OnePlus launched the OnePlus Nord Buds, the company’s first budget true wireless earbuds in the Nord series, in India last month. It doesn’t have ANC, but comes with Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC audio codec, has 12.4mm drivers and promises up to 30h total playback. Are these the best budget true wireless earbuds from OnePlus? Let us dive into the review to find out.
- OnePlus Nord Buds in Black Slate Colour
- USB Type-C charging cable
- Ear tips in Small and Large sizes (Medium sized tips pre-installed)
- Quick start guide and Safety guide
Design and Build Quality
Starting with the design, the headset is housed in a round charging case that fits in your pocket. The case has a matte finish, so it doesn’t easily attract fingerprints or smudges easily. The charging case measures 67.9×35.5×28.68mm and weighs 50.33g (47.23g for White). There are left and right markings for each buds to be placed in the case.
There is a tiny LED indicator on the front that glows in green and red colours.
The USB Type-C port is present in the back, along with a set-up button.
The headset has a plastic build that also has a glossy finish on the inside that attracts fingerprints easily, even though the other side has a matte finish. There are microphones are present on the top and the bottom of each earbud.
The earbuds weigh about 4.77 grams (4.82g for white), which is light. The earbuds feature an in-ear design and also come with medium-sized ear tips pre-installed. You can change to bundled Large or Small sized ear tips if you wish. It doesn’t have an Optical Sensor for Wear Detection, so you have to use the touch interface for play or pause.
Overall, the headset offers a decent build quality except for the glossy finish and fits your ears perfectly so that they don’t fall off your ears easily, even during outdoor activities like running or cycling. The earphones also have IP55 ratings for dust and water resistance, so it can withstand splashes or light rain, but you can’t use it when swimming. There is no IP ratings for the case like the Buds Z2.
Connectivity, Pairing, and Controls
The OnePlus Nord Buds supports Bluetooth 5.2 with AAC audio codec. We can’t expect LDAC for the price. The connection range is around 10 meters, which is common in most headsets, and the connection quality is good. The pairing process is very easy for OnePlus (6 or later) devices. Just enable Bluetooth on the OnePlus phone, open the charging case of the buds, place the charging case close to the phone, and follow the prompts. This works even with phones with the ColorOS base, such as realme.
To connect to a non-OnePlus phone or other Bluetooth device, place the Nord Buds into the charging case with the cover opened. Press and hold the setup button in the case for 2 seconds to enter Bluetooth settings. Then, select OnePlus Nord Buds. To restore factory settings, place the buds into the charging case with the cover opened. Press and hold the setup button of the charging case for 10 seconds until the indicator blinks red. We tested it on the relame GT 2 Pro and OnePlus 10R, and never faced any pairing or disconnection issues. Since the phone pairs with the case and not the headset, you will need the case if you want to reconnect it or even turn on the headset if it’s disconnected from the phone.
|Function||Left earphone (L)||Right earphone (R)|
|Play / Pause and||Single tap|
|Play next track or Answer call / Hang calls||Double Tap|
|Play previous track||Triple Tap|
|Switch the device / Reject calls||Press and Hold for 3s|
There is no option for volume control, same as other OnePlus Buds.
You can customize the controls from the settings in the Hey Melody app on Android and iOS or from Bluetooth settings if you have other phones. You can change single tap, double tap and triple tap control options.
There are options to choose from different equalizer settings such as Balanced (Default), Bold, Serenade and Bass. There is also a custom equalizer option. If the phone has Dolby Atmos, it works with the earbuds.
Audio Quality, Call Performance and Noise Cancellation
The OnePlus Nord Buds pack a 12.4mm dynamic driver which offers a balanced audio experience. Audio from the earbuds are very loud and crisp, but the bass is slightly on the higher side, so it might not the best. There is also Dolby Atmos feature, but it works only with compatible phones. I tried enabling Dolby Atmos in realme GT 2 Pro, but audio quality better in OnePlus phones with Dolby Atmos compared to other realme.
Since this is a budget earbud, it doesn’t have Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), but the passive noise cancellation is decent. I felt the medium ear tips not that tight, but the large ones were perfect. It offers low-latency experience as low as 94ms that is useful when gaming which is good with other phones, but with OnePlus phones it is better since it is integrated with Pro Gaming mode.
Coming to the call noise cancellation, it uses two microphones on each earbud that work together to filter out unwanted noise. This does a good job in cutting down wind noise to a certain extent, and it is good for indoors, but it doesn’t cut out much of traffic noise outdoors.
The earphones pack 41mAh battery that promises about 7 hours of standalone battery life. During my use with AAC, I got about 6 hours of battery life in about 60% volume, so it is good. For calls, it lasts for is less since it uses AI call noise cancellation tech.
With the 480mAh charging case, it promises up to 30 hours of total battery life. The green light in the case indicates that the battery is high, and it turns red when it is low. You can also see the charge left in the case in the HeyMelody app or on the OnePlus phone’s screen itself when the earbuds are placed in the case. Charging the case fully with the earbuds takes about an hour. It also has fast charge, so that you get 5 hours (charging case + earbuds combined) of playback with 10 minutes of charging.
Overall, the OnePlus Nord Buds offers a good audio quality for the price, and has different customization options. It also has a compact design, and offers a long battery life. Priced at Rs. 2,799 it is available from Amazon.in, Flipkart, OnePlus.in, OnePlus Experience Stores and partner stores
- Good audio quality
- Good call noise cancellation
- Comfortable fit
- IP55 ratings
- Good battery life with fast charging
- No volume controls
- Glossy headset design
- Dolby Atmos and ultra-low latency work better with OnePlus phones