OnePlus Nord Buds CE is the latest addition to the company's audio lineup, targeted toward the masses. It is, after all, OnePlus' cheapest TWS earbuds, which automatically grabs some eyeballs. Naturally, the Buds CE is priced lower than the affordable Nord Buds (Rs 2,799). But it's got some punch with its spec-sheet and we set out to explore more.
OnePlus Nord Buds CE is priced at Rs 2,299, which is quite competitive for TWS earbuds. But the TWS market is anything like it was a couple of months ago, with offerings from Realme, Oppo and Vivo throwing stiff competition. While some offerings are priced slightly higher than the Nord CE, some have an edge in terms of battery or audio output.
We will be testing the Nord Buds CE to see if it holds any water against the competition. Meanwhile, here are our initial thoughts.
Design and fit
Despite falling in the Nord Buds category, the Buds CE have a distinct look. Right from the charging case to the actual earbuds, the Buds CE look miles apart. We are not complaining. We feel the Buds CE is lighter and compact. The case is light and fits easily into compact pockets.
Despite lacking a rubber tip, the earbuds fit snuggly into the ear. They didn't just pop-out while brisk walking or when shaking the head (but not too violently).
When we took the earbuds out of the case, most of the weight had been shed. So if you're wearing the earbuds, the empty case will barely add to any weight in the pocket. Even the earbuds are super light, which means wearing them for long hours won't cause distress. To give you a number, the case weighs just 3.5 grams and both the earbuds weigh 33 grams.
A very tiny portion of the step on the earbuds is enabled for touch controls. What we liked about it is that there's a slightly-flattened out surface, which is identifiable with a touch. The functions are standard, single tap for play/pause, double tap for next track/ answer or end calls, and triple tap to enter game mode/ activate voice assistant. We briefly tested the touch controls and they seemed to work as intended, but we noticed slight latency with iPhone, but not so much when using a OnePlus phone.
Our review unit is a Moonlight White, but there's also a Misty Grey. We, however, liked the white one. It has nice milky hue, not a tint of ink. The earbuds are also rated IPX4, which means it is resistant to water sprinkles and sweat. It has been drizzling for the past couple of days and we didn't hesitate to take out the earbuds. It's still working.
The charging case has a USB Type-C port at the bottom, which supports the flash charge. With 300mAh battery in it, the earbuds can be charged approximately five times. There's no button on the case, which is used for forced pairing a new device. The upper lid of the case appears too weak, closes with even a soft touch.
Connectivity and calling
We didn't notice any immediate issues with the connectivity. With the OnePlus phone, the one-tap connectivity is seamless. Whereas, in other phones, you need to pair the earbuds by going all the way into the Bluetooth settings. But that's a one-time thing and a pretty standard procedure. Once paired, like we said, there were no connection drops, which was expected having used the Nord Buds previously.
We had the chance to answer a few phone calls wearing the Buds CE earbuds. Since the calls were answered in an indoor setting, the audio was quite clear on both ends. Although there was no need for cancelling of much noise, the AI noise cancelling feature exclusive for calls does add a sense of block. It was quite soft and not too aggressive.
We liked how OnePlus took a refreshed approach in the Buds CE design. It's light, but doesn't compromise on comfort. The Buds CE look fancy when worn and they can be worn all day without causing any strain. The connectivity is seamless and suited well for calls too.
We'll be testing the battery and audio aspect soon, so stay tuned for our review.