OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Review

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OnePlus launched the Buds Pro 2, the company’s latest premium earbuds, in India last week. These promise improved 48db ANC, have 11mm + 6mm MelodyBoost Dual Drivers Co-created with Dynaudio, and are the company’s first earbuds to support spatial audio in collaboration with Google. So, are these the best true wireless earbuds worth the price of Rs. 11,999? Let us dive into the review to find out.

Box contents

  • OnePlus Buds Pro 2 in Obsidian Black Colour
  • USB Type-C charging cable
  • Ear tips in Small and Large sizes (Medium sized tips pre-installed)
  • Quick start guide and Safety guide

Starting with the design, the headset comes in a familiar rectangular charging case with rounded corners, and it fits in your pocket. It has a matte finish, so it doesn’t attract fingerprints, smudges and is also not prone to scratches.  There is also an Arbor Green version, which replaces the white version in the predecessor. The charging case weighs 47.3 grams.

There is a tiny LED indicator on the front that glows in green and red colours. The USB Type-C port is present in the back.

Opening the case, you can see the slots for Left and Right earbuds with the markings. There is a function button in the middle. It has strong magnets to secure the buds in its place.

The headset has a plastic build, but it has a dual finish, with the stem design featuring a glossy finish that attracts fingerprints easily, same as the predecessor. You can also see the microphones on the outside. This uses squeeze or press controls that we had seen in the older model.

The earbuds weigh about 4.9 grams and feature an in-ear design. The earbuds come with medium-sized ear tips pre-installed, but you can change to bundled Large or Small sized ear tips if you wish. There is an Optical Sensor for Wear Detection so that it can automatically pause the audio when you remove it from your ears and play when you put it back. There is a microphone near the ear tips, and you can also see the contacts for charging on the bottom.

Overall, the headset offers a good build quality and fits your ears perfectly so that they don’t fall off your ears easily, even during outdoor activities like running or cycling. The earphones also have IP55 ratings for dust and water resistance, so it can withstand splashes or light rain, but you can’t use it when swimming. Even the case is IPX4 rated for water-resistance.

Connectivity, Pairing, and Controls

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 supports Bluetooth 5.3 with LHDC 4.0 Hi-Res audio codec for HD sound quality on supported devices, it also supports AAC codec that works in phones that have it. The LHDC 5.0 will be added via OTA update, with a transmission rate of up to 1Mbps for 4 times better detail, said the company. There is also LE Audio support which is coming later this year via OTA update.

The pairing process is very easy for OnePlus (6 or later) devices. Just enable Bluetooth on the OnePlus phone, open the charging case of the buds, place the charging case close to the phone, and follow the prompts. To connect to a non-OnePlus phone or other Bluetooth device, place the Buds Pro into the charging case with the cover opened. Press and hold the setup button in the case for 2 seconds to enter Bluetooth settings. Then, select OnePlus Buds Pro 2.

There is a fast pair option which works in latest Android phones. We tested it on the Pixel 7, Galaxy S23 and the OnePlus 11, and never faced any pairing or disconnection issues. Since the phone pairs with the case and not the headset, you will need the case if you want to reconnect it or even turn on the headset if it’s disconnected from the phone.

You can enable dual connection option that lets you connect to two devices at the same time and switch the audio playback between them.

FunctionLeft earphone (L)Right earphone (R)
Play / Pause and Answer call / Hang callsSqueeze once
Play next track or Reject a callSqueeze twice
Play previous trackSqueeze thrice
Enable noise cancellationSqueeze and hold for 1s
Enable Zen Mode AirPress and Hold for 3s

You can customize the controls from the settings if you have an OnePlus phone, or even from OPPO phones. Other use the Hey Melody app on Android and iOS.

You can’t edit single squeeze for play/pause and double-squeeze for next track. But you can customize triple-squeeze and change it from previous track to launch voice assistant for either left or right or both the earbuds. It still doesn’t have volume control.

You can also choose at least two from Noise cancellation, Transparency, Noise cancellation off, when you touch Squeeze and hold either earbud. You also can’t change long touch and hold, which is set to launch Zen Mode Air by default.

The Zen Mode Air which was first introduced with the Buds Pro plays white noise.  There are Five white noise options to choose from – Warm sunrise, Mediation, Summer seashore, Nighttime camping and Iceland. Once you download all the sounds, you can save one white noise to the earbuds and enter the Zen Mode Air by squeezing the buds for 3 seconds, even though if the buds are not connected to the phone.

The Earbuds fit test option plays music to ensure that your ear tips make a good seal with your ear canal for better noise-cancelling.

Audio Quality

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 has MelodyBoost Dual Driver that includes a 11mm dynamic driver covering 10Hz – 8kHz and a 6mm planar diaphragm tweeter covering 8kHz to 40kHz. The company says that it has been co-created with Dynaudio to handle high and low frequencies.

LHDC worked with OnePlus 11, but not with other devices, including the flagship Galaxy S23, which only showed AAC.  OnePlus said that it will work with older OnePlus devices such as OnePlus 9, OnePlus 9R, OnePlus 9 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus 10R, OnePlus 10T, OnePlus 11, Nord 2 and Nord 2T. These will also get LHDC 5.0 later this yeare via OTA update.

