What is a smartphone release in 2023 without a complementary set of color-co-ordinated, fresh feature-toting set of earbuds? It would be a mistake, that's what – and it's one that OnePlus won't be making with the release of its new OnePlus 11 smartphone, unveiled today (January 4, although the official launch event won't be until February 7, as previously reported).
OnePlus tells us that it's on a "mission to provide high-quality audio through its flagship wireless earbuds", and we applaud the Chinese firm for it. The product? Why, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, which make their debut alongside the new smartphone. Until now, we've seen only unofficial renders; now, we have the real thing…
How are these 'buds differentiating themselves, and thus seeking to become some of the best earbuds around? They're equipped with sound tailored to fit their users, thanks to a unique partnership with Danish loudspeaker manufacturer, Dynaudio.
“Dynaudio has years of experience producing exceptional sound quality,” said Kinder Liu, President of OnePlus, adding, “It’s a pleasure for us to co-create with Dynaudio, and this partnership helps fulfil our goal of bringing an immersive audio experience to our users.”
And OnePlus is supremely confident that the Buds Pro 2 hold the key to unlocking pure harmony. Built into the buds is a new MelodyBoost dual driver system, a "sophisticated technology derived from premium speakers and co-created with Dynaudio".
The 11mm woofer and 6mm tweeter promise front-row sound using a coaxial dual-driver setup (which means that the drivers share a common, although not exactly the same, axis point – something we loved in the Honor Earbuds 3 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, although it must be noted that these ideas are similar to, rather than identical to, the OnePlus solution).
The dome of the woofer in the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is equipped with a crystal polymer diaphragm and a separate dome and edge design, which promises to improve the connection between the low-to-mid frequencies and the high frequencies. A silicone edge is introduced to the woofer meanwhile, to enhance the flexibility and texture of the low frequencies.
OnePlus also tells us that the Buds Pro 2 now feature one default equalizer (EQ) and three customized EQs: Bold, Serenade, and Bass. All four of these EQ profiles are co-tuned with Dynaudio.
Analysis: a highly promising design, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating…
Too soon after the festive season to talk about pudding? Apologies. What we mean is: until we hear the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 we'll have to reserve judgement, but on paper things look very good indeed.
More details of the earbuds will be unveiled at the OnePlus Cloud 11 Event on February 7, but given how well the June 2022-issue OnePlus Nord Buds performed under intense review, you're right to be interested – we certainly are.
The asking price for the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 hasn't yet been disclosed – and neither has their battery life, noise cancellation perks, color options or wireless charging benefits – but given the news that Apple is reportedly working on cheaper 'AirPods Lite' earbuds, we'd wager that the list price of mid-range 'buds can only be heading one way in 2023.
Given their Pro-suffixed status, we think it unlikely that they'll come in at under $100, so they probably won't feature in our best budget earbuds roundup any time soon – but that's okay, because our best noise-cancelling earbuds guide is ripe for a fresh contender!
How good will they be? Watch this space…
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Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.