The OnePlus 12 and the OnePlus 12R smartphones and their extremely attractive pricing aren’t the only new products tech brand OnePlus is announcing today. The company also has new active noise-canceling wireless earbuds called the OnePlus Buds 3.
Up until today, OnePlus had three tiers of wireless earbuds: Nord Buds, Buds Z, and Buds Pro. The company is now eliminating the Buds Z brand and simplifying it to just Buds, starting with the new $99.99 Buds 3.
I can’t say for sure how they sound until I’ve tested them, but on paper, the ANC wireless earbuds seem to have almost everything the $179.99 OnePlus Buds Pro 2 have, and then some.
OnePlus Buds 3 Features
Right off the bat, the design of the Buds 3 and its charging case clearly follow the form of the Buds 2 Pro. That is to say, the shape of the buds is very AirPods Pro-esque. The finish is mostly glossy, with squeezable and slide-able controls on the stems of each bud.
Using new “dual dynamic driver units” with a 10.4mm woofer and 6mm tweeter, OnePlus is promising better sound between 15Hz and 40KHz. It’s the usual market speak for better highs, mids, and lows. If you have an audio device that supports Hi-Res Audio and LHDC 5.0 Bluetooth, you’ll be able to enjoy music sampled at 96KHz/24-bit.
The Buds 3 also have up to 49dB of noise cancellation, which is one decibel more than the 48dB of adaptive noise cancellation in the OnePlus Buds Pro. Similar to what you’d find on the AirPods Pro 2 and Nothing Ear 2, the ANC is adaptive to individual ears and automatically adjusts how much noise is blocked depending on the environment.
OnePlus says it’s also improved certain quality-of-life features for the Buds 3. There’s an improved “Audio ID 2.0” feature that can detect sound leakage using the microphones and compensate for it, three mics for clearer calls, and support for low-latency 94ms connections with two devices using Bluetooth 5.3 and Google Fast Pair. The Buds 3 are also IP55 water and dust-resistant, so they’ll work just fine in the rain or at the gym. One QOL feature you won’t find on the Buds 3 is wireless charging.
Compared to the Buds Pro 2, the Buds 3 have longer battery life, with up to 10 hours without ANC versus up to 9 hours. With ANC on, the Buds 3 last up to 6.5 hours compared to the Buds 2 Pro’s 6 hours. With the charging case, total battery life expands to 44 hours without ANC and 28 hours with it turned on. And, of course, the Buds 3 support fast charging, with a 10-minute charge providing up to 7 hours of audio playback.
OnePlus Buds 3 Colors, Release Date, and Price
The OnePlus Buds 3 will be available in two colors, Metallic Gray and Splendid Blue, starting on February 5 for $99.99.
I’ll be honest, it’s hard to go wrong with ANC wireless earbuds above the $100 range. They’ve all become so good in the past few years. But the Buds 3 look like a solid value if you’ve got a OnePlus phone or another Android device. They’re basically better than the Buds Pro 2 in all the ways that matter.