OnePlus Buds Pro 2 review: Great sound for under $180

OnePlus has a new pair of premium wireless earbuds. They’re called the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 — and that’s a pretty big word — and they’re designed to compete with some of the best on the market, like Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Google’s Pixel Buds Pro.

Priced at $179, the Buds Pro 2 pack a host of advanced features like spatial audio, noise cancellation and a new speaker driver co-developed with music giant Dynaudio. There are certainly plenty on board, but the question is: are these worth the competition? Let’s find out.

An affordable pair of high-end earbuds

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 product card

If you’re looking for a pair of high-quality wireless earbuds for under $200 — especially if you have a OnePlus phone — the Buds 2 Pro are great value.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-2

Anyone who has seen AirPods will find the Buds Pro 2 familiar. OnePlus has opted for a similar form factor with a long handle and a silicone tip for the inner ear. They have a slightly larger footprint compared to the AirPods, and while it looks like a knockoff from Apple, I’m not going to be offended by it—these earbuds are very comfortable.

They fit in my ears and stay there without adding any discomfort during long listening sessions. There are even extra ear tips in the box to help you find the right fit. The earphones come with a matte finish (the best type of finish for earbuds, as it greatly reduces fingerprints) and come in two colors. I got the Eternal Green which looks really nice next to my OnePlus 11, and there’s also the Titan Black version if you just want something simple.

OnePlus’ Buds Pro 2 have an IP55 water resistance rating, which makes them safe enough to use in the gym. The case is even IPX4 rated for extra protection if you find yourself in a rain shower and need to use earplugs.

The stem on either bud provides touch controls for controlling content playback, adjusting volume, and using Google Assistant. This can all be done with a series of taps, swipes and presses. From my experience, everything works as you expect.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-7

The biggest question about any new pair of wireless earbuds is how good the audio is, and I’m happy to report that the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 sound great.

OnePlus uses new MelodyBoost dual drivers, which were developed and tuned together with Dynaudio for a richer listening experience. The company also included an upgraded LHDC 4.0 codec that enables lossless, high-resolution audio playback. It’s similar to the codec Samsung included in the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

After pairing them with my phone, I jumped into Spotify to test some of my favorite songs. I’ve found that hip hop sounds best on these headphones because they put a lot of focus on the mids and lows. Logic’s album “Vinyl Days” sounded punchy and aggressive on the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, while songs like Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” and “Drug Ballad” were full and detailed.

I also went into the country and played a lot of Morgan Wallen and Tyler Hubbard. These earbuds do a good job of capturing both artists’ acoustic guitar, kick drum backing, and broad protection style. Other genres like pop (Charlie Puth’s “Charlie”), jazz (Michael Bublé’s “Higher”), and rock (as long as you consider Nickelback and Green Day rock) also sound good on these headphones, but it’s clear that these headphones is well-designed Beats by Dre has been focusing on bass-heavy tracks for years. That’s not a bad thing, mind you—this is a very mainstream sound profile, and I love how it sounds on OnePlus’ Buds Pro 2.

Compared to other earbuds I’ve tested, I found the Buds Pro 2 hold up to sound quality very well. I think they sound much richer than my Pixel Buds Pro or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and their soundstage is even more pleasing than my Sony LinkBuds S. However, I think Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro have a slight advantage in clarity while retaining a rich listening experience. Not bad considering the Buds Pro 2 are $70 less than Apple’s earbuds.

In order to stream lossless audio, you need to have an Android phone that supports the LHDC codec. Many modern phones can, but your iPhone doesn’t. I tried playing lossless audio with my OnePlus 11 and Apple Music, and it sounded crisper than it did through Spotify. However, for someone like me who hasn’t used dozens of pairs of earbuds in the past, the difference might be completely indistinguishable, so you might have a harder time appreciating this feature. Still, it exists and works well.

Unlike the original Buds Pro, OnePlus offers four EQ settings for the Buds Pro 2: the default Dynaudio setting (labeled “Balanced”), Bold, Serenade, and Bass. I tried them all and found the default options to be to my liking. If you want to further customize the sound, you can add your own EQ profiles.

I’d also like to mention that OnePlus’ collaboration with Hans Zimmer (the famous composer behind the soundtracks of films like The Dark Knight, Inception, The Lion King, and Dune) was supposed to really bring The Buds Pro 2 live. It wasn’t available for testing during my review, though I’m told it will be released via an update sometime in February. I’ll update this review once I start playing with it.

Good noise cancellation, transparency and microphone

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-1

OnePlus included Adaptive Noise Cancellation on the Buds Pro 2, which automatically dampens and balances out higher volume sounds, giving you consistent noise reduction whether you’re in a coffee shop or walking down the streets of a big city. noise effect. You can also customize how much noise cancellation you want in the Settings app.

