I’m a creature of habit. I loathe switching routines, comforts and things I love. It’s ironical then that my job demands that I use a new gadget every single week. Scratch that. Multiple new gadgets every week. And, once I get used to a rather well-performing device, I do internally grumble a fair bit while switching it out for the next. The process was no different when I started trying out the new OnePlus Buds 3. It’s been a couple of weeks since, read on to find out how the buds fared!


The first thing that catches my attention is the colour. A striking yet pleasant sky blue, that OnePlus calls ‘Splendid Blue’. The case has a matte finish, while the buds sport a shiny finish, that surprisingly doesn’t hold on to smudges. Each earbud weighs a little less than 5 grams each, so it’s fairly comfortable to wear them for hours on end. And, stays put while I fast-walk my way from the metro station to work and back home.

Sound Quality

I waste no time setting it up. OnePlus doesn’t either, considering it has Google Fast pairing, which is super snappy. The brand says that the Buds 3 are built with dual dynamic driver units, each designed to do equal justice to bass, treble and vocals. I open up the Global Top 50 to check what the cool kids are listening to these days.

I find a rather soulful, vulnerable Benson Boone crooning Beautiful Things, which starts soft acoustic and soon transitions to rock-reminiscent. Closer home, I check out Anuv Jain’s new track Husn, where his soulful vocals and the minimal strings in the background make for a mellow evening. The lows, mids and highs all seem to be given equal space in the acoustics. Nothing overpowers the other. I had the OnePlus Buds 3 on for a bunch of product briefings. Each earbud has three in-built microphones and I was told on call that my voice came through quite clearly. Only when the battery levels were low, I was told my voice didn’t come through clearly, especially outdoors. Multipoint connectivity worked seamlessly on the Buds 3, while I had it connected via Bluetooth to my laptop and smartphone.

App features

I used the HeyMelody app post pairing, to personalise the experience more. I love that I have the option of turning on BassWave, which immediately delivers deep bass, while maintaining overall clarity across other aspects of the acoustics. This actually lends a certain depth, makes the soundstage across most tracks, and makes the overall listening experience a lot more enjoyable. And, I’m not even a bass-head. So, rest assured that this doesn’t add an unpleasant heavy bass quality to tracks.

The usual equaliser settings remain on the app — balanced, serenade, bass and a fully customisable one. There’s a special 3D Audio-mode, which when enabled, gives the impression of better spatial surround sounds. To start with, the mode amps up the volume a bit when turned on and, in general, I felt that I didn’t really need this mode to be on. However, the more songs I listened to with this 3D mode on, the more I found the regular mode to sound ‘flat’. So, by the end of two weeks, I was listening to all music only with this mode enabled.

Noise cancellation

I also had Smart Scene on, which automatically detects ambient noise and adjusts noise cancellation accordingly. This worked well across environments, but it’s also hard to detect when the buds are making that switch. When I set it manually, I could choose from three — mild (10dB), moderate (20dB) and max (49dB). The noise cancellation (up to 49dB) kicks in as I long-press on the right earbud. The music sounds better when it kicks in and the ambient sound drowns out, but not completely. I can still hear the whir of the auto I’m in on my way to work. At work, it performs slightly better in drawing out ambient chatter.


Over the two weeks that I used the OnePlus Buds 3, I charged it only a couple of times. I listened to music and took calls using it for about a couple of hours a day, and I could go on for days without having to charge the case. According to the company, a quick 10-minute charge adds another 7-hours of playback time.


Given the price range, the OnePlus Buds 3 is a great budget all-rounder. It delivers fairly balanced audio by default. Even if the default sound profile isn’t to your liking, there are enough customisation options on the app. The Buds 3 looks premium and comfortable to wear for long periods of time and are easy on the eyes and your pocket as well!

Price: ₹5,499 
Pros: Pretty blue colourway, balanced audio, in-depth customisation, fast charging 
Cons: Ambient noise cancellation isn’t the most effective especially outdoors