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OnePlus Buds Pro in a person's hand in their case.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

OnePlus Buds Pro review: Pluses and minuses

OnePlus enters the premium audio market.
By
April 24, 2022

OnePlus Buds Pro

The OnePlus Buds Pro check a lot of the right boxes, but miss out on some key features found in other true wireless earbuds — notably the ability to customize the sound. While these buds don't stand out from the crowd, they still do everything just well enough to satisfy most people's needs. If you're a fan of OnePlus and looking for true wireless earbuds, you're bound to enjoy the OnePlus Buds Pro.

What we like

Auto play-pause
Consumer-friendly sound
Bluetooth 5.2; SBC, AAC, and LHDC
Lightweight and comfortable
Dust and water-resistant earbuds, water-resistant case

What we don't like

No custom EQ
Weak isolation and noise cancelling

OnePlus Buds Pro

The OnePlus Buds Pro check a lot of the right boxes, but miss out on some key features found in other true wireless earbuds — notably the ability to customize the sound. While these buds don't stand out from the crowd, they still do everything just well enough to satisfy most people's needs. If you're a fan of OnePlus and looking for true wireless earbuds, you're bound to enjoy the OnePlus Buds Pro.

Due to limited availability and support, we’ve had a hard time recommending previous OnePlus’ true wireless earbuds to anyone outside of the OnePlus ecosystem. The company is attempting to reconcile those mishaps with the OnePlus Buds Pro, which are built with a wider audience in mind. A slew of performance improvements make for an enticing proposition — but these upgrades come with a more premium price tag. Can the OnePlus Buds Pro stand out from the competition in the true wireless earbud market? Find out in this OnePlus Buds Pro review.

This OnePlus Buds Pro review comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take on the OnePlus Buds Pro.

Who should buy the OnePlus Buds Pro?

  • Entry-level consumers seeking all-around true wireless earbuds. The OnePlus Buds Pro is the jack of all trades and master of none.
  • OnePlus fans will appreciate the company sticking to its tried and true formula — all the essentials at a cheaper price than the competition.
  • Gym rats can take full advantage of the OnePlus Buds Pro lightweight and water-resistant design.

What is it like to use the OnePlus Buds Pro?

OnePlus Buds Pro laying on a table.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Enjoy the design of the Apple AirPods Pro but wish they came in matte black? Then you’ll love the OnePlus Buds Pro. There’s no doubt that OnePlus looked at Apple for inspiration, from the rounded earbud design with silicone tips to the short protruding stems. Even the Buds Pro touch controls match the AirPods Pro: a series of stem squeezes to adjust playback, listening modes, and answer calls.

Regardless of how much inspiration OnePlus may have taken from Apple, these look premium, especially at this price point. A reflective metal stem complements the matte black finish (also available in white).

Wish the AirPods Pro came in matte black? Then you'll love the look of the OnePlus Buds Pro.

OnePlus only includes three ear tip sizes, each made from silicone, as opposed to the memory foam ear tips included with the Sony WF-1000XM4. However, since the earbuds are featherlight, comfort is pretty good. The earbuds have in-ear detection which automatically pauses your music when you remove an earbud and resumes playback when you re-insert it.

An IP55 rating for the earbuds means you don’t have to worry about sweat or water damage with the OnePlus Buds Pro. Combined with the lightweight and durable plastic build, these earbuds make for a good workout companion. The case also features an IPX4 rating which is rare and seen with few earphones.

Should you download the HeyMelody app?

HeyMelody is the companion app (iOS and Android) for the OnePlus Buds Pro, and it delivers essential features such as firmware updates, an earbud fit test, and earbud control customization. The home page of the app displays battery information for the earbuds and case.

There’s no EQ customization built into the app — instead, OnePlus opted for a hearing test called Audio ID. It tests your ability to perceive tones across a range of frequencies and builds an EQ setting to adjust for your ears. An unorthodox hexagonal frequency chart displays the results of the test, with no way to adjust the custom sound profile.

You can't create a custom EQ profile for the OnePlus Buds Pro.

A feature titled Zen Mode Air downloads ambient environmental sounds and white noise to the earbuds. These sounds can be activated at any time with the earbud controls, even when the earbuds aren’t connected to a device. If you frequently meditate, take part in yoga, or just look for moments of zen during a stressful workday, you’ll enjoy having these ambient sounds ready to go at any time.

