OnePlus recently launched its Pro range of TWS earbuds, simply called Buds Pro, in a bid to capitalize on the growing demand for premium truly-wireless earphones. The new earphones were launched just a month after OnePlus joined hands with OPPO to deliver "better products" and going by the looks of things, it is shaping out to be for the better.
Priced at Rs 9,990, OnePlus Buds Pro seemingly draws inspiration from Oppo Enco X, but there are some elements that set the Buds Pro apart - mostly unique to OnePlus. Does this make the OnePlus Buds Pro a worthy contender in the competitive TWS race? Let's find out.
OnePlus Buds Pro looks a lot like the OPPO Enco X, but there are some refinements that make it look better. The in-ear design with a protruding stem is pretty standard and frankly more comfortable. The earbuds are made of plastic, offer a lightweight and comfortable fit. The matte black finish with a dual-tone colour looks elegant and feels great.
The Buds Pro are IP55-rated for dust and water resistance, which means they can handle the drizzle and are built to last. The build quality feels sturdy and capable of handling day-to-day use.
The earbuds come in a tiny rectangular charging and storage case, which compliments the matte finish. The sleek design of the case makes it easy to carry in jeans pockets and jackets. But it opens like a box, unlike the OPPO Enco X case, which we felt was easier to handle. The magnet pulls the earbuds to securely lock them in the right position, but one cannot be hasty in doing so.
The charging case also has a tiny indicator on the front, and there's a USB Type-C port at the back for charging. The OnePlus branding on the top cover is also in black, which looks cool. The icing on the cake is its wireless charging capability, which makes up for the extra grams.
OnePlus Buds Pro offers a rich sound experience and the bass kicks in with a punch, much to the liking of many. But OnePlus has done a fair job at preserving vocals and treble, that doesn't get masked under the heavy bass, courtesy of the 11mm drivers. The Buds Pro are well-suited for multimedia streaming, listening to music and podcasts as well as for gaming.
It wasn't surprising that OnePlus Buds Pro would perform the way they do in the audio segment, but we wanted to test the ANC feature, which often varies from one brand to another. The adaptive noise canceling (Smart ANC) works best as it automatically adjusts to the ambient environment. We were able to see this in action when we passed through noisy markets and heavy traffic into quieter streets and worked like a charm every single time.
The Buds Pro also comes with extreme ANC and light ANC, which work as suggested. These modes can be activated manually. The Faint ANC will let the ambient sounds pass through, which helped in case we had to be aware of the surroundings without having to take off the earphones. The Extreme ANC mode would block all sounds to an extent that everything is muffled and if you're listening to music, the ambient sound is blocked completely.
OnePlus Buds Pro supports Bluetooth 5.2 but can only connect one device at a time. It supports SBC, AAC, and LHDC v3 codecs, but lacks LDAC or aptX codecs.
Getting the calling performance right is tricky for TWS earbuds. OnePlus Buds Pro does a decent job in the field, making calling loud and clear for both callers. There are three ENC noise-reducing microphones, but they do not eliminate all the noise and winds as one might expect. The earbuds are good enough as people on both end of the calls were audible, even with a face mask on.
Finally, the most unique feature of the Buds Pro is the Zen Mode Air, which plays soothing audio files for you to relax and focus. It came in handy while working rather than while sleeping as the earbuds would get in the way while sleeping on the side. We could choose from warm sunrise, meditation, summer seashore, nighttime camping, which set the perfect mood but I wouldn't go as far as meditating with this feature.
Controls and customizations
OnePlus Buds Pro has controls on each earbud, which is pretty common for TWS devices. But the way we have to access these controls is entirely different. Firstly, instead of the conventional tap function, the Buds Pro reacts to lightly press on the buds' stem. There's single press, double press and triple press, and each of these actions is mapped to various functions like pause, skip songs and go back, respectively. Long pressing the earbud stem lets you switch between ANC and transparency modes. Sadly, there's no way to control the volume, a major setback and inconvenience.
Unlike using a single finger to either change track, pause or play, the Buds Pro needs two. And sometimes, in doing so, the earbuds might get ejected.
If you're a OnePlus smartphone user, the controls for the Buds Pro are done on the device without the need for an app. That changes with non-OnePlus phones, both Android and iPhone.
OnePlus Buds Pro can be managed by Hey Melody app, which is available for both Android and iPhones. There are limited customizations in the app like it lacks EQ settings, sound profiles, etc. There is, however, an option to test the earbuds' fit to get the best experience. But the audio quality was good from the get-go, and the earbuds fit test only slightly enhanced the bass effect and fine-tuned the vocals. The app only allows customisation of the triple squeeze function, and you can only choose between previous or voice assistant, which didn't add much value.
Of all the things, the Zen Mode Air feature settings was of most use. We get to choose from various soothing audio files, OnePlus calls it "White Noise". You can select anyone and it plays when you squeeze the earbud for 3 seconds.
Once you get all the desired settings using the app, we doubt there's any need for the app again.
OnePlus Buds Pro offers a solid battery life. OnePlus promises five hours of playback with ANC on while the case holds 23 hours more. Without the ANC, the playback time is extended. As per our testing, the battery came close to what OnePlus claims. With Extreme ANC, the earbuds lasted a whole four hours and then some. By disabling ANC, you could easily add one or eve two more episodes of your TV show. With just 10 minutes of Warp Charge, the earbuds can go for two hours of playback without ANC mode.
Since the charging case was pocket-friendly, we didn't worry much about the battery as it would easily last a whole week with on and off use.
OnePlus Buds Pro gets most of the things right. Everything from a decent audio performance to reliable battery life and elegant design to deafening ANC, the Buds Pro is almost perfect. The controls are not quite user-friendly, but with time, you can get used to it. For the price, the Buds Pro certainly offers a balanced recipe for a power-packed TWS, which can be trusted for day-to-day use.