Audio, Review

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Review: Great Sound, Not So Great User Experience

OnePlus’ recent wireless earbuds surprised me quite a bit, especially when it comes to audio quality. This trait is carried over to the latest OnePlus Buds Pro 2, with a dual-driver design that elevates the sound quality even further.

But as much as I enjoy listening to my favourite tunes with the Buds Pro 2, it still falls short of expectations, especially for a premium pair of true wireless earbuds. That being said, it doesn’t take away from the fact that these are great-sounding earbuds.

If you can live with its shortcomings, the Buds Pro 2 is well worth considering.

What It Is

Available in two colours (Arbor Green and Obsidian Black), the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is priced at RM869 in Malaysia. At this price point, it is without a doubt a premium pair of wireless earbuds, though you’re also getting a number of interesting features, such as the aforementioned dual-driver design.

The dual-driver design of the Buds Pro 2 is made up of a 11mm unit that handles bass, while the other 6mm driver focuses on mids and highs. This is a similar driver configuration as several popular IEMs lately, including the Truthear x Crinacle Zero and QKZ x HBB Khan.

Rounding out the feature set of the Buds Pro 2 are active noise cancellation (ANC), spatial audio support, as well as up to nine hours of battery life on a single charge, though it goes down to six hours with ANC activated and the volume set to 50%.

The Good Stuff

Let’s start with my favourite feature of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2: its audio quality. As a whole, it is quite similar to its predecessor with a V-shaped sound signature that emphasis on the bass, along with better detail and control for a more refined sound quality.

If you love bass, you’ll definitely love the Buds Pro 2. Unlike the previous model that offered too much bass, this new model produces more controlled (and layered) bass, which can be attributed to the dual-driver design. It’s very impactful with a good amount of rumble, though it’s also still just a tad too loose.

Mids of the Buds Pro 2 are also pleasant with male vocals sounding thick and warm, though female vocals are a bit thin and distant. In the treble region, highs are rolled off with not enough crispiness in snaps or high hats, but there’s still a surprising amount of detail and clarity. All in all, I thoroughly enjoy listening to these earbuds.

ANC performance of the Buds Pro 2 is reasonably good too. It’s not quite on the same level as Apple’s 2nd gen AirPods Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but overall, it can still cancel out low frequency sounds well enough. With some tunes playing, it can drown out most ambient noise.

Battery life of the Buds Pro 2 is above average as well. While OnePlus quotes up to six hours of battery life with ANC activated (50% volume), I can only get about five hours of use before it’s out of juice, given that I listen to the earbuds at a higher volume output.

Granted, five hours of use on a single charge is still decent, and it’s more than good enough for my particular use. The charging case can recharge the Buds Pro 2 quite quickly too for a combined battery life of 39 hours (ANC disabled) or 25 hours (ANC enabled).

The Bad Stuff

Oddly enough, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2…has no volume controls. I initially thought the squeeze controls – which are quite intuitive to use – can be customised to adjust the volume, but there’s no such option in the app, much to my chagrin. Not the most pleasant user experience.

Speaking of which, the proprietary ear tips of the Buds Pro 2 are not great either. Even if three different ear tip sizes are provided with the earbuds, there’s a chance some folks won’t get the best fit with any of them. Looking for replacement ear tips will be quite a challenge too.

Is It Worth It?

It really depends on what you look for in a pair of wireless earbuds. The best winning quality of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is its sound signature with strong, controlled bass, and it has reasonably good ANC performance and battery life as well. Based on its audio quality alone, I can see myself paying its RM869 price tag.

But if the lack of volume adjustment on the earbuds and proprietary ear tips put you off, then maybe the Buds Pro 2 isn’t for you. For what it’s worth, I absolutely love the sound signature of these earbuds, and if OnePlus can somehow introduce volume controls to the squeeze controls, I’d happily use it as my daily driver.

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