OnePlus Buds Pro joins the list of new wireless earphones that claim to offer a premium user experience. In terms of price, the new OnePlus truly wireless earbuds compete against the likes of the Oppo Enco X, Apple AirPods and other TWS earbuds under Rs 10,000. It also matches many features that are found on the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro priced at Rs 15,990. These include Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), Transparency Mode, long battery life, etc. So, is the OnePlus Buds Pro the best TWS under Rs 10,000 in India? After using the wireless earbuds for over a week, here is our OnePlus Buds Pro review.
OnePlus Buds Pro Review
Design and build quality
The OnePlus Buds Pro is among the most-premium looking wireless earbuds that we have seen so far in India. Our OnePlus Buds Pro review unit comes in a Matte Black colour. In case you want a glossy finish, there is the Glossy White colour option.
The earbuds come packed inside a compact, pebble-shaped charging case, which has a matte texture on the outside. They look almost similar to the Apple AirPods Pro with a stem design. However, the Buds Pro distinguishes itself with a dual-tone design. The glossy area of the stem is where you can squeeze to control various functions of the TWS, including play/ pause music or answering calls.
Coming to the fit and feel, the earbuds offer a snug fit. The medium-sized silicone tips that come fit by default did not fit well. It was only after swapping the spare alternative tips, coupled with the in-app ear fit test (more about this later in the review), that the Buds Pro offered a good grip.
The earbuds are lightweight and have an IPX4 rating for splash resistance. This means that the Buds Pro is a good companion while you go on a run or hit the gym for your workout.
App and Controls
There are two ways to connect the OnePlus Buds Pro to your iPhone or Android phone. One is to simply connect it via Bluetooth and you can still use the touch controls to perform tasks. The other one is to download the HeyMelody app that lets you customise the controls and offers a bunch of features.
Either way, users can do a quick squeeze on either earbud to play/pause songs or answer calls. Double squeezing the earbud stem will play the next song and triple-squeezing will play the previous song. The Hey Melody app lets users customise the triple-squeeze setting between the previous track and activating voice assistant.
The earbuds also come with support for ANC and transparency mode, which can be enabled/ switched by squeezing and holding the earbud stem for a couple of seconds. The implementation in the practical world is quite great and we did not experience any notable delay in reading time. That being said, maybe have support for tap-based gestures could have helped, considering the stem is too short and might move the earbuds accidentally while squeezing.
I switched to the new OnePlus earbuds after using the Nothing Ear 1 (Review), which offers a more balanced sound signature. The bass isn’t as heavy and the Nothing Ear 1 prioritises the mids. OnePlus Buds Pro, on the contrary, offer thumping bass aided by the 11 mm dynamic drivers. The tight bass will be appreciated by the ones who listen to Electronic or the Hip-hop music genre. The bass, even at around 60 percent volume, feels punchy and good to hear. You are likely to experience heavy bass even in some entry-level earbuds. However, the OnePlus Buds Pro does not compromise on the mids and highs. The earbuds are well-tuned to help you listen and identify almost every instrument that is playing in the background. The highs are detailed and the mids are grippy too.
In terms of volume, I preferred sticking to around 70 percent volume during my OnePlus Buds Pro review period for a couple of reasons. One of them is that the buds are loud enough (yet clear) even at 70 percent volume. Crank the volume up to 100 percent and it might get a bit too uncomfortable. Also, anything close to full volume and you would notice some distortion.
What makes the listening experience better is OnePlus’ Audio ID feature, which suggests a listening profile based on a test that you take via the Hey Melody app. Before taking the test, the app also suggests taking the Earbud fit test. In case you do not get a good fit, try switching between the small, medium and large pair of silicone ear tips that come with the box. By default, OnePlus Buds Pro come with medium fit silicone ear tips. Following the test, I figured that my right earbud needs the large-sized rubber tip for a better fit. Once done with the test, the app tuned my audio preferences to a more vibrant sound based on the responses shared. Of course, you can take multiple such tests and choose to enable a profile based upon your mood or liking.
Active Noise Cancellation and other features
The icing on the cake is the ANC feature. The Buds Pro come with three levels of ANC - Noise Cancellation, Max Noise Cancellation and Smart. Although the feature does cancel out ambient sound, I wasn’t able to notice any major difference between the three levels. It majorly cancels out the fan noise and some amount of the TV noise if you are sitting in the same room. I also took the Buds Pro out for a walk only to find out that the ANC isn’t strong enough to mute the car honks and outside noise. The feature does suppress the unwanted sound but it isn’t as good as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro or the AirPods Pro. It does get very close but I would not complain cause the OnePlus Buds Pro are a few thousand rupees cheaper than the other two earbuds.
There’s also a Transparency mode that helps bring in some ambient noise while you are wearing the earbuds. It comes in handy when you are walking on the street and don’t want to go all out on the ANC to be aware of the surrounding noise.
OnePlus has also added this feature called Zen Mode Air that delivers calm nature sounds through your earbuds. You can squeeze and hold the earbud stem for roughly three seconds to start playing the “white noise”. By default, it is set to warm sunrise, which tries to simulate the early morning chirping of birds and insect noise with some slight hiss. There are a total of five such options in the Hey Melody app, which can be stored on the earbuds.
The call quality is quite decent. In most cases, the person on call did not complain about my voice not being audible. However, although the OnePlus Buds Pro come with environmental noise cancellation, it does not cut out ambient noise as good as the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. I also experienced this weird issue wherein the left earbud lost connection a total of four times during my review period. The connection loss was only during calls. It was temporarily fixed after I put the earbuds back in the case and reconnected them to the device. Hopefully, a future software update provides a fix for this minor inconvenience.
OnePlus claims that the earbuds offer up to five hours of battery life with ANC enabled and seven hours without ANC. The charging case offers additional 24 hours or 31 hours, depending on the ANC setting.
We used the earbuds mostly with ANC while watching Silicon Valley on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. On a single charge, the earbuds died after close to 4 hours of use. OnePlus also claims that a 10-minute fast charge recharges the battery enough to offer 10 hours worth of playtime.
So, should you buy the OnePlus Buds Pro? Yes. Priced at Rs 9,990, the OnePlus Buds Pro earbuds are among the best that we have used and offer a powerful bass without compromising on other frequencies. Features like ANC, Transparency Mode and Zen Mode Air also work quite well. On top of these, the OnePlus Audio ID feature tunes the sound preference based on the user’s inputs during the test. Depending on their preference, users can opt to either switch to the new profile or continue using the existing profile.
The call quality is nice but we hope OnePlus addresses the abrupt disconnection issue which we experienced during our OnePlus Buds Pro review period. The battery life with ANC on is also quite impressive. Lastly, the Buds Pro are well designed, with the matte finish giving it a premium look and feel. Yes, they are not as different as the Nothing Ear 1 TWS but the Buds Pro sticks to the popular AirPods Pro-like design while adding its touch of dual-tone shade.Alternatives include the Oppo Enco X, which has a more balanced audio profile compared to the V-shaped sound signature of the Buds Pro. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro is also an excellent alternative in case you do not want a TWS with a stem. The Samsung wireless earbuds are completely in-ear and offer excellent sound on Android smartphones. The newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Buds2 is priced at Rs 11,999 and come close to the OnePlus Buds Pro in terms of on-paper comparison. However, we will reserve our judgement for our Galaxy Buds2 review before recommending them.