OnePlus Buds Pro 2-13

OnePlus has a new pair of premium wireless earbuds. They’re called the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 — which is quite the mouthful — and they’re designed to go up against some of the best in 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 come with a suite of premium features like spatial audio, noise cancellation and new speaker drivers co-developed with music giant Dynaudio. There’s certainly a lot onboard, but the question is: Are these worth picking up over the competition? Let’s find out.

An affordable pair of high-end earbuds

If you're looking for a pair of high-quality wireless earbuds for less than $200 — and especially if you have a OnePlus phone — the Buds 2 Pro offer a lot for the money.

What we liked about them

A comfortable design with convenient touch controls

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-2

The Buds Pro 2 will look familiar to anyone who’s seen AirPods. OnePlus opts for a similar form factor with long stems and inner ear silicone tips. They’re slightly larger in footprint compared to the AirPods, and despite it seeming like an Apple rip-off, I can’t be mad at it — these earbuds are extremely comfortable.

They slot in my ears and stay there, all while not adding any discomfort during long listening sessions. There are even extra ear tips in the box to help you find the right fit. The buds ship with a matte finish (the best type of finish for earbuds since it greatly reduces fingerprints) and come in two colors. I got the Eternal Green color, which looks very nice beside my OnePlus 11, and there’s a Titan Black version if you just want something simple.

OnePlus includes an IP55 water resistance rating on the Buds Pro 2, which make them safe enough to use at the gym. The case even has an IP rating at IPX4, giving it extra protection if you find yourself in a rain shower and need to use your earbuds.

The stems on either bud offer touch controls for controlling the playback of your content, adjusting the volume and using the Google Assistant. This can all be done through a series of taps, swipes and presses. In my experience, it all worked as you’d expect.

Superb sound quality

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-7

The big question with any new pair of wireless earbuds is how well the audio holds up, and I’m happy to report that the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 sound terrific.

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

After pairing them to my phone, I jumped into Spotify to test out a few of my favorite songs. I found hip-hop to sound best on these buds given their strong focus on mid and low frequencies. 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 well detailed.

I also dove into country, streaming a lot of Morgan Wallen and Tyler Hubbard. The twang of the acoustic guitars, kick drum in the background and wide-ranging protection style of both artists were well represented by these earbuds. 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 sounded good on these buds, but it was clear that these buds were designed to focus strongly on bass-heavy tracks, something Beats by Dre has focused on for years. That’s not a bad thing, mind you — it’s a very mainstream sound profile, and I’m a fan of how it sounds on OnePlus’ Buds Pro 2.

Compared to other earbuds I’ve tested, I found the Buds Pro 2 could keep up extremely well in terms of sound quality. I thought they sounded a lot richer than my Pixel Buds Pro or Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, and they even have a more pleasing soundstage than my Sony LinkBuds S. However, I think Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro have a slight edge in terms of clarity while retaining a rich listening experience. That’s not too shabby given how the Buds Pro 2 are $70 cheaper than Apple’s earbuds.

In order to stream lossless audio, you need to have an Android phone that supports the LHDC codec. A lot of modern phones do, but your iPhone does not. I tried streaming lossless audio with my OnePlus 11 and Apple Music, and it all sounded a bit crisper than it did via Spotify. However, the difference can be completely indiscernible to anyone who hasn’t used dozens of pairs of earbuds in the past like I have, so you might have a harder time appreciating the feature. Still, it’s there and it works well.

Unlike the original Buds Pro, OnePlus includes four EQ settings for the Buds Pro 2: the default Dynaudio setting (labeled as “Balanced”), Bold, Serenade and Bass. I tried all of them out and found the default option to be suitable for my liking. If you want to customize the sound even more, you can add your own EQ profile.

I’d also like to mention that OnePlus partnered with Hans Zimmer (the famous composer behind film scores like “The Dark Knight,” “Inception,” “The Lion King” and “Dune”) that’s supposed to really bring the Buds Pro 2 to life. It wasn’t available to test during my review period, although I’ve been told that it’ll come out sometime in February through an update. I’ll update this review once I’ve gotten to play with it.

Good noise cancellation, transparency and microphones

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-1

OnePlus includes adaptive noise cancellation on the Buds Pro 2 that automatically suppresses higher-volume sounds and balances it out, giving you consistent noise cancellation whether you’re at a coffee shop or walking the streets of a big city. You can also customize how much noise cancellation you want in the settings app.

