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OnePlus Buds 3 Review

An Attractive Audio Choice

One look at the Buds 3 and you realise that OnePlus means business. The new buds get an upgrade in looks, as they borrow the short-stemmed design from the Buds Pro 2 and somewhat from the Apple AirPods Pro. The charging case also gets a makeover and now looks similar to the case that houses the Buds Pro 2.

The earbuds are available in two colours: Splendid Blue and Metallic Grey. While the Grey buds do look classy, I like the funky blue shade. This is also the shade you can see in this review. The blue colour feels cool, fresh with a hint of metallic tone but not shimmery. Although the buds are made of plastic and are glossy, the plastic and the finish it has doesn’t look commonplace or cheap.

In the last one week, I have been using Buds 3 for almost 6 to 7 hours daily. I did not find much to complain about, particularly given the price of these buds. Although I also found that the Buds 3 did not make me forget the Buds Pro 2. Not that they are supposed to — there is a huge difference between the prices of the two products — but I bring this point to highlight that specs are not everything.

With Buds 3 in my ears, I went through my daily music the way I do on regular days. My mornings are generally filled with melodic Bollywood songs — think Arijit Singh and his Kesariya. At work there is a lot of K-Pop and late evenings are often full of some energetic Bollywood tracks. With these genres, I found that the Buds 3 did a fantastic job. The sound from buds in these songs delivers clear vocals, an immersive background, and surprisingly good bass.

It’s just that the sound was also not what I was used to from the Buds Pro 2, in the sense that the bass was slightly muddier and the soundstage too is not that expensive to make the vocals pop.

But overall, this is more of nitpicking. Because if I compare the Buds 3 to the similarly priced TWS that I have tried, I feel confident in saying that they sound superior, even the ones that sell for Rs 2,000 or even Rs 3,000 more.

I feel that good audio performance is also due to the snug fit of the Buds 3. Even with extended use, I found them comfortably in my ear canal, never causing any discomfort. Fit is also important for me because I have small ears and ill-fitting earbuds compromise with features like ANC. Just like the Buds Pro 2, the Buds 3 also lets users customise fit and sound through the OnePlus Hey Melody app.

The app from OnePlus allows users to check the battery, noise control options, which include – noise cancellation, off and transparency mode. Additionally, the app also has features to set sound equalisers, OnePlus 3D audio, game mode, earbuds controls and so on.

OnePlus says that the Buds 3 can offer up to 7 hours of playback with 10 minutes of fast charging. Well, kind of. As I mentioned, I used the earbuds for around 6-7 hours every day and I only had to charge them once every day and a half. The charging was also pretty fast, especially with the OnePlus 12R 100W charger, as I was using the 12R simultaneously with the Buds 2.

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