OnePlus has been expanding its line of budget-friendly devices over the past few years and one of their latest offerings is OnePlus Nord Buds. At just $39.99, these wireless headphones aim to provide a premium listening experience at a fraction of the price of more expensive options on the market, including the company’s own. OnePlus Buds Pro and OnePlus Buds Z2.
We tested the new Nord Buds in less than two weeks to see if they could hit that goal and to determine where OnePlus made the cuts to keep the price down. Spoiler alert: these buds are really good – even if they’re a bit basic.
Great sound for under $40
The Nord Buds are a great choice for those who need good, reliable in-ear headphones for under $40. They are especially ideal for those in the Android ecosystem, as iPhone users won’t enjoy some special features like quick pairing.
What we like
A simple, comfortable and waterproof design
The OnePlus Nord Buds aren’t necessarily the flashiest earbuds on the market. Their bodies are stiff and angular, they’re made almost entirely of plastic, and the silicone tips tend to get stuck in your ears because they’re not as smooth as what’s found on higher-end products. However, the buds are very comfortable to wear. They sit pretty deep inside your ears, but it helps create a seal to block outside noise.
We especially appreciate the Nord Buds’ weight. Weighing just 0.17 ounces, the Nord Buds are the kind of headphones you won’t even notice you’re wearing after a while. And we should know – we rocked them for hours after writing this review, and we’ve never felt uncomfortable wearing them.
Another big advantage to the Nord Buds is their IP55 rating. This means that the young shoots will be safe from light jets of water, be it rain or sweat. And yes, we’ve worked on these headphones, and while they’re not designed for it, they’re perfectly usable if you’re not going to do any crazy cardio routines. .
Surprisingly good sound quality
OnePlus has opted for large 12.4mm titanium drivers on the Nord Buds, giving them plenty of room for sound to come out. The company also says it pays special attention to bass to ensure that extra bass buds that umph consumers are looking for. Furthermore, the buds are also Dolby Atmos supported for better overall quality.
We start with the coastal country sounds of Brian Kelley and his latest single “Although Float Your Boat”. The soundstage he presented with acoustic guitar and airy drums played well on the Nord Bud drivers. Then we turned to hip hop with Logic’s latest release, “Musical Therapy”. His vocals are clear and have some character to them, while the boom-bap beats are strong and full. We also tried some older songs, like The Hollies’ “Bus Stop” which sounded clear and pleasant, albeit a bit lacking in the middle.
These headphones, while sturdy, have a few flaws. The mids and highs have a bit of a pop and feel to them, while some songs (especially more complex productions) quickly lose definition. For example, when listening to Justin Bieber’s “Honest,” there are a few lost instruments on the Nord Buds that you can hear clearly on more expensive headphones.
However, that’s the story with a lot of budget headphones. Usually, they don’t come with a large soundstage that can highlight the most complexities of production, and that’s perfectly fine considering their price. We’ve even compared them to some of the more expensive in-ear headphones like Google’s Pixel Buds A-Series and from Samsung Galaxy Buds 2and we found that their sound quality wasn’t too different, which is the least impressive.
Really solid battery life
OnePlus touts up to seven hours of endurance with the Nord Buds, as well as an additional 23 hours with the included carrying case. We find this to be mostly true. The buds typically lasted between six and seven hours on a full charge during our testing, while the case delivered about three other charges. There are a number of wireless earbuds on the market that underperform these stats, so it’s great to see OnePlus can deliver on its promises.
Recharging the headphones is just as simple, as your only option is to use a USB-C cable. OnePlus notes that there is a form of fast charging on the Nord Buds that can charge 5 hours in just 10 minutes. In our testing, our battery life came close to 4 hours versus 5 hours, but it’s still handy.
Unfortunately, these headphones do not come with wireless charging. But except for exceptions like EarFun AirThat’s to be expected at this price point.
What we don’t like
Very basic controls with not much “smart”
At $39.99, OnePlus had to make some cuts to keep costs down, and one popular area is intelligence. Modern earbuds can do all sorts of things like automatically pausing your music when you take one off, quickly accessing voice assistants with a hot word, using head tracking for spatial sound or offer active noise cancellation for a more isolated listening experience.
None of those features are available on Nord Buds. Instead, OnePlus offers two very basic “smart” features: cross-device support and quick analytics.
The feature wasn’t implemented in the same way as most wireless headphones in the past, where you could start playing content on another device and the headphones would intelligently know how to switch. Instead, you have to manually touch and hold either button to switch to a previously paired device. It’s pretty tedious, but it works well.
Meanwhile, the latter only works in certain cases because it uses OnePlus’ proprietary fast pairing system instead of something like Google Fast Pair. You will have to have one OnePlus phones or the HeyMelody app installed on your non-OnePlus Android phone for it to work. That’s not a big deal as it greatly simplifies the headset’s setup process, but it does mean you have to dig into the Bluetooth settings on any other devices (including iPhones and tablets). laptop) to pair them.
OnePlus also includes touch controls on the Nord Buds. A single tap plays and pauses music, a double tap skips to the current track, a triple tap skips to the previous track, and a long press lets you switch between devices. bag. They all performed well in our testing, although it did seem like our faucets registered a second or two longer than other earbuds on the market.
The settings for Nord Buds can be found in the Bluetooth section of the Settings app on OnePlus phones or the HeyMelody app on other devices. There aren’t a lot of customization options available, with some tweaking available for the touch controls and EQ. Still, it’s nice that OnePlus offers some versatility with the headset.
At least that’s the case with the Nord Buds. It’s a bit taller than you might think, and it feels significantly more than the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 or Apple’s latest AirPods. OnePlus also decided to cut out the edges, making it feel too boxy to be comfortably carried in a pocket. You are almost forced to carry them in some luggage outside.
Good microphone performance but need to minimize wind
There are two microphones on each Nord Bud to make it easier for them to pick up your voice, and we found them to be perfectly usable. No, they’re not suitable for more expensive services, but they generally work well for video chats and phone calls.
Speaking of which, OnePlus has included an AI-powered noise reduction feature for phone calls that reduces outside noises. It seemed to work well as callers noted that they could clearly hear my voice when I was standing on a noisy street corner, but the technology quickly collapsed in high winds. So if you’re in a particularly windy environment, it’s best to move somewhere else to make calls.
OnePlus Nord Buds are some best wireless headphones you can get for less than $50, matching many of the same features as EarFun AirOur picks for best budget headphones you can do it. With good sound quality, great battery life, and a simple setup experience (for Android users at least), there’s not much to dislike.
Are they a bit basic? True, but where they shine is in the essentials. If you want flashy premium features, you’ll have to buy more premium services like Pixel Buds A-Series, Galaxy Buds 2or even OnePlus’ own Z2 . bud. The EarFun Airs still have the edge overall thanks to wireless charging and slightly longer battery life, but they’re a bit more expensive, typically selling for $49.99 to $59.99.
That being said, if you seriously value sound quality and battery life – and especially if you’re on Android – the Nord Buds are well worth their low $39.99 price tag.
How does it compare to other wireless earphones we tested
|Weight||0.16 ounces||0.19 ounces||0.18 ounces||0.16 ounces|
|Battery life (rated)||7 hours (with headphones only), 30 hours (with carrying case)||7 hours (headphone only), 35 hours (with carrying case)||5 hours (headphone only), 24 hours (with carrying case)||7 hours (headphone only), 38 hours (with carrying case)|
|Active noise cancellation||No||No||No||It’s correct|
|Wireless charging||No||It’s correct||No||No|
|Color||Black slate, white marble||Black and white||Clear white, deep olive color||Obsidian Black, Pearl White|