OnePlus Buds 3 review

Why buy anything else?

₹ 5,499

No seriously, that’s the first thought that will come to your mind when you use the OnePlus Buds 3. You might feel that there’s no need to spend more than ₹5,499 on true wireless earphones if you’re in the market right now. The OnePlus Buds 3 easily cuts through the noise in the TWS space - literally and figuratively - to become among our top picks at under ₹10,000. Heck, even if you have the entirety of ₹10,000 to spare, add another ₹1,000 and buy two pairs and gift one to someone for good vibes.

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Audio Performance

Okay, so it’s not all rainbows and sunshine when you listen to music. These earphones are bass-heavy, but not of the boomy and muddy variety. The combination of 10.4mm woofer and 6mm tweeter drivers produces a V-shaped sound curve which is very similar to that of the OnePlus Buds 2 Pro. 

That said, with that lush bass and sparkly treble, the OnePlus manages to be a lot more energetic and consequently fatiguing at times. I still love it though. Because You Move Me by Tinlicker & Helsloot sounds the most authentic I’ve heard on a TWS in this price range. OnePlus Buds 3 manage to control the bass-heavy intro well. Pair it with a Dolby Atmos-supported smartphone and it will sound a lot more spacious than you’d expect something in this price range. Again, price being an important factor, the OnePlus Buds 3 sound well-tuned for the analytical and warm sound. 

The opening shot of Indy escaping towards the moving train in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on Hotstar in Dolby Atmos has bright highs from the stones and metal parts pelting together on the famous archaeologist’s half-chopped motorcycle, and the explosive end sounds lush with detailed bass.

Call of Duty: Mobile on the OnePlus 12 with the Buds 3 doesn’t have the spatial sensibilities to truly capture accurate footsteps. If you’re looking for pinpoint footstep detection and accurate imaging, these are not going to impress you as much. However, at ₹5,499, I’d say you’re being a bit greedy if you expect more than this. That said, Dolby Atmos is a bit more spacious, so action movies are fun on the OnePlus Buds 3. 

I couldn’t get the Dolby Atmos badge to show up on Apple Music and Disney+ Hotstar on the Apple iPhone on the Buds 3. Rest assured, the OnePlus Buds 3 works with the iPhone and has a full-fledged app called HeyMelody on iOS and Android. Dolby Atmos on Apple Music and Disney+ Hotstar worked on OnePlus Open with the OnePlus Buds 3, so that’s something to consider if you’re an Apple user intending to buy these earphones.

OnePlus Buds 3: ANC and features

There are three microphones on each earpiece for capturing your voice. The microphone quality is passable and doesn’t sound leaps and bounds ahead of what we’ve seen so far. The AI noise reduction can be a bit aggressive though. It does manage to keep the traffic noise away, but also affects your natural filler words like umms and aahs, which can be a bit unnerving. ANC on the other hand is solid. It’s as capable as on the first-generation Apple AirPods Pro and does a fantastic job at keeping the daily bustle of the city to a minimum.

There are other fresh features here as well, such as customisable touch controls along with a swipe up and down to control the volume on each bud itself. It works well without fiddling with your fit. OnePlus says it has 94ms latency and we never had a problem with gaming or content on it. Besides that, there’s support for AAC, SBC, Hi-Res Audio and LHDC 5.0 through Bluetooth 5.3, with a range of up to 10 meters. 

It also has dual connection chops too, and an IP55 rating. Yes, there’s no aptX or LDAC support so your audio mileage may vary depending on your smartphone, and it’s likely why Apple iPhone devices don’t show Dolby Atmos for streaming to the OnePlus Buds 3. Battery life is decent with 6.5 hours with ANC, and 28 hours more with the case.

OnePlus Buds 3: Verdict

Apart from wireless charging and neutral sound, what else is missing from the OnePlus Buds 3? Nothing... eh! If you’re looking for a fun-sounding TWS, there are many, but the OnePlus Buds 3 does it tastefully. The V-shaped sound is rich and deep without sounding too overbearing for long sessions. It’s not perfect because we feel it will annoy folks who like to hear the emotional tugs of Adele’s voice rather than the thumping drums in Rolling in the Deep

Pro-tip, keep the OnePlus 3D Audio off if you’re listening to Dolby Atmos music.

Stuff Says

Fun, energetic and budget-friendly, the Buds 3 is an easy choice for most of us
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Budget-friendly

  1. Compact case

  1. Thumping bass

  1. Volume controls on the bud

  1. Dull mids for rock music

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.3 with AAC, SBC and LHDC 5.0 supports up to 10 meters
Drivers: 10.4mm woofer + 6mm tweeter dual drivers
Frequency Response: 15Hz – 40KHz
IP Rating: IP55
Latency: 94ms
Microphones: 3 mics per earbud