After OnePlus released their flagship phone this year, the OnePlus 10 Pro, the technology company unleashed a more cost-conscious version of their smartphones with the Nord N20 5G, a serviceable device at a fraction of the cost. Following this string of releases, OnePlus took it a step further and revealed that they have also done the same with their OnePlus wireless earbuds, by giving consumers a more price-friendly option with the OnePlus Nord Buds, which I should add pair nicely with their Nord phone, and they pack an affordable punch.
The presentation with the OnePlus Nord Buds is pleasant and has that same box mechanic that slides open slowly as if you’re unboxing a premium smartphone—immensely satisfying. What is found inside the box is everything a new adopter of wireless earbuds could hope to find, a matching charging case that houses the buds from the elements, a small charging USB-C cable—without the charging brick of course—and (groan) a small instruction manual to get started.
The Nord Buds are incredibly stylish. They have a Black Slate colourway, and like the Nord N20 5G smartphone, there is only one colour option which isn’t a bad thing. The buds are incredibly lightweight and have ‘R & L’ labels on the case instead of the buds themselves to designate which bud is for which ear. For me this is a must, and luckily it is included.
The case also includes different size gel tips for different sizes of ear, a one-size fits all approach. I can’t overstate how even with the chrome-coloured circle on the outside of the speaker, the buds are very attractive to look at, a necessary inclusion for something that rides in your ear for extended periods of time.
“The sound quality on these earbuds is phenomenal compared to their price…”
The OnePlus Nord Buds sound great. They come fully equipped with 12.4 mm audio drivers that produce a clean way of listening to favourite music without graining up the sound at all. Listening to favourite songs becomes even more immersive with the EQ options that are available to utilize in the menu. There are four preset options for listening preference customization, but there is also an option to tinker with your very own setting. This is an amazing addition for a more affordable pair of earbuds, and the adjustments do make a difference.
The sound quality on these earbuds is phenomenal compared to their price and listening to favourite audiobooks such as The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, makes it feel as if Stephen King himself were in the room, serenading you with terrifying tales. The volume setting could use help though. I constantly had the volume on the highest setting and found it wasn’t loud enough. Sometimes having the option to destroy your eardrums just because you can is real freedom.
Interestingly enough the OnePlus Nord N20 5G smartphone, while it pairs magnificently, has no IP resistance to speak of, but these buds carry an IP55 rating, which allows for dusty and wet adventures. They even have a degree of sweat resistance, which truly helped spot me in the gym during an arduous set.
Speaking of pairing with the Nord N20, while paired, there is a screen of information given to the user. The settings page, a small walkthrough on what the functions are, and battery percentage for each headphone and the charging case are on full display to the owner’s discretion. There’s even a ‘find my buds’ selection, and while it doesn’t use GPS, it does play an annoying high pitch from the charging case. This is a godsend for those who constantly lose stuff around the house, a function that has helped me fix my tardiness at work on more than one occasion.
“The OnePlus Nord Buds come in a neat package, with many features that far more pricey earbuds have but at a fraction of the cost.”
The battery life of the OnePlus Nord Buds is also a small shortcoming. The buds last under six hours on a 100% charge and can last up to a tested 25 hours total if they drain the charging case. This is a minor difference from the advertised seven hours promised by OnePlus, but I had EQ settings on the entire time and that could have killed the device faster. The charge time is seriously nothing to scoff at though, the buds gave me enough juice to storm through a full day of errands with only a 30-minute window to charge them in, a solid assist if the battery life quits on you.
The OnePlus Nord Buds come in a neat package, with many features that far more pricey earbuds have but at a fraction of the cost. The sound quality is dynamic, with high notes striking the top of the scale with clarity, and the low notes causing deep rumbling tremors in accordance with proper settings. Noteworthy additions such as the IP55 rating, and customization options add to an already loaded peripheral, giving far more than what the consumer paid for. The weak volume setting, and potentially poor battery life do set these earbuds back, but not far enough to not be an easily recommendable option for almost any user.