OnePlus Buds Pro review: An affordable ANC headset

  • Editors' rating
    9.3 Spectacular

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great sounding audio
  • Customized audio options
  • IP55 dust/water resistance
  • Solid battery life
  • Wireless and fast charging support

Cons

  • A couple functions require a OnePlus phone
  • No equalizer in the software

OnePlus is best known for its Android smartphones, but the company also makes accessories that are optimized for its phones. These include fast wireless chargers, cases, a new watch (see our full review), and earbuds. Last year OnePlus released the OnePlus Buds that were reviewed here by Sandra Vogel.

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The OnePlus Buds Pro were revealed last month and will be available for purchase on September 1st for $149.99. They will be available in Glossy White and Matte Black. We've been rocking out with these new earbuds for the last couple of weeks and there is a lot to like from OnePlus with these ANC earbuds.

Also: OnePlus 9 review: Super-fast charging, Hasselblad software, 120Hz display

Bluetooth wireless earbuds with active-noise cancellation are popular today with the ability to connect to smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches. Some of the most popular and best performing earbuds are the Apple AirPods Pro, Sony WF-1000XM4, or Jabra Elite 85t. These are priced from $230 to $280 so the price is clearly a factor to consider whether or not ANC is important to your daily needs. I've used all of these other earbuds and compared them with the OnePlus Buds Pro, available for $149.99, and it's clear that OnePlus offers a competitive option for much less.

OnePlus isn't the only competitor challenging the well-known brands as Amazfit recently released the Amazfit PowerBuds Pro, see our full review, at the same $150 price. The OnePlus Buds Pro offers a couple of extra features while the Amazfit earbuds beat out OnePlus in the battery life results.

Specifications

  • Driver: 11mm dynamic drivers
  • Microphones: Three MEMS mics
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
  • Water resistance: IP55 (earbuds) and IPX4 (charging case)
  • Battery: 5 hours with ANC on and 7 hours with ANC off. Charging case provides another 18 to 24 hours. Fast charge of the battery case for 10 minutes provides up to 10 hours of play time.
  • Earbud weight: 4.35 grams

The water resistant charging case is unique to the OnePlus Buds Pro so if you happen to have an accident with the earbuds in the case you should still be good to go. Warp Charge is supported, as well as Qi wireless charging, so OnePlus makes it easy to keep the earbuds and case charged up and ready to go.

Hardware

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OnePlus sent along the Matte Black OnePlus Buds Pro for me to evaluate and I'm very happy with this option since the charging case and upper part of the earbuds have a matte finish. The charging case is well designed with rounded corners and a slim profile that fits into shorts or front pants pockets seamlessly. A USB-C port is on the back for wired charging.

Also: OnePlus Nord 2 review: An excellent mid-range 5G phone with impressive battery life and fast charging

The retail package includes small, medium, and large silicone tips. Check in the OnePlus software section below to see how OnePlus helps you choose the best tips to use with the earbuds. A short USB-C cable is also included for charging up the earbuds.

The earbuds themselves are designed to fit comfortably in your outer ear with most of the weight of the bud located in this area so you can barely tell you have them in. The OnePlus Buds Pro have a stem design, similar to the AirPods Pro, Amazfit PowerBuds Pro, and others. To control playback with the earbuds, you simply pinch on the silver stem piece. One side is touch sensitive, but to keep the earbuds from shifting or falling out squeezing is the best method to activate the touch controls.

There are three mics on each earbud, designed to help you hold good quality calls and also have a reliable voice assistant experience. A sensor is also present on the earbuds to detect when you remove or insert an earbud, resulting in auto pause or auto play.

OnePlus phone experiences

OnePlus has native functionality included in its smartphones that will provide you with the optimal OnePlus Buds Pro experience. If you have a OnePlus phone and have Bluetooth enabled then as soon as you open up the case for the OnePlus Buds Pro you will see a pop-up appear to setup and customize the earbuds.

In your Bluetooth settings the OnePlus Buds Pro appear in the media devices. Tap the gear icon to the right and more details for the earbuds will appear, including toggles for phone calls, media audio, and contact sharing. You can also switch between AAC and SBC audio codes. AAC should be selected for HD audio quality.

