I usually have low expectations from budget earbuds. I expect them to be bass-focused with mids and treble suffering. But that is not the case with the OnePlus Nord Buds 2, while them still being bass-heavy. They are easily one of the most improved products from OnePlus. The Nord Buds 2 also feature active noise cancellation (ANC) alongside good battery life and connectivity. Here’s what you need to know about the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 if you’re in the market for a pair of earbuds under Rs 3,000.

OnePlus Nord Buds 2 feature a lightweight design in the form of two 4.7-gram earpieces and a 37.5-gram charging case. The case seems bulky and big, and you might have trouble fitting it in your pocket with your wallet or phone, but it fits well in the small pockets of my backpack. Speaking of the earpieces, they fit well in my ear. I walked and jogged with them in my ears and they didn’t fall out even once. Most earbuds fit well in my ear canal, but these are extra comfortable.

The touch controls are responsive, and in my week-long usage, there was no occasion when the earbuds refused to respond. At Rs 2,999, it’s hard to get multipoint connectivity on a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, and the Nord Buds 2 are no exception. You don’t get the option to connect two devices simultaneously.

They come in two color options, white and gray. I have the gray version, and the slight dual-tone design adds to the personality of the device. The Nord Buds 2 are IP55 rated for dust and water resistance, so wearing them during workouts shouldn’t be a problem. At the back of the case lies a USB-C port for charging and a Bluetooth toggle button for pairing. You get three pairs of silicone ear tips and a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. Like other earbuds in this price range, you don’t get wireless charging on the Nord Buds 2.

The buds feature a flat stem design, which you can tap once to play/pause, tap twice to go to the next track, tap thrice for the previous track, and press and hold to activate ANC. Unfortunately, there is no volume control option out of the box or from the app, so you’ll have to reach the audio source to adjust the volume.

You can customize the controls from the HeyMelody app, which for some reason didn’t detect the Nord Buds 2 on the iPhone but works fine on Android phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, OnePlus 11 or Xiaomi 13 Pro. The app is fairly simple to use. You can view and adjust noise control, add voice assistant (Google Assistant or Siri) to the mix, choose from some equalizer presets, check for firmware updates, and toggle game mode apart from adjusting the controls to your liking.

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The OnePlus Nord Buds 2 feature 12.4mm dynamic drivers and a 20-20,000Hz frequency range with two microphones on each earbud. They support SBC and AAC audio codecs and Dolby Atmos alongside OnePlus Fast Pair feature. These feature better sound quality than their predecessors.

The Nord Buds 2 offer bass-heavy sound. The lower frequencies are prominent but in a comfortable-to-hear way and not in a thumping way. You don’t lose out on the details in mids and treble just because of the aggressive bass – something that was happening on the original Nord Buds.

The vocals are pleasant on the default balanced preset. You’ll enjoy listening to podcasts on these. I like that while the mid-range doesn’t stand out, it isn’t pushed back by the bass. And the same goes for high frequencies. You get better, sharper highs than their predecessors.

If you don’t like the default tuning, you can change it within the HeyMelody app. The Bold preset is meant to bring down the bass and bring more focus to the treble, but I don’t like it because it can get too sharp at high frequencies. On the other hand, the BassWave setting enhances the bass even more. However, I prefer the out-of-the-box Balanced preset.

The Nord Buds 2 feature surprisingly good mics as well. You sound natural, and there is minimal background noise. If you are on voice calls all day, these should be your pick. Coming to noise cancellation, it’s not impressive. The ANC on OnePlus Nord Buds 2 is average. It doesn’t do much to suppress the airplane buzz or the traffic noise. However, you get good passive noise cancellation due to the design of the earbuds.

The Nord Buds 2 also feature a low-latency mode. It comes into effect automatically if you’re using a OnePlus phone as the audio source, but you have to toggle it using the app when using other phones. It’s really good. I wasn’t able to switch it on on the iPhone because again, the HeyMelody app didn’t detect the earbuds in the first place.

OnePlus says that the Nord Buds 2 can last up to 5 hours on a single charge. At 60-70% volume with ANC on, I was continuously able to get almost 5 hours of playback, which is good. It can be further extended with ANC off. The case adds four more cycles to this. If you’re in a hurry with no battery on the earbuds, a 10-minute charge can give you around 2 hours of playback with ANC on.

OnePlus Nord Buds 2 are really good for the price

At Rs 2,999 in India, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 are easy to recommend because of the good sound, added ANC (although minimal in functionality), great battery life, and excellent mics for the price.

If you’re an iPhone user, you’ll not get app support. I enjoyed using these with my iPhone because I was satisfied with the Balanced preset and default controls but that might not be the case with you. However, if you are an Android user looking for a pair of earbuds for voice calls that also serve well when playing music or listening to podcasts, you should look at the Nord Buds 2.

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