This year OnePlus is trying to outdo itself with the Buds Pro 2, a successor to the well-received Buds Pro. While we’ve had a lot of fun with the audio quality itself, what really takes the cake is the addition of Spatial Audio.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 take on a very familiar design. Each bud is small, coming in at 4.9g each. The stem on each earbud is plated in a metallic finish, which really makes the design stand out. With that, the touch control is something I fell in love with while using the Buds Pro 2. One quick squeeze of the stem will get you playback controls and noise cancellation settings. While there is no haptic feedback, the buds play a small tone that confirms you’ve activated touch controls. For whatever reason, the way it’s implemented is extremely satisfying.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are very comfortable, and long-term listening was no problem for me. Like a lot of people, each of my ear canals is a slightly different size, which makes fitting earbuds difficult. With that, the right earbud isn’t a perfect fit, even with three different bud sizes included in the box. There’s nothing I can do about that except hope Comply makes form-fitting tips for the Buds Pro 2.
As for the case, there are a couple of things I wish OnePlus had implemented. First off, I do like the clamshell design. Opening up to the buds laying flat in their ports makes it easy to pick them up and place them. However, the entire case is made of a thinner plastic, which makes me feel like I might break the hinge or top cover if I apply too much pressure.
The upside to this is that the case is very light at only 47.3g. The combined weight of buds and wide but thin case makes for an easy-to-carry accessory. The case is charged via USB-C and comes with Qi wireless charging compatibility.
The cherry on top is the colorway, with the Arbor Green tone looking absolutely fantastic on both the earbuds themselves and the case. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 also come in a matte black finish, though the green really stands out.
Sound quality and features
The “fun” earbud trend is not really my thing. Earbuds that focus on heavier bass and beefed-up low frequencies sit in this category, which can often take away from other details found in audio. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 definitely fit that mold.
Now, they don’t sound bad at all. In fact, they hit a lot of the lows and midranges very well, but some quality is definitely lost in the highs. To achieve that sound profile, the Buds Pro 2 have a dual driver system consisting of an 11mm and 6mm diaphragm.
This conclusion was based on using a OnePlus device paired to the Buds Pro 2, as that’s the only way to get access to the LDHC codec, which is advertised as slightly better than AAC. Using other devices like the Pixel 7, accessing AAC is no issue. Comparing sound between the two leads to an indistinguishable sound profile, though for the sake of argument, we’ll stick with using a OnePlus device.
Even with “hi-res” mode turned on in the HeyMelody app, I still felt like I wasn’t getting the full spectrum of sound. It is definitely a little better than having that mode turned off, though. Vocals have a more distinguishable depth.
OnePlus does include the option to choose your own sound profile or choose between several Dynaudio tone curves. The default is a Hans Zimmer profile, which is a good baseline. On top of that, you’re given the option to get a custom tone curve based on your ear canal profile. Once scanned, the companion app will set a new audio profile for you to play with.
With all of that said, the Buds Pro 2 are definitely made for heavier bass and punchier lows, which can lend itself to a more fun listening experience. Most songs these days stick to those lows and mids anyway, so the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 fits right into that “fun” profile, and that isn’t a bad thing.
What’s even better than the sound profile and what makes these earbuds actually worth it is the inclusion of spatial audio. Now, I’m not a fan of the type of spatial audio that tries to convince you that you’re at a concert. Rather, I’m referring to the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 ability to recreate 5.1 surround sound.
Using the Pixel 7, you’re able to turn on spatial audio, which converts 5.1 surround sound into a virtual surround sound listening experience. Certain movies on YouTube, HBO Max, and Netflix have this capability, though it’s still few and far between. With movies that play along, this added experience takes the cake, hands down. OnePlus nailed the virtual surround sound experience. Not only does it expand your listening space, but it adds a layer of depth to sounds around you, which do well to immerse you in watching.
Related: Enable Spatial Audio on your Pixel phone and Pixel Buds Pro – here’s how
As for the spatial audio that’s exclusive to the OnePlus 11, users are supposed to be immersed in a head-tracking experience. Ideally, you’re supposed to feel like you’re at a concert or live performance. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try this feature, though it can’t be far off from what’s available with Apple’s AirPods Pro and iPhone pairing.
As far as noise cancellation goes in general, I’m not a huge fan. I’ve always felt that turning on ANC kills audio quality and muddies the music you’re listening to. With that said, it comes in handy for loud environments and certain situations. For those, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 handle themselves very well, cutting out the noise and limiting audio distortion. I didn’t experience the same loss in quality I usually hear when switching to dead silence.
The HeyMeldoy companion app has a “smart” ANC feature, which is tuned to max your environment. Rather than getting ANC to be “strong” at all times, you can let the buds decide on their own. In testing, the Buds Pro 2 do a good job of adjusting and keeping external sounds to a minimum without overcompensating for the outside world.
It’s a good thing that the Buds Pro 2 are comfortable because the battery is a little difficult to kill. Since I don’t use ANC often, I can get away with 9 hours on a single charge. With it on, you’re estimated only around 6, which is still good. Once you pop the buds into the case, you’re looking at about an hour of listening per minute of charge. As mentioned above, you can either plug them in via USB-C or stick them on a Qi wireless charger. The direct plugin option would be better for a quick charge. In total, you’re looking at around 39 hours of playback without ANC.
Bring on the Fast Pair
Ever since Fast Pair was introduced, the way music is listened to has changed around that. Using multiple devices connected to the same account, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 will be able to connect with every one of them with little to no effort. Simply opening the case up near an unlocked device allows you to connect with a single tap.
On top of that, the Buds Pro 2 has multipoint pairing, allowing you to connect to two devices at once. Connecting to your phone but playing music via your tablet or other device means you can answer a call in seconds from your phone, without needing to even touch pairing options.
In practice, this has worked out pretty well. Fast Pair worked well the first time I used it, with the second run around causing some issues. A quick restart of my Pixel 7 fixed the issue, leading me to assume it wasn’t the bud’s fault.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are fun to use. They have tons of little features that add to that experience, though I usually forget about the small things and focus on the main attraction: the sound.
While you can really get into bass-heavy music and upbeat content, I wouldn’t say the Buds Pro 2 is for audiophiles. Rather, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum and are looking for something to watch movies on the go, the Buds Pro 2 absolutely deliver. Using spatial audio with the Pixel proved to be a great experience with compatible content.
Beyond that, the Buds Pro 2 faired well in both ANC and battery life, which all lend the buds to being a perfectly capable pair of earbuds. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 start at $179, which can be a steep price. Because of the features, build, and seamless functionality, I would say they’re coming up on being worth that amount of money. If it were based on sound alone, maybe not.
Buy the OnePlus Buds Pro 2
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