Featuring multipoint Bluetooth, dual drivers and active noise reduction, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are the Chinese manufacturer’s new high-end headphones.
- Very good sound quality
- Good call quality
- Good user comfort
- Multipoint Bluetooth
- Battery life is short
- Average active noise reduction
A year and a half after launching its first high-end wireless headphones, the OnePlus Buds Pro, the Chinese brand has unveiled a new pair of premium true wireless headphones, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. On paper, they boast some attractive features, with a dual driver system, multi-touch Bluetooth, spatial audio mode and a design that’s just as attractive as the first generation.
While OnePlus already offers several different-looking wireless earbuds – the OnePlus Nord Buds, OnePlus Buds Z2, OnePlus Buds Z or OnePlus Buds – the brand at least has the merit of being consistent within a single range. Like the Z2 Buds, which are very similar to the Z Buds, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are similar to the original OnePlus Buds Pro.
The Buds Pro 2 are wireless headphones with an in-ear design and ear stems that face the user’s mouth. OnePlus Buds Pro are unique in that they have a two-tone design. The earbuds have shiny plastic stems, while the top of the OnePlus Buds Pro is made of matte plastic – black or green depending on the colour chosen.
A design choice that allows wireless headphones to stand out in an ever-growing market. Except for this separation, there are two microphone grilles on each earpiece, one facing outward and one facing inwards.
The OnePlus Buds Pro are also quite comfortable to wear. The earbuds have a stemmed design that allows them to be held in the ear. Most importantly, the earphones are light, weighing 4.9 grams. Because of their in-ear format, they also provide good passive isolation.
As such, OnePlus also provides three pairs of silicone ear tips. As always, it is a good idea to try out the different sizes to ensure optimal comfort, reduce sound leakage for passive isolation, and ensure that low frequencies do not escape.
For this case, OnePlus offers a similar format to the first version. We are treated to a small 60 x 49 x 24 mm case with a format almost identical to the first version. In practical terms, this means that it can be easily stored in a handbag or jacket pocket, in a jeans pocket or even a pocket.
The case also has the particularity of being IPX4 certified. This means it is protected against splashes and rain, a rarity for a true wireless headphone case.
As for the buttons and connectors, OnePlus is going for sobriety. We will find a single RGB LED on the front, indicating the level of charge of the case, a USB-C socket on the back and a pairing button inside the case. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 case is also worth noting that it is compatible with Qi wireless charging via induction.
While the casing is IPX4 certified, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are IP55 certified. This means that they are not only resistant to splashes – and therefore rain or sweat – from all directions but also to dust.
USAGE AND APPLICATION
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are compatible with Google’s Fast Pair protocol. So when you first open the case – or simply hold your finger down on the pairing button inside – you will find a small pop-up screen prompting you to connect the earphones to your Android smartphone. If you plan to use the headphones with another device, however, you must go to the Bluetooth settings on your PC, tablet or smartphone.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 support not only Bluetooth 5.3 but also Bluetooth LE Audio. Unfortunately, despite this very up-to-date connectivity, the headphones sometimes need help to stabilise the signal. On several occasions, when connected to a Vivo X80 Pro in SBC, the headphones lost the connection for one or two seconds. This happened to me on several occasions when running with headphones, the smartphone in an armband, and the phone in my pocket.
The headphones are, however, compatible with multipoint Bluetooth and can therefore be connected to two devices simultaneously. While this feature has been available for several years from competing manufacturers – Jabra comes to mind – it is good to see it being made available to other brands.
In fact, by activating the “dual connection” mode on the Heymelody app, you can connect the Buds Pro 2 not only to your smartphone but also to a second device, such as a computer. This means you can quickly join a video meeting on your PC and answer a call on the fly from your phone, all while keeping your earphones on.
Like the first generation, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 features multiple microphones to reduce active ambient noise. According to the Chinese manufacturer, the headphones can reduce sounds to -48 dB. However, as is often the case with this type of data, OnePlus does not communicate on all the reduced frequencies but only on the most robust noise reduction observed in a well-controlled setting.
Within its app – or Bluetooth settings for a OnePlus smartphone – it will be possible to adjust the level of active noise reduction between smart, max, moderate and soft modes.
Logically, the smart mode will allow you to navigate between the other three modes depending on the surrounding noise. However, the result is hardly convincing even with the max mode, which is supposed to be the most effective in reducing noise.
In use, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 do a good job of reducing the most constant, muffled sounds, such as fan noise or the hum of traffic in the distance. However, the headphones have a much harder time with more punctuated sounds and mid-range frequencies, such as human voices. So they won’t manage to reduce the sounds of conversations in a noisy open space sufficiently. It’s OK, but nowhere near the level of the best in the business, whether it’s the Sony WF-1000XM4, the Bose QC Earbuds II or the Apple AirPods Pro 2.
OnePlus also offers a “custom noise cancellation” mode that will play some sounds in your ears to analyse the shape of your ear canal. However, I have to admit that even after doing this, I didn’t notice any difference.
Noise reduction means transparency mode. Of course, this function is also offered by the Buds Pro 2. However, unlike some competitor models, no additional filters or functions are offered. There is no adaptive mode to reduce the loudest sounds – like on Bose and Apple models – nor is there a function to emphasise the midrange and human voices.
The transparency mode of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is convincing enough, however, and will allow you to hear better than with passive isolation, primarily by increasing the volume of high and low frequencies. If the rendering is slightly muffled, it’s still more than enough for a quick conversation at the office or to make sure you don’t miss a voice announcement while waiting for your train.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are each equipped with two dynamic drivers designed in partnership with the Danish speaker brand Dynaudio. There is a main transducer, with a diameter of 11 mm for the low frequencies, and a secondary transducer, which will be responsible for transmitting the high frequencies, with a diameter of 6 mm.
