OnePlus Buds Pro review: Deep bass inside, silence outside

Mala Bhargava | Updated on August 24, 2021

Great sound and pretty good ANC, but slightly pricey

Along with the Nord 2 smartphone, OnePlus launched its true wireless Buds Pro, and I’ve been checking them out for the past week or so.

The market is so flooded with true wireless audio products that each new set of earbuds has its work cut out for it. But even in this crowded scenario, the Buds Pro could do rather well.

Premium profile: The Buds Pro come out of a case that looks quite premium, despite being made of plastic, which it always is anyway. We have the black matte though there’s also a white that looks very good. The buds inside are also elegant looking. The top is black, and the stem is metallic looking, ending up very edgy. The case has a nice bit of weight to it, indirectly telling you they’ll sound good.

On a OnePlus phone, you need to head to Bluetooth settings, look for the Buds Pro and tap into the sub-settings where you’ll find specific controls under Headphones. From here, you can adjust the level of active noise cancellation and see what gestures will trigger what action — you can’t edit them all, strangely. For other phones, the Hey Melody app is supposed to do the same thing. Strangely, there were no EQ adjustments that I could find.


Supreme silence: As soon as you put the buds into your ears, there’s instant silence as the seal and the cancellation kick in. It’s quite effective and dampens consistent noise well, but I had quite a bit of trouble if the buds decided they weren’t fitting well or had shifted imperceptibly. That causes the noise cancellation to switch only to transparency mode, and you can’t manually force it otherwise. In fact, this happens more often than I liked unless it’s the smart adaptive feature kicking in.

OnePlus says that, unlike other products that use static levels of noise cancellation, the Buds Pro are smart and adaptive, auto-adjusting to the level of noise around. It’s even supposed to adjust to your own ‘Audio ID’ or personal audio profile. That’s, of course, difficult to test, especially over the short term. But it has a nice ring to it.

An additional trick the Buds Pro have up their sleeve is to present you with white noise and bird sounds if you opt for Zen Mode Air from the settings under Bluetooth. I suppose this is meant to soothe you to sleep, but I urge caution as white noise can fatigue your auditory apparatus.

Full-on sound: And now to the most important part: these buds do sound good. The bass, however, is intense and prominent, at times extended and booming. It’s advisable to stay at reasonable volumes, even when a little on the loud side. But the higher frequencies are not suppressed by it, and overall the sound is full. I entirely expect the average user to like the punchy lively sound quite a lot. I quite enjoy it myself.

The buds are pretty comfortable and easy to wear for long sessions. Phone calls turn out very clear or ‘crystal’ as one of my callers said. The battery life is fine though I did face some inconsistencies. A ten- minute charge should get you ten hours of listening, and altogether you have 38 hours. I often found the case showing zero battery in the settings, but this may be an error. I also found sudden, surprising drops in battery level, with the buds dropping from 100 per cent to 20 in about four hours.

At ₹9,990, the Buds Pro are not precisely the budget variety. But its bass-forward profile will win it many customers.

Price: ₹9,990

Pros: Energetic bass-forward sound, quite comfortable, good noise suppression

Cons: Some battery glitches in our unit, slight shift in fit causes noise cancellation mode to change to transparency, slightly expensive

Published on August 24, 2021

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