OnePlus Nord Buds review: Solid earbuds with exceptional battery life

OnePlus Nord Buds review: Solid earbuds with exceptional battery life

OnePlus Nord smartphones are good looking, keep the basics essential and are always pocket friendly. OnePlus now wants to expand this formula to other products as it seeks to expand the Nord line beyond smartphones. The long-term goal will likely include creating a Nord product ecosystem consisting of earphones, smartwatches, etc. The OnePlus Nord Buds is the number one product in the ecosystem, offering a unique design and solid battery life at an affordable price. I have been using OnePlus Nord for over a week now and this is what I like and dislike about them.

    OnePlus Nord Bud

    OnePlus Nord Buds deliver a sleek design, solid battery life, and bass-driven sound at an affordable price.

Pricing and availability

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  • The OnePlus Nord Buds are available in India, the United States, and Canada.
  • Its cost is $2,799 in India. In the US and Canada, it’s priced at $39/$42 CAD and will be available for purchase in early June.

You can buy OnePlus Nord Buds from the OnePlus website and from Amazon. It comes in two colours: slate black and white marble.

OnePlus Nord Buds: Specifications

Customize nord buds
build and weight
  • IP55 Dust and Water Resistant
  • Earbuds: 4.82g (each earphone)
  • Charging case: 41.7 grams
My voice
  • Single 12.4mm dynamic motor
  • Driver sensitivity: 106.5 dB @ 1 kHz
  • Frequency response:
  • 4 microphones (2 per bud)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Coding: AAC, SBC
  • Range: 10m
The battery is charging
  • 41 mA (per earbud)
  • Charging case 480 mAh
  • 6 hours of continuous operation
  • 30 hours with charging case (combined)
  • USB Type C port.
  • 10 minutes quick charge for 20 hours of playback
  • AI noise canceling for calls
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • OnePlus quick pairing
  • Sound Master EQ
  • Pro Gamer Mode (Low Latency Mode)
in the box
  • A pair of Nord buds
  • charging case
  • 3x silicone ear tips (S, M, L)
  • USB charging cable
  • user’s Guide
  • Security and Warranty Card
  • Nord Emoji Sticker x1

About this review: OnePlus Nord Buds review unit has been provided by OnePlus India. OnePlus did not have any input into the content of this review. Unless otherwise stated, the notes in this review are for Android smartphones.

OnePlus Nord Buds: Design, Comfort and Controls

The OnePlus Nord Buds feature a stunning design that sets them apart from the Apple AirPods you typically see in this price range. The design is one of the strongest aspects of the earphones. It’s refreshing to see a pair of entry-level earbuds that don’t settle for a simple design and make a real effort to stand out from the crowd. The earbuds feature wide stems and flat edges with mirror-coated touch-sensitive buttons on the back, providing great contrast. The stems, which also house the microphones, have an NCVM metallic coating, while the earcups are glossy.

Someone holding a OnePlus Nord Buds bag in hand

The OnePlus Nord Buds are truly the most comfortable earbuds I have ever tested. They are featherweight, and you can easily wear them for hours without causing any discomfort or irritation. It also helps not to sit too deeply in your ear canal.

The OnePlus Nord Buds are truly the most comfortable earbuds I have ever tested.

The silicone tips form a fairly tight seal, so the passive isolation is really impressive, blocking a good deal of the lower end frequencies. An airtight seal also helps the buds stay firmly in your ear. They are less likely to pass out while walking, running, or doing any exercise. Plus, it’s IP55 rated for sweat and water resistance, making it an ideal choice for intense workouts and other challenging physical activities.

The plastic charging case is fairly tall and does not slide easily in and out of a pocket. But at least it has a matte finish, so it’s not a fingerprint magnet. The charging port is located on the back side, next to the multifunction switch, while an LED light on the front indicates the case’s charge level.

headphones sitting on a table

The buds offer fairly simple gestures: a single tap on any of the buds to play/pause, a double tap to skip to the next track, and a triple tap to switch to the previous track. Touch action and long wait are also supported although you will need to set an action using the HeyMelody app.

sound quality

  • OnePlus Nord Buds pack 12.4mm, titanium-coated dynamic drivers with Dolby Atmos support.
  • They offer bass-driven sound which is good for casual listening but may not be suitable for those who prefer a balanced audio profile.

The OnePlus Nord Buds are entry-level earbuds, so naturally, don’t expect them to sound as high-end and rich as something like the Galaxy Buds 2 or the OnePlus Buds Pro. They’re good for casual listening, and if you’re a fan of bass, you might even enjoy what’s on offer here. Nord Buds feature 12.4mm, titanium-coated drivers with Dolby Atmos support. The sound signature leans toward the V-shape, with high bass and treble and a comfortable mid-range. Most mass-market earbuds aimed at casual listeners choose this audio because it provides an enjoyable listening experience and is a relatively safer bet.

