OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless Headphones Review

Tested using Methodology v1.4
Reviewed Dec 08, 2020 at 08:06 am
OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless Picture
5.8
Mixed Usage
5.9
Neutral Sound
5.7
Commute/Travel
7.2
Sports/Fitness
5.4
Office
4.7
Wireless Gaming
4.5
Wired Gaming
4.2
Phone Calls
Type Earbuds
Enclosure Closed-Back
Wireless Truly Wireless
Noise Cancelling No
Mic Yes
Transducer Dynamic

The OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless are well-built, decently comfortable truly wireless earbuds. They're designed to be paired with OnePlus phones, and you can only use their controls and access their companion app over this connection. They have a fairly bright sound profile that's lacking a lot of low-bass. While their 5.4-hour continuous battery life may not be enough to get you through your workday, fortunately, they come with a portable charging case with roughly 3.3 extra charges that's easy to bring on-the-go.

Our Verdict

5.8 Mixed Usage

The OnePlus Buds are middling for mixed usage. Their bright sound profile lacks a lot of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of neutral sound. Also, they don't isolate against background noises typically found in an office or during your commute. They're stable enough for low-intensity workouts, but they may not stay in your ears while you're at the gym.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation.
  • Disappointing microphone recording quality.
  • Not stable enough for intense exercise.
  • No sound customization options.
5.9 Neutral Sound

The OnePlus Buds are middling for neutral sound. While their mid-range is balanced and suitable for vocal-centric content, they're lacking a lot of low-bass, so audio lacks thump and punch. Also, their treble range is a bit overemphasized, so they can sound a bit bright. Unfortunately, you can't customize their sound.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • No sound customization options.
  • Inconsistent bass and treble delivery.
5.7 Commute/Travel

The OnePlus Buds are sub-par for commute and travel. They don't block out background noises like bus and plane engines or chatter from other commuters. They're decently comfortable, but their 5.4-hour continuous battery life may not be enough to get you through long days on the go without a recharge. Fortunately, they're very easy to bring with you thanks to their portable design.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation.
  • Sub-par continuous battery life.
7.2 Sports/Fitness

The OnePlus Buds are decent for sports and fitness. While they're stable enough for casual listening sessions, they may fall out of your ears during more intense physical exercise. Also, you can't use their controls unless you pair them to a OnePlus phone. However, they're decently comfortable, and they're easy to bring on-the-go.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Not stable enough for intense exercise.
5.4 Office

The OnePlus Buds are inadequate for office use. These headphones are decently comfortable, and while their 5.4-hour continuous battery life may not last through your workday, their charging case offers over three additional charges. However, they don't block out a lot of background noise, which can be distracting. Fortunately, if you listen to music at loud volumes, escaping audio sounds quite thin, so it may not disturb your coworkers.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation.
  • Sub-par continuous battery life.
4.7 Wireless Gaming

The OnePlus Buds aren't compatible with PS4 or Xbox One. They're compatible with Bluetooth-enabled PCs, but their latency is likely too high to be suitable for wireless gaming.

4.5 Wired Gaming

The OnePlus Buds are wireless-only headphones, so they aren't suitable for wired gaming.

4.2 Phone Calls

The OnePlus Buds are poor for phone calls. Their integrated microphone has a disappointing recording quality, so your voice sounds boxy and unnatural. The mic also struggles to separate your voice from background noise, even if you're calling from a moderately noisy setting. Also, these headphones don't block out a lot of background noise, which may be distracting during your call.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
Cons
  • Terrible noise isolation.
  • Disappointing microphone recording quality.
  • 5.8 Mixed Usage
  • 5.9 Neutral Sound
  • 5.7 Commute/Travel
  • 7.2 Sports/Fitness
  • 5.4 Office
  • 4.7 Wireless Gaming
  • 4.5 Wired Gaming
  • 4.2 Phone Calls

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
Design
Style

The OnePlus Buds have a sleek, single-color design. Like the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019, they have a long stalk that protrudes from the ear. You can get them in all-white or all-gray variants.

