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OnePlus Buds TWS Earbud Review: Powerful, But Only For OnePlus Users

OnePlus Buds Review

The OnePlus Buds is the company’s first foray into the TWS audio scene. Launched alongside the OnePlus Nord, the OnePlus Buds looks and feels a lot like the Google Pixel Buds. Boasting 30 hours of music listening time and low latency mode, is it worthy of your ears?

We reviewed the OnePlus Buds with the OnePlus Nord, user experience may vary when paired with smartphones from other manufacturers.

Specifications

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ModelE501A
ColoursWhite
Gray
Nord Blue
WeightEarbud: 4.7g
Charging Case: 37g
Driver13.4mm Dynamic
Driver Sensitivity97dB +- 3dB @ 1KHz
Frequency Response Range20Hz – 20KHz
Microphone Sensitivity-38dB +- 2dB
Bluetooth VersionBT5.0
Wireless Range10 Meters
Charging InterfaceWired USB Type-C
Time to fully chargeEarbuds + Charging Case: ~80 mins
Rated CapacityCharging Case: 420mAh
Earbuds: 35mAh (per earbud)
Playtime (Fully Charged)Up to 7 hours (music playback)
4 hours (phone call)
Up to 30 hours (music playback)
Fast Charge10 mins for 10 hours (charging case + earbuds)
10 mins for 2 hours play time for the earbuds

What’s In The Box

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The OnePlus Buds come in a pretty standard looking square box, furnished in the company’s signature red white colour design. In the box, you will find:

  • OnePlus Buds
  • Charging Case
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide

Design

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Made out of plastic, the OnePlus Buds themselves look a lot like the Apple AirPods. Most of the stem anyway, the sides still has this bulge with the spun-metal design covering the touch area. The stem, however, is actually rather large and long and to be honest, I’m not a fan of it. It constantly rubs you in the face, and it gets annoying after a while.

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As for the charging case, the pill-shaped body has a smooth matte texture, which I’m really digging. It’s nice to hold in the hands, but if you want to put it on a surface, you can only lay it flat. The bottom isn’t flat so it can’t be placed upright. There is no wireless charging present, but it does support fast charge via USB Type-C.

Comfort

When it comes to wearing the OnePlus Buds, they fit loosely for me. There aren’t any additional wingtip to further secure it, since it isn’t an in-ear design earbud. So, how it fits you really depends on the shape and size of your ear.

That being said, it does stay in place and can take on a mild headbang. When it comes to running or exercising, it stays on with no problems at all.

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User Experience

The OnePlus Buds feature Google Fast Pair, so pairing it with the OnePlus Nord was super quick. And that I appreciate, because it saves you a trip to the Bluetooth settings page.

There is no companion app to go with the OnePlus Buds, so you can’t change any music equaliser settings.

The OnePlus Buds just feel like a really convenient of earphones to me, and that’s about it. Nothing else about the earbuds truly excite me or add to the quality of my daily life. The earbuds have an effective range of 10m, which is great when I need to move around the house, away from my smartphone.

The OnePlus Buds doesn’t have active noise cancellation (ANC), but instead it uses environmental noise cancellation. What this means is that it uses the microphones on the earbuds to detect noise and cancel them out. It isn’t as good as ANC, but does a fairly good job at reducing noise.

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Also, there isn’t ambient sound mode on the OnePlus Buds. This feature should have been included as it could let you be more aware of your surroundings, making it safer to wear your OnePlus Buds wherever you go, without removing them. But, because of the nozzle design, the inclusion of that feature can be dismissible.

But when you do remove them, the earbuds does have wear detection so any music or video your were listening or watching would be paused automatically. If you wanted to adjust the media volume, you would need to do it on your phone.

Apart from that, the earbuds do have the usual set of touch commands, albeit rather limited. Touch sensitivity is fast and accurate. To customise the touch commands, you’ll need to go into Settings > Bluetooth and Device Connection > Bluetooth > OnePlus Buds Settings Icon > Double-click on left/right earbud.

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Double TapNext Track
Previous Track
Wake Up Voice Assistant
Play/Pause
3-Second HoldSwitch Device
5-second hold to answer a call

Audio

Sample Song List:

  • Hardwell Feat. Cascada – Everytime We Touch (Remix)
  • Mura Masa – Lotus Eater
  • Billie Eilish Feat. Blackbear – Ocean Eyes (Remix)
  • Beauz – Count The Hours (Extended Mix)
  • Joyner Lucas Feat. Logic – ISIS
  • Lisa – Gurenge (The First Take)
  • Lisa – Gurenge
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Audio quality on the OnePlus Buds are okay for the price. The earbuds only have AAC and SBC codecs, while aptX is not present.

Bass is adequate, as it is powerful and punchy. But because of how they fit, you can’t fully immerse yourself in the depth of the music. Treble is bright, and it’s great that it doesn’t distort at high volumes. Instruments can be differentiated audibly, and vocals are clear with commendable soundstage. For that, I would say the OnePlus Buds are more suited for acoustics and vocals.

Volume wise, the OnePlus Buds could have been louder. Even at 100%, I could still hear the running water from water faucet. I wish it could have gone slightly louder for better noise cancellation.

OnePlus boasts the Buds for its low latency, and this is apparent in the Gaming Mode and Fnatic Mode. When you launch a game, the earbuds automatically go into gaming mode. Even so, there’s still a little audio delay when you’re gaming.

But, if you turn it up to Fnatic Mode (yes, they worked with the professional eSports team), the latency is drastically improved even outside of gaming, like watching videos.

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Call Quality

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When it comes to call quality, the microphone performs excellently. Both ends of the call do hear clear voices, with little to no background noise at all (even in noisy environments).

Battery Life

The OnePlus Buds lasted me for about 6 hours and 30 minutes at 100% volume on a single charge, which falls short of OnePlus’ claim of a 7-hour battery life. However, you will get slightly longer battery life by listening at lower volumes.

To charge the earbuds back up to full, it takes about 80 minutes to do so. A 10-minute charge would also get you 100 minutes of music listening.

Conclusion

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The OnePlus Buds offer decent sound quality, but is tailor-made to work best with OnePlus devices. Firmware updates are only available to OnePlus users, so those who do not have a OnePlus device might want to check out other TWS options.

But, if you do own a OnePlus smartphone and you find the seal-less earbuds comfortable, the OnePlus Buds would be a great choice to have. It has Google Fast Pair, and fast charging capabilities to keep you listening for longer.

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Written By

Chief Content Developer at The AXO

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