So alongside the fabulous Oneplus 11 that I was sent for review there was another treat for me in the form of the OnePlus Bus Pro 2. Now I have dabbled with using Bluetooth earphones for quite a few years and I have been firmly ensconced in the domain of Apple with their Airpods and I am now on my second pair having upgraded last year to the Airpods 3 from the first gen Airpods. I have found that these were the only earphones that I could find comfortable to wear for any sustained period of time.
I was keen to see if I could actually make the switch to earbuds that are of the in-ear variety and see how long I would be able to use them without them causing me any discomfort. So for this reason I have resigned my Airpods to the tech drawer for the past few weeks and I have been using the OnePlus Bud Pro 2’s exclusively for this time.
Before we get into the nitty gritty and the comfort levels etc I want to cover the design of the earphones as this will have an effect on the aforementioned comfort levels.
So what can we say about the design of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2? They are after all reasonably run-of-the-mill looking earphones. If I am honest there is not much that is leaping out at me from a design perspective but there are a few subtle things that make a big difference.
Firstly I want to cover the space of the section of the bud that sits in your outer ear as this will make a big difference in the comfort levels. I like what they have done in terms of the size and more importantly the angle of it. It is in fact very similar to that of my daily drivers. This means that when the Bud is in place I don’t feel any pressure where it shouldn’t and it is snug enough to stay put. Overall they are slightly larger than Apple’s offering but in this instance, this is not a bad thing.
The next area I want to address is the most important in terms of the Bud staying place and that is the tip design. I have been struggling for years to find an in-ear earphone that sits in place properly without causing me to feel like I was either puncturing my inner ear or feeling loose. I have realised that this is predominantly down to the tip design that is used. I am very happy to report that when using the smallest size of in-ear tips these are comfortable even for long periods of time. They also stay put while not feeling like I am getting my ear probed by something! Lastly and this is a bit grim but I feel it needs to be covered they don’t seem to attract too much in the way of ear wax when they are removed. I am not sure if this is just the design or maybe my ears have got less waxy but this was always an issue with previous attempts at finding compatible earphones. An added bonus is that the tips are antibacterial to help keep things less grim.
Another area of the design I really like is the colour way. Now I have got a very nice Arbor Green colour and I love the two-tone aspect of the design but this is not just functional as the silver area is actually a Polished Iridium which offers a very smooth touch surface to make using the various touch gestures easy to do. It helps that it is also a nice match for the Eternal Green OnePlus 11 that I have to go along with these.
Last but by no means least is the case that the earphones come in which not only stores them safe and sound but is not so small that you will lose them in your bag but is lightweight and slim enough to fit in all but the skinniest of jeans coin pockets. This case is more than just a way of storing the buds as it will also allow you to recharge the earphones when they are in their sleek recesses.
Charging can be done either wirelessly via a QI charging pad or via a USB Type C cable which is thankfully included in the box! The cable is of course the standard OnePlus red cable with White USB Type A on one end and USB Type C on the other end. the charge is transferred to the Buds via pins on the inside of the case which align with the corresponding place on the Buds when they are put into the case.
There is also a handy pairing button on the front which will allow a quick and easy way to pair the Buds with devices. I was able to pair them with my Macbook Pro with no real issues at all. Another nice little touch is that the Buds are held in place by magnets meaning that they will not fall out when subjected to shaking if the lid were to remain open for some reason. While I appreciate that this is the case with most earphone cases there is a satisfying click when the magnet pulls the bud into place that I get with my Airpods.
The last touch on the case is the little LED that will show the status of the case depending on what you are doing with the case ie charging or pairing.
So all in I would say that I am impressed with the design of the earphones and things are looking up for their useability so far. However all this can be easily scuppered by the ease of use and the interactions which I will cover in its own section later on, for now, it is time to look a bit at what lies beneath the skin of these Amor green beauties. (ED note they also come in Obsidian Black).
So the OnePlus Buds pro 2 has had a few very significant tweaks from its predecessors. they have got new driver technology in the form of a dual driver setup in each bud. This consists of an 11m and a 6mm driver that has been co-created with Dynaudio. This helps the earphone deliver deeper, fuller and more textured bass along with well-balanced and clear highs. Now I have not had the pleasure of using the OnePlus Buds Pro but I have spoken to people who have and who know their stuff and they assure me that the difference between the two is like night and day. This partnership doesn’t just extend to the physical aspects of the Buds but also features in the software but i will cover that later on.
