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HomeGadgetsOnePlus Buds Pro 2 review : Great price, great sound

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review : Great price, great sound

Although they have only been popular for around five years, wireless earphones are now so common that it’s tough to know where to start when purchasing a pair (unless you just go and buy AirPods, of course).

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are some of the best wireless earbuds for around $200/£200/€200, featuring features you don’t often see at this price range such as excellent active noise cancellation (ANC) and Hi-Res Audio compatibility.

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 seem a touch cheaply constructed, and I had some connection troubles, but when it comes to sound quality and ANC, the Buds Pro 2 are a triumph.

Design & build

  • Lightweight
  • Squeezable stems
  • Matt plastic

The relatively cheap-looking and feeling plastic casing of the Buds Pro 2 opens up to expose black buds made of matt plastic. The buds, like the case, readily take up surface scratches. However, at 4.9g per bud, they are quite light and pleasant to wear.

To spice up the aesthetic, each bud includes a glossy metal accent on the stem, as well as a pair of grilles on the head of the buds, microphones on the bottom of each stem, and two silver connections for charging in the case.

This is conventional earbud stuff, and the case is fairly small, barely visible even in a front trouser pocket. My evaluation item was black, but it is also available in green, matching the two colors of the OnePlus 11 phone.

I got the greatest fit using the tiny silicone ear tips, which come in medium and large sizes as well. OnePlus wisely chose somewhat flatter oval-shaped tips, which stay in my ears better than round ones.

To charge, the buds snap magnetically flat into the case, with a single USB-C socket on the case charging the entire package. The buds are IP55 water and dust resistant, which means they can tolerate light rain but not much else if you want to be safe.

… at 4.9g per bud they are very lightweight and comfortable to wear

Sound quality

  • Very good bass response
  • Excellent soundstage
  • Hi-Res support

The Buds Pro 2 sound fantastic right out of the box, and I was even more thrilled the longer I used them. Dynaudio co-designed twin 11mm and 6mm drivers for them, and the collaboration looks to have paid off.

They offer a very powerful, punchy bass response that doesn’t overrun the mix, giving many songs the drive that the original recording had but that inferior earphones lack.

Days by Television shines with superb separation of the guitar arpeggios and a well-represented bass guitar. The buds provide a unique soundscape for this frantic tune.

The bass guitar, percussion, and horns on The Felice Brothers’ Jazz on the Autobahn are excellently produced, with the correct focus on all the right frequencies and a good stereo field.

Wish I Was by Kim Deal pulses with the appropriate threat, while Wet Leg’s Chaise Longue punches through the mix where it is meant. Not all wireless earphones are this clear and well-calibrated for the compressed Spotify streams I tested them with and that most people will use.

The buds may also grow quite loud – nearly unbearably so. The high end of Daft Punk’s One More Time became annoying, but the buds provided the tune a decent thump despite being near the limit of their capabilities with such a rich mix.

The Buds Pro 2 sound phenomenally good

Dive into some Beethoven as well, with the Buds Pro 2 displaying careful balance and warmth with a recording of Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor. Apart from electronic music, I was amazed by how effectively the Buds Pro 2 handled a wide range of genres.

The hidden weapon of the buds is their support for Hi-Res audio playback using the LHDC 4.0 lossless codec (OnePlus says an update to 5.0 will come soon). This is still rather unusual for wireless earbuds at the time of its debut in February 2023, mainly because you need to link them with a suitable playback device and file types.

I put them through their paces using the compatible OnePlus 11 and some of my favorite tunes in FLAC format that I had on hand. Harborcoat and So are two songs by REM. Central Rain sounded fantastic, with almost as much roundness and clarity as I discovered while listening to them on a specialized Sony Walkman player with high-quality wired in-ear monitors.

The disadvantage is that LHDC is a less popular codec for phones to support than LDAC. If your phone does not support LHDC, the Buds Pro 2 will not play back in high resolution. Aside from the OnePlus 11, the Oppo Find X5 Pro and a few other notable phones support it. Check the specifications of your phone before purchasing the buds, otherwise you may be disappointed.

The same constraints apply to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which are limited to high-resolution exclusively on Samsung phones.

Overall, the Buds Pro 2 are robust, punchy earbuds with the added advantage of Hi-Res capability, which will presumably make such a feature more readily available on major streaming services.

Despite this, I encountered some connectivity troubles. The buds would occasionally halt audio in Spotify and Pocket Casts, especially when I used them with a Samsung Galaxy phone, but it also happened with the OnePlus 11.

I had to pull out my phone to push play again since the issue rendered the squeezable stems temporarily unresponsive to pressing, which normally plays or stops.

It happened frequently enough in my testing that I’m convinced it’s a problem. Hopefully, it can be addressed with a software update, but for the time being, it prevents me from totally endorsing them.

… I came across some connection issues. The buds would sporadically pause audio

Noise cancelling & smart features

  • Outstanding ANC
  • No in-ear detection
  • Spatial audio support

The noise cancellation on the buds is excellent. The only pairs I’ve tested that I believe outperform the OnePlus are Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Sony’s WF-100XM4 are likewise excellent, although I had trouble with the fit.

