OnePlus and Apple sell flagship headphones with the OnePlus Buds Pro and AirPods Pro, respectively, but which pair is the best buy overall? As is often the case with true wireless headphone comparisons, much of that answer is determined by someone’s priorities. There are countless hearing aid options available today and because of that it is often possible to find a pair of hearing aids that will meet all of a buyer’s specific wants / needs. However, the right pair of headphones for one person may not be the best option for another.
Apple began its wireless headphone journey in 2016 when it released the original AirPods. Although they faced some initial criticism, they have since become one of Apple’s most popular products. AirPods Pro debuted a few years later in 2019, offering improved features across the board for a bit more cash. OnePlus didn’t start its headphone journey until 2020, with the Buds Pro announced in July 2021 and set to go on sale in September.
In terms of design, OnePlus Buds Pro and AirPods Pro have a lot in common. The shape of the earbuds is nearly identical to each other, with a short stem, oval top, and customizable ear pads. Both are available in white, although the OnePlus Buds Pro also come in an understated matte black. Where the design differs a bit is with the charging case. The AirPods Pro sit vertically in their case, while the Buds Pro lie flat. Both cases can be charged with Qi wireless chargers, but when it comes to a wired connection, there is another difference: a Lightning port is used for AirPods Pro and USB-C for OnePlus Buds Pro.
Looking beyond aesthetics, the OnePlus Buds Pro pair with AirPods Pro in a big way by featuring active noise cancellation. OnePlus says Buds Pro can block up to 40 dB of sound, and the headphones also automatically adapt the intensity of their ANC based on nearby noises. AirPods Pro “continuously adapt to the geometry of your ear“and have been touted as having one of the best noise-canceling results on the market. The AirPods Pro also go one step further by including transparency mode, which allows someone to hear their surroundings as if they weren’t wearing headphones. Unfortunately, , is something that the OnePlus Buds Pro lack.
On the sound quality side, the OnePlus Buds Pro and AirPods Pro are pretty close even. Although Apple doesn’t mention the size of the controller for AirPods Pro, Apple touts things like “powerful bass” Y “Incredibly clear sound.” OnePlus does something similar, touting the OnePlus Buds Pro for having “throbbing bass” Y “rich treble” with its 11mm drivers. AirPods Pro and OnePlus Buds Pro support Dolby Atmos for more immersive listening, but once again Apple goes a step further. When watching compatible videos or listening to songs on Apple Music (on iOS 15), AirPods Pro pairs Dolby Atmos with head tracking for a listening experience like no other.
Then there are all the other comparisons. When it comes to battery life, the AirPods Pro offer up to 24 hours of listening time, while the OnePlus Buds Pro have up to 38 hours. The AirPods Pro use Bluetooth 5.0, the OnePlus Buds Pro have Bluetooth 5.2, the AirPods Pro have an IPX4 water resistance rating, and the OnePlus Buds Pro have IP55. All of that makes the starting price of $ 149 for the OnePlus Buds Pro Really compelling, especially compared to the AirPods Pro’s $ 249 MSRP. At the end of the day, though, the earbuds someone picks is likely to come down to the phone they’re using. OnePlus Buds Pro uses Android Fast Pair to seamlessly connect to an Android device, while AirPods Pro works magically with Apple devices, offering instant pairing, device switching, audio sharing, and more. For someone with an Android phone, the OnePlus Buds Pro are a really attractive package. They’re stylish, packed with iconic features, and reasonably priced for what they add. AirPods Pro are much better suited to Apple users, and for iPhone fans who can’t justify the cost, they’ll be better off getting the $ 149 Beats Studio Buds.
Next: How AirPods Transparency Mode Works