OnePlus is making its earbuds even cheaper. The OnePlus Buds have long offered decent features at a reasonable price, however, they’ve also gone up against serious competition and thus had a tough time really carving a niche for themselves. But now, OnePlus is taking that expertise, and applying it to a much cheaper pair of headphones — in the OnePlus Nord Buds.
For the uninitiated, OnePlus has been using the “Nord” brand for its budget devices for a few years now — however to date, it has only used it for phones. The first-generation OnePlus Nord Buds offer a decent design and some integration with OnePlus phones. But the best thing about them is the price — they come in at only $39, making them some of the most affordable truly wireless earbuds to date.
But how many corners does OnePlus cut to reach that price point?
- Comfortable fit
- Solid audio
- Good battery life
- Smart integrations
- Very inexpensive
- No ANC
- No wireless charging
OnePlus Nord Buds design
Like previous OnePlus Buds, OnePlus has opted for a stem design for the Nord Buds. Unlike other options, however, the OnePlus Nord Buds have a shorter, wider stem that protrudes less from the ears. It’s not a bad look, and the earbuds look a little different than anything else out there thanks to the blocky look — but it’s still not especially unique.
On the face of each earbud is a touch surface that you can use to control your audio and playback. It’s pretty easy to tap, however, the surface is a little small, so you’ll have to get used to its placement. The controls are pretty easy to use, however they didn’t work when using the earbuds with my Mac. They did work on my iPhone though, and of course on a OnePlus phone.
The charging case isn’t as small and portable as other earbuds, but it’s still relatively portable. It’ll definitely stick out a little bit in your pocket but should still fit in most pockets perfectly fine. I hope the next-generation OnePlus Nord Buds are a little more pocketable. On the back of the charging case, you’ll get a USB-C port for charging. The earbuds don’t support wireless charging, which is a bit of a pain, but not unexpected for headphones in this price range.
In the box, apart from the earbuds and the charging case, you’ll find a short USB-A to USB-C cable. There are also two extra pairs of ear tips, bringing the total to three pairs including those that come pre-installed on the earbuds.
OnePlus Nord Buds comfort
The OnePlus Nord Buds may not look all that unique, but they’re very comfortable, which is great to see on earbuds in this price range. I found that the buds sat nicely in my ears and were easy to slot into the ears from the very first time I tried. They sit pretty snugly in the ears too, to the point where I could even take them running without having to adjust them all that much.
Generally, most should find the earbuds to be comfortable and easy to wear — however everyone’s ears are different. You may also have to experiment a little with the ear tips enough.
OnePlus Nord Buds features
These days, we expect headphones from companies like OnePlus to be super smart, and despite the low price tag here, these earbuds do still offer good smart integration — depending on the phone you use them with.
On a OnePlus device, you’ll get fast pairing, similar to AirPods on an iPhone. Once you open the lid and place the earbuds in range of your phone, the buds will automatically pop up on the screen and allow you to pair. You’ll also be able to tweak the EQ on offer by the earbuds, and even create your own custom EQ setting with a six-band EQ. And, you can use the Find my earbuds feature to play a sound through the buds if you’re lost them. This feature didn’t work for me though.
The earbuds also go beyond many other headphones in this price range with support for Dolby Atmos. Now, say what you will about surround-type features on earbuds like this — but the fact that $40 earbuds support Dolby Atmos is great news for those who like it. Those who don’t can simply turn it off.
These features aren’t available on iOS, but they are available on non-OnePlus Android phones, if you download the HeyMelody app.
The battery life on the earbuds sits at seven hours of continuous use, which is pretty good. Combined with the charging case, you’ll get up to 30 hours of use in total.
OnePlus Nord Buds sound
The OnePlus Nord Buds aren’t just comfortable relatively — they also sound great, for a pair of $40 earbuds.
The bass response on the OnePlus Nord Buds is pretty good. It’s not over the top, and the extension isn’t incredible, but the earbuds were still able to pump out enough bass for most listening situations. Add in the fact that you can boost the bass if you want with the EQ, and most should be happy with the bass on offer here.
The mids are pretty flat, which is a good thing. They’re not overly tuned or tweaked, and they sound generally accurate. The highs aren’t bad, but the headphones aren’t as detailed as some. That’s to be expected on a pair of budget headphones, and the headphones still do offer a decent amount of clarity in the high end. But the high extension could be a little better, which is something to consider.
The OnePlus Nord Buds do not offer any noise cancellation and the noise isolation on these isn’t great. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones you can use to block out the world, these aren’t for you.
The OnePlus Nord Buds are an excellent choice for the money. Sure, they’re not the best earbuds out there, but they probably are the best earbuds in the sub-$50 price range, thanks to their solid audio quality, good battery life, and comfortable fit.
There isn’t a ton of competition in the ultra-budget wireless earbuds segment, but there is some. The likes of JBL, Soundcore, and more, all offer solid options under $50. That said, I think that the OnePlus Nord Buds are the best option for those who want excellent wireless earbuds at a super low price.
Should I buy the OnePlus Nord Buds?
Yes. If you’re looking for a pair of wireless earbuds at a super low price, these are the way to go.