Those competitors genuinely block out the outside world as effectively as the top over-ear ANC headphones. OnePlus, on the other hand, is almost there, which is rather amazing given their pricing.

On a crowded London Underground train, I could hear every detail of my favorite Interpol album, with just the unmistakable rattle of the capital’s Tube system’s loudest rail sounds hovering in the background – extremely muffled.

You may choose between mild, moderate, and maximum cancellation levels, or put the buds to smart mode to determine which is ideal. Because the effect is so stunning, I often left them on smart mode. There’s also a transparency option for hearing what’s going on around you while wearing the buds.

It’s a hassle to find the controls for the buds. Even with the same-brand OnePlus 11, it’s not immediately evident that you must get to the controls via the Bluetooth settings menu. On other Android phones, you must download the HeyMelody app, which is not branded by OnePlus and is not pushed to the user by the software.

This lets you to choose customised ANC, which promises to adjust the levels to your ear canal anatomy. Overall, the result is fantastic. OnePlus even pre-loads the buds with five white noise recordings to listen to offline, including as birdsong and camping sceneries, so you can tune in and tune out. They’re pretty nice.

To customize the sound profile, you may also choose from EQ presets or build your own. The buds are also capable of spatial audio, but with few compatible Android apps that use the technology, testing was challenging. According to OnePlus, it is compatible with any dual-channel audio device.

I had to play songs first, then go into the buds’ settings and enable the function. It made music sound incredibly tinny and distorted regularly. This is most likely due to the buds and phone (running Android 13) attempting to generate a spatial replica of a compressed stereo feed. Apple has had better success with its own Spatial Audio for Apple Music since the tracks are only compatible if they have been mastered for the 3D effect.

I get that the tracks I tried weren’t necessary compatible, but when you offer users the opportunity to utilize an audio feature that it wasn’t built for, you’ll have people (like me) using it wrong and having a horrible experience.

OnePlus has used the squeezable stem of the AirPods Pro to control music playing. It works fine, however, like Apple’s buds, you can’t adjust the volume without pulling out your phone or smartwatch. You can also skip music, toggle between ANC and transparency settings, and use the voice assistant.

There’s also no in-ear detection, a feature found on many other buds that pauses audio when you remove one bud from your ear and restarts it when you replace it. It slipped my mind.

I never ran out of battery in one sitting with the buds

Battery & charging

  • Solid all-day battery
  • Several charges with case
  • Wireless charging

OnePlus claims 25 hours of battery life with ANC and 39 hours without it, including charges from a fully charged case. There is a little USB-C cable in the box, but no wall plug.

I never ran out of battery power with the buds in one sitting, but I only used them for an hour or two at a time and never for eight hours straight without a break.

The case (and buds) can be charged in 10 minutes for three hours of playing, which is a nice feature, and the case can be be recharged using a Qi wireless charging station.

Price & availability

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 cost $179/£179/€179, which is a fairly reasonable price given its sound quality and noise canceling capabilities.

In the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe, you may purchase them directly from OnePlus.

The buds are significantly less expensive than the $249/£249/€299 second-generation Apple AirPods Pro and a far better choice if you use an Android phone. They also undercut the £250/$280 Sony WF-1000XM4 and the $299/£279.95/€299.95 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, implying that the OnePlus aren’t genuinely luxury earbuds – but I believe they hold their own, thanks to their superb ANC and high-resolution audio compatibility.

Also Samsung’s Buds 2 Pro support hi-res (with the right set up) at $229/£219/€229.

However, you can get the Sony for around the same price as the OnePlus these days, which I would suggest for its excellent sound, ANC, and smart features. However, if you like the AirPod-like OnePlus design, I recommend the Buds Pro 2 – I have tiny ears, and they fit me far better than the Sony.

Conclusion

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are an excellent product. They offer a solid universal fit, outstanding ANC, well-tuned audio with remarkable bass response, and a long battery life.

Hi-Res support also means that they are future-proofed for the still-emerging technology (at least in terms of Hi-Res wireless audio), but you must ensure that your phone supports the LHDC standard, and I would avoid utilizing the spatial audio function until that standard has developed as well.

The wireless earbuds market is saturated, but OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are a good alternative if you have an Android phone. They have astonished me by being better than their pricing implies, and can compete with items from audio heavyweights Sony and Bose for less than $100/£100/€100 RRP.

Specs

  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • Wireless: Bluetooth 5.3 LE, LHDC 4.0
  • Voice control: Yes (not automatic)
  • Touch controls: Yes
  • Battery life: 25 hours total with ANC, 39 without (both with case)
  • Ear tips and wing tips: Three sizes
  • IP55 sweat and weather resistant (buds)
  • Weight: 4.9g per earbud, 47.3g case
Achraf Grini
Achraf Grini
Hello This is AG. I am a Tech lover and I have long been a promoter and editor for a shopping company, I have followed smartphones and headphones and others. I covers iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, writing tutorials, buying guides and reviews.
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