In recent years, we have seen more and more wireless earphones appear. The benchmark in this segment are the Apple AirPods . Not so much in terms of possibilities, but in terms of reputation. Manufacturers who release similar earphones also participate in this. Similarly OnePlus. The new Buds are clearly their own variant of Apple ‘s AirPods .
The Chinese tech company likes to compare itself with smartphones with the Apple iPhone. For convenience, we compare these Buds with the AirPods. Because with the appearance of the Buds, it is almost impossible not to get the AirPods.
With the these Wireless Earbuds, smartphone manufacturer OnePlus is expanding its in-house headphone range to include true wireless headphones that support the Bluetooth 5.0 standard and a high-quality audio codec with the AAC format. The running time of the compact duo is also respectable, especially since the transport case that serves as a charging station is pocket-friendly.
OnePlus Buds Spec
|Product Dimensions||1.49 x 0.74 x 0.74 inches|
|Item Weight||0.141 ounces|
|Batteries||1 Lithium ion batteries required. (included)|
|Wireless communication technologies||Bluetooth|
|Connectivity technologies||Wireless, Bluetooth, Wired|
|Other display features||Wireless|
|Included Components||Warp Type-C Cable (Support USB 2.0), Quick Start Guide, Safety Information and Warranty Card|
|Date First Available||August 1, 2020|
More for less
OnePlus wants to enter the compact wireless earpiece market by offering more for less. You can do anything with it and that for a competitive price of 89 euros. They last for 30 hours on a full battery charge. The same Warp Charge technology from the smartphones has been applied to the Buds. If you are going to charge the Buds, you only need 10 minutes for 10 hours of listening pleasure. And that is very pleasant.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus Buds does not have active noise cancellation. There is an algorithm that simulates this technology. There are also three microphones to ensure a clear sound. The latter is very pleasant during a telephone conversation. For this review I made quite a few phone calls with the OnePlus Buds in my ears and the conversations were indeed clear. The ambient noise is filtered in such a way that you can hardly hear yourself speaking anymore. As a result, you automatically speak louder than is actually necessary. This can be experienced as irritating by your environment.
Furthermore, the tech company has provided these earphones with Bass Boost. The sound quality is okay, but does not come close to the more expensive AirPods. It’s all a bit superficial and you definitely won’t fall off your seat when it comes to audio quality. For consciously listening to hours of music, it is better to find an alternative.
You have an IPX4 certification with the Buds, which means that they can withstand water drops. Cycling through a heavy rain shower is not recommended. Chances are that your ears will die from all the water.
Because the buds are not primarily located in the ear canal, like classic in-ear systems, but in the auricle, the headphones are ideal for people who are sensitive to pressure. However, the prerequisite is that the plastic housing does not cause any problems, as the fit has no flexibility due to the solid material. If this criterion is met, there is a high level of comfort, which is favored by the low weight of five grams per side. Especially since the buds embed themselves well in the ear and only protrude slightly so that they can be worn under a hat if necessary. At the same time, there is sufficient stability even in an intermediate sprint, which enables athletic use. During outdoor activities, the earphones are also protected against weather-related moisture in accordance with IPX4.
If a higher volume is used, the true wireless headphones offer a runtime of six and a half hours, with the buds being fully charged after around 35 minutes. A quick charge function is also available as an option, which enables use of up to two hours after only ten minutes of power supply. Since the battery reserve of the extremely handy and easy-to-transport case is sufficient to fully charge the earphones three times and to use the quick charge function once, the total runtime is around 28 hours. However, it can be perceived as annoying that it is not clear when the buds are charged.
The transport case has an LED, but it only serves as a charge level indicator on the case itself, whose capacities are restored in 45 minutes using the supplied USB-C to USB-A charging cable. The advantage, however, is that the case’s battery can also be charged quickly, which means that it can be used for almost ten hours if the charging box and the headphones are charged for ten minutes. The reserve obtained in this way enables both a complete charging cycle and an additional quick charge of the buds.