You can select from three noise control options on the OnePlus Buds Pro — transparency, noise cancellation, or noise cancellation off. From within the app, you can further select from “smart” or “max noise cancellation.” Smart noise cancellation is on by default and automatically adjusts the amount of noise reduction in response to environmental sounds. As the name implies, max noise cancellation on the other hand will reduce ambient sounds to the fullest capabilities of the earbuds.

What Bluetooth codecs do the OnePlus Buds Pro support?

OnePlus Buds Pro in ear in front of phone playing music.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

The OnePlus Buds Pro uses Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, and LHDC codec support. While SBC and AAC are standard on most true wireless earbuds, LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Codec) is much more novel. The catch? LHDC is only supported by a limited number of devices — not even every OnePlus phone supports LHDC.

Learn more: Bluetooth codecs 101

You can toggle the “Pro Gaming mode” to reduce latency to as low as 94 milliseconds, though this feature is only available on OnePlus devices with OxygenOS 11 and up. Dolby Atmos support is also limited to the OnePlus 7 series and higher.

On January 11, 2022, OnePlus updated the firmware for OnePlus device owners and HeyMelody app users to version 531.531.410. You can now enable the dual connection feature from the headphone settings from your OnePlus smartphone or the HeyMelody app. After you enable the dual connection function in your OnePlus phone’s settings or the HeyMelody app, you must:

  • Close the lid with the earbuds inside
  • Press the pairing button on the inside of the lid for up to five seconds until the LED slowly flashes white.

The OnePlus Buds Pro are now ready to pair with the secondary device After you pair them with the second device, they will appear under the app’s Connected Devices section. You can now seamlessly switch playback between the two devices.

How well do the OnePlus Buds Pro cancel noise?

OnePlus Buds Pro in ear outside.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Active noise-cancelling (ANC) is relatively weak on the OnePlus Buds Pro. The smart noise-cancelling mode isn’t very useful, and most listeners will probably just default to the “max noise cancellation” setting at all times. With the max setting enabled, you’ll notice a slight reduction in ambient sounds from a train car or AC unit.

Passive isolation from the silicone ear tips doesn’t quite live up to competing earbuds. Even if you achieve a good fit, only some high-frequency sounds get blocked. These aren’t the earbuds to get if you’re a frequent air traveler and want to hush the din of the cabin, for example.

Chart showing OnePlus Buds Pro noise cancelling and isolation performance.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Any amount of isolation and ANC is always better than none, as it prevents auditory masking from environmental sounds. Not only does the reduction of auditory masking improve sound quality, it also makes you less likely to increase the volume in order to block out these noises — thus protecting you from noise-induced hearing loss. Still, the OnePlus Buds Pro are outmatched by most of the competition when it comes to noise cancellation.

How good do the OnePlus Buds Pro sound?

Chart showing OnePlus Buds Pro frequency response closely aligned with our house curve.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

The OnePlus Buds Pro frequency response (cyan) closely follows the SoundGuys’ house curve (pink) with pleasantly amplified bass and treble ranges. Since there’s no custom EQ in the companion app, there’s no easy way to adjust the sound of the OnePlus Buds Pro. At best you can change the EQ settings in your streaming service of choice, though those settings will carry over to other devices you playback music on.

If you love earth-shattering bass these aren't the earbuds for you, but details on vocals shine through.

If you love earth-shattering bass, these aren’t the earbuds for you. Low-end frequencies are less pronounced on the OnePlus Buds Pro compared to most consumer earbuds. Since bass notes rarely overpower other instruments, however, details on vocals and other instruments are able to shine through. For example, when the strong sub-bass comes in at 2:45 of Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish, detail on both the vocals and guitar is still preserved.

How long does the battery last on the OnePlus Buds Pro?

OnePlus Buds Pro in a person's hand in their case.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

OnePlus claims the earbuds last up to five hours on a single charge with ANC turned on, and seven hours without ANC. In our testing of constant playback at 75dB (SPL) with ANC turned on, the earbuds lasted six hours, 30 minutes. Most companies tend to exaggerate headphone battery life, but it seems like OnePlus might be selling itself short here.