Earphones placed next to a charging case on a table

The OnePlus Nord Buds do not do justice to the sound-centric tracks, the classic recordings, and the sound in general is less detailed.

With this kind of audio signature, your experience will largely depend on the type of music you listen to. Electronic music, hip-hop, and rap all benefit from enhanced highs and lows, and if that’s what you’re primarily listening to, you’ll find little to complain about here. But if you’re like me and listen to a wide range of music of different genres and periods, you’ll find that Nord Buds don’t always perform well. They don’t do justice to the audio-centric tracks and the classic recordings and sound in general are less detailed. This was the case while listening to heart broken by the Bee Gees, which sounded quite muddy on the Nord Buds as excessive bass overpowered vocals and mid-range instruments. The same path looked very open, vibrant and lively on the OPPO Enco W51.

But, there were times when I preferred Nord Buds over OPPO Enco W51. For example, Sway by Dan + Shay and again (Your Lie in April) by Kayou sounded more exciting and lively on Nord Buds thanks to the deeper bass.

HeyMelody provides additional audio profiles and an equalizer that allows you to adjust the sound to your liking.

If music quality is of paramount importance, you will be best served by other earbuds, although they certainly won’t be as cheap as Nord Buds. Otherwise, there’s not much to complain about here.

Does OnePlus Offer Nord Buds ANC?

OnePlus Nord Buds are skipping active noise cancellation as a cost-cutting measure. This may be a deal breaker for some. But if it’s any consolation, the earbuds provide very good passive isolation if you can achieve a proper seal. It also means that if you plan on using the OnePlus Nord Buds mostly on the go and in crowded places, you’ll often find yourself raising the volume sliders to drown out outside noise. There is no transparency mode either, which again is understandable given the price.

How is the calling experience on OnePlus Nord Buds?

OnePlus has outfitted the Nord Buds with four microphones, two on each earbud, and a windproof design. Additionally, there is AI noise reduction software turned on. OnePlus says all of these things work in tandem to reduce background noise and wind during calls. For the most part, the earbuds do a good job of suppressing background noise indoors but struggle a bit when you’re outside in a crowded place. It is also not effective at reducing wind noise.

Battery life, charging experience, and more

  • OnePlus Nord Buds provide up to 7 hours of playback on a single charge.
  • It also supports fast charging, with 10 minutes enough to provide 5 hours of music listening.

Nord Buds claims to provide 7 hours of listening time. That’s two hours more than the flagship OnePlus Buds Pro. The charging case holds an additional 23 hours of charge for 30 hours of playback. In my Spotify loop test, the earbuds lasted more than five hours, which, while not too close to the company’s claim, is still impressive for a pair of truly wireless earbuds.

Charging case with the OnePlus logo in the center of the hand

If you run out of juice and need a quick refill, OnePlus advertises a 10-minute quick charge that gives you 5 hours of uptime. The charging case and earbuds together take about half an hour to fully charge using a standard 10W charger. To check the battery level of each earbud and charging case, you’ll need the HeyMelody app.

As you’d expect, OnePlus Nord Buds don’t offer a high-end codec like aptX or LDAC. This means that it is good for audio and video streaming but not recommended for gaming. It’s a different story if you have OnePlus, as you can enable Pro Gamer Mode to reduce latency to 94ms.

Features like Dolby Atmos and Fast Pair are only available on select OnePlus phones, which is understandable given that they require deeper system-wide integration and therefore cannot be made available to other devices via an app.

Should You Buy OnePlus Nord Buds?

OnePlus Nord Buds Hand Held With Case Cover Open

The OnePlus Nord Buds are excellent wireless earbuds for beginners with a stylish design, good sound, and exceptional battery life. While it proves the basics, it may not be the most packed earbud on the market, lacking features like ANC mode support and transparency. But instead of over-promising and under-delivering, OnePlus Nord Buds focus on getting the basics right. If you’re coming from the land of wired headphones or Bluetooth neckbands, the OnePlus Nord Buds are a great stepping stone into the world of truly wireless earbuds.

If you are in India and can spend a bit more, Realme Buds Air 2 is an excellent alternative, offering ANC and 25 hours of battery life. Meanwhile, those in the US and Europe may want to check out Realme Buds Q2 or Realme Buds 2 Neo, both of which come with ANC.

Buy OnePlus Nord Buds if:

  • You’re on a budget and want truly maintainable wireless earbuds to get the job done.
  • You love the bass-driven sound.
  • You want solid battery life.
  • You want a unique design.

Do not buy OnePlus Nord Buds if:

  • You want active noise cancellation.
  • You want a balanced sound.
  • You can spend more.
    OnePlus Nord Bud

    OnePlus Nord Buds deliver a sleek design, solid battery life, and bass-driven sound at an affordable price.

2022-05-22 13:00:00

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