Update: The OnePlus Nord Buds 2r has launched at Rs 2,199 and is now available for purchase from Amazon.in and OnePlus.in (Click on these links to buy now)
OnePlus Nord Buds 2r | A no-brainer TWS earphones from OnePlus
Hey, so I’ve been using the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r for a little over a month now, and here are my thoughts on it. First off, I’m terribly disappointed as a critic in the best way possible. Scratch that. First off, I’m absolutely impressed by the overall experience. I got on board as a part of the OnePlus Audio Test Program and I’ve tried really hard to find issues that could be deal breakers. Of course, my review is with keeping in mind the price segment in which these TWS earphones would be placed. Although the pricing was not mentioned, the Nord lineup is known for its lower pricing as compared to their flagship brethren, however, it does usually pack a lot of value.
Note that the views and opinions mentioned in this review are my own and are unfiltered. Now, let’s break this down. Starting off with what I liked.
Design and Fit
Super compact and lightweight earbuds weighing in at just 4.3g. Let’s not talk numbers. Because these earbuds are super lightweight enough to have it in and just forget about it. Also, they are a snug fit and won’t come out accidentally (even if you headbang).
Clean and minimal design with a reasonably ergonomic fit. My review unit had a smooth matte black finish on the outside with a glossy surface on the inner side of the lid with the rest of the case being mostly matte. The earphones are fairly ergonomic and don’t cause any discomfort during extended periods of usage. Bonus points for the case having a satisfying hinge. IP55 Rating. No, you cannot listen to music underwater but it can withstand a rainstorm and a high-intensity workout. Sweat and accidental water splashes shouldn’t be a concern.
Seamless connectivity with OnePlus devices. During the period of my usage, I’ve used it primarily with OnePlus 10 Pro and my Windows desktop and tested it with the OnePlus Pad as well. The connectivity was consistently seamless between the two OnePlus devices. The desktop experience was also pretty good with my Bluetooth 5.0 adapter. It has run into a couple of pairing and sound issues but overall a decent experience. However, it did have a white noise at all times which was annoying but this could also be a Bluetooth adapter issue at my end since this is not present when connected to my OnePlus 10 Pro. The fast pair (and the pop-up animation) is also very satisfying and worked right out of the box on the first try with the OnePlus 10 Pro. Can quickly switch between 2 paired devices. Switching between the currently connected device and the previously paired device takes less than 2 seconds. Not to mention that it has consistently auto-paired without having to revisit the settings menu in the respective devices. This is especially convenient if you want to use it with your work and personal devices or a smartphone and a desktop. There is also helpful beep feedback in the earphones to help you understand the duration that you need to long press for the function to work. Bluetooth 5.3. Pretty much the newest standard for Bluetooth. Nothing quantitative here from my side but I have not faced any connection drops or random disconnects. At least not that I remember which means the chances are pretty slim.
Battery and Fast charging
OnePlus hasn't advertised anything about fast charging but I am just giving credit where due. It lasts me long enough and charges fast enough for me to not worry about it. The battery is always topped up if you put them back into the case after use. It also lasts up to 8 hours as per OnePlus in a single session which was pretty much in line with my average daily usage ranging from 4-8 hours. It should last up to 38 hours considering the backup in the case.
Surprisingly good audio quality and bass. Understandably this is a budget TWS earbuds and hence my expectations were not a lot to begin with. I was using the Bullets Wireless Z2 prior to testing this which had pretty decent sound quality but barely passable bass. Not that I thought of it back then but now that I have used the Nords 2r, the Bullets Z2 pales a lot in comparison. The Nord Buds 2r just sounds a lot better in terms of bass and has pretty good trebles as well. I'm listening to MKBHD's review of the Dyson headphones while typing out this review and the vocal quality and latency continue to amaze me. I could hear the details in the audio very clearly and even figure out the background noise level differences when the on-screen content changed in LTT videos. The 12.4mm drivers seem to be doing a fine job. It also gets very loud that I have consistently preferred to use it at lower than full volume. The snug fit also helps with increasing the perceived volume as well as offers some level of passive noise isolation.
Excellent low latency. I'm very sensitive to delays in audio while streaming videos and movies but for the first time, I had a very satisfactory experience with the audio remaining in sync with the video with only very negligible latency. The official specifications call it 94ms, and I call it a great experience. So far the best wireless audio experience I've had while streaming content.
Now onto the nitpicking side of things. The following section is not going to be a deal breaker for most users including myself since they are either unseen or impractical in this price segment.
What I disliked:
It is named Nord Buds 2r.
The Microphone. To be fair, it isn’t unusable unless you are traveling and it is windy. Then again, ANC Mics weren’t expected at its price either. If you are looking primarily for a TWS with a good mic in other than quiet environments, this is not likely the product for you but then again, you are unlikely to find great quality mics on TWS earphones in this price segment.
No Multi-Point connectivity / Can’t connect to two devices at the same time. This is usually found only on high-end wireless audio products.
The touch input is flaky. Now, this doesn’t really get a free pass on the basis of the price, I am really hoping that it might be possible to fix this through a software patch but if not, it is again, not a deal breaker. The touch input works the majority of the time without any issues, admittedly with a delay of a fraction of a second but nothing worth complaining about.
If you own a OnePlus device, then this is very likely one of the best budget TWS devices that you can pair it with. I’ve used the Bullets Wireless Z2 and Jays m-Five, the latter of which costs about twice the price, and yet the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r would outperform it in every way. Now if you do not own a OnePlus device, chances are that these are going to run fine anyway with the exception that you might need an extra app to configure it if needed. In my brief time of using the Buds 2r with Nothing Phone 1, it did not show any unexpected behavior and worked well with it. Bottom-Bottom Line? If this is in your budget and you need a TWS primarily for the audio with occasional handling of calls, get it. It’s a no-brainer.
Disclaimer: The Review is unfiltered and all views and opinions are my own. The blog may contain Affiliate links to oneplus.in and amazon.in. If the review or the website has helped you, please consider purchasing through the links on site as it costs you nothing but helps us continue to produce content.