7.0
Design
Comfort
Weight 0.03 lbs
Clamping Force
0.0 lbs

These headphones are decently comfortable. They're lightweight and don't put too much pressure on your ear. However, their one-size-fits-all design means that their comfort level can vary depending on the size and shape of your ear. Some listeners may find that they feel like they could fall out, which isn't very comfortable. If you prefer in-ears that come with different sizes of ear tips to help you find a more comfortable fit, check out the OnePlus Buds Z Truly Wireless.

0
Design
Controls
OS Compatibility
Not OS specific
Ease Of Use No Controls
Feedback No Controls
Call/Music Control No
Volume Control No
Microphone Control No
Channel Mixing
No
Noise Cancelling Control No
Talk-Through
No
Additional Controls No

The OnePlus Buds have touch-sensitive controls, but they only work when paired with a OnePlus phone. According to their manual, you can double-tap the controls to answer/end a call and hold for five seconds to reject a call. When listening to music, double-tap the left or right earbud to play the next track or return to the previous track. For OnePlus 6 phones or higher, you can customize the double-tap feature to perform different commands. When paired with any device, if you remove one bud, the audio will automatically pause.

9.4
Design
Portability
L 1.6 "
W 1.3 "
H 0.9 "
Volume 1.8 Cu. Inches
Transmitter Required No

The OnePlus Buds are incredibly portable. Like most truly wireless in-ears, they're small, lightweight, and you can easily fit them in your pocket. They also come with a hard-charging case that can fit in some pockets when you bring them on-the-go.

8.0
Design
Case
Type Hard case
L 2 "
W 2.4 "
H 1 "
Volume 4.8 Cu. Inches

The case is great. It's made of plastic, and there's a magnet to hold the buds in place while they charge. There's also a single LED light indicator to help you see the battery level.

7.5
Design
Build Quality

These headphones have a good build quality. They're mostly made of plastic, which feels solid and durable. The earbuds also have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, though we don't test for this. However, they don't feel as premium as some of the other headphones we've tested, like the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019.

6.5
Design
Stability

These headphones are fairly stable. Due to their one-size-fits-all design, their fit can vary depending on the shape and size of your ears. However, they don't have any different ear tip sizes or stability fins to help get a more stable fit. They should stay in your ears during casual listening sessions, but they may fall out during more intense workouts.

Design
Headshots 1
Design
Headshots 2
Design
Top
Design
In The Box

  • OnePlus Buds headphones
  • Charging case
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Manuals

Sound
Sound
Sound Profile
Bass Amount
-9.99 db
Treble Amount
-0.19 db

The OnePlus Buds have a fairly bright sound profile. They're lacking a lot of low-bass, which may be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM. However, their balanced mid-range is suitable for vocal-centric content like podcasts, and their overemphasized treble can make audio a bit bright.

6.5
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
0.76 dB

These headphones have adequate frequency response consistency. Their bass and treble delivery can vary depending on their fit, seal, and positioning in your ears.

Sound
Raw Frequency Response
4.2
Sound
Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
7.5 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
111.52 Hz
Low-Bass
-14.76 dB
Mid-Bass
-5.26 dB
High-Bass
-0.71 dB

These headphones have poor bass accuracy. The low and mid-bass are underemphasized, so audio lacks deep punch and thump. The high-bass is neutral but still underemphasized, so your audio sounds full.

7.9
Sound
Mid Accuracy
Std. Err.
2.77 dB
Low-Mid
-1.3 dB
Mid-Mid
0.19 dB
High-Mid
4.38 dB

These headphones have very good mid accuracy. The range is mostly neutral and balanced, so vocals and lead instruments are clear and present in the mix. However, the overemphasis in the high-mids can make those same instruments sound honky or harsh.

7.1
Sound
Treble Accuracy
Std. Err.
3.92 dB
Low-Treble
3.09 dB
Mid-Treble
3.55 dB
High-Treble
-11.54 dB

These headphones have satisfactory treble accuracy. The range is overemphasized, so instruments can sound harsh and painful, and sibilants like cymbals may be piercing.

