The OnePlus Buds Pro wireless headphones have barely hit the market and yet are already impressing; but can they take the spotlight from the AirPods Pro?

OnePlus Buds Pro stand out with adaptive active noise cancellation (ANC), personalized sound, incredibly powerful charging technology and a luxurious design.

Apple’s AirPods feature adaptive sound, custom fit, effective ANC and efficient integration with all Apple devices.

OnePlus Buds ProAirPods Pro
$149.99 $189.99

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Which is cheaper

The OnePlus Buds Pro is the cheaper of the two, with a price tag of £149. The AirPods Pro are about £100 more expensive, meaning they can cost up to £250. That said, having been on the market for longer, the AirPods Pro are now benefiting from very aggressive promotions at some retailers. We sometimes see their price going below 180€.

Despite this, the OnePlus Buds Pro is still cheaper, but don’t rush into it just yet, because the cheapest can be expensive.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: design  

OnePlus has improved its headphone design skills, and it shows on its Buds Pro. They’re sleeker and thinner with a two-tone finish consisting of matte plastic on the top half and aluminum plating on the stems. They look more premium than the AirPods Pro.

In addition, the OnePlus Buds Pro are IP55 rated, which gives them better resistance to sweat and water. Finally, they have two beautiful colors: Glossy White and Matte Black.

The AirPods Pro, meanwhile, are a subtle upgrade to the original AirPods, with smaller stems, black vents to equalize pressure and IPX4 sweat and water resistance. Hard plastic makes up the frame, though it’s not very durable. Dropping these earbuds from a fairly high height or even stepping on them can break them. Unfortunately, the AirPods Pro are only available in one color: white.

The Buds Pro charging case has a more stylish, compact look and also offers IPX4 protection. The AirPods Pro one is light and easy to carry, but quite fragile and tricky to handle.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: Which is easier to handle

The AirPods Pro were the first to feature force sensors on the earbud shafts, and while a few competitors have tried to replicate them, the Buds Pro is the only one that comes close.

Both earbuds support a wide range of music and call control methods. We count single tap, double tap, and triple tap and finally press and hold.

While the indentation on the AirPods Pro makes handling easy, the flat aluminum cover on the Buds Pro is just as responsive.  On top of that, it’s more robust, so it won’t suffer from wear and tear as quickly as the AirPods Pro sensors.

The in-ear detection is also superb on both models. It allows you to automatically pause content when you remove the earbuds and automatically play them when you put them back on your ears.

Where the AirPods Pro have an advantage is in the voice activation. In addition to being able to manually activate Siri, there is a “Hey Siri” wake word activation to launch Apple’s AI bot and issue voice commands that the software immediately executes. The digital assistant feature on the AirPods Pro can be activated on Android devices via a third-party app such as Assistant Trigger.

The Buds Pro supports Siri, Google Assistant and Bixby. Their microphones are very intelligible, but there is some lag when activating the Assistant feature. Also, there is no way on the Buds Pro to activate the voice assistant by saying “Hey Siri” or “Hey Google” like on the AirPods Pro.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: sound quality

OnePlus has improved its sound profile, which remains warm, but tightens the bass, while putting more emphasis on the mid and high frequencies. The result is a well-balanced sound that works well with most music genres and other content such as videos, podcasts and e-books.

Apple’s adaptive equalizer gives AirPods Pro punchy bass and solid mids. This is ideal for contemporary tracks with rhythmic productions. The highs are pretty average though.

The option to customize the sound is available by going into the iPhone settings and selecting from over 20 presets. In addition, there is a headphone support mode that adapts the sound to your hearing. Having AirPods Pro also means you can share audio with a second pair of Apple or Beats headphones.

Spatial audio is AirPods Pro’s secret weapon. It brings 360-degree effects to video calls, movies and select songs on Apple Music. It also works on a variety of video streaming apps that support multichannel audio, including Vudu, Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Go and Max, Amazon Video and the Apple TV Plus app.

OnePlus does not have a spatial audio mode, but instead a low-latency Fnatic mode that improves audio synchronization for better gaming performance. This is exclusive to OnePlus devices and is renamed to Pro Gaming mode in the upcoming Oxygen OS 12.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: active noise cancellation

The OnePlus Buds Pro outperforms the AirPods Pro when it comes to noise cancellation. It can filter noise levels down to almost 40 dB and comes with three ANC settings: noise cancellation, smart and maximum noise cancellation. The latter is your best ANC option and blocks most ambient noise at a high level.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: features and special applications

Features are abundant on both products, but the AirPods Pro not only have more, but also more exclusive ones. All these features are related to the H1 chip. We can mention features such as audio sharing between multiple headphones, spatial audio, eartip fit test, equalizer selection, “Hey Siri” voice integration and so on.

It doesn’t stop there either. Add automatic switching, the ability to control the headphones from a MacBook. There’s no denying the AirPods offer an impressive arsenal of features.

An upcoming iOS 15 update will bring even more features. These will include announcement notifications for audible reminders, a conversation boost to better hear voices during chats, expanded spatial audio support for Apple TV and Mac and true Find My support for lost AirPods.

OnePlus has equipped the Buds Pro with its own software perks, accessible via the OnePlus Buds app via OnePlus smartphones or the HeyMelody app on iPhone or other Android smartphones. These features include audio identification, headphone fit testing, noise cancellation settings and Zen Air mode, among others.

Multipoint technology for connecting a pair of headphones to two devices simultaneously was not mentioned in the spec sheet for either product.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: call quality

The AirPod Pro is known as one of the best earphones for voice and video calls. Apple’s beam-forming microphones limit background noise and capture voices with clarity and precision. Wind resistance is impressive, allowing you to have conversations in gusty conditions.

The Buds Pro is sufficient for voice and video calls, but indoors. Cuts and choking do happen sometimes, but it’s even worse outdoors.

OnePlus Buds ProAirPods Pro
$149.99 $189.99

OnePlus Buds Pro vs AirPods Pro: Battery life

OnePlus says a full charge will give you 5 hours of use with active noise cancellation. But taking into account other variables such as volume, this battery life drops to 4 hours or 4.5 hours.

The AirPods Pro are in the same range. They offer a maximum of 4.5 hours.

Battery life can be extended on either of these earbuds by turning down the music volume or disabling their special features. When you disable ANC on the Buds Pro, their battery life increases from 5 to 7 hours. On the AirPods, it goes from 4 to 5 hours.

The AirPods case offers a maximum of 24 hours of battery life and the OnePlus Buds Pro case offers 38 hours.

But where OnePlus clearly dominates Apple is in the speed of charging the headphones. Charging your Buds Pro for 10 minutes with their Warp Charge technology gives you 10 hours of battery life. On the AirPods, with 5 minutes you get a meager hour of listening time.

In the end, the pair of headphones you choose will depend on your specific needs. Even if it appears that the OnePlus Buds Pro which costs 100€ less than the AirPods Pro is the best choice, Apple product holders should choose the product from the same manufacturer.

Read also:

When and how to clean your headphones and their case

JLab Go Air Pop: The best headphones under 40 euros

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