OnePlus might be best known for its smartphones, but the Chinese brand has also made a name for itself in the world of true wireless earbuds – and its latest pair could be its most exciting yet.
The OnePlus Nord Buds offer some truly appealing specs at a price we can hardly believe – for just $39, the brand is promising Dolby Atmos support, a 30-hour battery life, and “crystal-clear” calls. Global pricing and release dates are yet to be confirmed, but that works out at around PS30 / AU$55.
Looking like a pair of squashed-down AirPods Pro, the new OnePlus earbuds are the first in-ear headphones in the Nord line and come hot on the heels of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G.
Inside the earbuds are 12.4mm titanium dynamic drivers, which OnePlus says will deliver “rich bass production and razor-sharp treble”. They will sound like the OnePlus Buds Pro and deliver a lively and clear audio performance as well as a large soundstage.
Unlike the Buds Pro, the OnePlus Nord Buds don’t come with active noise cancellation – but that’s reflected in the price. OnePlus’ noise-canceling earbuds cost $149. 99 / PS139 (about AU$210), over three times the price of the Nord Buds.
Stellar specs, bargain price
That low price is why we’re surprised to see that the Nord Buds support Dolby Atmos. Earbuds capable of spatial audio tech like the AirPods 3 are quite expensive. The actual audio engineering necessary to create object-based virtual surround sound tracks is also costly.
We’ll be interested to see how well the Nord Buds fare with Dolby Atmos tracks and movies. They could prove to be a great pair of earbuds, both for movie watching and listening to your favorite music in a more immersive setting.
The Nord Buds should also be fairly long-lasting for a pair of true wireless earbuds at this price, with a total battery life of 30 hours. You get seven hours of playback from the earbuds themselves, with a further 23 hours provided by the charging case. A Flash Charge feature means you can get five hours of playback from a quick 10-minute charge, too.
Calls should sound pretty clear, thanks to four microphones built into the earbuds that are designed to filter out unwanted background noise, AI noise reduction, and a mechanical design that should reduce the sound of wind blowing.
You should be able to use the OnePlus Nord Buds during workouts, as they come with an IP55 dust and water resistance rating, which means they’ll be protected from the odd splash of sweat or rain. OnePlus claims that the earbuds have a hydrophobic coating to protect against corrosion.
As for connectivity? The earbuds will pair to your phone via Bluetooth 5.2, and have an ultra-low latency of 94ms – that means you should have no problem using the earbuds while gaming on your smartphone, with audio and gameplay matched up in sync.
If you have a OnePlus device, you’ll be able to take advantage of super-fast pairing, while those without will need to download the HeyMelody app to get started with the earbuds.
All those specs sound very impressive when you consider how little the OnePlus Nord Buds are set to cost. We are eager to test them out to see if the promises of OnePlus hold true. If they do, then they could be among the most affordable earbuds available.
Olivia is TechRadar’s Senior Editor – Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. She is a TechRadar Senior Editor – Home Entertainment. A popular music graduate, she worked in the industry before finding her passion in journalism. Her previous interviews include BBC Radio 5 Live’s multi-room audio. She also chaired panel discussions about diversity in music festival lineups. Other titles include T3, Stereoboard and Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq and Croco Magazine. Olivia enjoys painting, gardening, and hanging out with her golden retriever Dora and her cat Ethel.