The audio quality is crisp with clear vocals and good amount of bass that is punchy, same as the predecessor. Highs are good, but the mid-range is average.

OnePlus Audio ID 2.0 lets you create your personalized audio experience. It plays different sets of audio which you need to listen. Based on this, it comes up with a hearing enhancement solution based on your hearing characteristics. After setting this up, I feel a slight improvement in the audio quality, but this might vary depending on the user.

Spatial Audio and EQ

For the first time, OnePlus has enabled Spatial Audio in
the earbuds collaboration with Google for device running Android 13, it works with multi-channel audio formats on YouTube, Google TV or simple
dual-channel audio.

This also uses the six-axis IMU and a self-developed spatial rendering algorithm, for an immersive head tracking experience. The spatial audio currently works only with OnePlus 11, and will be enabled for other devices soon, according to the company.

The earbuds also support activity level and posture reminders generated by the built-in IMU sensors, but the features will be enabled in an update later this year, said the company.

OnePlus said that the renowned composer Hans Zimmer has worked with them to compose a unique musical piece written for compatibility with OnePlus’ Spatial Audio feature.

It features four equalizers developed with Dynaudio – Blanced (default), Bold, Serenade and Bass – so that every song can be heard how it should. There is also a new Hans Zimmer Soundscape Tuning that was enabled in the update. You can also create custom EQ.

If you feel the bass is not enough, there is BassWave feature that boosts bass even more, and you can select the strength. Golden Sound lets you customize the audio based on the ear canal and hearing characteristics.

Noise Cancellation and Call Performance

Regarding the Noise cancellation, the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) blocks the ambient sound that helps in most cases. You can feel the difference when you are listening outdoors. For the price, it does a good job. Compared to 40db ANC in Buds Pro, this offers 48dB ANC and personalized ANC that scans the ear canal and offers a suitable audio. There are Smart, Max, Moderate and Mild modes.

The Smart noise cancellation option works well in blocking the noise from 25db to 48db depending on the noise outside. The quality is good, but I still feel that the Samsung Buds Pro at a higher price offers better noise cancellation.

This also has Transparency mode that allows you to listen to ambient sound so that you can recognize the surrounding situation and any potential risks. It can turn on the transparency mode automatically when you remove a single earbud. The low-latency is now as low as 54ms compared to 94ms in the predecessor. This useful when gaming, but it again limited to OnePlus phones with the game mode enabled.

Coming to the call noise cancellation, it uses AI-powered noise reduction algorithm and three ENC microphones to cut external noise. This does a good job in cutting down wind and traffic noise. During my use outdoors, wind noise was complete cut out to the receiver, but the traffic noise was faintly audible.

Battery Life

The earphones pack 60mAh battery that promises about 9 hours of standalone battery life on AAC, 6 hours with AAC + ANC and 5.5 hours with noise cancellation and LHDC enabled. During my use with LHDC and noise cancellation enabled, I got about 5 hours with noise cancellation in about 60% volume, so it is decent, but it could have been better. With AAC and noise cancellation fully off, it lasted for close to 8 hours, which is impressive. For calls, it lasts only for 4 hours since it uses call noise cancellation tech.

With the 520mAh charging case, it promises up to 39 hours of total battery life without ANC and 25 hours of total battery life with noise cancellation enabled. I got about 32 hours with mixed use, which is decent.

The green light in the case indicates that the battery is high, and it turns red when it is low. You can also see the charge left in the case in the HeyMelody app when the earbuds are placed in the case.

Charging the case fully with the earbuds takes about an hour. It also has fast charge, so that you get 7 hours (charging case + earbuds combined) of playback with 10 minutes of charging. The charging case also offers wireless charging, so you can simply drop your earbuds onto a Qi Wireless charging pad.

Conclusion

Overall, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offers good audio quality, but might find the bass more on the stronger side. The noise cancellation is good for the price, but there is competition from Samsung and Apple if you need better ANC and can spend more. It maintains the compact design and a matte finish case, and the standalone battery life has been improved. Wish the company had added volume control.

Priced at Rs. 11,999 , which is Rs. 2000 more than the predecessor, it is available from Amazon.in, Flipkart, Myntra.in, OnePlus online store and OnePlus Experience stores offline.

If you don’t need Head tracking feature and the wireless charging case, the company will sell the OnePluds Buds Pro 2R model in March for Rs. 9999, which should be a better deal since you don’t lose much.

Pros

  • Good audio quality with LHDC
  • Excellent call quality
  • Up to 48dB ANC with smart mode
  • Good standalone battery life with fast charging and wireless charging

Cons

  • No volume control
  • Spatial audio is limited to OnePlus 11 at launch


Author: Srivatsan Sridhar

Srivatsan Sridhar is a Mobile Technology Enthusiast who is passionate about Mobile phones and Mobile apps. He uses the phones he reviews as his main phone. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram
View all posts by Srivatsan Sridhar





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