to customize the sound profile and music playback controls of the Buds Pro 2. This app can be used on various Android phones.
- Adaptive ANC: The Buds Pro 2 offers adaptive ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) with three different levels of noise cancellation strength, providing a more tailored noise-cancelling experience.
- Customizable Controls: You can customize the earbuds’ controls through the HeyMelody app, allowing you to fine-tune how you interact with your earbuds.
Apple AirPods Pro 2:
- iOS and Apple Ecosystem: AirPods Pro 2 is deeply integrated with the Apple ecosystem, making them the ideal choice for iPhone, iPad, and Mac users. They offer seamless pairing, automatic device switching, and integration with iCloud.
- Spatial Audio: Apple’s Spatial Audio is a cutting-edge feature that provides a 3D audio experience, simulating surround sound. It’s especially impressive when watching movies and TV shows on compatible Apple devices.
- Find My Network: AirPods Pro 2 can be located using the Find My app on Apple devices, making it easy to track down your earbuds if they go missing.
- Automatic Ear Detection: When you remove an AirPod from your ear, playback automatically pauses, and it resumes when you put the AirPod back in your ear. This feature is particularly handy.
- Gesture Controls: AirPods Pro 2 offers gesture controls for functions like pausing tracks and changing volume levels. However, customization options for these controls on Android devices may be limited.
- AAC Codec: These earbuds use the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) codec for Bluetooth transmission, ensuring high-quality audio. While they are compatible with Android devices, some features are iOS-exclusive.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 excels in providing compatibility with a wide range of Android devices, with special optimizations for OnePlus phones. They offer a customizable experience through the HeyMelody app and bring impressive features like LHDC codec support and adaptive ANC.
On the other hand, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 offer unmatched integration with the Apple ecosystem, making them the top choice for Apple device users. Features like Spatial Audio and Find My Network enhance the overall user experience. However, if you’re using them with Android devices, you’ll still get excellent sound quality and gesture controls but miss out on some iOS-exclusive features.
Ultimately, your choice should align with your device ecosystem, as both earbuds offer exceptional sound quality and noise cancellation.
ANC and Battery Life
Both the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and AirPods Pro 2 deliver comparable performance in active noise cancellation (ANC). They effectively reduce ambient noise, making them suitable for various environments, from phone calls in noisy surroundings to blocking out car engine noise.
In terms of battery life, the AirPods Pro 2 can last nearly five hours on a single charge with ANC enabled. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 managed a similar duration, but it’s worth noting that this performance was achieved with the LHDC codec and ANC activated.
Both earbuds come with charging cases that provide an additional 25 hours of music playback. They also support wireless charging for added convenience.
Sound Quality and Performance
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 stands out as one of the best-performing TWS earphones available. Equipped with dual drivers – a 6mm planar magnetic driver and an 11mm dynamic driver in each earbud – the Buds Pro 2 cover a wide frequency range (10Hz to 40kHz) and support LHDC, AAC, LC3, and SBC codecs.
The Buds Pro 2 deliver rich and detailed sound, especially when using the LHDC codec. They excel in reproducing subtle details in audio, offering exceptional imaging and separation of frequencies. Vocals are lively, and low-end frequencies don’t overpower the rest of the spectrum.
In contrast, the AirPods Pro 2 feature an 11mm driver and support SBC and AAC codecs. While they also deliver high-quality sound, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 outshine them, particularly when using the LHDC codec. The Buds Pro 2 offer a more satisfying and detailed listening experience across various music genres.
For treble, the AirPods Pro 2 offer clarity, but the Buds Pro 2’s exceptional imaging makes rock and similar genres more enjoyable.
When comparing the sound quality and performance of the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, it’s important to consider various aspects that contribute to the overall audio experience.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2:
- Dual-Driver Array: The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 boasts a dual-driver setup with a 6mm planar magnetic driver and an 11mm dynamic driver in each earbud. This configuration allows for a wide frequency range and more detailed sound reproduction.
- LHDC Codec: OnePlus utilizes the LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec) to transmit audio. LHDC is known for its high-quality audio streaming with minimal latency, resulting in an impressive audio experience. It’s especially beneficial when used with compatible OnePlus devices.
- Frequency Range: These earbuds cover a broad frequency range of 10Hz to 40kHz, which ensures that you can hear both deep bass and crisp highs, capturing fine audio details that may go unnoticed with other earbuds.
- Sound Separation: Thanks to the dual-driver system, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offers excellent sound separation, allowing you to discern individual instruments and vocals with clarity. This is particularly noticeable in complex musical compositions.
- Imaging: The Buds Pro 2 provides exceptional imaging, which means you can accurately locate the position of different sound elements in a stereo or surround sound mix. This enhances the overall spatial perception of the audio.
- Customizable EQ: OnePlus offers users the ability to customize the sound profile through the HeyMelody companion app. You can choose from pre-installed presets or create your own equalizer settings, tailoring the sound to your preferences.
- Bass Performance: The Buds Pro 2 performs well in the bass department, providing punchy and well-defined low-end frequencies without overpowering the rest of the audio spectrum. This balance is crucial for an enjoyable listening experience.
Apple AirPods Pro 2:
- 11mm Driver: The AirPods Pro 2 features an 11mm driver in each earbud. While the driver size is smaller than that of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, Apple’s custom-designed driver is optimized for high-quality audio.