Now having great drivers for the speakers is all well good but if you are getting rubbish signals then your experience is going to be crippled, to begin with. This is why the new Buds Pro 2 features Bluetooth 5.3 LE audio to allow for ultralow latency in the signal transmission of 54ms. This ensures that your streaming of audio to the buds remains as true to life as it can be. In my own use, i couldn’t detect any issues with there being any perceptible lag while watching a video or listening to Mp3 files.
Like most headphones of the mobile persuasion, these come with the now obligatory touch controls. these can be activated on the stalks of the buds and are smooth to action a responsive with different press combinations performing various actions. You have a certain level of customization available to you in what these actions perform and if you are lucky enough to be using these buds with a OnePlus 11 then the set-up of this is available directly via the headphones within your Bluetooth menu. I also checked this out on my OnePlus 10T 5g and i did have to use the HeyMelody app to gain access to these controls. I also tried this on my Galaxy Z Fold 4 and I got the same result.,so you shouldn’t have any noticeable issues regardless of what phone you choose to use as long as it is relatively up-to-date.
Another area that is important to users is how long the headphones will last on a charge. Especially if you are planning to use them for a long timescale. I found that a quick boost by plugging them into the case would give me up to 3 hours of listening time from a quick 10-minute of charge which was awesome to see. I have only used them for this sort of time period once and I was not disappointed by how long they lasted.
It is difficult to accurately gauge their 100% to 0% as I cannot ever see myself using the for such a long period of time in one session. If you are travelling and you are worried about them running out then rest assured that even when using the Active Noise Cancelling you should be able to get through a few days of usage when combined with the case which can easily be topped up by either wired or wireless charging. It is just a shame that the case cannot reverse the wireless charger from the back of the OnePlus 11 as it lacks the wireless coils to do this, but for users of phones with this onboard this is a very handy feature and it has helped me out a few times in the past with other phones and accessories. If you have ANC off you will be able to 39 hours of usage time via charging in the case and with ANC on you can expect figures near the 25 hours mark!
Durability is not something that I have ever really given any thought to when it comes to earphones but it should have been as these things are designed to operate in what some may consider a relatively hostile environment, the human ear. It is therefore good to know that alongside the previously mentioned antibacterial ear tips the earphones themselves are solidly built and are rated to IP 55 water resistance and the case is also IP X4 rated for dust resistance. So even when the going gets a bit hot and sweaty your auditory vibes won’t suffer.
There is one thing that I have been unable to test but is going to be available soon and this is something I didn’t expect to find in my earphones. The same sensors that are utilised for Spatial Audio which is a six-axis IMU sensor, will also be able to identify what your posture is like and read your activity levels! Unfortunately, at the time of writing this review, the feature has not been activated but I have been advised it will be rolled out shortly after launch. It will be interesting to see how this works as I am pretty sure I have terrible posture and I will be interested to see what OnePlus and the Buds Pro 2 have to say about that!
So with that let’s get the spec sheet out of the way
|Model Name||OnePlus Buds Pro 2|
|Dimensions||Height: 24.30 mm Width: 20.85 mm Length: 32.18mm|
|Weight||Earbuds: 4.9 g Case: 47.3 g|
|Colours||Arbor Green and Obsidian Black|
|Frequency response range||10 Hz-40K Hz|
|Sound pressure||97dB; 102dB in India|
|Sound Unit||11 mm+ 6 mm dynamic driver|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium-ion battery|
|Battery Capacity||60 mAh (earbuds) 520 mAh (case)|
|Music Playback||9 hours (earbuds only), 39 hours (earbuds with case)|
|Bluetooth||5.3 LE Audio|
|Bluetooth maximum distance||10 m|
|Water/Sweat Resistance||IP55 water resistance and sweat resistance level (earbuds only)|
|Fast Pairing||Google Fast Pair|
|Touch Function||Tap once: pause/answer incoming calls/hang up|
|Tap twice: next song/reject call Tap three times: previous song|
|Tap and hold for 1 second: change noise cancellation mode|
|Tap and hold for 3 seconds: Zen Mode Air|
|Features||Call Function: 3 mics + AI algorithm Dual Bluetooth Connectivity|
|Active Noise Reduction|
So as you can see above we have got some cracking design and some cracking hardware but there is a third ingredient to making a good earphone and that is software. Long gone are the days that you have to have earbuds that need to be crammed into your inner ear canal to allow you to get a good audio experience this is in part thanks to Active Noise Cancellation but it is also due to the development of AI and the fact that these Buds Pro 2 have got some cleverness built into them.
