Apple AirPods are everywhere these days. You can’t walk down the street without seeing someone trying to solve a true crime mystery podcast, calling a friend, or bopping to a favourite playlist with the trademark all-white earbuds. Unsurprisingly, this fact has also been noticed by other tech companies who have desperately tried to launch an alternative that tempts away customers from the lure of AirPods.
Samsung has its battery life behemoths, the Galaxy Buds+, Google has Pixel Buds, which include a live translation feature to talk to people abroad without the need to constantly check Google Translate, and Microsoft has the Surface Earbuds, which let you swipe through a PowerPoint presentation using the touch surface on the side of each ‘bud. No, seriously.
And now, Apple AirPods have one more rival to contend with – OnePlus Buds.
Alongside the more affordable OnePlus Nord smartphone launched yesterday afternoon, OnePlus debuted its first true wireless earbuds. According to the Shenzhen-based company, the OnePlus Buds are designed to deliver high-quality audio and “wireless freedom for a more immersive on-the-go sound experience”.
Design-wise, OnePlus Buds look eerily similar to the Apple AirPods. There are no interchangeable silicone tips to create a seal in your ear, something we’ve seen with OnePlus’ previous wireless headphone range – known as the Bullets Wireless. Instead, this is a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s fine, as long as the one size really does fit all.
There’s no noise-cancellation, but OnePlus Buds really stand out from the crowd thanks to the sheer amount of battery life available. A full charge along with the included charging case offers up to 30 hours of music playback with the Buds. And when you do need to top-up the battery, it shouldn’t take long at all.
OnePlus has fitted its earbuds with the Warp Charge speedy charging technology pioneered with its flagship smartphone. A brief 10-minute charge of the OnePlus Buds in the case is enough to deliver 10 hours of audio.
For comparison, Apple says a 15-minute charge is enough to top-up the AirPods with five-hours of listening time. Samsung hasn’t touted any specifics for the Galaxy Buds Plus, which currently hold the Gold Medal for longest battery life with 11-hours of continuous listening time in each ‘bud before a recharge, however, only offers a couple of hours after a 15-minute charge on its standard, non-Plus Galaxy Buds variant.
- Samsung’s Galaxy Buds could finally match Apple’s AirPods
The OnePlus Buds also come with an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means the ‘buds can handle splashes of water from any direction – so don’t worry if you get caught out in the rain while listening to music, or get sweaty on the treadmill while wearing them.
With three active microphones built into each bud to reduce ambient noise, OnePlus says it has designed the Buds to “pick up vocal frequencies easily and produce clear and crisp voice recordings and calls”. In addition to enhanced 13.4mm dynamic drivers, the OnePlus Buds also come with Bass Boost and Dolby Atmos support in order to produce cleaner vocals, deeper bass and richer tones.
OnePlus Buds cost £79 – half the price of rivals ‘buds from Google and Apple – and are available to pre-order right now.
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