It might be best known for its smartphones, but OnePlus has more than one string to its tech bow. The brand is also one of the most popular in the truly wireless (TWS) earbuds space in the Indian market, and is looking to consolidate this position with its latest flagship TWS, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. The original OnePlus Buds Pro (review), which were launched in 2021, had drawn generally positive reviews and showed that OnePlus was capable of mixing it with the best in the premium TWS space. But can the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 carve a niche for themselves in an increasingly competitive premium TWS market? Here are ten things that we think you need to know about the latest premium TWS from the Never Settling brand:
In terms of appearance, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are not very different from their predecessors. In fact, if it were not for the ‘Dynaudio’ written on their case, we would not be able to tell the difference between the OG Buds Pro and the Buds Pro 2. The case is slightly rectangular, but very compact and will slip into pockets without causing any unseemly bulges. There is a USB Type C port on the back of the case for charging. Opening it reveals the earbuds, and a connectivity button. We would have preferred having the button outside the case, as in most TWS, as you have to end up opening the case every time you wish to connect the buds to a new device. The buds, like the original Buds Pro, are dual-toned with metallic-coloured stems and plastic tops with ear tips. You get three sizes of eartips in the package. The buds are light enough at 5 grams each and the case is 47 grams, making this a very comfortable package to carry around and wear. The OnePlus logo embossed on the charging case glows in the light, giving it a very classy look and the buds also have a very understated, elegant look to them. They will not stand out in a crowd, though.
At about five grams each, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are very light to wear, and thanks to the ear tip options are a snug fit — there’s even an Eartip Fit Test to ensure you have got the right sized tips in your ears. They generally stayed in our ears and did not fall out during our routine workout sessions or while jogging. The buds come with IP55 water resistance and in an interesting touch, even the case has IPX4 water resistance, making these safe from sweat and the occasional splash of water. The buds also have a Find My Earbuds function which makes them easy to find if you misplace them – they emit a beeping sound when the mode is activated, helping you locate them.
Setting up the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is simple. As expected, they work particularly smoothly with OnePlus phones. You do not need to install any additional software on a OnePlus phone to use the Buds Pro 2 – just press the connectivity button in the case and the phone will sport them and guide you through the installation process. For other Android devices and iPhones, you will need to download the Hey Melody app for full functionality. You can use the buds in a very basic manner through the Bluetooth connection mode, without downloading the app as well, but you will not be able to access many of the features on the buds, so we recommend getting the app. You can take an eartip test to check if you have the right eartips on the buds and even take a Golden sound test (which lasts a few minutes) to get sound customised as per your ear canal.
4. A press-oriented user interface (and we don’t mean the media)
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are controlled by pressing their stems. And unlike on some TWS where each bud has a separate set of controls, here the commands can be executed on either of the two earbuds. A single press lets you receive a call and also end it. A double press, on the other hand, rejects an incoming call. When playing audio, a single press pauses the audio and another one resumes it. A double press takes you to the next track. All of which works well enough. It is when you go beyond these basic functions that things get a trifle complicated. You need to press three times to go to the previous song and the buds sometimes do not recognise these as you need to press a particular part of the stem of the buds to register them. Similarly, pressing and holding for a second lets you switch between ANC modes, but if you end up holding it for a longer period of time, you get into Zen mode. There is no way to control volume from the buds, and also no default setting for a virtual assistant (you can customise the controls to invoke an assistant through the app, though). The play and pause controls are easy enough to handle, but getting comfortable with the others will take some time, especially as you need to press on a particular part of the stem to register each press.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 have been tuned by renowned Danish audio experts, Dynaudio, and come with dual MelodyBoost 11mm and 6mm drivers. The buds deliver very clear and high-quality audio. They do not have as much of a bass accent as the OnePlus Buds Pro did, but have slightly V-shaped audio, with bass and treble being stronger and mids sometimes getting a little lost. The buds come with five EQ settings – Balanced (which is the default one), Bold, Serenade, Bass and also a special EQ mode called Soundscape that has been tuned by the legendary Hans Zimmer. And if you want to really up the bass, you just have to hit the BassWave option, for the bass rumbles to move in. You can also customise EQ settings if you wish. Volume levels are very high, with no distortion even at maxed-out volumes. We think these are great buds for watching shows and for playing action games (we faced no latency issues), and also for pop and rock music. Those wanting to hear Opera or Classical Vocal music might want to change the settings a little. In terms of codecs, there is support for LHDC, but no support for aptX, which is good enough in our books.