I tested it a lot during the review process and found it to work really well. Unfortunately, wind is one of the only distractions the Buds Pro 2 can’t completely eliminate, but while I’m typing at a Starbucks and walking the streets of Ocean City, everything else remains quiet.

The transparency mode on the earbuds also works great. With it enabled, I could hear my surroundings pretty well, though vocals sounded a little wet compared to the transparency mode on other earbuds like the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Still, it’s pretty solid.

I also noticed that the quality of the mic is pretty good. Everyone I’ve called with the mic in the Buds Pro 2 said my voice was really good and my voice was crystal clear. You won’t want to use these earbuds to record audio, but for voice and video calls, they work very well.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-4

I was impressed with the durability of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. OnePlus says the earbuds can last up to 9 hours on a full charge and up to 39 hours with the charging case. I didn’t quite hit that mark because my earbuds died at around 7 hours, but I could easily restore them four or five times with the case without having to plug them in.

Note that this is with noise cancellation enabled throughout, so ANC can be disabled if you want better battery life.

To charge your earbuds, OnePlus includes a USB-C port on the back and wireless charging on the bottom. If you want fast charging, you’ll need to plug them in—after 10 minutes, you’ll get 10 hours of listening time.

Lots of smarts, including fast pairing and multi-device support

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-8

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 have all the smart features you’d expect to find. Google Fast Pair pairs quickly with Android phones, supports multi-device so you can pair the headphones with two different devices (great for pairing with a laptop or tablet) and Bluetooth 5.3 for a stronger wireless connection.

The headphones also feature Zen Mode Air, which gives you five white noise modes to listen to when you want to relax. Additionally, OnePlus includes activity level and posture reminders to help you correct posture when sitting at awkward angles for long periods of time. This feature was untestable at press time, but I’ll update this review once I’ve had a chance to use it.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-12

I know these earbuds are cheaper than competing offerings from Apple and Samsung, but I still feel like OnePlus could have included a better carrying case. It’s designed to feel cheap and flimsy, ready to crack from an accidental drop on concrete. The lid’s hinge also feels very delicate, as if I could snap it off without too much trouble. I use a lot of earbuds throughout the day, and this pair is one of the cheapest you can find. At least it looks ok.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-3

I realize I should care about spatial audio because it’s rapidly becoming so popular, but folks, it feels like it’s nothing more than a OnePlus Buds Pro 2 gimmick.

No matter what I listen to with the spatial audio turned on, it sounds like a cheap EQ effect that adds echo and artificial depth to whatever you’re listening to. Music sounded the worst by far, while content like movies and TV shows sounded slightly better (as long as they’re equipped with a Dolby Atmos/spatial audio mix). I also tried the head tracking feature, which worked fine but didn’t do anything to improve the sound quality.

The Buds Pro 2 were among the first earbuds to support Android features, and while that’s a nice plus, it definitely wasn’t for me. If anything, it’s a gimmick in my book, far behind the quality of Apple’s implementation on the AirPods.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-10

Like many of the smartphone company’s wireless earbuds, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 work best with OnePlus phones. If you want to use spatial audio, you’ll need a OnePlus 11 (at least for now), Fast Pair is only available on devices running OnePlus’ OxygenOS, and if you want to access the earbuds’ settings, you’ll need to download the HeyMelody app on third-party Android and on the iOS device.

Admittedly, many earbuds have longer exclusivity lists, so glad those are the only features that tie the Buds Pro 2 to the OnePlus phone. Still, for the best experience, you’ll want to make sure the phone has the OnePlus logo on the back.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 product card

Airpods Pro 2 pc.jpg


0.17 oz

0.19 oz

0.17 oz

Sweatproof and waterproof

IP55 (earplugs), IPX4 (housing)

IPX4 (earbuds and case)


Active Noise Cancellation & Transparency




Spatial/360 Audio




Wireless charging




Battery life (nominal)

up to 39 hours

up to 30 hours

up to 30 hours


Evergreen, Titan Black


White, Graphite, Bora Purple





The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are very solid wireless earbuds for under $200. With great battery life, sound quality, noise cancellation, and smart features, these headphones are built to compete with big dogs.

The advantage these buds have over the others is that, while there are some exclusive OnePlus features, they’re platform-agnostic. With a bit of work, the Buds Pro 2 can work flawlessly with other Android phones and even iPhones, something earbuds like the Pixel Buds or Galaxy Buds just can’t do.

Overall, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 deliver a premium experience for less, which is in line with OnePlus’ main philosophy. Interestingly, they don’t have any huge downsides compared to other earbuds like the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro and Pixel Buds Pro. I like the design of the Buds 2 Pro better, and Google’s earbuds are more useful thanks to tighter Google Assistant integration. But at the end of the day, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offer more than enough for the average listener at a better price.

If you’re looking for new wireless earbuds under $180, these are worthy of your attention.

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