OnePlus Buds are the best alternative to the AirPods yet, especially at half the price

Technology

AirPods are fantastic, but what about all of the Android users out there? Don’t they deserve something just as special?

A new product called the OnePlus Buds might be the best alternative to the AirPods yet. I’ve been testing them out and they deliver a smart, simple, connected experience at a great price.

Let’s start with design: yes, they look a bit copycat, but it works. The case and buds feel high quality. They fit nicely in your ears but aren’t as snug as I’d like. Although they sometimes feel on the verge of falling out, they stayed in my ears most of the time during my testing.

There are touch-sensitive controls on the sides and soon, you’ll be able to customize what they do, at least on OnePlus Android devices. Music pauses when you take them out of your ears and pairing OnePlus Buds with an Android phone is a breeze, just open the case nearby. I was super impressed with this feature.

Additionally, inside the Android controls, you can see battery levels and ring a lost bud.

OnePlus Buds are rated for 4 hours of talk time or 7 hours of music playback. The case charges them too, for a total of 30 hours. There is no wireless charging here but you don’t need it – a 10-minute wired charge will give you 10 hours of use.

The audio sounds excellent, although there isn’t any active noise cancellation. Dolby Atmos support is promised in an impending software update, again, for OnePlus phones.

One downside I discovered during my testing: callers on the other end told me I didn’t sound very good while using the OnePlus buds. They described the sound as coming from a tunnel. When I switched to AirPods, they said the conversation sounded much better.

If you want to hear what the OnePlus Buds sound like, check out the video below. I recorded a phone call with me on the OnePlus Buds, the AirPods, AirPods Pro and a $20 pair of Letsfit earbuds.

Spoiler alert: The AirPods sound best, but the Letsfit might sound better than the OnePlus Buds.

The buds are water and sweat resistant to IPX4, the same as AirPods Pro. They aren’t waterproof or sweatproof.

At $79, the OnePlus buds represent a worthy answer to the AirPods for Android devices and at this price, maybe a few iPhones, too. OnePlus Buds are $79 and go on sale July 27.

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