When I first got my own personal audio player, and a pair of earbuds to go along with it, the biggest issue I had was that I was constantly having to push them back in. Whether walking, sitting or otherwise, there was never an instance where I didn’t have to keep pushing them back in my ears. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 on the other hand, have refused to fall out, to the point where I am going to give myself a concussion trying to shake them out.
Reviewing new earbuds is always fun for me because It’s something I can do passively while still doing other things, like housework or walking to my day job. When I can have them in while doing my regular day-to-day activities, that’s when I notice the little things. For example, I never really notice bass when using earbuds. Sure, it’s there, and we all know it’s there, but I’ve never really gotten that impact or thump that goes along with it until now.
I was able to take a look at the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 in a colour of theirs called Arbor Green. It’s a gorgeous colour that is fairly dark but is also quite obviously not black. The case itself is a matte finish with “OnePlus” engraved on top, rather than laser-etched. I love this little detail, as it makes the earbuds look like a more premium product. Opening up the case, you’re met with the same colour in a simple-looking pair of earbuds with a metallic-looking finish on the bottom half of the stalk, which indicates where the sensors are for the controls.
Inside the box itself, you’ll find the quick-setup guide, a short USB-A to USB-C charging cable, and 2 additional pairs of rubber ear-fittings, sized small and large (the earbuds arrive with the medium size already affixed). Simplicity is the name of the game here, and it’s done well.
“…OnePlus say that the earbuds and case will get around 9 hours of usage on a full charge and up to 39 hours with the case with Active Noise-Cancelling turned off.”
I wasn’t prepared for how well the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds fit into my ears when I put them in for the first time. I heard the familiar welcome sound play when they went in, and had them paired to my phone almost immediately after opening the case. To say that they fit well is a bit of an understatement. These earbuds refuse to fall out, and it’s not like they’re so big that they are wedged in there either. The medium-sized fittings were the perfect size for me and only come out when I take them out manually.
Your controls are again mapped to specific combinations of squeezes on the stalk of the earbuds themselves. One press on either earbud will play/pause music and answer/end whatever call you may be on; two quick presses either reject an incoming call or skip to the next track; three quick presses skip to the previous track.
In addition, a one-second press and hold will alternate noise cancelling settings between Intelligent Noise Cancelling and Transparency; lastly, pressing and holding for 3 seconds will put the earbuds into what is called “Zen Mode Air” which creates an environment of quiet and calm to you can focus on the task at hand.
“I wasn’t prepared for how well the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds fit into my ears when I put them in for the first time. “
I want to talk a bit more about noise-cancelling because I couldn’t really tell the difference between Intelligent Noise Cancelling and Transparency with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. Multiple times I would go back and forth, never really knowing which setting I was on until I opened up the HeyMelody app and checked. Don’t get me wrong, the noise-cancelling works brilliantly; I could hear my internal dialogue clear as day and that’s about it.
I just wish the Transparency option worked better because it didn’t offer the ability to hear my music and what’s going on around me in a way that I expected. What I got was no outside noise at all, regardless of what setting I was on, which OnePlus says will cover up to nearly 48dB, depending on the surrounding environment.
On the technical side of things, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 impressed me with their battery life. OnePlus say that the earbuds and case will get around 10 hours of usage on only 10 minutes of charging, and up to 39 hours with the case with Active Noise-Cancelling turned off. When ANC is turned on, the user can expect those numbers to dwindle to roughly 6 and 25 hours respectively. These numbers are pretty much in keeping with my experience as my usage saw the battery life fall somewhere in the middle of those two ranges, as I was constantly switching between having the ANC off and on, depending on what I was doing.
One feature that I enjoyed was the low-latency gaming mode. With this, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 drops to nearly 54ms audio latency when you’re gaming. So, if you’re one of those people that like to game on the go on your laptop, but don’t want to haul around that big gaming headset, your OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds can and will answer the call, and sound good doing it. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds also have 3 built-in microphones so you can be heard clearly on phone calls throughout the day.
“OnePlus has become my absolute favourite brand for earbuds, and they’ve done it again with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2.”
We’ve finally arrived at the sound quality portion of the review and this is where I am conflicted. For the longest time, I have been a proponent of clear audio, without an obvious focus on any particular part of the sound, the very reason I wasn’t a big fan of Beats headphones when they first came out.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds still feature the same incredible audio that the Buds Pro did last year, but there’s something different this time around. I was hearing new sounds in songs, and instrument sections I had never been aware of previously. Combine that with the equalizer controls in the HeyMelody app, and I was able to customize my audio experience to my liking.
OnePlus had become my absolute favourite brand for earbuds and they’ve done it again with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. If the noise-cancelling issue I experienced was a bit better, then these would be the perfect earbuds for me. It won’t stop me from using them day-to-day, but sometimes I want to drown out the world and other times I want to let a bit of it in. I’d just like to be able to tell which one I am doing without having to get my phone out. All that said, I can still happily recommend the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 to everyone.