OnePlus Nord Buds Assessment: Low Worth, Excessive Bar

OnePlus has provided up its personal Bluetooth earphones since 2018 and moved into true wi-fi headphones in 2020, with the unique OnePlus Buds. Whereas worth has all the time been a part of the equation in the case of OnePlus’ audio merchandise, the corporate is now plumbing new depths, by leveraging its reasonably priced Nord model.

Make no mistake although, regardless of the OnePlus Nord Buds being the corporate’s lowest-priced TWS earphones to this point, they appear to supply the identical spectacular bang to your buck as the corporate’s Nord smartphone collection.

Design and construct

Premium matt plastic end that is liable to scratches
Proprietary silicone ear ideas
Snug in-ear match

Sporting a markedly completely different design to any of OnePlus’ earlier TWS headphones, the Nord Buds stand out with a definite pill-shaped charging case, rendered in a delightful matt ‘Black Slate’ (or ‘Marble White’ in some markets) end. On the skin, past the corporate brand, you may discover an LED energy indicator, whereas on the again sits a USB-C port for charging and a well-concealed setup button too.

The exact strains, flat sides and tight tolerances of the case give it a premium really feel, bolstered by the nicely-sprung hinge and durable case lid, which flips as much as reveal the buds themselves; positioned neatly subsequent to at least one one other at a 45° angle and held in place with magnets that solely surrender the ghost (learn: buds) when up towards vigorous shaking or a very egregious drop on the bottom.

Just like the case, the design of the Nord Buds buds does not resemble any of OnePlus’ current TWS earphones and regardless of nonetheless sporting a stemmed design, they’re on the shorter, stubbier facet – echoing the pill-shaped motif of the case – with a pleasant distinction made doable by the polished concave touch-sensitive areas on the outer face of every one.

Despite the fact that the Nord Buds’ case is a pleasure to deal with, its total dimensions imply it isn’t notably pocket pleasant; with a near-square cross-section that sits bulkily within the pocket, regardless of which means round it is positioned. That clear plastic bodywork is liable to choosing up micro-abrasions too, with early indicators of damage showing after solely a few weeks of use.

The buds come pre-fitted with some oval-shaped silicone ear ideas – with the biggest being connected from the outset – whereas medium and small ideas are additionally included in-box. Whereas I often should measurement down, the Nord Buds’ pre-fitted ideas match snuggly and comfy in my ears, and proved completely appropriate to put on for hours at a time with out irritation.

Solely when understanding did I think about opting from one of many smaller sizes, as actions like working and leaping had the Buds slowly work their means out of my ear canal. Their IP55-certified design does, no less than, imply there is no threat of injury from being uncovered to sweat or rain.

Software program and options

Assist for OnePlus Quick Pair
Customisable EQ settings
Contact controls

Preliminary setup and pairing have been painless, with OnePlus customers benefitting from the corporate’s in-house Quick Pair function (which simply requires that you simply maintain the Buds close to your system with the case lid open to get began), whereas different Android telephones ought to provide a equally seamless expertise, as soon as you have downloaded the HeyMelody app from the Play Retailer.

The identical app can be obtainable on iOS, though the Nord Buds aren’t but supported on the time of assessment, suggesting forthcoming help, hopefully, quickly.

It might have been good to have relied on Google’s Quick Pair function quite than OnePlus’ personal model, in order that this speedy setup methodology wasn’t restricted to the OnePlus 6 (working Android 11) and newer. The corporate seemingly did this to maintain a handful of options unique to its personal gadgets, with a purpose to make your OnePlus Nord Buds + OnePlus cellphone expertise that little bit higher than every other pairing.

As soon as linked, you possibly can view the battery standing of the case and every bud independently in your cellphone, in addition to entry the ‘Sound Grasp EQ’ menu; which incorporates a handful of predefined EQ curves (titled Balanced, Daring, Serenade and Bass), in addition to the choice to create your personal.

Interplay with the Nord Buds themselves takes place by way of the aforementioned capacitive buttons on every’s outer face. Whereas they’re responsive sufficient, they’re fairly small and will take follow to appropriately hit every time.

Out the field, the button on every is configured to behave the identical means, with a single faucet for play/pause, a double-tap for subsequent observe and a triple-tap for earlier; all of which may be modified customised in your linked cellphone for every bud independently.

What does not make fairly as a lot sense is the seemingly arbitrary means through which sure capabilities are locked to sure gestures. A protracted-press does nothing by default however can solely be set to modify between the final two gadgets you linked to (an admittedly helpful function in itself), whereas system assistant help can solely be accessed by way of a double or triple-tap. Why cannot I set long-press to entry my assistant, OnePlus? Would it not have been that a lot more durable to permit for any motion to be paired with any gesture?

Past the marginally finicky contact enter expertise, the absence of options like in-ear detection reminds you that these are, in actual fact, finances buds (which may be straightforward to overlook, based mostly on the general expertise provided). There’s additionally no technique of on-ear quantity management, that means you may nonetheless have to tug out your cellphone for that luxurious.

In testing the Nord Buds have been constantly fast to attach when popping them out of the case and into my ears, solely slipping up a few occasions after a number of hours of listening; with a quick audio delay between the left and proper channels that was simply rectified by setting them again of their case and placing them again in once more.

Sound high quality

Low mids by default however pleasing sound total
Dolby Atmos (w/ choose OnePlus telephones)
Giant 12.4mm titanium-coated drivers

Fast pairing and adaptive contact controls imply nothing if the Nord Buds sound like scorching rubbish, however audio high quality proved pleasantly stunning; serving up a characteristically U-shaped curve that emphasises bass and treble in the way in which that reasonably priced headphones are so typically tuned for.