I tested it a lot during my review process and found that it works really well. Wind is unfortunately one of the only disturbances the Buds Pro 2 can’t cancel completely, but everything else remained quiet while I typed away at Starbucks and walked down the streets of Ocean City.

The earbuds’ transparency mode also worked well. Once enabled, I could hear my surroundings quite well, although vocals sounded a bit wetter than they do with transparency modes on other earbuds like the AirPods Pro and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Still, it’s very solid.

I also noticed that the microphone quality is pretty decent. Everyone I’ve called using the mics in the Buds Pro 2 said I sounded perfectly fine and that my voice was clear. You won’t want to use these earbuds to record audio, but for voice and video calls, they work really well.

Long battery life

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-4

I was impressed with the endurance of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. OnePlus says the buds will last up to nine hours on a full charge and up to 39 hours with the case. I didn’t quite reach that metric, as my earbuds died around the seven-hour mark, but I can easily juice them back up four or five times with the case without having to plug them in.

Mind you, this was with noise cancellation enabled the entire time, so if you want even longer battery life, you can disable ANC.

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

Lots of smarts, including Fast Pair and multi-device support

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-8

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 come with all the smart features you’d expect to find. There’s Google Fast Pair for quickly pairing with Android phones, multi-device support so you can pair the buds with two different devices (perfect for pairing your laptop or tablet) and Bluetooth 5.3 for a stronger wireless connection.

The buds also come with Zen Mode Air, which gives you five white noise modes to listen to when you want to relax. In addition, OnePlus includes activity level and posture reminders to help you correct your posture when sitting at an awkward angle for too long. This feature wasn’t available to test at press time, but I’ll update this review once I’ve gotten a chance to use it.

What we didn’t like about them

The carrying case feels cheap

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-12

I know these earbuds are less expensive than the competition from Apple and Samsung, but I still feel like OnePlus could’ve included a nicer carrying case. The one it designed feels cheap and flimsy, ready to crack with any accidental drop onto concrete. The hinge for the lid also feels extremely delicate, as if I could snap it off with little to no effort. I’ve used plenty of earbuds in my day, and this pair has one of the cheapest-feeling cases you’ll find. At least it looks OK.

Spatial audio is a gimmick

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-3

I realize I should care about spatial audio given how popular it’s quickly becoming, but folks, it feels like nothing more than a gimmick with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2.

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

The Buds Pro 2 are some of the first earbuds to support the feature on Android, and while that’s a nice perk, it’s definitely not for me. If anything, it’s a gimmick in my book, far behind the quality of Apple’s implementation on AirPods.

They work best with a OnePlus phone

OnePlus Buds Pro 2-10

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

Granted, many earbuds have much longer exclusivity lists like this, so it’s nice that these are the only features that tie the Buds Pro 2 to OnePlus phones. Still, for the best experience, you’ll want to make sure a OnePlus logo graces the back of your phone.

How they compare


0.17 ounces

0.19 ounces

0.17 ounces

Sweat and water resistance

IP55 (earbuds), IPX4 (case)

IPX4 (earbuds and case)


Active noise cancellation & transparency




Spatial/360 audio




Wireless charging




Battery life (rated)

Up to 39 hours

Up to 30 hours

Up to 30 hours


Eternal Green, Titan Black


White, Graphite, Bora Purple

Price $179 $200 $190

Bottom line

The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are extremely solid wireless earbuds for under $200. With great battery life, sound quality, noise cancellation and smarts, these buds are built to compete with the big dogs.

The edge these buds have over others is that, despite some exclusive OnePlus features, they’re relatively platform agnostic. With a little work, the Buds Pro 2 will work completely fine on other Android phones and even iPhones, something that can’t be said for earbuds like the Pixel Buds or Galaxy Buds.

Overall, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offer a premium experience for less, which fits in with OnePlus’ principal philosophies. What’s interesting is 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 a bit more, and Google’s earbuds are more helpful, thanks to tighter Google Assistant integration. But at the end of the day, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 offer enough for the average listener at a nicer price.

If you’re looking for a new pair of wireless earbuds for less than $180, these deserve your attention.