Buds Pro 2 from smartphone manufacturer OnePlus support Bluetooth 5. 3 LE Audio, the L3C codec and Spatial Audio, and the “MelodyBoost” drivers of these wireless in-ears were developed in collaboration with the speaker specialists at Dynaudio. Thanks to a hearing profile and EQ, the sound is customisable.
As with the previous One Plus model, Buds Pro (link), both the earphones (IP55) and the handy charging case (IPX4) are water-resistant and therefore ideally suited for outdoor use. Sporting activities are also possible, as long as the Buds Pro 2 are not subjected to strong vibrations. The housings embed themselves almost completely into the ears and only protrude slightly, allowing these in-ears to fit under a cap without any problems.
The low weight of five grams per side also favours a long-term fit, as the earphones are hardly noticeable when worn.
Battery life of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2
At higher playback levels, the Buds Pro 2 can achieve a listening time of seven and a half hours, and this is reduced to a decent five hours when the adaptive noise cancellation is used. The in-ears can be fully charged three times in the case, giving a total runtime of 30 hours in basic mode and not quite 21 hours in ANC mode.
Although these earphones do not have a charge indicator, they are fully charged again after just 30 minutes. Both the in-ears and the case are fast-chargeable. This means that the system provides capacity for more than ten hours of standard operation when the case and the earphones are charged for ten minutes via the USB-C connection. It takes 65 minutes to fully charge the case using the supplied USB-C to USB-A charging cable. Alternatively, a wireless power supply via Qi is also possible.
How well do the Buds Pro 2 perform?
During start-up, the Buds Pro 2 can be paired for the first time as soon as the case is opened. However, when connecting further devices, the pairing mode must be activated manually by pressing and holding the case button. The system supports Google Fast Pair, multipoint connections and single-sided use in single mode. There is no provision for manually switching the headphones on and off via the pressure-sensitive buttons on the stems, which means that the case is always required for operation. Once a wireless connection has been established, there is a range of 25 metres in open spaces, while inside buildings, several rooms can be covered without any problems.
In factory settings, these in-ears provide playback control, phone call handling and forward and backward track skipping. In addition, Zen Mode Air, which plays relaxing nature sounds, can be activated or deactivated and it is possible to switch between ANC and transparency mode, and this can be supplemented with the basic mode. Voice assistants and gaming mode controls can also be retrofitted by configuring pressing once, twice and three times per side. One thing that is missing, however, is the ability to use the volume control. In addition to the pressure-sensitive controls, the earpieces also have a wearer recognition system that reacted quite reliably, but it is not possible for it to be deactivated.
Sound settings of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2
On Android and iOS devices, it is possible to make adjustments via the HeyMelody app, while on OnePlus smartphones, the settings of the Buds Pro 2 can be directly accessed. Here, in addition to adaptive noise cancelling with “light”, “medium” and “max.”, there are also three static ANC modes to choose from, although the transparency mode cannot be specifically adapted to the environment.
A new feature compared to the previous model is an EQ section that allows custom settings based on six bands that can be saved as pre-sets. In addition, pre-configured EQ settings are available in the form of “Powerful”, “Serenade” and “Bass”, and these are to be supplemented with a sound tuning from the renowned composer Hans Zimmer.
Other new features include Audio ID 2.0, which scans the ear canal to generate a personal listening profile. In addition, the reduced-latency gaming mode and multipoint connections can be activated or deactivated, and it is possible to carry out a fit check or install firmware updates. When used in combination with the OnePlus 11 5G and future smartphone models from the manufacturer, media playback with Spatial Audio will be expanded with an immersive listening experience. A feature to promote healthy posture has also been announced for 2023, which, according to OnePlus, is based on IMU sensors like Spatial Audio.
Speech intelligibility during phone calls
Three microphones per side ensure flawless transmission of your own voice. In mobile use, light wind noise was filtered, and even stronger gusts were significantly attenuated, even if the voice quality deteriorated somewhat as a result. In the case of louder background noises, however, intelligibility was impaired, as the reduction did not take place evenly but was subject to stronger fluctuations.
Noise cancellation (ANC) and transparency mode
Apart from underlying background noise, outside noises were cleanly amplified in transparency mode, something which counteracted the passive shielding of the in-ear system and enabled perception of your more immediate surroundings. In addition, when paused, a conversation could be held without having to remove the earpieces.
The noise cancellation of the Buds Pro 2 worked silently and noticeably attenuated particularly low and high-frequency ambient noises, while voices were reduced with a slighter intensity. Here, the adaptive mode was often the better choice, as the upper-frequency range was filtered more effectively, and background voices seemed to be attenuated slightly more.
The sound of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2
In contrast to the rich, fun-oriented tuning of the previous model, the Buds Pro 2 aim for a much more neutral sound reproduction. In this respect, the dual “MelodyBoost” system, consisting of dynamic 11mm and 6mm drivers, conveys a homogeneous, rather indirect listening experience with high detail density, which was on the warm side. The tight bass reproduction was not aimed at an emphatically full-bodied reproduction; instead, they achieved a controlled reproduction that held back in the low bass but had power in the mid and upper bass range. The midrange was characterised by a fuller but matter-of-fact, uneventful presentation that seemed very consistent. In complex arrangements, this became a little dull, and there was room for the reproduction to be more differentiated. While they were not too timid, the high frequencies didn’t impose themselves on the listener, and they didn’t fall off, remaining sober and true to life.
When the listening profile was active, the basic sound became more spacious, fresher, more agile and literally clearer. The midrange especially seemed purer, better illuminated and more spacious. Voices, as well as lead instruments, sounded more present and slightly stood out without losing their connection to the overall structure. In addition, the intelligibility of vocal reproduction was excellent, while dense, multi-layered productions were distinctly fanned out and shed the previous impression of dullness.
The upper registers also seemed more concise, sounding more vital and detailed, while the bass reproduction felt even crisper and tighter. Depending on the chosen genre, the brighter sound could be perceived as a little treble-heavy, but it is possible to compensate for this with the EQ. A slight boost in the lower to the mid-bass range is recommended, especially with modern music styles.
A final evaluation of the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 seems premature at the moment, as several functions cannot yet be used for various reasons. However, the EQ function is a definite improvement, and in combination with the hearing profile, it meets almost all requirements and enables the user to make a comprehensive, personal sound adjustment. Thanks to the support of Bluetooth 5.3 LE Audio, including L3C, these weatherproof True Wireless in-ears are also equipped for the next generation of devices. However, they lack the ability to control the volume via the pressure-sensitive buttons. Phone call quality can be optimised in a busy background, while wind noise was satisfactorily attenuated by the microphone technology.
- lightweight, compact format
- IP55-rated handset, IPX4-rated case
- case and earpiece with fast charging function
- case supports Qi wireless charging
- app with personal listening profile, sound and earpiece settings
- Multipoint connections
- Bluetooth 5.3 LE audio
- support L3C, AAC and LHDC 4.0 (with extended frequency response)
- earpiece without charge indicator
- no volume control
- transparency mode with background noise
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)10 - 40.000 Hz
- Weight without cable5 g each, case 48 g
What's in the box
- Eartips in three sizes (S, M, L)
- USB-C to USB-A charging cable
- Charging case
- Available in Arbor Green and Obsidian Black
- BT codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3, LHDC
- BT version: 5.3
- BT profiles: BLE, SPP, HFP, A2DP, AVRCP
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