There are several reasons why OnePlus is such a huge brand in India. But the main one is the company's ability to come out with products that are slick, feature rich, and not only the best in their class but also offering a little extra to users to sweeten the deal. Essentially, this is the quality that is best reflected in the brand's 'Flagship Killer' punchline. Over the years, the company has made several 'Flagship Killer' phones. And now, it has come up with the 'Flagship Killer' earbuds- OnePlus Buds Pro.
India Today Tech reviewed the OnePlus Buds Pro on Thursday and you can read that piece to get a good picture of these truly wireless buds. But if we were to summarise what we wrote there, we can do so with this one line- the OnePlus Buds Pro are the best earbuds you can buy this side of Rs 10,000, largely because of their impressive noise cancellation performance and a unique feature set.
The reason why we say that is simple- the Buds Pro give you sound that is fun to hear, and their noise cancellation performance, the comfortable design and smart features are better than what you can get in buds under Rs 10,000 or even Rs 15,000.
Unique features that add value
Before we talk of features, let's talk about the sound of the Buds Pro. The Buds Pro don't have neutral sound. Instead, they have a sound signature that we will call "fun". What this means is that they aren't suitable for listening to Beethoven's classical music but Pop and Bollywood songs sound swell on them. This is largely because of their impressive bass, which is even better than what we have found on many expensive ear buds. Then there is the treble and sibilance that too is highlighted well. Though at times this bass can over-power the laidback mids, we feel this is a fair compromise. In a way, the Buds Pro have a sound that is tuned to the ears of India users.
Talking of tuning, this is an area where the Buds Pro offer something extra. And useful. The Buds come with a feature called Audio ID. We all hear sounds differently because we all have different ears. Audio ID helps find users fine-tune the sound coming from the Buds Pro. This happens through a calibration where a users plays some sounds -- with varied low and high frequency -- and depending on how well those sounds are heard the Buds Pro automatically fine-tune the sound signature.
Almost all the features of the Buds Pro are similar to what AirPods Pro offer. But then the AirPods Pro are only available to iPhone users and they cost over 2.5X more when compared to the Buds Pro.
All these features helped when we were using the Buds Pro. The user can find the right fit -- there are three ear tips in the box -- by using a tool similar to the one used by AirPods Pro. The IP55 rating for the buds and IP4X rating for the charging box means they are protected against water splashes and rain. Transparency mode is supported and it allows users to quickly turn off the noise cancellation whenever needed.
Then there are features like the Zen Mode Air and Warp Charge. Zen Mode Air is particular useful as it plays soothing ambient sounds -- there are five to choose from currently. They can be incredibly relaxing, at least we found them to be so. Overall battery life of the Buds Pro is above average at around 5 to 6 hours of battery life while playing music with noise cancellation on. Without noise cancellation, it's around 7 to 8 hours. This is better than what AirPods Pro offer, but not the best. However, the Warp Charge balances out the battery performance. 10 minutes of charging offers an additional 2 hours of music playback.
Top class noise cancellation
Is this all worth Rs 9,990? Absolutely. But one thing that we believe really seals the deal in favour of the Buds Pro is its noise cancellation performance. It offers the best noise cancellation performance in a TWS below Rs 15,000. There are three modes for noise cancellation- regular, smart and max. The smart works well, alternating automatically between regular and max depending on the ambient noise.
So, what is there not to like? It is tough to say. As we noted earlier, the Buds Pro are classic Flagship Killers from OnePlus- they offer 90 per cent of what flagships are offering at less than half price. Even the design is fantastic, with quality material used to construct buds. Their shape makes for a snug and surprisingly comfortable fit. The stalks, which are touch-sensitive similar to the AirPods Pro, offer easy controls to users.
If we have to point out -- and it is nitpicking at this price -- we will say the price audio is more suitable to pop, Bollywood and modern music. The auto-tuned music, which is what most of the music is nowadays, sounds great on it but orchestra won't. If you like bass and forward-sounding music, you will love Buds Pro but Frank Sinatra doesn't sound that great on it.
Overall, we feel that the Buds Pro are easy to recommend to most people. If you are looking to buy a comfortable, feature-rich and bassy earbuds under Rs 10,000, the OnePlus Buds Pro is an easy pick.