OnePlus Buds Pro Review: The Plus-One For Bassheads
OnePlus’ first true wireless earphones failed miserably. They lacked features and sounded sub-par. The company’s second attempt with the more affordable OnePlus Buds Z was much better, thanks to improved design and audio quality. After the company gathered some confidence and experience, it launched its priciest wireless earphones: OnePlus Buds Pro. With the Pro branding, the company is aiming at high-end earphones from rival brands. At ₹9,999, these earphones have ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), water resistance, improved audio quality, longer battery life, fast charging, and even wireless charging.
But are the OnePlus Buds Pro worth 3x the price of the OnePlus Buds Z? And how do they compete with similarly-priced earphones from other brands like the OPPO Enco X and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2? Let us find out in our OnePlus Buds Pro review.
What’s In The Box?
- OnePlus Buds Pro & Charging Case
- USB Type-C Charging Cable
- Additional Ear Tips
OnePlus Buds Pro Features
The OnePlus Buds Pro feature Bluetooth 5.2, with support for SBC, AAC, and LHDC wireless audio codecs. Support for aptX is missing, though. The earbuds use 11mm drivers for powerful bass. They support Dolby Atmos audio, low-latency mode (94ms), and personalized audio tuning (via the OnePlus’ Audio ID feature). The earbuds have a total of six microphones (three on each earbud) to actively cancel background noise during calls and music playback.
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The OnePlus Buds Pro also support Dolby Atmos audio, but the feature only works with select OnePlus smartphones. The LHDC codec is only available on a few Android smartphones (for now), so if you want to enjoy Hi-Res quality audio on the OnePlus Buds Pro, carefully check which phones support the codec out of the box. The earbuds also support automatic music playback and resume, thanks to wear detection sensors.
The earbuds are IP55 certified for dust and water splash resistance. The charging case is IPX4 rated for water splash resistance. OnePlus claims that its flagship wireless earbuds can last up to 38 hours on a single charge. They also feature USB Type-C charging port, fast charging, and Qi wireless charging. The OnePlus Buds Pro can go head-to-head with most high-end true wireless earphones released this year.
OnePlus Buds Pro Design, Comfort, & Controls
The OnePlus Buds Pro bring a considerable design upgrade over the company’s previous TWS earphones. The earbuds and the case have a good fit and finish, and nothing feels cheap or flimsy. The earbuds have an AirPods-like stem, which makes them easier to wear and remove from the case and the ears. The OnePlus Buds Pro fit well in my ears, and in my opinion, most people might not have any major issues with the fit. However, everyone has differently shaped and sized ears, so your mileage may vary.
Thanks to their IP55 rating (dust and water splash resistant), you don’t have to worry about them while working out in the gym. Just don’t use them while bathing or in heavy rains. The earbuds also have wear detection sensors, so whenever you remove the earbuds from your ears, music playback stops. When you put them back in, music playback resumes. This feature works well, and it works on almost all smartphones.
You can squeeze the earbuds’ stem to control music, volume, calls, and ANC modes. Squeeze controls are more reliable compared to touch controls (seen on most TWS earphones), especially during workouts. You can use the HeyMelody app on Android or iOS to customise controls. Here are the default control settings:
- Single Squeeze: Play/Pause Music or Accept Calls
- Double Squeeze: Skip Music Track
- Triple Squeeze: Previous Music Track
- Press & Hold: Switch Between ANC On, ANC Off, and Transparency Modes
You can even choose between Smart and Max noise cancellation modes. The Smart setting adjusts ANC’s strength as per the ambient noise, while the Max setting offers the maximum ANC performance. Most people would end up choosing the Max setting.
The HeyMelody app can also be used to adjust audio tuning according to your hearing (Audio ID). The app also allows you to update the firmware and check the fit of the earbuds. The Zen Mode Air feature inside the app lets you select ambient environment sounds (from the preloaded ones) and download them on the earbuds. Later, you can listen to those sounds during meditation or yoga, and the best part of this feature is that you can listen to those ambient sounds even when the earphones are disconnected from your smartphone. You can also see the battery level of both earbuds and the charging case.
If you’re using a OnePlus phone, you don’t need to install the HeyMelody app separately as it is a part of OxygenOS and you can adjust all the OnePlus Buds Pro settings directly inside the phone’s Settings app.