Testing with the default ‘Balanced’ EQ profile nearly all of the time, the Nord Buds provide a stunning quantity of energy, facilitated by sizeable 12.4mm drivers (that is even bigger than these used within the OnePlus Buds Professional). These drivers are additionally titanium-coated, which is a pleasant nod to higher-end audio merchandise, which depend on the fabric for its nice energy to weight ratio and due to this fact, sturdiness.

Whereas there is a particular bias to the sound profile and mids endure with out some handbook correction by way of the EQ sliders, the Nord Buds ship a clear and regarded sound profile that does not lean too closely in a single course (or no less than one which it may’t be pulled again from). Are you going to exchange your previous Sony 1000XM2s with these? After all not, however you are additionally not going to consider as any previous low-cost buds, based mostly on the way in which they sound.

One factor that the XM2s and an entire host of wi-fi headphones nearer to the Nord Buds’ value level function that’s lacking right here is ANC (lively noise cancellation). It is not a massively stunning absence within the finances area and although you do not have to spend that rather more to get it, the implementation is often lacklustre anyway with out transferring into the mid-range market and past.

The pure seal created by the silicon ear ideas nonetheless does a suitable job towards ambient background noise and OnePlus claims {that a} there’s additionally an AI-powered noise discount algorithm at work, when making calls, nonetheless, this proves laborious to check as there is no toggle to show the function on or off and name high quality simply appeared okay.

The identical was true of microphone high quality, with the Nord Buds’ 4 mics doing their job as meant (i.e. folks on the opposite finish of the road heard me with out difficulty towards highway noise and different examples of on a regular basis din) however did not go above and past expectations.

One other OnePlus-exclusive function is Dolby Atmos help, which is a pleasant inclusion that ups audio high quality the place obtainable, even when that availability is partially restricted by OnePlus itself.

Regardless of the Nord Buds launching alongside the Nord CE 2 Lite and the Nord 2T, neither cellphone helps the function; with solely the corporate’s flagships (the OnePlus 7 or newer, together with T, R and RT collection telephones) providing compatibility, at current.

Battery and charging

As much as 30 hours playback (buds + case)
Ten minutes quick charging = 5 hours playback
480mAh battery (case), 41mAh battery (per bud)

OnePlus guarantees seven hours of damage from the Buds on a cost, which extends to a complete of 30 hours while you issue within the case; figures we’re used to seeing on pricier TWS headphones that means an actual confidence from the corporate in its newest creation.

Fortunately real-world utilization could be very sturdy (little question helped by the absence of ANC and the ability calls for that accompany the function) with the entire setup (buds + case) taking me by means of a full five-day week, with a number of hours of podcasts, Twitch streams and YouTube movies underneath my belt every day, which ought to show greater than sufficient for many and many for lengthy automotive rides and flights.

If you’re nonetheless involved about longevity, nonetheless, being reasonably priced, the case does not embody wi-fi charging however plugging into the USB-C does facilitate a quick cost of round 5 hours put on from simply ten minutes top-up. 60 minutes cost totally replenishes the Buds, whereas 100 minutes ought to deliver the entire bundle (case included) again as much as full well being.

As with the corporate’s latest swap to Oppo’s VOOC charging on its telephones, the Nord Buds include a brief crimson USB-A to USB-C cable. This does imply you will not be capable to cost the case again up on the go, out of your cellphone, with out an adapter or a devoted USB-C to C cable, which is one thing to remember.

Worth and availability

The OnePlus Nord Buds initially launched in India on 28 April, earlier than being launched globally on 19 Might, with retail availability various pretty prominently by market.

Gross sales in Europe started on 24 Might, whereas US pre-orders have been scheduled from 31 Might, with a ship date of 9 June.

In addition to getting two colourways, India will get the Nord Buds at the perfect worth – priced at ₹2,999, adopted by america, the place they’re promoting for simply $39, whereas Europe and the UK nonetheless nab a cut price at solely €/£49, respectively.

You’ll be able to choose the OnePlus Nord Buds up straight from OnePlus’ web site (India, US, UK, France, Spain, Germany), the place it is thought they may doubtlessly exchange the corporate’s earlier best-value TWS buds, the OnePlus Buds Z2.

In case you do not just like the Nord Buds’ design or their lack of wi-fi charging and ANC is a complete dealbreaker, there are similarly-specced reasonably priced choices like Skullcandy’s latest Indy ANC buds, Xiaomi’s Buds 3T Professional or Redmi Buds three Professional and Nothing’s debut Ear (1) to contemplate, however all will ask extra of your pockets in return.


For the cash, it actually is difficult to fault the OnePlus Nord Buds. There’s undoubtedly room for enchancment however virtually all of it comes from absent options, all of which might drive up the value.

The corporate may wish to work on the software program expertise just a little to broaden person management and the great end on the cumbersome case is not essentially the most sturdy however for what they do ship for the cash, the Nord Buds put ahead a robust case within the finances TWS market and would additionally function a wonderful pair of backup buds too.

If you wish to see what different worthwhile reasonably priced choices there are, try our greatest low-cost headphones chart or see how the Nord Buds stack up towards the perfect headphones in the marketplace.

OnePlus Nord Buds: Specs

12.4mm titanium-coated drivers

4x microphones (2x per earbud)

IP55 licensed

Dolby Atmos (w/ OnePlus flagships – 7 or newer)
As much as 98db

AI noise discount (calls solely)

Contact controls

Fast paired system switching

EQ controls

OnePlus FastPair

Android appropriate (by way of HeyMelody app)

Bluetooth 5.2

7 hours playback (buds solely)

30 hours playback (buds + case)

4.82 grams (per bud)

41.7 grams (case solely)

Colors: Marble White, Black Slate (varies by area)

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