The OnePlus Buds 3 look like impressively Pro wireless earbuds for their affordable price

A hand holding the case of the OnePlus Buds 3
(Image credit: Future)

Alongside a new flagship smartphone, the OnePlus Buds 3 have made their global debut, delivering performance on par with (in some cases, better than) the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. And the kicker is they’re cheaper than the older model.

We first learned about the devices via a leak from early January. As it turns out, that leak got a lot of things correct. The official specs sheet confirms each half will come equipped with a 6mm tweeter alongside a 10.4mm woofer. Battery life on the Buds 3 is set for 44 hours with the charging case. Without the case, they're expected to last 10 hours on a single charge. Many of the features hinted at in the initial report will be present. This includes 3D Sound enabling spatial audio, LHDC 5.0 codec support for “low latency streaming”, as well as Google Fast Pair for quick connectivity.

So far, everything is lining up with the leak. However, the earlier report failed to go into detail on how robust some of the features, such as adaptive noise cancellation (ANC), can be on the OnePlus Buds 3.

OnePlus Buds 3

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Blocking out the world

We're specifically highlighting the Buds 3's ANC because it seems the company designed them to be particularly powerful. According to OnePlus, it can block out up to 99.6 percent of outside noise. That number seems to be the result of several technologies working in unison. 

The ANC alone can handle up to 49 dB of noise, according to OnePlus. It’s then supported by an “intelligent algorithm” called Smart Scene Noise Cancellation. What it does is analyze the ambient sound in your current location and then adjust the ANC accordingly. A demonstration of this tech can be found on the OnePlus Buds 3 product page and it’s admittedly impressive.

It starts by playing audio of a busy city street with cars honking and people talking loudly. Upon activation, the street becomes completely muffled as you can barely hear the outside environment. In another demo, a rumbling subway train turns to whispers. There are three levels to the ANC – Mild, Moderate, and Max. You can swap between them at any time if you ever want to tweak the feature's strength.

Additionally, OnePlus claims the earbuds’ ANC will scan “the shape of your ear canal” to better block out sound and “keep “the music flowing”.

Notable features and availability

Of course, there is more to the OnePlus Buds 3 than the adaptive noise cancellation.

There is another algorithm onboard dubbed AI Clear Call. As the name suggests, it's designed to ensure phone calls remain crystal clear no matter what. The software works in conjunction with a trio of built-in microphones, each sporting an “anti-wind noise design”. Gymgoers and athletes, in particular, will also appreciate the earbuds’ resistance rating of IP55 to stop sweat from seeping in during intense workouts.

Other notable features include touch volume controls and BassWave; a proprietary software giving earbuds’ bass output extra punch.

The OnePlus Buds 3 are currently available for pre-order in Metallic Gray and Splendid Blue. In the US, they cost $99.99 with a shipping set for Monday, February 5. In the UK and EU, they retail for £89.00 and €89.00, respectively. The shipping date for the two European regions is set for Thursday, February 8. Regardless of where you buy them, the new models will be significantly cheaper than the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 which still cost $130 on Amazon.

If you're looking for a mobile device to pair with the earbuds, check out TechRadar's list of the best OnePlus smartphones for 2024.

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Cesar Cadenas

Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.