OnePlus Nord Buds 2 Review | Transforms chaos into a sound paradise

The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 will win over countless sound purists and music lovers thanks to its beautiful soundscape and formidable ANC, at an affordable price

Updated - April 04, 2023 07:46 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2023 07:16 pm IST

OnePlus Nord Buds 2 Review | Transforms chaos into a sound paradise

OnePlus Nord Buds 2 Review | Transforms chaos into a sound paradise | Photo Credit: Sahana Venugopal

OnePlus’ portfolio of electronics ranging from TWS earbuds to TVs has achieved a degree of diversity. However, quality trumps quantity and that is what we set out to test when we received the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 for review.

In the box

We received the Thunder Grey OnePlus Nord Buds 2, their charging case, a charging cable, additional earbud tips, and documentation for the device.

Design

The dark grey earphones have short, chunky stems that leave ample space for touch controls. The buds are angled inwards to ensure a deep and complete fit in the ear canal. The overall look is professional, though we would have enjoyed some more striking colours to stand out from the crowd.

The pill-shaped matte-grey charging case is on the larger side and will feel awkward in a shirt or trouser pocket.

(For top technology news of the day, subscribe to our tech newsletter Today’s Cache)

While the company has opted for a slightly speckled finish to fit an earthy aesthetic, this simply makes the case and the Buds 2 look dusty. At first glance, the product looks unremarkable and would not make a particularly appealing gift.

Sound

A seasoned user of TWS earphones might know what pitfalls to expect with their devices. For example, a certain level of volume loss is the norm and sound fidelity often flies right out the window. Calls can be glitchy and distortion is commonplace.

As for the OnePlus Nord Buds 2, it shatters these limitations to effortlessly deliver on every feature it promises.

From the moment the first track begins to play, a listener is overcome by a beautifully detailed sound stage where every vocal or instrumental element reaches its zenith. Armed with a 12.4mm driver unit, the customisable bass can be anything from non-existent to full-blown thunder while an AI algorithm helps correct imbalances in the tracks. Vocals are clean and bright, even at extremely low volumes. The depth of the surround sound effect is awe-inspiring, and one feels like the main character of whatever track they are experiencing.

For several tracks with recording issues, the earphones sometimes duplicate sound on the other side to provide a holistic experience. Even old or poorly-recorded tracks can get a considerable lift in quality and clarity with the earbuds.

Meanwhile, the device’s formidable noise cancellation mode was able to completely mute a whooshing overhead fan and soften other intrusive noises nearby in order to play nearly studio-quality music. According to the company, the ANC feature has a 25dB depth. This is noise cancellation as it should be experienced.

In fact, the combination of noise cancellation and sound clarity was so sharp and intense that I often lowered the device volume for the best listening experience. A transparency mode allows more sound to filter in for safety reasons, and the “off” mode (accessed through the app) helps save battery.

Taking or making calls was an easy experience that was free of audio disturbances.

While priced similarly to the previously released OnePlus Nord Buds CE, the Buds 2 represents a huge jump in both sound quality and comfort, bringing it to the top of its segment.

While the company has opted for a slightly speckled finish to fit an earthy aesthetic, this simply makes the case and the Buds 2 look dusty

While the company has opted for a slightly speckled finish to fit an earthy aesthetic, this simply makes the case and the Buds 2 look dusty | Photo Credit: Sahana Venugopal

User experience

The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 instantly connected to my smartphone as soon as the case was opened, with no lag time.

Thanks to the earbuds’ firm but comfortable fit, they remain steady even while the wearer is exercising. The Buds 2 can be worn for hours without feeling a strain, if the correct earbud size is used. The earphones are rated IP55 for water/dust resistance, so they should fare well in the gym.

However, my first problem was that I faced considerable difficulty getting the Buds 2 to pair with my MacBook Air, so I missed out on watching some much-awaited movie trailers on a higher definition screen. This was very disappointing.

The second complaint was that the touch controls, while responsive and accurate, fail to un-pause YouTube tracks if the smartphone falls asleep. Furthermore, I never found the volume touch controls in spite of searching the user manual, so I had to adjust the same via the device.

App

OnePlus Nord Buds 2 users are encouraged to download and use the HeyMelody app in order to track their earphones’ battery levels, choose from three noise control modes [noise cancellation, off, or transparency], and choose from four sound modes [Balanced, Bold, Serenade, and Bass] to enhance the media they are listening to. There are also options to boost the bass and create custom profiles.

While the Balanced mode worked best with spoken media and podcasts, the Bold mode brilliantly elevated more cinematic tracks with added bass and clarity while minimising sound loss. The Bass mode was frighteningly effective.

That being said, more in-app explanations about the various modes and some customisation tips would have been a nice touch for users still learning about advanced audio settings.

Battery

The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 can turn the noisiest of environments into a musical refuge, and comes packed with the battery to make this possible.

With the noise cancellation mode activated, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 lasted for slightly over seven hours on a single charge (meaning it was not put back in the case during this time). When the battery was finally drained, placing the Buds 2 in their charging case for about 15 minutes lifted the battery level back to 60%, providing several more hours of listening time.

The Buds 2 case was able to repeatedly power the earphones that we used for more than seven hours a day (with ANC activated), for roughly five consecutive days without needing to be charged even once.

Verdict

From ASMR lovers and guided meditation fans to metalheads and orchestra critics, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 will win over countless listeners thanks to its expert sound engineering, a striking ANC function, incredible battery life, and budget-friendly price. We only wished there was better connectivity for laptop users, easier volume controls, and less insipid product colours.

But as soon as the Buds 2 are slipped in, chaos drains away and a musical paradise lets the listener transcend their world.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.