- AAC Codec: Apple uses the AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) codec for Bluetooth transmission. AAC is known for its efficient compression and preservation of audio quality, providing clear and detailed sound.
- Spatial Audio: One of the standout features of AirPods Pro 2 is Spatial Audio, which creates a 3D audio experience when watching movies and TV shows on compatible Apple devices. It simulates surround sound and adds depth to audio.
- Treble Clarity: AirPods Pro 2 excel in delivering clear treble frequencies, making vocals and high-pitched instruments sound crisp and well-defined. This is especially noticeable in genres like rock and pop.
- Balanced Sound Signature: Apple has tuned the AirPods Pro 2 to offer a balanced sound signature. While they still have a preference for bass, it doesn’t overshadow the mid and high frequencies, resulting in a well-rounded sound.
- Immersive Audio: The Spatial Audio feature, when used with compatible Apple devices, provides an immersive audio experience that’s particularly enjoyable for cinematic content.
Both the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and Apple AirPods Pro 2 deliver impressive sound quality and performance, but they have distinct characteristics:
- The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 excels in terms of customization and versatility, with a dual-driver system, LHDC codec, and customizable EQ. It offers a wide frequency range, sound separation, and imaging. Bass performance is balanced and impactful.
- The Apple AirPods Pro 2 offer a balanced sound signature with clear treble and immersive spatial audio. They are optimized for Apple’s ecosystem, particularly for users who enjoy seamless integration and Spatial Audio for movies and TV shows.
Ultimately, your preference will depend on your device ecosystem and personal sound preferences. Both earbuds provide excellent audio quality and performance in their respective contexts.
In conclusion, your choice between the Apple AirPods Pro 2 and the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 depends on your ecosystem and preferences. If you’re an Android user, especially a OnePlus device owner, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offers an impressive feature set, excellent sound quality, and compatibility. They’re also suitable for iPhone users who don’t need the seamless Apple ecosystem integration.
However, if you’re deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, the AirPods Pro 2 offers unparalleled integration, seamless pairing, and unique features. It’s a premium choice for those willing to invest a bit more.
Both earbuds perform admirably in terms of ANC and battery life, making them strong contenders in the TWS earbud market. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preferences and priorities.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2:
- Impressive Sound Quality: The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offers top-notch sound quality, thanks to its dual-driver array and support for high-quality LHDC audio codec. It delivers deep bass, clear mids, and crisp highs, making it suitable for audiophiles.
- Customization: These earbuds provide a high degree of customization through the HeyMelody app. Users can choose from pre-installed sound presets or create their own equalizer settings, tailoring the audio to their preferences.
- Strong ANC Performance: With effective noise cancellation that can reduce ambient noise by up to 48 dB, the Buds Pro 2 excel at isolating you from your surroundings, enhancing your listening experience, and providing peace in noisy environments.
- Comfortable and Lightweight: Weighing just 4.9 grams each, the individual earbuds are incredibly lightweight and comfortable for extended listening sessions. They come with multiple ear tip options to ensure a snug fit.
- Water and Dust Resistance: The Buds Pro 2 boasts an IP55 rating for the earbuds and an IPX4 rating for the charging case, making them resistant to water splashes and dust particles, suitable for workouts and outdoor activities.
- Limited Ecosystem Integration: While the Buds Pro 2 can be used with both Android and iOS devices, they are optimized for OnePlus devices, limiting some features to OnePlus users. Features like LHDC support and Buds Spatial Audio work best with OnePlus phones.
- Bulky Design: Some users may find the stem design of the Buds Pro 2 less aesthetically appealing or bulkier compared to other TWS earbuds.
- Bedtime Comfort: The earbuds may not be the most comfortable option for bedtime use, especially for side sleepers, due to their size and shape.
Apple AirPods Pro 2:
- Seamless Integration: AirPods Pro 2 seamlessly integrate with the Apple ecosystem, providing features like instant pairing, automatic ear detection, and access to the Find My network, making them an ideal choice for Apple device users.
- Spatial Audio: Apple’s Spatial Audio feature offers a 3D audio experience for movies and TV shows, creating an immersive audio environment when used with compatible Apple devices.
- Balanced Sound: The AirPods Pro 2 offer a balanced sound signature with clear treble, making them suitable for a wide range of music genres. They also provide decent bass without overwhelming other frequencies.
- Transparency Mode: The Transparency mode allows you to stay aware of your surroundings while wearing the earbuds, enhancing safety during activities like jogging or commuting.
- Gesture Controls: AirPods Pro 2 provide gesture controls for playback, volume adjustment, and call handling, adding convenience to everyday use.
- Limited Android Functionality: While AirPods Pro 2 can be used with Android devices, they miss out on some key features like seamless pairing and automatic ear detection. Android users may not fully leverage the earbuds’ capabilities.
- Higher Price: AirPods Pro 2 come at a premium price point compared to many other TWS earbuds with similar features, making them less budget-friendly.
- No Customizable EQ: Unlike the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, the AirPods Pro 2 lack a customizable EQ, limiting the ability to fine-tune the sound to individual preferences.
- Apple Ecosystem Dependency: To fully utilize features like Spatial Audio and seamless integration, users need to be heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, which may not be suitable for everyone.