OnePlus does not only offer a few headphones under the main brand. The OnePlus Nord series now also has its own accessories, including the OnePlus Buds Nord. Titan drivers, game mode and long battery life sound promising. We are into these new TWS earbuds today and putting them through their paces.
The inner packaging has come up with some variety, but basically it is a fairly simple packaging with the following content:
- Pair of Nord Buds
- Charging case
- 3x silicon ear tips (S, M, L)
- USB charging cable
- User guide
- Safety and Warranty card
- Nord emoji sticker x1
|6-band equaliser for custom presets||No aptX support|
|Good fit in the ear||No ANC|
|Dolby Atmos at a budget|
|Strong battery life|
|SBC, AAC & BT 5.2|
|Country of Origin||China|
|Type||In the Ear|
|Bluetooth Range||10 m|
|Additional Features||IP55 Rated, Fast Charge|
|Frequency Response||20 Hz (Min) – 20 KHz (Max)|
|Driver Unit||12.4 mm|
|Other Features||Active Noise Cancellation|
|Battery||30 hours With Charging Case|
|Battery Life||7 hours|
|Charging Time||1.5 hours|
OnePlus has long made the most of what is available in the mid-range price bracket. Both smartphones and the devices they supply are covered by this. The Nord Buds are no different, either, and are sold for a reasonable $39.
OnePlus, you shouldn’t anticipate expensive earbuds for that purpose. However, you at least get a unique design. The basic concept is possibly inspired by a straightforward chopstick design.
However, the speaker housing for the Nord Buds has an oval form put on it and is 25 mm in length, 12 mm in width, and 5 mm in depth. The individual earbud is 28 mm long, 20 mm wide, and 18 mm deep.
A tightly woven aluminium grille surrounds the 4 x 6 mm loudspeaker output, providing protection. Above this and positioned in-between the plug apertures is a coarser rubber grid.
In the Nord Buds, OnePlus does not include a proximity sensor, but there are at least two micros: a pressure equalisation region that is also covered by a grid, and the principal micro, which is located at the bottom end of the handle.
The contact area is one millimetre taller, chrome-plated and located on the outside of the oval handle. The screen faintly resembles a camera module. The station proves to be a lot more potent than the buds. Its dimensions are 67 x 35 x 27 mm (L x W x H), making it an oval shape as well.
The OnePlus writing is on the lid, which is nearly unadorned. The USB-C connector and the neatly framed pairing and reset buttons are on the back, far below, and are both perfectly framed.
The assignment is absent from the buds, but right and left are marked inside with red dots. The base locations are spacious enough to accommodate the buds with various attachments.
Molded foam is perfect for use and only causes issues during the largest expansion stage. The earphones may be put in and taken out easily at the same time. When the lid is fully open or closed with a tight snap, magnets keep the headphones in place.
The required details, including the station’s charging state, are displayed on an LED that is mounted on the outside and in the centre of the front. It’s to save on processing if there’s anything you can hold against OnePlus. The station and earphones have a few sharp edges, but they are not everywhere. There aren’t any overly wide gaps either. But you take odd turns when it comes to colour.
The earphones come in two colors: white and black (Black Slate). However, the package likely conceals a small surprise. There are three different colours for the cardboard inside, and the wording and stickers that come with it vary correspondingly.
As always, excellent wearing comfort is advertised. OnePlus also includes the usual three sizes of plugs. The fact that an angular shape is not made for ears is shown by the actual loudspeaker housing, which has the conventional ergonomic shape.
The low weight of the buds (4.9 grams) is well distributed over the contact surface and is hardly noticeable. Even with rough movements, the headphones stay in place. Jogging or the like shouldn’t be a problem.
The station looks a bit different; although it is not heavy at 42 grams, it is a bit bulky due to its shape and height. This is not noticeable in large bags, but it is in the trouser pocket.
There is no need to worry about water protection, and even dust is kept out of the system quite effectively, thanks to an IP55 shield. At the station, however, you should save on both, as they offer no protection whatsoever.
OnePlus has actually always built some special features into its earbuds. Sometimes it is LDHC support, sometimes particularly large drivers, or both. The Nord Buds Pro are looking a bit lean. The only highlights are the equalizer and the rather large 12.4 mm drivers with titanium coating. The whole thing is combined with Bluetooth 5.2 and AAC as the highest possible codec. ANC is not available. Whether that’s enough to get a clean and powerful sound remains to be seen.
Let us now come to the point at which everything ultimately stands or falls. With the sound, OnePlus has made a rather positive impression in the past. The headphones have always performed well. Can this be repeated for the Nord series? The test was carried out in the “powerful” sound profile, as this is the default. More on that in a moment.
A first listening impression answers this question with a “yes“. The OnePlus Nord Buds look very balanced. Basses are concise and can deliver what is expected in many areas.
