Nord Buds review: OnePlus has got the formula right for budget earphones

At this price, OnePlus Nord Buds are the best offering in the range. They may not beat others in features, but they certainly do so in quality

Over the years, OnePlus has developed a reputation for itself as the game changer. With its first phone, it brought down the price of flagship offering and gave tough competition to the likes of Samsung and Apple. It has been following the same strategy with regards to its earbuds.

The Z range did not do justice to the OnePlus name, but with its new Nord Buds, it is all set to upend the market.

Design

While most smartphone makers are making an attempt to make things smaller, Nord Buds try to go other way. With the big earring box design, the buds are certainly not an easy carry in pockets. The quality of the plastic is cheap, given the price, but the case follows design patterns from its established peers. There is a connect button in the back and an indicator light upfront. The earphones themselves are not small by any accord. There is a long flat stem that attaches itself to what can some ascribe an Airpods Pro like design. The tips are not as comfortable, as one would want them to be and there is a good chance you may drop them with rigorous exercise.

Sound and call quality

This is where the Nord Buds trump the competition. The audio signatures can match some of the best earphones in the mid-range segment. The sound signature can handle high bases very well, lows, however, are a problem. There is enough bass to get your through peppy numbers.

I listened to “Always Remember Us This Way” from A Star is Born and the speakers could handle the mids and highs very well. There is distortion at top volume, but the price is a problem. The beginning of “Firestone” by Kygo was barely noticeable, so that’s a problem. The audio leak was too much at volumes higher than 80 per cent. The person sitting next to you would know what you are listening to.

Call quality was bad, the audio in was not so much of a problem, but the output was robotic. Not something you would want or expect in 2022. The ambient noise was also too high.

User experience

The touch panel, at the back of each earphone, is too sensitive for operation. In lower end earphones, buttons would work better. Although Bluetooth worked fine, connection issues remained, especially to devices other than OnePlus. The sound signature with OnePlus was better as well. The Bluetooth would not disconnect, even in OnePlus at times it would take time to reconnect. So, there are a lot many software issues that need to be resolved.

Price

At Rs 2,799 there is little you can expect, but Nord Buds beat the competition, at least in terms of sound quality and depth.

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