OnePlus has slowly but assuredly built a product portfolio that goes far beyond just smartphones as it was originally known for, with audio products forming the backbone of its expansion strategy. Impressively, the audio product range largely follows the same general approach as that of the smartphone range, and the Nord brand has become synonymous with everything that has made OnePlus so popular, but at a reasonable price. The latest product in the OnePlus audio range not only sticks to this philosophy, but also pushes the value proposition even further.
Priced at Rs. 2,999 in India, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 is the successor to the OnePlus Nord Buds (Review) headset which was launched in April 2022. The new earphones are priced only slightly higher, but come with significant improvements to features and specifications, as well as a promise of better performance. I've taken a close look at the new Nord Buds 2 to find out what's new; read on for my first impressions.
Active noise cancellation for less than Rs. 3,000 on the OnePlus Nord Buds 2
The original Nord Buds are notable for the rather unique and adventurous design, and the Nord Buds 2 stick to this while bringing in minor improvements in the colours and textures. You still get a proper in-canal fit on the earphones, and the touch zones are a bit less susceptible to picking up visible grime from frequent handling. The charging case also looks a bit nicer, and is easier to slip into a pocket than that of the original Nord Buds.
The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 takes a big step ahead with the inclusion of one key feature — active noise cancellation. While I haven't been able to fully test this yet, my initial impressions of the ANC are largely in line with what I'd expect to hear on other options in this price segment, such as the Oppo Enco Air 2 Pro earphones. While there is an audible reduction in noise, it isn't effective enough to fully cancel out even simple household sounds, such as the whirring or a ceiling fan.
The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 has a more aggressive approach to the sound
In terms of connectivity, the headset sees some improvements with Bluetooth 5.3, while codec support includes the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. This means that sound quality should be the same across most source devices, although the tuning itself has been tweaked for what is arguably a more entertaining sonic signature. While there's plenty of bass to be heard, there is seemingly an equally forward approach to the treble as well — the sound is both punchy and bright, and seems to change depending on the genre of music.
While it is possible to tweak the equaliser settings through the HeyMelody app, I personally preferred to stick to the balanced EQ preset. This punchy-bright sound did tend to affect the mids a bit, but this usually didn't affect certain tracks too much, and in fact, made tracks from genres such as house and jazz sound a bit more precise and pronounced. I will, of course, talk about the sound quality in more detail in my full review.
OnePlus Nord Buds 2: Worth the price?
It's too soon to make a firm recommendation in this regard, but my initial impressions of the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 are generally positive. The new true wireless earphones also promise a bit more in terms of battery life and app-based features, apart from the promise of better sound that will be suited to the listening preferences of most buyers.
OnePlus has also launched the Nord CE 3 Lite 5G smartphone alongside the Nord Buds 2, and the two devices will likely go well together — if you're looking to buy two new gadgets, that is. Stay tuned to Gadgets360 for our full reviews of both the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 and the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite (Review).
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