Update, November 10, 2020: This review was updated to include frequency response and isolation charts, and to address the OnePlus Buds Z as an alternative.
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 afford huge improvements over the first-gen wireless earbuds, and are more premium than the new Bullets Wireless Z. Sound quality is phenomenal thanks to the updated drivers and aptX HD support. Let’s see how the Bullets Wireless 2 stand compared to the rest of the OnePlus earphone line.
What’s it like to use the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2?
These earbuds mimic the OnePlus Bullets Wireless. The neckband and control module remain indistinguishable from the original. The most obvious aesthetic change applies to the earbud housings, which are significantly larger. This altered design makes room for the three-unit driver arrangement, which divvies up frequency reproduction between the three components. In the old Bullets Wireless, one driver per earbud was left to reproduce the frequency range, which made music less clear.
The housings are magnetic, which is helpful when the earbuds aren’t in use. When you hook the housings music playback automatically pauses, and when you pull them apart it resumes. The magnets also power the headset on and off in lieu of a dedicated button. Quick Pair technology lets users alternate between two simultaneously connected devices by double-tapping the shortcut button. This is in lieu of Bluetooth multipoint functionality, which allows a wireless headset to connect to two or more devices at a time.
The Bullets Wireless 2 support aptX HD and sound fantastic.
Unlike the old model, wing tips aren’t included. Instead, you get three pairs of ear tips to sheathe the angled nozzles. Finding the right pair takes a few minutes but is well worth it: these isolate the listener extremely well, rendering outside noise next to null. OnePlus also provides a red silicone case identical to the old one.
Battery life is double the original Bullets Wireless
Playback time has nearly doubled from the old model. Instead of getting 7.16 hours of playback on a single charge, you get 14.23 hours. This is in part thanks to the Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity as opposed to Bluetooth 4.1. Once the battery depletes, Warp Charge technology quickly tops up the neckbuds: use the USB-C cable for 10 minutes and enjoy 10 hours of playback. Fully charging the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 requires about an hour.
How do the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 sound?
These headset supports aptX HD and the Knowles balanced armature drivers sound great. They’re tuned to reproduce accurate audio. Not only does this serve as a versatile sound signature that plays nicely with all genres of music, but it also makes it easier to equalize the sound. While the slight bass bump is noticeable, its emphasis isn’t at the expense of vocal clarity.
One of the most impressive aspects of the Bullets Wireless 2 sound signature is how well it reproduces an accurate sense of three-dimensional space. Whether I listened to Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN., or the ethereal sound of Maggie Rogers’ album Heard It In A Past Life, instrumental separation was palpable.
Optimal sound quality heavily dependent on ensuring a proper fit. If the ear tips you use are too big or small, the bass response will be non-existent and outside noise will degrade overall audio quality.
Are the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z or Bullets Wireless 2 better?
This depends on how tight your budget is: the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z cost half of the Bullets Wireless 2. Still, the cheaper headset includes premium features like quick charging, excellent battery life, and Bluetooth 5.0 firmware to boot. Surprisingly, the new Bullets Wireless Z earphones are more durable than the earbuds in question; the former are IP55-rated, while the Bullets Wireless 2 lack any official IP rating.
The Bullets Wireless Z use similar magnetic housings which enable automatic music playback and auto-pausing, too, when the earbuds are reinserted. While Bluetooth multipoint has yet to be supported, the economical Z model still supports Quick Switch functionality so users may rapidly alternate between devices.
The Bullets Wireless Z also use a simpler driver system: two 9.2mm dynamic drivers, rather than two Knowles balanced armature drivers and 10mm dynamic driver system in each of the Bullets Wireless 2 housings. Suffice to say, sound quality is much better in the Bullets Wireless 2, but anyone who just wants a feature-packed budget headset should get the Bullets Wireless Z.
Should you buy the Bullets Wireless 2?
Listeners who are in the market for affordable wireless earbuds with premium features should invest in the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. The neckband design is very comfortable, and aptX HD support, ensures high-quality audio playback. For the absolute best audio quality, nothing outperforms wired headphones. However, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 make me miss the headphone jack a little less.
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 are difficult to find in stock, be it on OnePlus’ website or from other headphone vendors. If you’re able to find them, they usually retail for around $149 USD, which is a fair deal for this kind of wireless headset.
Completely cut the cord with the OnePlus Buds
OnePlus tailored the OnePlus Buds to its customer base, so anyone who already owns or plans to own a OnePlus phone will love the OnePlus Buds. Microphone quality is superb, as is the responsive automatic ear detection and play/pause functionality. This is all dependent on if you’re able to get the earbuds to stay in your ears, which I was unable to do unless stationary. They use a hard-tip design much like the original Apple AirPods, which is meant to be a universal fit, but ends up alienating large swaths of potential users.
For a design similar to the OnePlus Buds, but with an ear tip that seals to the ear canal, check out the OnePlus Buds Z. Listeners beyond the OnePlus scope, but still within the Android operating system, should extend their search to other brands like Samsung, Google, Jabra, and others.