To access the full experience, tap on the word Headphones (not very intuitive IMHO) and another screen full of options will appear. These include buttons to switch quickly between ANC on, ANC off, and Transparency. There is also an ANC slider bar for faint, smart, and extreme (noise-canceling between 15dB to 40dB). If you select the smart option then the earbuds will dynamically change your ANC based on your surroundings, thus the reason OnePlus calls these adaptive noise-canceling earbuds.

Below the noise control section, we find earbud controls where you can customize the triple pinch action on the earbuds. The single and double pinch actions cannot be changed. Each earbud can be used individually so the actions apply to both earbuds. Triple pinch options include previous track and voice assistant. A pinch and hold action toggles through the different noise control modes, but you do have the option to select which of the three modes it will toggle through in the settings.

When paired with a OnePlus smartphone a press and hold for three seconds launches Zen Mode Air where white noise will play. This is designed to help you relax and tune out the world around you for a bit. OnePlus current provides five white noise tracks that you can download to use with Zen Mode Air. These include warm sunrise, meditation, summer seashore, nighttime camping, and Iceland.

Next in the settings we find the earbud fit test that helps you select the best silicone tips for your ears. The medium tips were on the earbuds when I opened the case, but those resulted in a poor fit. I attached the large tips and the test showed it was a perfect fit. Another OnePlus exclusive option is OnePlus Audio ID. We've seen this type of hearing test on other earbuds before where OnePlus walks you through an audio test of each ear, playing sounds of varying pitch and tone. At the end you are presented with a chart showing the results and then are given the opportunity to listen to audio with and without the optimized enhancement. I clearly noticed an improved audio experience when toggling on the enhancement.

The OnePlus settings also allow you to toggle in-ear detection, help you find your buds when in range, and update the earbud firmware.

HeyMelody Android and iPhone experience

If you want to use the OnePlus Buds Pro with a non-OnePlus Android phone or an iPhone, then you should download and install the free HeyMelody application. Once installed, a Bluetooth connection with the earbuds will support the application showing you the battery level of each earbud and the case, support firmware updates, let you use the app to toggle between the three noise cancellation modes, provide the same Zen Mode Air options, provide the OnePlus Audio ID test process, and let you perform an earbud fit test.

As you can see, pairing with a OnePlus phone provides the ANC slider bar, in-ear detection toggle, and find your buds support. It's great to see OnePlus provide such extensive support for other Android phones and iPhones with the OnePlus Buds Pro, making it a headset that everyone can seriously consider.

Also: OnePlus 9 Pro review: No ads, no bloat, and new tech makes it the best Android

Conclusion

Daily usage experiences

oneplus-buds-pro-6.jpg

The OnePlus Buds Pro review experience was impressive from the start, from when I picked up the sleek red and white packaging and continuing one when I opened up the box and found a compact matte finish charging/carrying case with two attractive earbuds inside. OnePlus did a fantastic job with the design and performance of the OnePlus Buds Pro and the $150 price point is very competitive in the wireless earbud market, especially with active-noise cancellation support.

The charging case supports wireless charging and also is the only case I have seen that has a level of water resistance in the case itself. This makes the OnePlus Buds Pro perfect for the gym or other outdoor activity where you can carry and use them without worry.

OnePlus didn't just stop with fantastic hardware and audio performance, including solid call quality results, but provides a full software experience for all Android and iPhone users who want to use the OnePlus Buds Pro. The software helps you achieve a perfect fit, customize the audio experience to your specific hearing levels, and even provides an option to help you relax and reduce stress in a time of uncertainty.

The OnePlus Buds Pro software doesn't have an equalizer to customize the full audio experience, but volume, clarity, and even bass play at a decent level. The ANC works well at shutting out external sounds and the headset passed my outside mower/blower test with ease. If you are looking for a good quality wireless earbud, I highly recommend the OnePlus Buds Pro.

OnePlus Buds Pro review: Affordable ANC earbuds with custom sound profiles