Well tuned for an attractive price
True wireless earphones are making inroads in the sub-Rs 3,000 category, with brands like Redmi, Oppo, Realme and OnePlus consistently launching decent products. With a variety of TWS to choose from, buyers are keen to transition away from wired headphones and wireless neckbands. We got our hands on the OnePlus Nord Buds CE and have been using them for a few weeks. Does this TWS have what it takes to compete in this highly charged category? Read our OnePlus Nord Buds CE review to find out.
Read also: Oppo Enco Buds 2 review: Not missing!
OnePlus Nord Buds CE review: Design
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Inside the box, you’ll find a USB Type-C charging cable, a user manual, a brand sticker and a red cable club welcome card along with the wireless headphones. The charging case is made of plastic and has a glossy texture. We were quite skeptical about the case being a fingerprint magnet, but after two weeks of consistent use, we’re happy to report that the case holds up well to fingerprints and scratches.
The overall construction is satisfactory, but does not inspire much confidence in its strength. The Pebble case has a flip-top lid that could have been a little sturdier. However, the design is very compact and portable. There are no complaints. The headset is available in two colors – Moonlight White and Misty Grey. We used the latter for this review.
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The design of the charging case is clean and minimal. The USB charging port is located at the bottom, while the notification light finds its way just under the lid. The OnePlus brand is embossed in gray in the center of the case. The headphones are equipped with a stem and do not come with silicone tips. The open design is something we like because it’s easy on the ears and you can wear the buds for longer periods of time.
The headphones are IPX4 rated, which means they are resistant to splashing water. With the OnePlus Nord Buds CE, you can exercise comfortably without worrying about the buds getting damaged. However, there is always a risk that the earcups will slip out due to excessive sweating.
The touch sensors are located on the stem and work exceptionally well. We’re used to a lot of accidental touches when using TWS in various categories, but the Nord Buds CE does a great job of actually detecting touches. Touch controls can be customized with the Hey Melody app.
OnePlus Nord Buds CE review: Performance
Equipped with 13.4mm dynamic drivers, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE offer decent audio performance. The headphones take no time to pair with your device and stay connected within a range of 10-15 meters. Multiple devices cannot be paired with the headset. But that’s something you rarely find with TWS in this category.
Moving on to the sound profile, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE definitely does not disappoint. We listened to a range of genres, from hyperpop to classic rock, and the performance was consistent throughout. The mid and low frequencies are not lost in the background and the bass blends quite well with the overall sound. However, we felt that the clarity of the sound could use a little more work, as some recordings sounded muffled and boxy. This was more pronounced at higher volumes.
Listening to podcasts was a pleasant experience with the OnePlus Nord Buds CE. The harsher frequencies were smoothed out and the sound output was well rounded. Thanks to the comfortable design, you can listen to a podcast for hours without taking out the headphones. The same goes for voice calls. There were very few glitches or delays in audio quality during a voice call.
The buds are equipped with a microphone on each stem and use AI noise reduction to preserve sound quality. We still recommend using the microphone in quieter conditions, as the AI noise reduction does not work as effectively in environments with a lot of background noise.
OnePlus claims that the headphones have a battery life of 4.5 hours and another 20 hours in the case. We had about 3.5 hours to fully charge.
Battery backup is also dependent on volume level, so if you don’t exceed 50-60% you’ll get the promised 4.5 hours. The charging case was good enough to charge the headphones 4 times before needing to be plugged in. Overall, we were quite happy with the battery performance.
HeyMelody app offers a lot of pre-set headphone equalizer options. These include Bass (default), Balanced, Serenade, and Gentle. If you want to use the headphones while playing games, you can even switch to a low latency mode of 94ms. We tested the game mode while playing Call of Duty Mobile, as the audio synced perfectly with the video and enhanced the gaming experience. The HeyMelody app also allows you to customize the touch controls on the stem (as shown in the image).
Read also: Sony WH-1000XM5 review: The sound speaks for itself
If you’re looking for a pair of wireless headphones for casual listening, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE are a great entry-level product. However, if you’re an audiophile who wants a detailed sound profile, we recommend looking outside of this category. The OnePlus Nord Buds CE deliver what is expected from a standard affordable TWS. The Rs 1,899 price tag definitely works in its favor as there aren’t many TWS in this price range that can perform better than the OnePlus Nord Buds CE.
Receiver touch control
Lack of sound clarity at higher volumes
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