OnePlus launched its Nord Buds 2 globally at a budget-friendly price of $59 in April. Our team received a gray model for a two-week trial. Here’s our take on the new earbuds.
The Nord Buds 2, may cost $20 more than their predecessors, but they’re still some of the most affordable earbuds on the market and deliver solid audio quality and impressive active noise cancellation (ANC). Equipped with four microphones, the stylish earbuds – also available in white – come with a 12.4mm dynamic titanium driver, a 36-hour battery life, and IP55 water and dust resistance.
Stylish design and comfortable fit
With a stylish look and sustainably sourced materials, the Nord Buds 2 ought to appeal to a younger consumer base. The smooth, eye-catching design is augmented with speckled accents on the buds’ bodies, though at first glance this can be mistaken for specks of dust.
The compact, oval-shaped charging case and earbuds may be made of plastic, but they feel durable. There are three sizes of silicon tips available, the buds weighing 4.7 grams per earpiece, and despite somewhat chubby stems, they sat in my ears comfortably.
The snug fit, combined with an IP55 rating which means they are resistant to light sweat and rain, makes the earbuds suitable for wearing during exercise. Over the fortnight I had them, I walked and jogged with them in and they didn’t fall out.
Audio quality and active noise cancellation
For the price, the Nords Buds 2 deliver a relatively crisp sound quality with clear vocals, soothing treble, and convincing deep bass. The plus-sized 12.4 mm drivers feature a larger diaphragm with titanium coating, meaning users rarely need to turn the volume up beyond 50%.
Impressively, the Nord Buds 2 are the first Nord product with up to 25dB2 of active noise cancellation. While noise-canceling is a standard feature in more expensive wireless earbuds, it is still not common in earbuds costing less than $100. ANC is effective at muting consistent low-frequency sounds, and can block some high-pitch frequencies too, without eliminating them.
A surprising drawback is that the earbuds lack in-ear detection, meaning they are unable to automatically detect if they are being worn or removed.
Battery life and tap controls
The Nord Buds 2 come with a 480 mAh battery that gives you seven hours of usage. With the case, they work for up to 36 hours. However, when using ANC, the battery life is reduced to five hours for the earbuds and 27 hours with the charging case.
The earbuds support fast-charging and can gain five hours more battery life on just a 10 minute charge. Based on our test, the buds can support a two-hour commute every day and only need to be charged once a week.
The Nord Buds 2 come with built-in controls for quick adjustments, such as:
- One tap: Play or pause your music
- Double tap: Skip forward
- Triple tap: Skip backward
- Press and hold: Turn noise-canceling on or off
There is no tap control for volume however, and sometimes you can trigger commands without meaning to: when we went to adjust the earbuds to fit our ears, we accidentally turned off the noise-canceling mode. There is also no option to seamlessly switch between devices while wearing the buds. Each time you change from a laptop to a phone or tablet, you have to reconnect the earbuds, adding a degree of inconvenience.
In general, the Nord Buds 2 are great value at $59. They deliver good sound quality and functional noise-canceling, despite lacking in-ear detection and seamless connectivity.
- Stylish design
- Lightweight and comfortable fit
- Dust and water resistant
- Great audio performance with convincing bass
- Impressive noise-canceling for the price
- Long-lasting battery
- Fast-charging support
- Speckled design looks dusty
- No in-ear detection
- Connectivity issues