OnePlus has just taken the wraps off its latest superphone for 2023, the OnePlus 11 5G. And to go with it, the company has also launched an update to its top-end earbuds, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. Along with improvements to battery life and active noise cancelation, these new earbuds pack a deeper sound and will go on sale in the US on Feb. 16 for $179 (£179, which converts to roughly AU$310).
I've tried 'em, and I like 'em. Here's what you need to know.
Physically, they're almost identical to the first-gen Buds Pro. They're small, with a metallic stem and weigh only 4.9 grams (0.17 ounces) each. They're comfortable to wear -- I used the large silicon tips -- and I could sleep in them without any issue. My review set came in a new green color that matches the new OnePlus phone, which stands out nicely against the usual black or white earbuds out there.
Read more: OnePlus 11 Review: Powerful, but Not Perfect
OnePlus partnered with audio firm Dynaudio for a better sound. The new Buds pack dual drivers; one is 11 millimeters and the other is 6 millimeters, allowing the new earbuds to handle bass and treble frequencies independently. The result is a powerful, punchy bass that provides a satisfying thump in your skull, but not at the expense of higher frequencies. They reproduced tracks like Periphery's Prayer Position, Don Broco's Endorphins and Muse's Won't Stand Down with powerful but controlled bass tones, while guitars, cymbals and vocals were still able to cut clearly through the mix.
There's a stronger emphasis on bass than you get with Apple's AirPods Pro 2, and that won't be to everyone's taste. Fans of bass-led rock and metal, EDM, pop or anything with a lot of low-end power are well catered for. Fans of acoustic or classical music who want a more faithful reproduction should look towards Apple's buds.
OnePlus promises up to 48 decibels of active noise cancellation. While I can't say if that figure is accurate, I can say the noise canceling function performs well. Background noise in a cafe was almost entirely removed, and even the sound of traffic as I walked to a major road was reduced. The Buds were great when I was listening to quieter acoustic-led music or podcasts.
Battery life is good, including up to 25 hours of listening time with noise canceling switched on (including the battery case) or up to 39 without. The buds are IP55 rated against water, which will help keep them safe in the rain and during a particularly sweaty workout.
It's early days, but I'm pleased with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2's performance so far. Bass-led metal is my genre of choice so they're well suited for me. But I'll wait for our audio expert David Carnoy to give his final verdict on the overall quality and on how well they stack up against the competition.