With so many companies trying to get into the wireless earbud market, it can be hard to differentiate one from the other. OnePlus enters the market noticeably later than Apple and Huawei, but are doing so at a lower price point, and with similar seeming features.
Right out of the box, the OnePlus Buds look similar to other earbuds but with a bit more bulk to them. The actual earbuds are small and fit well, but the panel that stores the interior tech is noticeably elongated. This makes them look a little strange when not in use, but once they’re housed in your ear they look like any standard earbud.
The charging box has a semi-circle curve to it that is a little bulkier than the one that houses the Huawei Free Buds 3 and AirPods but not by much. As with almost all earbuds, there is a battery indicator light and satisfying snap hinge for easy access and storing. The charging case houses 30 hours of battery per charge and the buds last for around 6.5 hours per full charge. With fast-charge, the case can be charged to 10 hours in 10 minutes, and fully charged in less than 40. There was rarely a time where I ran out of charge and One Plus has done some great work with the device’s battery capabilities. They’re less bass heavy than the Huawei Free Buds but for $100 cheaper they are remarkably close in terms of sound quality
Features wise, there is some customization, but it is only for OnePlus phone owners. If you do own a OnePlus phone then you can access the next track, previous track, wake up voice assistant, play/pause, call answer, and switch your device. If you don’t own a OnePlus phone then you’re stuck with only being able to switch songs with a double tap of the right earbud. That being said, my favourite feature, and one that works on all devices, is that the sound pauses when you take out your earbuds, which ensures that you don’t miss any part of what you’re listening to. It’s a premium feeling feature and one that I noticed often during the review process. The OnePlus Buds are IPX4 water resistant, and can withstand sweat and some splashes of water.
However, when all the fancy features are stripped away, the main aspect where earbuds need to succeed is fit and comfort, and that’s also the place where the OnePlus buds falter the most. I recently reviewed Huawei’s Free Buds 3 and I was impressed at how they managed to stay in my ears, regardless of whether I was sitting or taking part in a strenuous workout. The OnePlus Buds feel like a step down in that regard, as they’re bulky and don’t do well when being used in motion. They manage to stay in place when you’re sitting down and walking, but any sort of higher tier movement causes them to feel loose and sometimes fall out.
At $109.99 CAD the OnePlus Buds are easily one of the most affordable wireless earbuds on the market and are less than half the price of their Huawei and Apple competitors. If you’re someone whose main use for wireless earbuds is in stationary or low movement situations then the OnePlus Buds are a fantastic value. Unfortunately, those looking for earbuds to complement their active lifestyle are better off looking elsewhere, even with the stellar price point.
The OnePlus Buds are an affordable and premium feeling set of Bluetooth earbud, that are held back by their chunky design. They’re still a good option for those looking to use them in a home setting but do miss out on being a true all for one device.