6.9
Sound
Peaks/Dips
Peaks
2.44 db
Dips
0.74 db

The OnePlus Buds have fair peaks and dips performance. While the dip in the low-bass means they're lacking deep thumps, the peak in the mid-bass and high-bass adds punch and boom to the mix. The peaks in the high-mid and low-treble can make vocals and lead instruments sound honky or harsh, and the peak in the mid-treble makes sibilants piercing or painful.

8.0
Sound
Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
0.28
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
1.66
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
2.15
Weighted Phase Mismatch
3.53

The OnePlus Buds have impressive imaging. Their weighted group delay falls beneath the audibility threshold, resulting in tight bass and transparent treble. While the L/R drivers of our unit are well-matched in phase response, there's some amplitude and frequency mismatch. As a result, objects like footsteps or voices may not be accurately placed or localized in the stereo image. However, these results are only valid for our test unit, and your experience may vary.

2.5
Sound
Passive Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
N/A
PRTF Distance
N/A
Openness
9.4
Acoustic Space Excitation
2.2

These headphones have a very bad passive soundstage. By design, they don't interact with the outer ear, which is one of the key factors in creating a large and out-of-body soundstage. Also, due to their closed-back design, their soundstage doesn't seem as open as that of open-back headphones.

0
Sound
Virtual Soundstage
Head Modeling
No
Speaker Modeling
No
Room Ambience
No
Head Tracking
No
Virtual Surround
No

According to the manufacturer, these headphones are compatible with the Dolby Atmos app, but only on OnePlus 7 phones or higher.

7.0
Sound
Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
0.356
WHD @ 100
0.439

The OnePlus Buds have a decent weighted harmonic distortion performance. At normal listening volumes, there are a few small peaks in the low-bass and high-treble ranges. At higher listening volumes, there's some distortion in the mid-range. However, this can be difficult to hear in real life, so you may not notice it.

Sound
Test Settings
Firmware
Unknown
Power
On
Connection
Bluetooth 5.0
Codec
SBC, 16-bit, 48kHz
EQ
Default
ANC
No ANC
Tip/Pad
Default
Microphone
Integrated

These are the settings we used to test these headphones. Our results are only valid when using these settings.

Isolation
1.5
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
Overall Attenuation
-3.16 dB
Bass
0.16 dB
Mid
1.44 dB
Treble
-10.73 dB

The OnePlus Buds have terrible noise isolation. They don't block out any background noise in the bass or mid-range, so you can hear bus and plane engines or the voices of people around you. They also struggle to isolate against higher-frequency noises, so you may hear the hum of a nearby AC unit.

8.1
Isolation
Leakage
Leakage Audio
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
33.11 dB

These headphones have an impressive leakage performance. They leak a bit of noise, but it sounds quite thin. It may still be noticeable to people around you if you're listening to loud music in a very quiet environment.

Microphone
Microphone
Microphone Style
Integrated
Yes
In-Line
No
Boom
No
Detachable Boom
No

The OnePlus Buds have an integrated microphone.

5.4
Microphone
Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
LFE
144.62 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
8.53 dB
HFE
22988.02 Hz
Weighted THD
2002.835
Gain
-40.49 dB

The microphone has a disappointing recording quality. Your voice sounds boxy, distorted, and unnatural, though whoever's on the other end of the line should be able to understand you.

2.9
Microphone
Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise
Speech + Subway Noise
SpNR
-4.23 dB

The microphone has awful noise handling performance. It struggles to separate your voice from background noise, even if you're calling from a moderately noisy environment.

Active Features
6.8
Active Features
Battery
Battery Type
Rechargable
Continuous Battery Life
5.4 hrs
Additional Charges
3.3
Total Battery Life
23.2 hrs
Charge Time
0.9 hrs
Power-Saving Feature
Standby mode
Audio While Charging
Yes
Passive Playback
No
Charging Port USB-C

These headphones have an adequate battery performance. They're advertised as having a 7-hour continuous battery life, but we measured continuous battery life of 5.4 hours. Their portable charging case offers around 3.3 additional charges, and you can listen to audio from one earbud while the other charges, which is convenient.

