OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review: Powerful sound at a reasonable price
OnePlus has largely shed the flagship killer ethos that once made its phones so appealing to Android enthusiasts, but that spirit lives on in its earbuds. Announced alongside the OnePlus 11, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offers robust audio and killer call quality for an upper-midrange price of $179. Their ANC and battery life are only average for this price point, but these earbuds still offer great value.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Price and availability
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 goes for $179. They’re available in two colors: Arbor Green (seen here) and Obsidian Black. You can pre-order a pair starting today on Amazon or directly from OnePlus. General availability starts February 16.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Design, hardware, what’s in the box
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 look very much like the first-generation OnePlus Buds Pro, released in 2021. The buds have the same AirPods-style stem that descends from their bodies toward your mouth with the same chrome-and-semigloss finish. The case is also virtually indistinguishable from the previous generation’s, except for some new Dynaudio branding both inside and out. That’s all fine with me; I think this is a great design. I don’t have any problems with comfort or fit using the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s preinstalled medium-size silicone tips; I’ve kept them in long enough to tap their battery without any discomfort or fatigue setting in. And despite the buds’ smooth edges and lack of any Jaybird-style stabilizing fins, they’ve proven very secure in my ears, even while jogging or shoveling snow. They’re IP55-certified against water and dust, too, so a little sweat or exposure to the elements is no problem.
The Buds Pro 2’s case is a squat rectangular clamshell that’s very easy to slide in and out of pockets. It’s got a USB-C port around the back, and its large bottom surface houses coils for wireless charging. I really like the way the earbuds are situated inside the case; laying on their sides the way they are, they’re easier to grip and remove than a lot of other earbuds like the Google Pixel Buds Pro or Apple’s AirPods Pro. I really don’t have anything bad to say about this design overall.
There aren’t any surprises in the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s box: just the buds, the case, two additional sets of ear tips, start-up literature, and a tiny little USB-A-to-C cable (does anybody actually use these stubby things?).
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Audio and ANC
OnePlus partnered with Danish firm Dynaudio for the Buds Pro 2, as the branding on the earbuds’ case points out. The Buds Pro 2 is powered by a dual-driver setup: each bud contains both an 11mm and a 6mm driver, an upgrade from the single-driver setup in the original OnePlus Buds Pro. The sound here is warm and full — that is to say, bassy, but not to a distracting extent. Some found the previous-gen OnePlus Buds Pro a little too bassy, but I haven’t had that experience here.
The buds’ default Balanced tuning sounds great to me for casual listening, and there are a handful of other presets available in Oppo’s HeyMelody app: Bold, Serenade, and Bass. The Bold tuning accentuates both highs and lows, Serenade boosts treble, and you can guess what Bass does. The app doesn’t tell you what any of the presets actually do, which is a little annoying, but none are drastic departures from the default anyway. You can also tune the EQ to your liking with a six-band equalizer using the Custom option.
There’s support for the pedestrian AAC and SBC codecs, plus LHDC (though many of the top Android phones don’t support the latter). Audio out of the Buds Pro 2 is full and dynamic, with highs, mids, and lows all coming through clearly, and details remaining legible even in busy mixes. Sub-bass is better represented here than in most earbuds, and kick drums have a satisfying thump, which makes for a fun pop and hip-hop listening experience. But the Buds Pro 2 are just as well suited to folk or rock, with vocals and jangly guitars staying airy and sharp. I’m very satisfied with the audio quality here.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are also really good for calls: callers were able to understand me clearly, even in fairly loud public places. Slightly more scientifically, I recorded myself talking in a very noisy environment on the Buds Pro 2, the Google Pixel Buds Pro, and the spendy Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, and my voice was far and away clearest on the OnePlus earbuds. If you take a lot of calls in bustling places like restaurants or coffee shops, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 will be a great option for you.
If you’re just looking to tune out those loud environments, though, the Buds Pro 2 isn’t quite as easy to recommend as the competition. Noise cancelation here is pretty middling. You know how it goes: low hums are blocked out, but higher-frequency sounds and irregular noise like conversation or clattering dishes are only quieted a little. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s ANC isn’t lagging far behind other midrange options, but it’s decidedly not as good as what you’ll get from heavyweights like Sony.
