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OnePlus Nord Buds

Inexpensive, decent-sounding True Wireless in-ears

With the Nord Buds, smartphone manufacturer OnePlus offers wireless in-ears for everyday use that fit comfortably and support high-quality audio codec with the AAC format, in addition to Bluetooth 5.2. Four microphones and AI noise cancellation are also said to ensure clear speech intelligibility during phone calls.

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With a weight of five grams per side, the OnePlus Nord Buds are pleasantly light, which encourages a comfortable fit, even over longer periods of wear. Although the wide stems of these in-ears have quite a striking visual effect, they do not spoil the comfortable fitting characteristics of the earpieces. The only thing the model does not seem to be suitable for is wearing caps, as these exert pressure on the ear canal due to the large contact surface of the sturdy stems. Otherwise, these in-ears are made to be dust-, water- and sweat-resistant according to IP55, which makes the system suitable for use during outdoor activities and sports.

Battery life

In terms of power, the OnePlus Nord Buds offer a good six hours of listening time per charge at a raised volume. In the charging case, the earpieces can also be fully charged three times and once more with a remaining capacity of 50 minutes before an external power source is needed. This results in a total runtime of over 25 hours. The in-ears are fully charged again after about 40 minutes, while a ten-minute quick charge provides capacity for another good two and a half hours. The case’s battery reserve is restored after 75 minutes via the USB-C port, for which a USB-C to USB-A charging cable is included.

Operation

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Functionally, a distinction must be made between OnePlus, Android and iOS devices. Fast pairing via OnePlus Fast Pair, plus such features like support for Dolby Atmos and latency reduction to 94 milliseconds in the “Pro Gamer” mod, are reserved for the company’s own smartphones. Although Google Fast Pair is not available for Android devices, the connection was established smoothly and easily when the case was opened. However, the first pairing of iOS devices was somewhat more complicated, as the pairing mode must be activated manually by holding down the case button while the in-ears are inside the open case. There is no provision for manually switching the in-ears on or off via the touch-sensitive surfaces, so the charging case is always required, although single-sided use in single mode is supported.

Once a wireless connection has been established, the OnePlus Nord Buds can achieve a range of up to 18 metres in open spaces, while distances of around ten metres can be covered when inside. A single tap controls playback, while double taps are used to answer or end phone calls and skip to the next track. Three taps skip back, and overall, this works reliably. Volume control via the earpiece is not available.

App connection

While the manufacturer’s smartphones offer direct access to the OnePlus Nord Buds’ settings, Android devices can use the HeyMelody app. This provides an EQ section with pre-configured sound modes, such as “Powerful”, “Serenade”, and “Bass”. In addition, custom settings can be made so that you can adjust the sound individually. Great! The touch control can also be configured according to personal needs, at least in a rudimentary manner. Furthermore, firmware updates can be carried out. However, it is a pity that the HeyMelody app for iOS devices does not support these earpieces, so there is no possibility of sound control when using iPhones and iPads. However, the higher-priced OnePlus Buds Z2 (to the review) and OnePlus Buds Pro (to the review) models are compatible with the app.

Speech quality during phone calls

In a quiet environment, it is possible to make flawless phone calls with these in-ears, as both sides of the conversation can be understood clearly. Thanks to their noise-cancelling technology, wind noise is also filtered very well and hardly limits the intelligibility of one’s own voice outdoors. However, background sounds, such as street noise or voices, are only slightly attenuated and can affect the call quality.

Sound

A special feature of the OnePlus Nord Buds is their large 12.4 mm drivers with titanium coating, which is extremely rare in this price range. The bass reproduction can be correspondingly powerful, with high volume levels possible if this is desired. However, these headphones are not just little “bass monsters”, as they also have the ability to sound clean and balanced, making them very versatile. The depth of the bass foundation is extraordinary, and it can provide an extra helping of listening fun for hip-hop and the like. This is particularly apparent as the substantial low bass is not boomy or rumbling, but it still sounds appealingly defined. Overall, the bass range is full-bodied but not excessively powerful rather than tight.

The low frequencies are not the only ones that stand out, as the high frequencies provide a counterpart. The upper registers don’t fall off and don’t overshoot the mark, despite having energy. In this respect, the high frequencies are present, but they are well-behaved and do not tend towards harshness or sharpness. The midrange is a little more restrained but still manages to reproduce voices distinctly, and they benefit from being rounded warmly without losing naturalness.

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2 months ago by Maike Paeßens
  • Rating: 4.25
  • Sound
  • Handling
  • Price/Quality
  • Function

If you already own a OnePlus smartphone and are not dependent on True Wireless in-ears with active noise cancellation, the OnePlus Nord Buds provide a coherent overall package with Dolby Atmos support at an attractive price of 49 euros. With flexible sound adjustment via the HeyMelody app, these weatherproof earphones also score points when used in combination with Android devices. On the other hand, greater sacrifices have to be made in terms of functionality when used in combination with iOS devices. What remains is a comfortable fit and a powerful, harmonious basic sound. The Nord Buds offer good speech intelligibility when talking on the phone and filter wind noise effectively, except in louder environments.

  • Comfortable fit
  • IP55 dust, water and sweat resistant earpiece
  • Speech intelligibility during calls (except in louder environments)
  • Dolby Atmos support (only on OnePlus smartphones)
  • Flexible sound adjustment (except on iOS devices)
  • Supports the AAC format
  • No manual on/off switching of the in-ears possible
  • Touch control without volume control

Technical specifications

  • Ear couplingIn-ear
  • Typeclosed
  • Transducer principledynamic
  • Frequency response (headphones)20 - 20.000 Hz
  • Sound pressure level (SPL)@1 kHz: 102 dB +/- 3 dB
  • Weight without cable5 g each, case 43 g

What's in the box

  • Eartips in 3 sizes (S, M, L)
  • USB-C to USB-A charging cable
  • Charging case

Special features

  • BT codecs: SBC, AAC
  • BT version: 5.2

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