Coupling of the Bluetooth earphones, which in combination with various Android and iOS devices offered a stable range of eight to nine meters, can be done directly by opening the case. This switches on the system and puts it into pairing mode when it is first used. As soon as there is a radio connection, it is automatically paired with the device that is already known. If, on the other hand, a new device is to be connected, the pairing mode can be reactivated using a button on the back of the case. A manual switching on and off of the earphones is not provided, so that the buds only have to be switched off by placing them back in the charging device.
The device control also offers comparatively little functionality. The touch control of the earphones reacts very precisely, but only supports jumping to the next track as well as accepting and ending calls, which is done by tapping twice. Further functions are probably available when using a OnePlus smartphone, whereby the assignment can be configured individually according to the manufacturer. A sensor-based ear recognition also controls the playback, which automatically pauses when the receiver is put down and continues to be used again if no more than three minutes have passed. If a longer period of time has passed, however, playback has to be started on the device, which seems cumbersome. Speech intelligibility when making calls also leaves an ambivalent impression. While the other person can be clearly understood, your own voice is displayed quite quietly. The noise suppression used reduces street noise noticeably, but the voice does not appear present, but rather offset into the depths of a large room.
The buds have a very clear, bright sound, dispense with showmanship and are quite neutral. The bass foundation looks more slim than voluminous and primarily sets accents in the middle and upper bass range. Those who prefer bass-affine music may miss a presence in the deep bass range, but otherwise the dry bass reproduction sounds well defined. The reproduction of the mids and highs is also precise, so that voices are easy to understand. In addition, there is no noticeable drop in the present high-frequency range, but this can also be perceived as sharp, especially at higher volume, and show signs of harshness. Films and audio books, on the other hand, benefit from the direct, clean and crisp coordination, which, with its universal orientation, covers a wide range of applications. Unfortunately, we could not (yet) consider 3D stereo with Dolby Atmos in this test due to the lack of a OnePlus Nord smartphone.
OnePlus buds review – comfort and design
The design may be very similar to the AirPods, but the comfort is not. The hard material felt uncomfortable in my ear. After only half an hour of wearing I had an earache. The shape of the buds are clearly not geared to the shape of my ears. I have no problems with that with the AirPods (which I use frequently).
I also think the design is not successful. The protruding stem is a bit thicker than the AirPods. You really see them protruding from your ears. I feel like you’re walking the street with it a bit, but that’s my humble opinion. The AirPods are smaller and thinner. That gives a slimmer face. OnePlus has clearly wanted to give its own twist to the design with the Buds so as not to look like a 1-to-1 copy. That didn’t work out well, if I do say so myself.
Easy to use
In combination with a OnePlus smartphone , the Buds really work brilliantly. Turning on Bluetooth on your smartphone, grabbing Buds and getting the two to connect is a piece of cake. You can also see the remaining battery percentage on your OnePlus smartphone. After use, you can easily store them in the case again. This all works very easily and intuitively.
OnePlus Buds – Conclusion
This review has taught me that the OnePlus Buds is a good first attempt by the Chinese tech company in this new segment. I thought the Bullets (wired ears) from OnePlus never deserve the beauty price and that also applies to these Buds. The sound quality is great for the price tag and the operation is child’s play. It is advisable to really try out the Buds before you buy them. The last thing you want is to smash 89 euros on Bluetooth earphones that do not seem to be comfortable afterwards.
With the Buds, OnePlus offers lightweight true wireless headphones that have fast-charging batteries with stamina and are characterized by a compact, portable format. If you are looking for inexpensive, cable-free all-rounders and prefer a bright sound image with high speech intelligibility, you should take a closer look at the Buds. However, you have to do without a charge level indicator for the handset and extensive device control options.
- Easy to use
- sharp price
- Super fast charging
- Long battery life
- Design should suit you
- Sound quality not of a high level
- Carrying comfort is not top shelf
- Lazy design, looks too much like an Apple copy