OnePlus is set to launch a new budget-friendly pair of earbuds on July 5. The OnePlus Nord Buds 2r will officially be announced on June 27, but leaks have surfaced online already – and it looks like they'll be considerably cheaper than their predecessors.
With a street price of $59.99 / £59 the OnePlus Nord Buds 2 are incredibly good value, and you can sometimes find them for around $30 / £30. And it looks like their successors are going to be an even better buy because leaked pricing suggests that while everyone else seems to be putting their prices up, OnePlus is going in the other direction.
According to Notebookcheck.net, the Indian price has already leaked at INR2,299, which works out at roughly £28. Of course, currency fluctuations and taxes may affect what the final price ends up being, but you're still looking at some extremely cheap earbuds.
So, what do you get for virtually no money?
OnePlus Nord Buds 2r: Specifications and features
Given that the company is only revealing the colors so far – 'Deep Gray' and 'Triple Blue', respectively – it's a safe bet that you're not looking at a massive hardware upgrade. The Nord Buds 2r look pretty much identical to the current versions, including the OnePlus Nord Buds.
The Nord Buds 2 have decently sized drivers and Bluetooth 5.2, and in our review we found that they delivered surprisingly good bass and didn't mess with the audio too much. They're a bit crowded in really busy music – you're not going to get audiophile-spec clarity at this price point – but they punch way above their weight. Battery life is a very respectable seven hours, rising to 23 hours via the charging case.
Those buds save some of the headline features in OnePlus phones, and that's likely to be the case with their successors too. That means users of other phones can't benefit from OnePlus Fast Pair or from Dolby Atmos support. However, I'm not sure either of those is a deal breaker. Pairing earbuds is hardly onerous, and Dolby Atmos is not going to give you AirPods Max-quality positional audio on such a cheap pair of headphones.
The main rival to the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r is likely to be Sony's superb WF-C500, although at the moment they cost twice the rumored price of the Nord Buds 2r. And while they sound better, the battery life isn't as good. These new Nords could turn out to be quite the bargain, making them a strong contender for one of the best earbuds. We'll find out more later this week.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.