When it comes to true wireless earbuds, the OnePlus Buds are the newest ones on the market. Having just been announced today and going on sale next week, excitement for them is likely high in some circles of tech enthusiasts.
But as true wireless earbuds go, the OnePlus Buds (announced alongside the OnePlus Nord this morning) are a middling option at best. And an overpriced cheap option at worst. There are some redeeming qualities to the OnePlus Buds. Things that shouldn't be overlooked.
However, the bad outweighs the good here. And unless you absolutely have to have something from OnePlus, you have better options to choose from. First things first though – one really good factor is battery life.
The OnePlus Buds provide great battery life for true wireless earbuds
While I still think the OnePlus Buds aren't nearly as good as they could be, they do as mentioned have some redeeming qualities. One of those is battery life.
The earbuds themselves will last for a full 7 hours on a single charge. The case provides an additional 30 hours of battery life in it. Which means you have about 37 hours of listening time on your OnePlus Buds.
Compared to many other true wireless options, 7 hours is pretty good. It's far from the best, and there are definitely other options out there that provide more listening time. But they also generally cost more money.
From a purely battery life standpoint, compared to other similarly designed earbuds like the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless (which only have 3.5 hours of listening time), the OnePlus Buds are sitting pretty.
That's about where the positives end though between those two in particular. Because really in every other aspect, Razer's option wins out. Now, I haven't tested the audio quality of the OnePlus buds myself. I have used the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless though and they sound pretty good.
And I find it hard to believe that OnePlus could produce something that sounds better than Razer's true wireless option. For a lower price no less.
The best features only work with OnePlus phones
If you're a OnePlus phone owner, then the OnePlus Buds may actually be perfect for you.
They have two features that give them a chance at surpassing other options in the same price tier. Dolby Atmos and a Dirac Audio Tuner. However, both of those only work with OnePlus devices.
Which really limits how good the earbuds actually are. At least for anyone out there that uses a non-OnePlus phone. OnePlus devices are hardly the only Android phones which support Dolby Atmos either.
So, short of being a tactic to push consumers to buy its products, it doesn't seem like there's any other reason to have limited the feature to the company's own phones. That being said, from a business standpoint there's nothing really wrong with OnePlus doing this.
It found a way to potentially drive up sales of its devices. But despite being a business practice that more than a few big-name brands have utilized before, it still limits the OnePlus Buds where they could easily stand out a little more from competition.
The OnePlus Buds also feature configurable controls for the double tap. These too only work with OnePlus devices. OnePlus had an opportunity to really capture the true wireless market with a great option at a really attractive price point. But it missed that boat. Or purposefully avoided it.
The design of the earbuds means tons of outside noise
Love it or hate it, the unfortunate downfall of the design that the OnePlus Buds carry means they'll inevitably let in outside noise.
It's the same with the Apple AirPods, the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless and many other true wireless earbuds which have the same design. If that doesn't bother you then this won't be a point of contention.
But because of the fact that outside noise will be able to more easily travel into your ears with these earbuds in, it's going to impact the sound quality.
Unless you turn your volume up all the way to avoid this, forget about using these outside without having the music you're listening to be nearly drowned out by passing traffic or any other number of sounds.
This is one of the reasons why the Razer Hammerhead True Wireless weren't a great option for use outdoors. There's just too much outside noise that ruins the listening experience.
A budget option no matter how you slice it
At $79, the OnePlus Buds are a budget option no matter how you slice it. Plain and simple. The price reflects this.
That isn't to say that these won't be an ok pair of truly wireless earbuds. They'll work. And if you primarily listen to music with true wireless earbuds where there isn't a lot of outside noise that's loud enough to break through what you're listening to, then these will probably not just work, but work great.
Plus, let's not forget about the battery life. 7 hours on a single charge is pretty good and these do use OnePlus's Warp Charge tech. Which means a decent amount of battery life in a short amount of time.
These are a middling option at best, but middling doesn't mean absolutely terrible. If you're looking to get your own pair, you can do so on July 27 at the OnePlus website.