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OnePlus Buds Pro 2 Hands-On: Brings the Bass and Better ANC

With strong active noise cancellation and a punchy sound, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 play a strong game in our tests so far.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read
OnePlus Buds Pro 2 earbuds and case
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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. 

The Buds Pro 2 on the back of a OnePlus 11 phone
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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 Buds Pro 2 next to Apple AirPods Pro
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 next to the OnePlus 11 phone
Andrew Lanxon/CNET

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.

Watch this: OnePlus 11 Review: Powerful but Not Perfect