OnePlus's new active noise canceling truly wireless Buds Pro are now formally A Thing — but not a thing you can get right now. They promise to muffle up to 40dB of noise, pipe sound courtesy of two 11mm drivers, support Dolby Atmos and Bluetooth 5.2 (with latency as low as 94ms), last for up to 38 hours with the bundled charging case, and they fast charge up to 10 hours of playtime off just a 10-minute charge. That's a decent list of specs, and the nearly rock-bottom price of $150 could be a good value — if they work well.
|Battery||"Up to 38 hours" w/ charging case|
|Charging||OnePlus's proprietary Warp Charge, Qi wireless charging|
|Misc.||94ms minimum latency in "Pro Gaming mode," Dolby Atmos, OnePlus Audio ID|
Like most headphone announcements, OnePlus has a bunch of grand claims about hearing things you wouldn't otherwise and how good they sound. Earbuds are often more about execution than pure specification, but the hardware that's been revealed so far doesn't look too bad. Between the decent-sized dual-drivers and somewhat high "up to" 40dB rating for noise cancellation, OnePlus's Buds Pro seem decent on paper, and they enjoy the company's fast-charging protocol, which could be a killer feature.
Most of us with wireless buds have known the dissatisfaction of reaching for them on the way out the door only to find the battery is dead, knowing they'll take too long to charge before you have to split. OnePlus's Warp Charge is among the fastest charging solutions you can get right now, and while I'm sure the Buds Pro won't top up at the same blistering 65W speed the 9 Pro does, the company does promise up to 10 hours of playtime off a 10-minute charge.
The question of general value is a tricky one. OnePlus isn't the first company to release an ANC earbud at this price, as the recently released Beats Studio Buds can attest to, so OnePlus isn't spanking the competition on pure price as it once did. But most of the premium ANC TWEs on the market these days MSRP north of $200, and sometimes as high as $400-500. If these are good (and it's a big "if" given the state of the company these days), they could be a good deal at $150.
Of course, we can't talk about OnePlus earbuds without mentioning that former OnePlus exec/founder Carl Pei's new company is also planning a set of truly wireless noise-canceling earbuds set to cost just $99. We know very little about them despite the constant drip-fed teasing, but they could beat OnePlus on value if they're any good — another big "if."
My advice? Wait and see for reviews on both. And you've got some time to wait.
We're told the OnePlus Buds Pro will be available for $150 stateside on September 1st.