OnePlus’ true wireless headphones have been shown to provide quality sound, but the prices of Buds Pro and Buds Z2 have been higher than some fans of the brand expected. It seems that Oppo has noticed this and decided to offer a cheaper pair of headphones under the OnePlus brand, in the “Nord” range of mid-range devices. This is how the new OnePlus Nord Buds headphones came on the market, which come at an affordable price and promise quality sound.
OnePlus Nord Buds are not exactly compact headphones
It is clear from the beginning that we are not dealing with an expensive pair of headphones. Compared to Buds Pro from OnePlus, or AirPods from Apple, the box of the new OnePlus Nord Buds is very large, hard to keep in your small jeans pocket, for example. It is made of matte plastic and has no design elements other than the OnePlus logo on the top.
On the back we have a USB-C port, which is the only method of charging headphones. We are not dealing with wireless charging here. Inside, the two headphones are housed in magnetic slots, which charge them using contacts. I liked that each space has a distinct shape and there are clear markings that quickly show you where to put the helmet on the left and where to put the one on the right. Sometimes true wireless headphones have shapes that are too close to the left and right, and you can confuse them.
The headphones themselves have an interesting design, but they are not exactly “compact” either. They have “tails”, similar in shape to the carcass, with straight edges and flat surfaces. Fortunately, these parts are on the outside, where they have no direct contact with the ear or skin. The part that goes into the ear is rounded and they are shiny, being very comfortable to use. Of course, the headphones come with a charging cable as well as silicone plugs of various sizes.
IPhone users do not have access to configuration options
The headset automatically connects to OnePlus phones via fast pairing, but also has a dedicated button on the back, almost invisible, next to the USB-C jack, for connecting to other devices. On the OnePlus and Oppo models, the headset settings can be found in the Bluetooth menu of the phone by pressing the “i” button, but on other Android models it is necessary to install the Hey Melody application for configuration.
What I found strange about this model is that the Hey Melody iPhone doesn’t recognize the headphones, as it does with previous OnePlus models. Thus, OnePlus Nord Buds can only be used on the iPhone in the “standard” settings.
Another strange thing is that these headphones, although compatible with Dolby Atmos, this playback mode is not available on Nord range phones. Only OnePlus flagship models from the OnePlus 7 model to date can play Atmos sound through these headphones.
Sound and battery life are above average in the OnePlus Nord Buds price range
OnePlus Nord Buds headphones are very similar in performance to the OnePlus Buds Z2. They benefit from 12.4mm speakers and the sound is strong and quite well balanced. For a pair of 250 lei headphones, they have a clear sound, including at maximum volume, and the frequencies are well separated, regardless of the type of music listened to. The vocals are very clear, maybe even a little too “sharp” in the high area, and the environments are well defined, being able to distinguish the instruments during playback. What amazes me is that the bass is loud, but it doesn’t completely cover the rest of the frequencies, as we’ve seen with other headphones like this.
And then what would be the disadvantages of these headphones, given that they sound good at an affordable price? First of all, they are not equipped with ambient noise cancellation. Being in-ear headphones, they insulate the surrounding sound quite well by covering the ear canal, but some sounds can be heard at a lower playback volume. Also, that feeling of perfect peace that you have when you listen to music with ANC active, is not present. And there are no sensors to know if they are in the ear or not, so playback continues until the headphones are put back in the charging box. Only when the Bluetooth connection is disconnected is the music turned off.
Then again, the touch control system isn’t exactly pleasant. The headphones have two round glossy surfaces, but they are quite small and require fairly high precision for precise control. There are gestures with one, two or three touches. Gestures for one or two taps cannot be customized, but the three-tap gestures can be customized to the user’s liking. Unfortunately, the fact that you can turn off the music with a single tap can lead to accidental taps.
Otherwise, the headphones offer many advantages that you don’t get from more expensive models, such as seven hours of listening on a single charge and 30 hours in total when you add the battery from the charging box. It takes about an hour to fully charge the headphones in the charging box, and it takes about an hour and a half to fully charge the headphones and the box, if all is zero.
The headphones are also resistant to water splashes, so they can be used at the gym or when running, as they will not be damaged by perspiration. It is important to note, however, that only the headphones are IP55 certified, not their case.
At 250 lei, the OnePlus Nord Buds headphones are easy to recommend to those who are looking for quality headphones, with strong sound and great autonomy. Of course, at this price you give up a smaller box and ANC, but you probably wouldn’t expect such functions from budget products. I can say that of the three new products from OnePlus in the Nord series, I liked them the most. They are launched at a “fair” price for what they offer, unlike the two phones (Nord 2T and Nord CE 2 Lite), which will have to drop in price to be light recommendations.