Learn more: Let’s talk true wireless earbuds and their battery life

On top of the solid earbud battery life, the charging case provides up to 31 hours of additional playback — 23 hours if you enable ANC the whole time. Fast charging the case over USB-C provides 10 hours of playback from only 10 minutes of charging, or you can charge the case wirelessly. There are no replaceable batteries, so like most true wireless earbuds, the lifespan of the OnePlus Buds Pro will be limited to a couple of years.

How good is the microphone on the OnePlus Buds Pro?

Person squeezing the stem on the OnePlus Buds Pro.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Typically earbuds with a stem design achieve better microphone quality than those without by placing a microphone at the tip of the stem. However, the OnePlus Buds Pro aren’t quite as clear as competitors like the Apple AirPods Pro.

The recording below starts in a room with a and air purifier running at maximum intensity, and you can hear the noise reduction algorithm block out most of the white noise in the background. The three onboard microphones work well enough that people will hear you on calls, though we wouldn’t recommend these for professional use.

How does the microphone sound to you?

112 votes

OnePlus Buds Pro vs OnePlus Buds and OnePlus Buds Z: What’s the difference?

The OnePlus Buds true wireless earbuds (Nord Blue color) on a Google Pixel 3 smartphone with the earbuds charging case open in the background.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Prior to the OnePlus Buds Pro, the OnePlus Buds ($79) were the company’s flagship audio product. Upon its debut, the original Buds retailed for $79, significantly less than that of the new Buds Pro. The biggest difference between the OnePlus Buds and the OnePlus Buds Pro is that the former features an open-type fit. Rather than copy the AirPods Pro, the OnePlus Buds mimic the original Apple AirPods so the buds don’t seal to your ear canals. The first-gen earbuds feature an IPX4 rating, while the case lacks any kind of water resistance. You do, however, get automatic ear detection; wireless, USB-C, and fast charging; and Dolby Atmos support when paired with OnePlus 7 series smartphones and later.

Check out: The best true wireless earbuds under $50

The OnePlus Buds Z2 ($99) are an affordable set of true wireless earbuds and costs $99.99. OnePlus departed from the open-type fit with the first-generation OnePlus Buds Z ($49) and retains it with the Buds Z2. You get automatic play/pause functionality, noise-cancelling, limited Dolby Atmos support, and earbuds with an IP55 rating.

OnePlus Buds Pro review: The verdict

OnePlus Buds Pro earbuds in case outside.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

Despite the OnePlus mantra of “Never Settle,” it’s hard to feel like anyone could pick up the OnePlus Buds Pro without settling. From customization, to sound, to noise cancellation, the OnePlus Buds Pro are just okay — with very few interesting things to write home about. That is, the OnePlus Buds Pro feel like just another pair of mid-range true wireless earbuds, and without a significant “wow” factor.

However, these earbuds feature a sizeable improvement over the original OnePlus Buds, but follow that up with an increase in price. For $129.99, you deserve a pair of earbuds that do quite a bit more.

While they're well designed, the OnePlus Buds Pro are ultimately just okay.

Still, if you do decide to pull the trigger on the OnePlus Buds Pro, you’re unlikely to experience intense buyer’s remorse — aside from a custom EQ, these earbuds aren’t missing any essential features.

OnePlus Buds Pro
OnePlus Buds Pro
The OnePlus Buds Pro checks a lot of the right boxes.
OnePlus' debut premium true wireless earbuds with noise-cancelling are set to compete directly with Apple's AirPods Pro. These durable earbuds come with a water-resistant charging case and handful of interchangeable ear tips.

What are some alternatives to the OnePlus Buds Pro?

Man holding up the open charging case for the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
Zak Khan / Android Authority

By adding the “Pro” moniker, OnePlus has aligned itself in direct competition with the pro earbuds from Samsung and Apple, both of which are better, albeit more expensive, true wireless earbuds. If you have the extra cash and own a Galaxy smartphone, go with the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro ($199) instead of the OnePlus Buds Pro. The same goes for Apple users with the AirPods Pro ($249).

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, check out the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd gen) ($119). These earbuds have better noise-cancelling than the OnePlus Buds Pro, and more features and integrations via the Alexa app.