App and features
You’ll manage the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 through the HeyMelody app. There, you’ll find all the typical earbud app options, like ANC and transparency mode controls, the equalizer, and control options. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 uses squeeze controls: the stem of each bud is pressure sensitive, and you can configure what happens when you squeeze once, twice, or three times. Squeezing and holding for second switches between ANC modes, and you can choose which you want to include in the rotation: on, off, and transparency (ANC and transparency are enabled by default).
There are also some less conventional features tucked away in HeyMelody. There’s a Golden sound EQ option that aims to tweak the frequency response of each earbud based on a scan of your ear canal structure (supposedly, anyway) and a quick hearing test. The test plays a series of tones in each ear, each with a slider to lower the volume until you can’t hear the sound anymore. The EQ is then adjusted based on your input, ostensibly to compensate for how you hear different frequencies.
It’s a very interesting idea, and the app’s hearing test did alert me to the fact that my right ear can’t hear high tones as well as my left. I’m just not sure how useful the setting is once it’s configured. Golden sound does make music sound a little punchier on my earbuds — the treble gets louder, I suppose because of my right ear not pulling its weight there. But it’s hard to say if it sounds better.
The HeyMelody app also lets you configure the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s Zen Mode Air feature. When you squeeze either earbud’s stem for three seconds, the buds play your choice of several ambient soundscapes. I thought it was a little silly at first, but I’ve found myself using it in situations where music or a podcast would be too distracting, but I still want to block out more of my surroundings than the Buds Pro 2’s ANC can manage on its own. Your preferred sound is saved directly to the earbuds, too, so you can call it up regardless of what device they’re connected to.
There’s a toggle for a dedicated gaming mode that’s meant to reduce audio-video delay. If you’re gaming, or even watching videos, you’ll want to turn this feature on. Without it, there’s a perceptible lag between visuals and sound. I couldn’t hear any difference with the game mode on or off, so I left it on. You’ll also find a toggle for multipoint pairing — which, again, I found no reason to turn off.
In addition to multipoint connectivity, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 support Google’s Fast Pair for easy pairing with Android devices. It’s not fully seamless here — you have to press and hold the Buds Pro 2’s pairing button to make them visible to nearby phones. But that still spares the hassle of having to manually search for the earbuds from your phone’s Bluetooth menu, so I don’t mind too much.
Battery and charging
Each earbud packs a 60 mAh battery, while their case houses 520 mAh. OnePlus says that means the Buds Pro 2 are good for up to nine hours of music on a charge with ANC off, with the case holding an additional 30 hours’ worth of juice. With ANC on, they last just about six hours on a charge, and the case is good for an additional 19 or so.
Battery life here is roughly average for wireless earbuds today, and I think it’s good enough. You probably won’t be able to make it through an entire workday playing music on the Buds Pro 2, but they should see you through a transcontinental flight just fine. When the charging case needs charging, you can plug it in over USB-C or plop it on a wireless charger.
At an MSRP of $179, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is up against competition from the likes of the Google Pixel Buds Pro and the Jabra Elite 7 Pro — both of which cost $200 at retail but are often available for less. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offer fuller sound than either, and better call quality than the Pixel Buds — the Elite 7 Pro have similarly excellent mic performance. The Buds Pro 2 and the Pixel Buds Pro both have Fast Pair for easy pairing with Android devices; the Jabra earbuds don’t. Both other pairs offer better battery life than the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, though — each can go about nine hours with ANC on, to the OnePlus earbuds’ six or so.
Should you buy them?
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 sounds great and has all the convenient features I like to see in wireless earbuds, including multipoint connectivity and Fast Pair support. They also have excellent noise suppression for calls. ANC and battery life are both pretty middle-of-the-road, but they’re not bad. Unless you need the absolute best of either, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is a great option.
Buy them if…
- You like a fun, bassy sound in your earbuds.
- You take a lot of calls in noisy places.
Don’t buy them if…
- You need earbuds that’ll last an entire workday with ANC.
- You want the best noise cancelation you can get in earbuds.