My expectation from a pair of truly wireless earbuds is rather simple. I need them to be comfortable, fit well into my ears, sound just right for my mood, and have enough battery life to get me through at least the day. 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 is OnePlus’ most affordable TWS and they surprised me with what they offer. Here’s my review of the Nord Buds after using them for a week.
Comfort and fit
Although the Nord Buds retain the form factor popularised by AirPods Pro with a shortened-stem design and silicon tips, they have got a flair of their own. The buds and ear tips are either white or black, and there is a mirrored circular spot on the right and left sides of the headphones where you’ll pinch for controls. You can double-tap with two fingers to pause the music or twice to skip songs. These controls work well when running or exercising. At 4.82g apiece, the Nord Buds are lighter than AirPods Pro and weigh 5.4g. These earbuds also have an IP55 rating, which makes them dust and water-resistant, good enough to use for exercise.
The earbuds are comfortable and they fit into my ears without any pressure. Because the stem is shorter, it helps to stay fixed on the ear, even during brisk walking or intense workouts. There are three sizes of ear tips included in the box. I kept changing the included silicon tip sizes for the perfect fit.
I have used the Nord Buds for a week…and I must say they offer good bass. The OnePlus Nord Buds have 12.4mm drivers which the company says were designed for “deeper bass and crisper, clear sound.” The bass-heavy nature of the earbuds is evident when listening to tracks such as “Starboy” by The Weeknd and “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. The bass is definitely deep but is tighter overall.
I prefer the Nord Buds’ sound over Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2. I am not an audiophile, but an average user who doesn’t really bother about the purest and truest reproduction of a song playing in my ears. The Nord Buds are just fine in the midrange, with vocals sounding clear and natural. The earbuds were quite pleasant when listening to “Safarnama” by Lucky Ali. In short, the sound coming from the Nord Buds was fine, and what I expect from earbuds costing under Rs 3000.
The earbuds’ battery is rated at up to seven hours of straight playback and that extends to 30 hours including the case’s extra juice. The case, although slightly thicker and on the larger side, supports USB-C for charging but lacks wireless charging. It does, however, support fast charging. For example, 10 minutes of charging with the cable are enough to get 5 more hours of battery life.
Good for taking calls but lacks ANC
In the past week, I’ve used the Nord Buds to make regular voice calls and video calls on Zoom and Google Meet. I never heard any of my friends and colleagues on these calls complain about sound quality. The pairing is mostly by Bluetooth. You do have to go into Bluetooth settings on your iPhone or Android and manually connect when you want to switch from one source to another. A far pairing option is also available but you need to have an Android smartphone. OnePlus’ HeyMelody app (available for both Android and iOS) is also available. But at the time of filing the review, the app lacked support for the Nord Buds. Unfortunately, I could test EQ adjustments while testing the Nord Buds.
One thing that is missing from the Nord Buds is the cancellation of background noise. While riding the Delhi Metro, I could hear murmurs from 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 Rs 2,799. I loved them for listening to the Gayatri Mantra or Podcasts in the morning. The only downside is the lack of elimination of external noise, for everything else they are an excellent pair of truly wireless earbuds. Those seeking the best audio experience should look elsewhere. But for those of us who want a general pair of earbuds that offer good overall sound and long battery life, I feel the Nord Buds will fit the bill.