OnePlus Buds Pro Audio Performance & Call Quality
Unlike the similarly-priced Galaxy Buds 2 and lower-priced OPPO Enco X that use dual audio drivers, the OnePlus Buds Pro use a single 11mm driver in each earbud. The overall audio tuning leans towards bass (low frequencies). Bass is punchy and you can feel the powerful thump and rumble in pop, hip hop, and similar genres. Vocals get slightly affected by the overpowering bass, but they’re not bad. Highs are decent, too, but not as sparkly as I usually like them. Bass slightly overpowers other frequencies (called auditory masking), but at least it is tight and thumpy, unlike some other earbuds that offer loose or muddy bass.
Since the HeyMelody app doesn’t support equaliser settings, there’s no way to change the audio tuning of the OnePlus Buds Pro. If you are not a basshead, and prefer more balanced audio (like me), look towards the OPPO Enco X and the Galaxy Buds 2. In comparison, the similarly-priced OPPO Enco X sound much cleaner and balanced. The Galaxy Buds 2 sound relatively balanced as well. More importantly, both of them offer equaliser presets and you can choose one of them as per your liking.
When it comes to ANC performance, OnePlus’ flagship earbuds offer decent noise cancellation performance. It manages to remove most low and mid-range frequency sounds, but some low-frequency sounds (like the flight’s engine or noisy AC) still get through. In comparison, the Galaxy Buds 2 offer better ANC performance at the same price. If you don’t travel a lot, you’ll be fine with the OnePlus Buds Pro’s ANC. Otherwise, the Galaxy Buds 2 are a better choice.
Obviously, higher-priced true wireless earphones like the Apple AirPods Pro, Master & Dynamic MW08, Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, and the Sony WF-1000XM4 sound cleaner and more balanced. However, if you want powerful bass at ₹10,000, the OnePlus Buds Pro are a good choice of earbuds.
OnePlus Buds Pro Battery Life
OnePlus promises up to five hours of music playback with ANC turned on and 7 hours with ANC turned off. In real-life usage, they lasted a little over 6 hours when ANC was turned off and up to 4.5 hours when ANC was turned on. I usually listen to music at 70-80% volume. Battery life with ANC turned on was slightly shorter than the Galaxy Buds 2 that we recently tested.
The charging case holds up to four additional charges (compared to 3 additional charges in Galaxy Buds 2’s case), taking the total battery life claim to 38 hours. In reality, we could never accurately measure total battery life as they lasted a whole week, and most people won’t have battery life-related issues with the OnePlus Buds Pro.
Moreover, you can take advantage of the Warp Charge feature that promises to offer up to 10 hours of battery life with just 10 minutes of charging. You can realistically expect 7-8 hours of battery life.
Should You Buy OnePlus Buds Pro?
The OnePlus Buds Pro are among the best TWS earphones that you can buy for under ₹10,000, especially if you like bass-heavy sound. They have a good design, complete with sweat resistance and great fit and finish. They fit well and have intuitive controls. Call quality is good, too, but not the best. The OnePlus Buds Pro’s battery life is good, and you even get fast charging and wireless charging.
They have a few quirks, though. Audio is quite bass-heavy, and there’s no way to change it because the HeyMelody app lacks preloaded or manual equaliser settings. Moreover, ANC performance is not the best we’ve seen in the price segment. Some other features like Dolby Atmos, low-latency mode, and quick pairing only work with select OnePlus smartphones.
If you’re someone who likes more balanced audio reproduction, the Google Pixel Buds A Series, OPPO Enco X, and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are better choices. The Galaxy Buds 2 offer a better and more compact design and a more feature-rich app. iPhone users are better off with the Beats Studio Buds
|What We Liked||What We Didn’t Like|
|High-quality design, featuring water resistance||Bass-heavy sound affects the accuracy of vocals and highs|
|Comfortable fit and intuitive controls||No manual or preset equaliser profiles|
|Powerful bass (if you like a lot of it)||Battery life could’ve been slightly longer|
|Good call quality||LHDC, low-latency mode, and Dolby Atmos available on limited devices|
|Companion app for Android and iOS|
|Fast charging and Qi wireless charging|
|Good battery life (individual and with the case)|
OnePlus Buds Pro Review Ratings