This dual transducer technology is becoming increasingly common in wireless headphones, as it is also found in the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro, Huawei FreeBuds Pro 2 and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. On paper, it offers a great deal of interest, with more detail in each frequency range, since there are transducers specially dedicated to certain sound frequencies.
The OnePlus headphones are also compatible with AAC and SBC codecs, as well as the LHDC 4.0 codec. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are Hi-Res Audio Wireless certified, as they can generate frequencies from 10 to 40,000 Hz. However, not all smartphones are compatible with the LHDC codec, and you’ll need a Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo or Huawei smartphone to take advantage of it.
Moreover, although the peak around 2000 Hz could tend to cause auditory fatigue as the human ear is so sensitive to this frequency range, this is not the case. Thanks to the W-signature and the equal emphasis on low frequencies, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 manage to provide a comfortable enough foundation that they don’t prove unpleasant, even over the long term.
If this sound signature is not your liking, OnePlus has thought of alternatives. In addition to the default EQ, which is described as ‘balanced’, the HeyMelody app lets you choose between a ‘lively’ (treble boost), ‘serenade’ (midrange boost) and ‘bass’ (bass boost) preset.
The app also allows you to create your own EQ with six bands (62, 250, 1000, 4000, 8000 and 16,000 Hz) adjustable from -6 to +6 dB. OnePlus also says it has worked with composer Hans Zimmer (Interstellar, Gladiator, Dune, The Dark Knight) on a “Soundscape” equalisation profile, but I was not able to test it as it wasn’t offered until the earphones were released.
As mentioned earlier, the headphones are compatible with spatial audio in two ways. If you’re using a OnePlus or Google smartphone that supports Google’s spatial audio, then you’ll be able to enjoy Dolby Atmos on compatible video applications. This gives you a more immersive experience with greater spatialisation.
If you have a OnePlus smartphone, you’ll also get spatial audio on any application, with the option to enable head movement tracking. However, unlike Apple’s AirPods Pro 2, this isn’t instrument tracking, with voices always centred in front of you, but simply an effect where the soundstage remains on a fixed point, even if you move your head.
The effect is, therefore, less striking, even if it remains effective. The main advantage of this function is that it is compatible with audio streaming applications.
Each of the two earphones has three microphones. Of course, they are used for active noise reduction and transparency mode, but they also pick up your voice and reduce noise pollution during voice calls.
In concrete terms, during voice calls, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 captures the user’s voice well without altering it too much, even in difficult acoustic conditions. On a busy boulevard, my caller could understand everything I had to say, and although the voice quality could have been better and would have been hard to keep up for 30 minutes, it was quite good for wireless headphones.
It should be noted, however, that the microphones can be sensitive to wind gusts which will be transmitted back to the person you are talking to. As the headphones will reduce the low sounds outside, they will also tend to emphasise the highs, with a sibilant voice. In a quieter environment, the Buds Pro 2 do well, although the voice compression is noticeable again.
As you can hear in the video above, the headphones do a pretty good job of reducing ambient sounds.
To ensure the Buds Pro 2’s battery life, OnePlus has built a 60mAh battery into each earbud and a 520mAh battery into the case. According to OnePlus, this means up to 6 hours of battery life with the headphones in noise reduction mode – 25 hours including the case – and 9 hours without noise reduction (39 hours with the case).
As for recharging, once in their case, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 recover 60% of its battery in barely 10 minutes. However, a full charge will take 1 hour and 24 minutes. Rest assured, the last few battery points are the slowest to recover, and within 32 minutes, both headphones had recovered 90% of their battery life.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 casing can be charged either via a USB-C cable – OnePlus provides a short USB-A to USB-C cable – or via an induction charging base that supports the Qi wireless charging protocol.
With its OnePlus Buds Pro 2, the manufacturer offers headphones with neat audio quality, multipoint Bluetooth compatibility, many features and a comfortable fit, even for sports use.
There are a few points to regret, such as the poor battery life compared to the competition, a noise reduction that is still too average and specific functions that are subject to the brand’s smartphones. But when it comes to audio quality, OnePlus hits the nail on the head thanks to the dual transducer system. The sound is lively, detailed and customisable.
The fact remains that the competition is tough in the headphones segment at this price range. While the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are good headphones, noise reduction and battery life are below what competing models offer.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 - Wireless Earphones with up to 39 Hours of Battery Life, Smart Adaptive Noise Cancellation and Spatial Audio - Arbor Green (Exclusive to Amazon)
|Current Price||£179.00||September 23, 2023|
|Highest Price||£179.00||February 7, 2023|
|Lowest Price||£137.88||April 1, 2023|
Last price changes
|£179.00||July 21, 2023|
|£156.00||July 15, 2023|
|£179.00||July 14, 2023|
|£156.00||July 13, 2023|
|£179.00||July 11, 2023|
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 - Arbor Green - Audiophile-Grade Sound Quality Co-Created with Dynaudio, Best-in-Class ANC, Immersive Spatial Audio, Up to 39 Hour Playtime with Charging case, Bluetooth 5.3
|Current Price||$149.99||September 23, 2023|
|Highest Price||$179.99||February 7, 2023|
|Lowest Price||$129.99||July 20, 2023|
Last price changes
|$149.99||September 23, 2023|
|$147.98||September 21, 2023|
|$148.48||September 19, 2023|
|$129.99||August 28, 2023|
|$149.00||August 27, 2023|