If you’re a company that makes wireless earphones these days, you have two options. And it all boils down to one type of functionality. First, there are AirPods alternatives that do not support noise cancellation. Then there are AirPods Pro and similar devices from Apple rivals that have active noise cancelation. OnePlus released its best answer to Apple’s AirPods last year, and now it has an answer to the AirPods Pro. OnePlus on Thursday unveiled the new OnePlus Buds Pro alongside the brand new OnePlus Nord 2 smartphone.
The Buds Pro announcement is hardly surprising. Building on the success of the OnePlus Buds Z, the OnePlus Buds arrived almost one year ago. At the time, OnePlus announced the first-gen Nord mid-range smartphone and the new $79 Buds. It only makes sense to see the Chinese handset maker release successors. The Nord 2 is the expected refresh of last year’s budget phone. But OnePlus Buds Pro represents a brand new product. The new model features a new design, noise cancelation support, and a higher price tag.
OnePlus Buds Pro specs
The OnePlus Buds looked just like the AirPods, so it’s not surprising to see the Buds Pro resemble the AirPods Pro. The new wireless earphones feature a smaller stem and a bulkier case compared to the cheaper alternative.
Design changes aside, OnePlus says the Buds Pro’s main feature is “smart adaptive noise cancelation (ANC)” that the company labels an “industry-leading” system.
The smart ANC “intelligently drowns out unwanted sound frequencies in real-time, such as environmental noise or chatter, adjusting the level of noise cancellation accordingly to keep users immersed and undistracted from their tunes.” OnePlus explains that each bud features a three-mic system that can actively filter out noise levels of up to 40dB, as needed. Conventional ANC systems have fixed levels of noise cancelation, OnePlus says. The company also explains that the smart ANC system includes enhanced noise reduction algorithms. This new design will also help to reduce wind noise.
The OnePlus Buds Pro feature the OnePlus Audio ID, a “carefully calibrated” profile that caters to user-specific sound preferences. Other specs include 11mm dynamic drivers, Dolby Atmos support, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, and latency as low as 94ms with Pro Gaming mode turned on. The Buds Pro come in black or white.
Battery life and price
Battery life is an essential detail for any pair of wireless earphones, whether or not they support ANC. The OnePlus Buds Pro deliver 38 hours of battery life when taking into account the wireless charging case. A 10-minute charge session is enough for 10 hours of music playback, according to OnePlus. The regular Buds offer 30 hours of playback on a full charge and the same 10 hours after 10 minutes of recharging.
The new OnePlus Buds Pro support Warp Charge and Qi wireless charging.
The earphones will launch in the US and Canada on September 1st, priced at $149.99. That price is much lower than the $249 AirPods Pro, although Apple’s earphones usually see significant discounts on Amazon. Right now, for example, Amazon has them on sale for $189.99, which matches the retailer’s lowest price of 2021. Apple’s brand new Beats Studio Buds also sell for $149, and they support active noise cancelation.