In longer sessions, small discrepancies spread. With particularly crisp basses, they sometimes reach their limits. Without the sound being distorted, you notice that the drivers are running out of breath towards the top.
Also worth mentioning are the clean highs, which remain surprisingly clear in most applications, but here too, the last little bit at the upper end of the scale is missing. At the same time, however, a good performance is achieved with complex passages. Mids are flawless, and voices are always reproduced cleanly.
The stereo division also works great, sometimes even suggesting a stage. They deliver a good, interesting sound experience, but cannot compete with more expensive devices. The icing on the cake is still missing everywhere. In the range of up to $39, however, the oval earbuds cut a fine figure and are mainly convincing due to their wide range of applications. Because even if they are not necessarily the savior in all matters, they still cover a wide range of possible uses, which should primarily pick up the “occasional listener.”
By the way, the game mode is not worth mentioning with a delay of more than 94 ms. This is much better with competition.
OnePlus has been using different sound profiles for its headphones for a long time. There are Balanced, Powerful, Serenade, and Bass in the pre-selection.
In the meantime, most manufacturers have put aside complicated pairing procedures. The OnePlus Nord Buds also make it as easy as possible for the user. If the housing is opened and the earbuds are thereby activated, they immediately end up in pairing mode and can be called up via the Bluetooth menu. If you have a more recent OnePlus smartphone, down to the OnePlus 6, the headphones are also suggested for connection via a fast pair .
Once connected, you can start right away. Audio outputs only sound in the form of short signals. A short extra gaming sound is played for the game mode. Of course, the buds are operated via the chrome-plated touch surface. The standard looks like this:
- Tap L/R once: pause/play
- Double tap L/R: Next track
- Triple tap L/R: Previous track
- Hold L/R for 2 seconds. Assistant
- When calling, tap L/R twice. When answering, hang up.
- Press and hold L/R for 3 seconds when calling: Reject
If you want, you can adjust the assignment for the audio control in the app. The controls for calls are fixed. However, it is not possible to select a volume adjustment.
OnePlus typically works to satisfy all parties. Although the devices are specialised, they have numerous uses. Now, the Nord Buds don’t exactly prioritise excellent voice quality. Two microphones per earbud must be sufficient.
Although the options are not particularly overwhelming, things could be worse. Although it sounds a little tinny, your own voice is transmitted quite clearly. The noise reduction is occasionally insufficient.
In particular, particularly other voices are sometimes transmitted quite loudly. Continuous sources of interference, however, are effectively muted. In my opinion, the OnePlus Nord Buds are suitable for routine phone calls.
They might not be sufficient for hour-long sessions, but they are always adequate for the calls in between. The earbuds’ range, however, does not appear to be as promising. In an open area, a maximum of 15 metres is possible.
The range can occasionally drop to 7-8 metres inside an apartment where there is a wall separating the host device and the earbuds.
linking to This is well-thought-out. OnePlus relies on the expertise of a third party when it comes to app linking for the earbuds. This is a bit unusual for a company that has become particularly well known for the well-thought-out software of smartphones. The name of the app doesn’t have much in common with the usual scheme.
Nevertheless, the app is quite successful and manageable. You can connect the earbuds directly without having to create an account. After granting a few permissions that don’t suggest anything unusual, the app will usually find the earbuds on its own if they’re already paired and suggest pairing if they aren’t.
The usual suspects can then be found in the app. Firmware updates , equalizer , battery level indicators, and a button for game mode . Then on the second page is the customization for the controls . And on page 3 there is the general information about the app, as well as a list of all supported devices, which includes not only headphones from OnePlus, but also a whole range of OPPO headphones.
In general, OnePlus promotes its products with positive battery claims. 7 nonstop hours. With the charging case, 30 hours is a lot of time.
Although not at 50% volume, the 7 hours are most definitely conceivable. The OnePlus Nord Buds are already fairly loud at 50%, which is a benefit but also ensures that 5.5 hours is much closer to reality. There is no ANC as a battery hog. Even so, it wasn’t a record-breaker. The total of 30 hours that ought to be feasible also fits this yield better.
The runtime decreases by about 30 minutes at 70–80 percent volume, which translates to good scaling.
Although the OnePlus Nord Buds are not particularly provocative, they do have a strong foundation, both sonically and visually. Even though the design is unremarkable, it is at least unique.
There is no denying the buds have a certain allure. Even though there are differences when using the equaliser, they sound good when playing. The feature set, however, falls a little short of what one might anticipate from the OnePlus name.
Neither an audio codec that stands out from the competition nor features that other manufacturers don’t provide are feasible. On the other hand, OnePlus only offers the Nord Buds the most fundamental set of features. No ANC, wearer detection, or hearing enhancement with adaptive technology.
The Nord Buds are still good headphones, but not great ones, as some of that may have been saved for a future Pro model. Although there are many earbuds available, the Nord Buds have a distinct sonic advantage over many rivals. Therefore, you get a lot and a little on offer for $39.