ANC on the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is very impressive and we would say is amongst the best in its segment and better than even some more expensive TWS. You get three levels of ANC – Max, Moderate and Mild, for different levels of noise. You can also opt for the Smart mode which automatically changes ANC levels depending on your surroundings. The Max setting is good enough to drown out a lot of sounds such as the regular chit chat in a cafe or the hum of a car motor, but we would recommend using the Smart mode as you can actually sense the change in ANC levels as you move from a noisy place to a quieter one or vice versa. They will not give the Sony 1000XM series or the AirPods Pro sleepless nights, but the ANC quality on the OnePlus Buds Pro is very good and we would say better than what we have seen on the OPPO Enco X2 TWS and the Sennheiser CX Plus.
Making calls is often a challenge for TWS, but this is one department where the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 really shine. We could hear callers very clearly indeed and the people we spoke to using the buds felt no difference in call quality from making the call directly from the phone itself. We think these are the best call-handling buds in their price segment and a great option for professionals. A special mention has to be made of the Zen Mode, which delivers relaxing sounds of nature and can be really soothing in times of stress.
When used with a OnePlus 11 5G, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 also can deliver spatial audio, giving you a sense of music coming from all around you. And if you activate head tracking, then the source of audio will seem fixed even as you move your head, giving you a sensation similar to what you get in a cinema hall or in a concert. The implementation of both is not quite as smooth as on the Apple AirPods Pro, but is definitely close to what we saw on the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. What’s more, this is likely to improve with the passage of time – the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 have been receiving regular updates, improving their performance in terms of sound quality and connectivity.
9. Decent battery life
The battery life of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is decent, without being exceptional. With ANC on, you will get five to six hours on a single charge and about three full recharges from the case – about 24-25 hours in all. Switching off ANC increases the battery life of the buds to eight hours, and you get close to 40 hours with the case, but we do not really see why anyone who purchases these buds would not want to use ANC, especially as the Smart ANC feature works so well. The buds have a form of fast charging with ten minutes of charging giving you about two and a half to three hours of music, which can be handy when one is out of charge. There is also support for wireless charging but that is rather sluggish.
10. A very competitive price
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are priced at Rs 11,999, which we think is a very competitive price for their feature set. There is also a version of these buds called the OnePlus Buds Pro 2R, which is priced at Rs 9,999, but comes without wireless charging and head tracking. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s competitors include the likes of the Sennheiser CX Plus (Rs 12,900), the OPPO Enco X2 (Rs 10,999), the Amazon Echo Buds (Rs 7,999), and even the slightly older but still very good Sony WF-1000 XM3 (Rs 12,300) and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 (Rs 7,999).
While some of its competitors might better the audio quality of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, we do not think any of them match the overall package that the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 bring to the TWS table. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 deliver very good sound, are superb at ANC and calling and throw in some well-executed smart features as well. They are a great option for anyone wanting a full-featured pair of TWS with premium features without venturing too far from the Rs 10,000 mark. We would recommend them to Pros looking for smart features and reliable performance (especially calls), rather than audiophiles coveting top-notch sound and support for multiple codecs!
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Elegant design
- Water-resistant case and buds
- Good sound and ANC
- Spatial audio and head tracking
- Some features restricted to OnePlus phones
- No volume control on buds
- Look exactly like the OG OnePlus Buds Pro