How much the haul would have added up to were the buds actually AirPods.
Update: In a statement to Input received after publication, CBP doubled-down on its decision, citing trademark violations. Click here to read the full statement.
OnePlus Buds really want you to think they're AirPods. Like, really want you to believe. Unfortunately, as our recent review of them revealed, they most certainly are not AirPods. That said, at a $79 price tag, there's really only so much room to complain about their comparatively lower quality. Not to mention, regardless of price or sound clarity, there's no denying they bear an uncanny resemblance to their upscale competitors. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol certainly seems to agree, seeing as how they proudly announced their "seizure" of 2,000 OnePlus Buds at JFK airport over the weekend, believing them to be illegal knock-off AirPods.
Okay, they don't look that similar — "CBP Officers are protecting the American public from various dangers on a daily basis. The interception of these counterfeit earbuds is a direct reflection of the vigilance and commitment to mission success by our CBP Officers daily," Director of CBP’s New York Field Operations, Troy Miller, proudly said in a press statement released on September 11.
Alas, it only takes a quick look at the accompanying evidence photos to see that, no, those aren't (provably) counterfeit AirPods, but just a bunch of OnePlus Buds boxes. According to the CBP, the seizure supposedly would have been valued at around $378,000 if they were genuine (which they technically are by OnePlus standards). Instead, they're actually valued to be about $158,000. Y'know... because they're dirt cheap.
The announcement did not go unnoticed by the tech-savvy public. Including the folks at OnePlus, incidentally, who seemed to take it somewhat in stride:
We've reached out to both OnePlus and the U.S. CBP for comment and will let you know if the two have managed to kiss and make up. In the meantime, actual Apple AirPods are still very much a thing, and still very, very good. There's also the Samsung Galaxy Buds+, Google Pixel Buds, and Amazon Echo Buds for some extra wireless options to consider, which as far as we know, have not fooled any major governmental organizations recently.