N/A
Active Features
App Support
App Name No App
iOS No
Android No
macOS No
Windows No
Equalizer
No
ANC Control
No
Mic Control No
Room Effects
No
Playback Control
No
Button Mapping No
Surround Support
No

These headphones are compatible with the OnePlus Buds app, but the app is only available on OnePlus 6 phones or higher, so we weren't able to test for it. According to the manual, you can use the OnePlus Buds app to check the battery level, find the earbuds, and map the double click tap feature on the right and left earbuds.

Connectivity
6.9
Connectivity
Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
5.0
Multi-Device Pairing
No
NFC Pairing
No
Line Of Sight Range
208 ft
PC Latency (SBC)
179 ms
PC Latency (aptX)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX HD)
N/A
PC Latency (aptX-LL)
N/A
iOS Latency
110 ms
Android Latency
109 ms

The OnePlus Buds have fair Bluetooth connectivity. They don't support NFC or multi-device pairing. Their latency with PCs is likely too high to be suitable for gaming, but they have lower latency on iOS and Android devices. They're also advertised as having 103ms of latency with OnePlus Phones when set to 'Fnatic mode', but we don't test for this.

0
Connectivity
Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line Of Sight Range
N/A
Non-BT Latency
N/A

These headphones are Bluetooth-only.

0
Connectivity
Wired
Analog Audio
No
USB Audio
No
Detachable No
Length N/A
Connection No Wired Option
Analog/USB Audio Latency
N/A

These headphones can't be used with a wired connection. However, they come with a USB-C cable for charging.

Connectivity
PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC/PS4 Analog
No
PC/PS4 Wired USB
No
PC/PS4 Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones can only be used with Bluetooth-enabled PCs and aren't compatible with PS4 consoles.

Connectivity
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox One Analog
No
Xbox One Wired USB
No
Xbox One Non-BT Wireless
No

These headphones aren't compatible with Xbox One consoles.

2.2
Connectivity
Base/Dock
Type
Charging Case
USB Input
No
Line In
No
Line Out
No
Optical Input
No
RCA Input
No
Dock Charging
Yes
Power Supply
USB-C

The OnePlus Buds come with a portable charging case. You can charge it using the included USB-C cable.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The OnePlus Buds come in two color variants: 'White' and 'Gray'. We tested the 'White' variant, and you can see the label for the model we tested here. We expect the other color variants to perform similarly.

If you come across another version, let us know in the discussions.

Compared To Other Headphones

The OnePlus Buds are truly wireless earbuds with a similar design to the Apple AirPods 2 Truly Wireless 2019. They're well-built and decently comfortable, but their sound profile is lacking a lot of bass and sounds a bit bright. You need a OnePlus phone to use some of the features, such as the touch-sensitive controls and companion app. See also our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $100, and the best AirPods clones.

OnePlus Buds Z Truly Wireless

The OnePlus Buds Z Truly Wireless are better than the OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless. The Z have a more comfortable, stable fit thanks to their silicone earbud tips, which the original Buds lack. They have better noise isolation and they leak less sound. Also, their default sound profile packs a lot of extra bass. However, the original Buds have longer continuous battery life.

Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless

The Jabra Elite 65t Truly Wireless are better headphones than the OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless. The Jabra have a more stable fit and a more neutral sound profile. Also, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. They have a better noise isolation performance and they leak less sound. However, the OnePlus are more comfortable.

Skullcandy Indy Evo True Wireless

The Skullcandy Indy Evo True Wireless are better headphones than the OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless. The Skullcandy have a more stable fit, and they do a better job isolating against background noises. They also leak less sound. However, the OnePlus have longer continuous battery life.

Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless

The Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless are better headphones than the OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless. The Samsung are more comfortable and stable, and their sound profile is more neutral. Their companion app also offers EQ presets for sound customization. They have a better noise isolation performance, a longer continuous battery life, and they leak less sound.

Sony WF-XB700 Truly Wireless

The Sony WF-XB700 Truly Wireless are better headphones than the OnePlus Buds Truly Wireless. The Sony have a more stable fit and a better-balanced sound profile. They isolate against more background noises, and they leak less sound. Also, their continuous battery life is longer than the OnePlus.

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