Sticking to the formula, OnePlus has updated its ANC attacker to Gen 2 status and unsurprisingly, it packs in more punch on the inside than outside. The familiar shape still sits supremely well in the ears, never dislodging itself in protest and the ultra-lightweight only helps in forgetting about them altogether. But we’ve seen and felt that before, so let’s dig into the new stuff.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review
Get an earful of this!
There’s more than one headlining feature, depending on your vocation. If you’ve become a newfound fan of Spatial Audio, thanks to Apple Music’s freebie inclusion, you’ll be glad to know that Google is on-board too now. As part of the Android 13 specification, Spatial Audio is supported on various platforms, including but not limited to YouTube of course. On the OnePlus 11 paired with these Buds Pro 2, it also unlocks the newer head-tracking feature that keeps the apparent sound source centred, even when you’re being your usual human self. Moving your head and what not.
OnePlus has made strides where it matters for audiophiles too, borrowing a page from sister company Oppo’s playbook and partnering with speaker specialist Dynaudio. Instead of the single driver design earlier, the Buds Pro 2 get a dual-driver configuration with an 11mm bass driver and a 6mm mid/high frequency unit and the improvements are instantly audible, as we’ll get to in a moment. The big-name collabs don’t end there; Hans Zimmer has had something to do with one of the EQ presets too, although it’s an OTA update that will be rolled out soon.
Tackling noise head on, no pun intended, OnePlus has improved the adaptive noise cancellation and the claimed attenuation has gone up by 8dB, from 40dB to 48dB. This can be customised via the “Golden Sound” controls within the Buds Pro 2 settings in the Bluetooth menu. Based on your ear canal shape and hearing characteristics assessed by the series of tones, you can have a more personalised experience for both, better sound and more effective ANC.
Transparency mode is as important as noise cancellation these days, considering we tend to leave our earbuds on for large portions of the day. The Buds Pro 2 have an improved Transparency mode too, whereas the noise cancellation can be set to mild, moderate, max or Smart so achieving the right balance whether indoors or outdoors is no problem at all. In fact, partnered with an Android device like the OnePlus 11 we had it paired with, there is a serious amount of customization possible, never before seen on a pair of TWS earbuds!
None of the features would matter if it failed to stir up some emotions and it thankfully does. Dean Peer’s always excellent recordings make the Buds Pro 2 come to life with impressive transient attack and resolution. In the default EQ mode, the highs have a tendency to sound sharp depending on the recordings, but get into custom EQ mode and cut a shade from 4kHz for the most balanced overall presentation. Stevie Wonder’s Superstition in Hi-Res Lossless was handled with the appropriate pace and timbral textures that instantly make these buds feel a lot pricier than their asking price.
Experimenting with Spatial Audio can have mixed results, mostly sibilant. Android’s specifications state that it’s content agnostic, though in reality the results may…and do vary. Normal stereo recordings, when played back with Spatial Audio tended to sound thinner, louder and with a pronounced HF boost, making the overall experience less than pleasant. Sure, the soundstage did open up a fair bit and there was even a sense of height added to the music, but in the process, it lost all the richness and depth. YouTube videos fared better with Spatial Audio, especially when using the OnePlus 11 phone, the Buds Pro 2 flexed its head tracking feature and kept the sound anchored to the direction of the phone’s display, no matter where you looked.
Gamers should appreciate the reduction in latency to 54ms (down from 94ms), thanks to the latest Bluetooth 5.3LE standard adopted by the Buds Pro 2. Fast pairing and multipoint connections are supported with Android devices, as well as head and cervical spine health detection via posture analysis data, but that’s coming soon. What is available right now are handy pinch controls on the stalks that work well and even without any music source around, you can save several soothing sounds on the earbuds themselves. Dubbed the Zen Mode Air, it pipes white noise emulating sounds inspired by nature into your ears, supposedly helping you relax, sleep or just take a pretend vacation to Maldives. All this just by keeping the stalk pinched for 3 secs.
Using the Buds Pro 2 in home, office or outdoors proved to be a fuss-free experience with smart ANC that varies the level of aggression automatically. Transparency mode is pretty close to the AirPods Pro, which is the reference in naturalness and you could get by with keeping the Buds Pro 2 for long hours without feeling disoriented.
Battery life is an impressive 25 hours with ANC and 39 hours without, on paper. With a daily use of about 2-3 hours, I easily breezed through the week without having to charge the case. If you want to though, the fast charging will give you 3 hours of juice with only a 10 minute charge. Yes, it Qi compatible too so you can use any wireless charger of your choice.
In a crowded segment, OnePlus has a winner on their hands and it can be attributed to its fine build, refined design, great sound quality minus Spatial Audio and above average battery life. If you use a OnePlus device, you will unlock a host of features , making it even better value for money. OnePlus’ grand plan of having a complete eco system is coming together, slowly but surely.
Ignore the highlights and at the core of the Buds Pro 2 is a solid TWS with superb sound quality and comfort to beat the best.
|60mAh (buds) 520mAh (case)