OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Review – Sweet sounding Spatial Audio Packing Earbuds with a Special Feature
Featuring a distinctive matching Arbor Green (or black) paint job, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are the companion true wireless stereo earbuds launched alongside the OnePlus 11 smartphones.
At the time of writing, they’ve made their global debut but have yet to officially arrive in Malaysia though we got our hands on an early OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review sample for field testing and after taking it around the block for the past couple of weeks, it showed very distinctive strengths including a fantastic feature that ought to be standard issue on all wireless earbuds regardless of manufacturer going forward.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Review – Setup and the HeyMelody app
In keeping with many other wireless earbuds, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 wireless earbuds can work on its own with a hardwired set of controls initiated primarily through a series of squeeze motions on the stems. By doing so, users can play or pause tracks, move forward or back and toggle through ANC and transparency mode. You can still tinker with the controls somewhat by downloading their free HeyMelody app that’s available for iOS and Android.
One thing to note with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is that it only achieves its full potential when paired with a OnePlus phone as the Spatial Audio feature does not work without said phone. Even if the HeyMelody app is installed on a non-OnePlus phone, the Spatial Audio feature does not appear in the menus nor would the personalised ANC work.
Unfortunately you can’t control volume with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s squeeze controls; you’ll have to default to your phone to do that which is an odd oversight. Most of the default squeeze controls also can’t be customised much with the only tweakable option being what happens if you squeeze and hold an earbud stem though this in itself only lets you toggle between noise cancellation on or off and transparency mode only.
Lack of control customisability aside, the HeyMelody app is replete with a host of features befitting a premium pair of earbuds and which also leverage on OnePlus’ collaboration with composer Hans Zimmer and audio company Dynaudio.
At a glance, you’re able to see how much juice is left in each earbud and the charging case, turn on a low latency game mode, test if the fit on your earbuds is sufficient and also customise the equaliser settings with four broad presets or your own specific tweaked settings. Of particular interest is the option to create a ‘Golden Sound’ studio-quality profile unique to your ear canals for a superior listening experience.
The biggest differentiator for the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is something that no other pair of wireless headphones has to date. By holding down a control stem for 3 seconds, you gain access to the most game-changing feature seen on any pair of wireless earbuds in ages that OnePlus has dubbed as Zen Mode Air.
In essence, Zen Mode Air lets you enable a selectable array of white noise options in lieu of playing your Spotify track with five white noise tracks to choose from ranging from the calming sounds of a forest at dawn to the gentle sounds of the lapping waves. The best part here is that you can download one of these five white noise tracks to the earbuds so that you can enable Zen Mode Air and its white noise independent of your smartphones.
The pleasant, neutral sounds of the provided white noise are an absolute lifesaver for your sanity especially when you need to focus or when you’re stuck in the cacophonous pandemonium that is our public transport system. Perhaps the only quibble here is that the white noise tracks end after several minutes and there is currently no way to set them to play indefinitely or on a timer so you’ll have to constantly reset the track.
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Review – Performance and Battery Life
Under the hood, our OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review sample comes with a pair of dual drivers which consist of an 11mm and 6mm driver in each earbud that are tuned by Dynaudio paired with a trio of mics to offer up to 48dB of active noise cancellation.
The earbuds also feature support for the SBC, AAC and LHDC 4.0 lossless codecs, support Google’s Fast Pair protocol to effortlessly swap between two paired devices and also feature support for Google’s Spatial Audio tech for more immersive audio though this last feature is only available when used with a OnePlus 11 phone. One feature to note is that the earbuds are rated for IP55 dust and water resistance which makes them splashproof but the case is still vulnerable to the elements.
Once properly paired up with the HeyMelody app on both a Windows 11 laptop and the OnePlus 11; a simple task on account of Google Fast Pair, our OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review sample proved to be pleasantly capable and comfortable to wear for extended periods of time without fatigue or pressure.
For general purpose tasks like watching YouTube and TikTok clips on the go as well as listening to music from pop, rock and jazz, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 acquitted itself in a very competent fashion.
Our OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review unit on default sound settings offered a bright and relatively well balanced listening experience with a slight emphasis on bass and treble along with clear vocals that molds it in good stead for otherwise general listening duties.
The offered Spatial Audio feature was a more interesting novelty with options for fixed and head tracking modes to offer directional audio on supported content which has 5.1 or higher quality audio on Netflix, Spotify and YouTube though this is contingent, for now at least, on playing that content on a OnePlus 11 phone though this may expand to phones from other brands later on down the line.
Assuming you are playing the right content on the OnePlus 11, it offers more immersion as turning your head about makes it feel as if the track is playing in front of you, muting one earbud while slightly increasing volume in the other.
At maximum settings, the active noise cancellation is able to mostly mute the banal screaming from a train’s tannoy to a dull murmur though playing a track or the built-in Zen Mode Air cancels it out entirely. The performance of its noise cancellation is also contingent on getting a good fit with the provided silicone ear tips. Fortunately the HeyMelody app is helpful enough to tell you if you did get the right pair on to offer sufficient passive noise insulation.
In terms of battery life, our OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review unit is on par with the competition with about six hours of usage with noise cancelling activated with the charging case offering a total of three full top-ups for about 25 hours of playback with ANC on.
Assuming you eschew ANC, you can stretch the total battery life to about 39 hours which works out to a return trip to San Francisco and back with change. Charging it via the USB-C port or via wireless charging is a relatively swift affair with a full charge from zero needing under two hours of so.
Should you buy the OnePlus Buds Pro 2?
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are an otherwise solid pair of earbuds with great audio performance for general listening, feature good ANC, great battery life and a novel Zen Mode Air white noise feature.
At RM869, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 doesn’t come cheap but if you already own a OnePlus 11, this makes for an easy recommendation though those who have already invested in other ecosystems may need to give this a try first.
Frequency 10Hz – 40KHz
Sound pressure 97dB
Sound Unit 11mm + 6mm dynamic driver
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.3 LE audio, Google Fast Pairing
Battery 60mAh (earbuds) + 520mAh (case) | 25 hours with ANC, 39 hours with ANC off
Size/Weight 24.3 x 20.85 x 32.18mm (case) / 4.9g (earbuds), 47.3g (case)
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review sample courtesy of OnePlus Malaysia. For more details please visit https://www.oneplus.com/my/oneplus-buds-pro-2
OnePlus Buds Pro 2
OnePlus Buds Pro 2
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are an otherwise solid pair of earbuds with good audio for general listening, feature otherwise decent ANC, great battery life and a novel Zen Mode Air white noise feature though it needs to pair with the OnePlus 11 to enjoy Spatial Audio and the advertised Golden Sound custom audio mode to achieve its full potential.
Brilliant white noise feature
Good battery life
Great sound performance
IP55 water resistance for earbuds
Plasticky charging case
No volume control settings on the earbuds,
Needs pairing with a OnePlus 11 phone to achieve full potential