So AI in earphone’s why I hear you ask well quite simply it makes things better. OnePlus in conjunction with Dynaudio have really spent time working on how these Buds sound and the soundstage that you can get from them. To do this the first hurdle was to try and eliminate as much of the background audio as they can. This is one of the areas where AI comes in. In more primitive Noise cancelling headphones the ANC was just a passive noise filter that cancelled out some of the harsher background antics going on around you. Now thanks to the inbuilt AI processor you can customise that ANC to not just suit your environment but to suit your ear canal shape! I thought that this was a gimmick so I gave it a try and after setting up the profile from the app I found that it did make a noticeable difference to what I could hear with ANC on and with ANC off.
I used it when I was at the swimming pool at one of my son’s swimming lessons last weekend and it greatly reduced the background noise in the environment. this meant that i was able to concentrate on my music and also on watching my son swim. Another test that I have done is happening as I write this review. I am typing this up on an Apple magic keyboard and in a near-silent room and although I can hear the keystrokes they are nowhere near as clicky with ANC turned on as they are with it off. If I add a bit of music into that mix I can barely notice the sound coming from my keys with ANC activated. However, as soon as turn it back on then I can clearly hear the keys on heavy presses.
I am aware that this is not the most scientific test that I could have done but i feel that these two scenarios are real-world examples of something I would actually use the headphones for normal day-to-day usage.
If you then want to amp things up even further then you have even got a Golden Audio mode that will apply specific sound enhancements based upon a very short hearing test to tune the earbuds to your specific needs.
Another very neat feature that is ably assisted by the AI boost is the use of Spatial Audio. Now, this is something that I was only able to use on the OnePlus 11 during my review as the only other device I have access to with this feature is a Pixel & Pro which is undergoing some TLC courtesy of Google at the moment. I am going, to be honest, I have found it tricky to find anything that is optimised for Spatial Audio so I took a look at Apple music as they have been using Spatial Audio for a bit longer than Android has been.
It was a strange experience and I am not sure it was one I liked as whenever I moved my head when I had the head tracking mode enabled it would move the soundstage around. I suppose it may be something that you would get used to but at the first listen it felt like there was something wrong with the music! I think if I was playing a game where the developer had built the facility then it may be something that would enhance the experience. I will keep using it and see if I like it in the long term. It doesn’t seem to work with a free Spotify Subscription at least not as far as i can perceive. I have checked and it seems that it will work on the following apps for video Netflix, YouTube, Google TV and HBOMax. I have tried it on my OnePlus 11 and the Buds Pro 2 using Netflix and i couldn’t detect the movement in the same way as could on Apple Music, so I think a bit more optimisation may be needed.
So that is how the AI can enhance the listening experience I am definitely a fan of the enhancement made to the ANC functions and time will tell on the Spatial Audio side of things for me.
So onto the last section…..
So for the whole time, I have been sitting at my desk and writing this review(about 2 hours so far), I have had the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 in my ears to experience the comfort of them (and to listen to some music while writing) and I have to say that I have found them to be comfortable and there is none of the soreness that I normally associate with in-ear earphones. In previous experience, I would not have been able to have this style of earphone in my ears for this long without experiencing some sort of pain. So that is a definite win for me on that front. I think it can be attributed to all of the thought that has been put into the design and hardware when designing the Buds Pro 2 and also the helpful software features.
I have to say i am slightly surprised but e how much i like these OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and I would go as far as saying that for me they would be worth the investment, especially when using them in a noisy environment as the ANC is superb. I am shocked that I have found a pair of in-ear style earphones that my stupid and funny-shaped ear can deal with. If like me you have been on the fence then it would be worth checking these out. Are they perfect no of course not but for those willing to spend a bit of cash and that are using an up-to-date Android device then they are great alternatives to the likes of Airpod 3’s and Samsung’s various offerings.
If you wish to pick up a pair of OnePlus Buds Pro 2 then you can order them from the OnePlus store on the 16th of Feb for the price of £179 in the UK which is on par with most of their competitors. Definitely worth a look if you are in the market and you are already a OnePlus user!!
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 - Review
Design - 87%
Hardware - 89%
Software - 81%
Comfort - 90%
These are some really good quality in-ear earphones which i am very please to day are both comfortable and pleasing to wear. The enhancements provided by the Ai can be heard as well which is a nice touch!