You can’t really shake the Apple fanboys without releasing a Pro version of whatever it is that qualifies the products for a Pro tag. So far it’s definitely not professional use when smartphone brands use it but if we speak value, then the OnePlus Buds Pro are the most expensive TWS from OnePlus and they still cost less than half the AirPods Pro do!
I’ve been using the AirPods Pro as my daily headphone and I must say, the OnePlus Buds Pro blows them out of the park. It’s the sheer value that makes the Buds Pro such a fantastic pair of TWS that everything else feels like a showboating effort. And that’s pretty much the gist of it but we spent a great deal of time with the Buds Pro and constantly switched back and forth between Apple’s givings and OnePlus’ banger, so here’s how the OnePlus Buds Pro truly sound!
The OnePlus Buds Pro have a warm sound signature but they sound hella fun. The bass from these is tight and punchy. Ye Tune Kya Kiya by Pritam & Javed Bashir plays with an energy and tonal clarity that is hard to find at this price range. We were able to hear the fantastic percussion set with precision and every thud on the hand drums is felt with a commanding heft. The raspy vocals from Javed Bashir have a depth that doesn’t subjugate other sounds. Result? A toe-tapping experience that even the AirPods Pro can’t match at times.
The Buds Pro are great for electronic music too. The Weeknd’s Take My Breath is played with booming bass that doesn’t deteriorate the vocals. It’s this fun and energetic delivery from the Buds Pro that makes them so easy to love. It can swindle away into any genre without polluting any frequencies.
To challenge the Buds Pro, we moved over to L'appuntamento by Ornella Vanoni. Here too the OnePlus Buds Pro punch above their weight and successfully convey the emotion in Ornella’s voice. The higher frequencies are also expressed admirably here.
Moving back to bass-thumping songs like Funny Thing by Thundercat, the Buds Pro have a very distinct bass-y sound. It’s not muddy or cheaply done. It’s clean as it can get and the funky rhythm from Thundercat’s song continues to pull your senses.
The AirPods Pro sound more mature and refined. It was expected but that refinement isn’t worth ₹15K more when you have the Buds Pro that is fun too. The AirPods Pro also have a more nuanced and open sound along with the givings of Apple’s walled garden. Spatial Audio which is quite celebrated by every Apple owner is now somewhat present in the Buds Pro too! The OnePlus Buds Pro come with Dolby Atmos but it’s a bit tricky to get it to work. The Dolby Atmos doesn’t work on Apple Music with Apple iPhone 12 Pro but it’ll work with OnePlus smartphones from 7 onwards. However, the Nord series is not included in that list.
These connect to Android or iOS devices and you can manage everything about the buds with the HeyMelody app. It’s clean and quite easy to use. The app also tells you about the intensity of noise-cancelling applied, and can also be adjusted depending on your preference. We didn’t see a massive difference between the lowest and highest settings. Best keep the noise control slider on the Smart option where the buds automatically adjust the intensity depending on the surrounding. There’s also something called the OnePlus Audio ID that is a hearing test to adjust the sound frequencies depending on your ear’s sensitivity. There’s a difference in sound quality when you use your personalised sound ID but we don’t see this as a necessary feature if you’re not picky. You may or may not like it. You can also listen to calming sounds that help you relax. It’s called the Zen Mode Air and you can choose from listening to the water on the seashore to birds chirping in the woods.
You can also edit the triple tap on the Buds Pro’s stem to activate voice assistants. The shape, fit and stem of the buds are quite similar to the Apple AirPods Pro and work similarly as well. The glossy finish on the stem is a good way to tell that you’re touching the right spot to control the music. The rest of the buds are covered in a matte finish, and so is the case. It really feels nice to hold, although it doesn’t feel as sturdy as the AirPods Pro case. The case also comes with wireless Qi charging and OnePlus’ Warp charging so you can use the same power brick from your OnePlus smartphone. They don’t switch seamlessly between the OnePlus smartphone and the OnePlus telly as we anticipated. Unlike the Apple ecosystem where you can switch from one Apple device to another and the buds hop on seamlessly, OnePlus Buds Pro don’t scurry around OnePlus devices the same way. You’ll have to manually nudge them to connect from your smartphone to the telly. We tested these with the OnePlus U1S 65in telly and the low latency mode really helps while watching shows and movies at night without disturbing the folks with the sound from the TV speakers.
The microphone is great too. They’re quite good at capturing your voice even in a noisy environment. You can pretty much sweat it with these out without worrying too because the Pro is water and dust resistant.
OnePlus says the buds along with the case can last up to 38 hours without ANC and 28 hours with ANC. The battery life is commendable, not to mention with Warp charge this thing can juice up fast and easy so you’re never out of the option to plug in and quiet out the surroundings.
The noise cancellation is on par with the AirPods Pro as well. It’s great for shushing fan and ac noise, and even chatty family members. However, don’t expect it to completely erase the noisy turbines of an aeroplane. Albeit even the AirPods Pro are not up for that task. You can, however, find a bit more peace and quiet in flights and noisy places.
The OnePlus Buds Pro are a fantastic TWS. There’s little to complain about and if you don’t have the cash to grab the AirPods Pro, the Buds Pro offer the value for money that was once synonymous with the brand.