Earlier this week, OnePlus revealed several morsels of information on its new Buds Pro. Adaptive noise canceling and Warp Charging were the headlining features, but price and release were withheld. We now know when the noise-canceling wireless buds will launch and how much they’ll sell for and we gotta say: OnePlus hit the sweet spot with the pricing.
Coming soon — The OnePlus Buds Pro, which bear a striking resemblance to AirPods Pro, will cost $150 when they launch in the U.S. and Canada on September 1. That’s $100 less than AirPods Pro, but right where pricing needs to be when you compare them to non-Apple wireless earbuds like the $100 Pixel Buds A-Series which don’t have any type of noise cancellation and the $200 Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro that do have ANC.
As with many of OnePlus’ products, the OnePlus Buds Pro don’t necessarily break new ground in the wireless earbud space — there’s nothing revolutionary here. However, the combination of premium features and affordable price make for an attractive value that’s hard to beat.
Wait, there’s more — According to OnePlus, the Buds Pro come with two 11mm dynamic drivers in the buds that are compatible with Dolby Atmos; supported content in streaming services like Netflix and Apple Music are going to sound more immersive. The Buds Pro also support Bluetooth 5.2 and a “Pro Gaming” mode for low latency. Other features include OnePlus Audio ID, which is a “carefully calibrated sound profile that caters to user-specific sound sensitivities.” I don’t know exactly what that means, but it reads like the sound can be customized to some extent, either through an EQ in the app or sound presets. Either way, it’s something that’s sorely missing in the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, which only provide an EQ toggle that punches up the bass.
Noise cancellation in earbuds is nothing new in 2021, but the OnePlus Buds Pro kick it up a notch with its “adaptive noise-cancellation” (ANC) technology, which is marketing speak for noise cancellation that changes based on sound levels within your immediate area. Per OnePlus, the wireless earbuds can automatically block between 15db to 40db of noise using three built-in microphones on each bud. To toggle the function, OnePlus says you just hold the stem of either bud, but the option also exists within the HeyMelody app.
As anyone with noise-canceling earbuds can tell you, blocking out external sound depletes battery life at a faster rate. OnePlus, however, claims its Buds Pro can get up to 28 hours of total battery life with ANC from the buds and the charging case. With ANC turned off, the battery life jumps up to 38 hours total between the buds and the case. On a single charge, the buds last up to 5 hours with ANC turned on; they last up to 7 hours with ANC turned off.
But what about us forgetful types who routinely run out of battery life by neglecting to charge the case? Warp Charging has you covered: 10 minutes of charging will get you 10 hours of listening time. That’s a bold claim and we’re looking forward to testing that feature, as well as the overall battery life. The case also supports wireless Qi charging, but there’s no fast charging as it only provides 2W of power compared to the 10W you get from Warp Charging.
Value to the moon — With a release date that’s only a few weeks away and a $150 price tag, these wireless earbuds sound like winners — on paper at least. The real test will be in the sound quality. That said, there’s a ton of competition at this price point. Amazon’s Echo Buds 2 undercut the OnePlus Buds Pro at $120 and $140 (with and without wireless charging, respectively). And Nothing’s Teenage Engineering-designed Ear (1), launching on July 27, boasts a flashy transparent design, comparable battery life, and an even more value-conscious $99.99 price tag. Can the Buds Pro stand out in a sea of affordable ANC wireless earbuds? We definitely want to find out.