OnePlus’ latest wireless headset is also the first to receive the Nord brand, which the company uses for its cheaper products. The new Nord Buds are announced today along with jokes about two new entries in the European range of Nord smartphones from OnePlus: Nord 2T 5G and Nord CE 2 Lite 5G.
Nord Buds actually have a lot of money for them, even at $ 39.99. They have no active noise cancellation and have only two microphones in each barrel, not three like the $ 99 Buds Z2, but are rated for the same seven hours of battery life (38 hours in combination with the case) and promise the same low latency – especially when connected to a OnePlus phone with ProGaming mode on – and fast charging.
Nord Buds also has 12.4mm drivers, Dolby Atmos support, “AI-powered noise reduction algorithms” for phone calls, and the new design, according to OnePlus, makes them even more convenient for long listening sessions.
One way to think about this is that Nord Buds are AirPods versus Buds Z2’s AirPods Pro. (Which I guess makes the $ 150 Buds Pro, which also adds wireless charging and adaptive noise reduction, the AirPods Max? That’s not a perfect analogy.) Nord Buds are designed to be a entry-level model in the range, however, now that you can buy the latest generation Buds Z for the same price, the OnePlus catalog is starting to get a little confusing.
And that’s only when it comes to wireless headphones. OnePlus also pre-announced two new Nord smartphones for the European market today – OnePlus Nord 2T 5G and OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G. The Nord 2T is designed to complement last year’s Nord 2 and now has 80W of fast charging, up from 65W last time. Meanwhile, Nord CE 2 Lite is offered as a step-down model compared to Nord CE 2, which was myself step down from Nord 2 (good to go wrong). OnePlus plans to launch both phones properly on May 19, when we can expect pricing information and launch dates.
While OnePlus is still best known as a brand of phones, its headphones tend to overshadow their price. Chris Welch of Verge found the Buds Pro both comfortable to wear and impressive in its sound quality, and they won a place on our list of the best wireless headphones you can buy.
Overall, we are seeing a huge drop in the price of a pair of decent wireless headphones. Although it seems unlikely that Nord Buds will surpass some of the higher-end models on the market, and even competing with slightly more expensive models like the Jabra Elite 3 is in high demand, it wasn’t long ago that $ 100 was the bare minimum for a decent pair. It is encouraging to see that the price drops to $ 40.