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OnePlus Buds Pro review: It’s pitch perfect. Well, almost

OnePlus Buds Pro

During its social media campaign for the Buds Pro, OnePlus posted a tweet that read: “It’s time to unmute yourself.” The company seemed quite confident about the new product, if you take the tweet at face value. We get the answer now.

For OnePlus’ latest offering, Buds Pro, has a range of solid features with a superior audio quality. In this review, we take a deep dive to see if OnePlus has upped their game.

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Design

Whether it is smartphones or other devices, OnePlus seems to derive its strength from a premium-quality build, upkeeping its reputation with the Buds Pro which look glossy with a pair of shiny stems with a matte-finish body. The Buds Pro comes in two colours: Matte Black and Glossy White. My personal preference is Matte Black for the simple reason that it looks cooler . Weighing about 4 grams, the Buds are light and has silicone ear tips that sit really well in your ears. Buds Pro, in fact, are the most comfortable wireless earbuds I have used — but, it all depends on the size and shape of your outer ear.

The buds come with an IP55 certification, which means you might as well enjoy music while taking a shower, while the compact charging case is IPX4 water-resistant-certified and comes with a USB-C charging cable. It is worth noting its overall design is the sturdy buds, especially in the stems. I did a drop test from about 4 feet and they still worked fine. The stems have pressure-sensitive controls, which, unfortunately, is the trickiest part. But more about that later.

Buds Pro has an built-in Active Noise Cancellation, which is the main selling point

Buds Pro has an built-in Active Noise Cancellation, which is the main selling point

Bluetooth and connection

The Buds Pro comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.2 (with a 10-metre range) and connectivity is seamless. But getting your Buds connected for the first time is the challenging part.

My OnePlus 6T did recognise the Buds Pro when I tried setting up for the first time. But my HP laptop and smart TV could not recognise the device. I assumed this was a software issue, which it wasn’t. That is because, in the user manual, OnePlus asks users to long-press the tiny, almost invisible button on the charging case, to activate the pairing particularly for the first time.

You have to do all this each time you are pairing Buds Pro with a new device. OnePlus says you can use Buds Pro’s audio features such as the different noise cancellation modes and its audio profiles under the Buds Pro settings on your OnePlus smartphone. But I couldn’t find these settings in my OnePlus 6T, which still runs on Android 10.

If you are not a OnePlus user, you can customise these settings in the HeyMelody app.

Noise cancellation and controls

A truly remarkable feature on Buds Pro is the Active Noise Cancellation (ANC). It is, to put it plainly, stunning!

The moment you plug in the earbuds, Buds Pro blocks out all the noise from the ambience. Therefore you get better and louder audio performance, even if the volume is low. But, I was still able to hear the noise from my ceiling fan and the occasional chirping of the birds. Yes, it is true that noise cancellation limits the environment noise upto 25 decibels in the Transparent mode. OnePlus claims that it can block upto 40 decibels in the Extreme mode. I couldn’t hear the ambient noise when I entered the Extreme mode, which is not advisable if you are running or in my case, cycling on the roads.

You can access these modes on the app or simply press and hold the stems for three seconds. Buds Pro also has a Smart Mode, which is adaptive to your environment and adjusts the noise accordingly. Even if you aren’t playing music, you can switch to the Extreme mode and get on with work.

For someone who prefers silence and whose profession involves throwing up words under a deadline, the ANC is a blessing that keeps giving. The icing is the Zen Mode Air, which certainly brings about a sense of calmness. When you turn on the Zen Mode, the only sound you hear is: birds chirping.

The device controls are mostly a miss. The pressure-sensitive controls on the stems are the weakest in an otherwise powerful pair of earbuds; you end up putting more pressure and are mostly unsure where exactly you need to put pressure. For instance, if you have to pause, you will have to pinch the left or right stem for half-a-second. It does pause but there is a one-second delay.

So what is the solution for this? Just plug out of the earbuds and it automatically pauses. Sometimes, these controls are not very responsive to pressure, like you have to change to the next song or adjust the volume. I found these controls more responsive and effective on the laptop. These issues can be fixed in an update, we hope.

The earbuds come in two colours: Matte Black and Glossy White

The earbuds come in two colours: Matte Black and Glossy White

Audio and battery

Buds Pro produces a superior audio quality with an evenly spread bass, thanks to the two 11-millimetre dynamic drivers. It does not matter what you play, audio or video, the Buds Pro gets the details right and offers an immersive audio experience. It is the same case with call quality as well.

If you are someone who watches movies a lot, it should not be an exaggeration to say that the audio on Buds Pro is akin to a mini-theatre. I tested it by playing the opening sequence of Skyfall and boy, it really had a theatrical effect. Of course, it needs to be said that you will have to increase the volume a little more to feel the effect. Buds Pro also has Dolby Atmos support, but only on OnePlus devices starting from 7. Personally, I prefer Buds Pro just for the theatrical experience.

OnePlus claims that you get a battery upto 38 hours with the charging case together. I have not charged the device since receiving it but I easily got a playback for four hours (it is 10 hours for a 10-minute charge, claims the company). Buds Pro also supports wireless charging which is currently available only on OnePlus 9 Pro.

Should you or should you not?

The earbuds are slightly on the expensive side and is priced at ₹9,990 and if you ask me whether it is worth the money, it is both a yes and no. The latter because Samsung offers a range of buds with ANC at a much lower cost. But as it has been often said about OnePlus — whose primary competition appears to be Samsung, Apple and possibly Nothing (coincidentally started up by former OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei) now too — Buds Pro is the better option if you can’t afford Samsung or Apple. Especially for its Zen Mode Air, Buds Pro is a resounding yes.


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Printable version | May 7, 2022 1:33:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/oneplus-buds-pro-2021-review-india-truly-wireless-earbuds-almost-pitch-perfect/article36075082.ece