My expectation for a pair of truly wireless earbuds is pretty simple. I need them to be comfortable, fit well in my ears, sound great for my mood, and have enough battery life to get me through the day at least. At the same time, I want them to cost less than what I paid for a pair of Pepe Jeans last summer. The Nord Buds are OnePlus’ most affordable TWS and they surprised me with what they offer. Here is my review of the Nord Buds after using them for a week.
Comfort and fit
Although the Nord Buds retain the form factor popularized by the AirPods Pro with a shortened stem design and silicone tips, they have their own style. The buds and ear tips are either white or black, and there’s a mirrored circular dot on the right and left sides of the earbuds where you’ll pinch for controls. You can double tap with two fingers to pause music or double tap to skip songs. These controls work well when running or exercising. At 4.82g each, the Nord Buds are lighter than the AirPods Pro and weigh 5.4g. These headphones also have an IP55 rating, which makes them dust and water resistant, good enough to use for exercise.
The headphones are comfortable and fit my ears without any pressure. Because the stem is shorter, it helps stay attached to the ear, even during brisk walking or intense workouts. Three sizes of ear tips are included in the box. I kept changing the included silicone tip sizes for the perfect fit.
I’ve been using the Nord Buds for a week…and I have to say they deliver great bass. The OnePlus Nord Buds have 12.4mm drivers which the company says were designed for “deeper bass and crisper, clearer sound”. The bass-heavy nature of the headphones is evident when listening to tracks such as “Starboy” by The Weeknd and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. The bass is certainly deep but is tighter overall.
I prefer the sound of the Nord Buds to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2. I’m not an audiophile, but an average user who doesn’t really care about the purest, most faithful reproduction of a song playing in my ears. The Nord Buds are very good in the midrange, with clear and natural vocals. The headphones were quite pleasant when listening to “Safarnama” by Lucky Ali. In short, the sound coming from the Nord Buds was good, and what I expect from headphones costing less than Rs 3000.
The headphones’ battery is rated for up to seven hours of direct playtime and that extends to 30 hours including extra juice from the case. The case, while slightly thicker and taller, supports USB-C for charging but lacks wireless charging. It does, however, support fast charging. For example, 10 minutes of charging with the cable is enough to obtain 5 hours of autonomy in addition.
Good for taking calls but lacks ANC
Over the past week, I’ve used the Nord Buds for regular voice and video calls on Zoom and Google Meet. I never heard any of my friends and colleagues on these calls complain about the sound quality. Pairing is mostly done via Bluetooth. You need to go to your iPhone or Android’s Bluetooth settings and manually connect when you want to switch between sources. A remote pairing option is also available but you must have an Android smartphone. OnePlus’ HeyMelody app (available for Android and iOS) is also available. But at the time of the review filing, the app lacked support for the Nord Buds. Unfortunately, I was able to experiment with the EQ settings while testing the Nord Buds.
One thing the Nord Buds lack is background noise cancellation. While riding the Delhi metro, I could hear the murmurs of a group of teenagers standing next to me.
Are the OnePlus Nord Buds worth it?
These OnePlus Nord Buds are pretty good for the price. I mean they only cost 2,799 rupees. I liked them to listen to the Gayatri Mantra or Podcasts in the morning. The only downside is the lack of external noise cancellation, for everything else they make a great pair of truly wireless headphones. Those looking for the best audio experience should look elsewhere. But for those of us who want a pair of general headphones that offer good overall sound and long battery life, I think the Nord Buds will do the trick.