AirPods Pro 2 vs OnePlus Buds Pro 2: Which Is the Right TWS for You?

Not long after Apple ditched the headphone jack, TWS earbuds became ubiquitous. Interestingly, while legacy audio brands like Sennheiser took their sweet time to launch their wire-free earphones, smartphone vendors quickly jumped on the TWS bandwagon, with some brands even mimicking the design of the AirPods. 

Fast-forward to 2023, and the scenery has changed quite a bit. Although Apple still owns the preponderance of the TWS market share, the competition has started to catch up. In particular, we’re seeing more feature-rich TWS earbuds launch for a fraction of the price of Apple’s AirPods.

Case in point, the all-new OnePlus Buds Pro 2, which brings a treasure trove of tech and costs well under $200. This begs the question — how does the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 stack up against Apple’s flagship AirPods Pro 2? Well, let’s find out, shall we? 

AirPods Pro 2 vs OnePlus Buds Pro 2: Specs at a Glance

Before we get on with the comparison, here are the specs of our two contenders.

AirPods Pro 2OnePlus Buds Pro 2
WeightEarbuds – 5.3 grams each
Case – 50.8 grams
Earbuds – 4.9 grams each
Case – 47.3 grams
Bluetooth versionBluetooth v5.3Bluetooth v5.3
Codecs supportedSBC and AACSBC, AAC, LC3, and LHDC
ANC YesYes
Wireless chargingYesYes
Battery lifeUp to 30 hours (with the case) and ANCUp to 25 hours (with the case) and ANC
IP ratingEarbuds – IPX4
Case – IPX4
Earbuds – IP55
Case – IPX4

AirPods Pro 2 vs OnePlus Buds Pro 2: Design and Comfort

Let’s kick things off by taking a closer look at the design of our two contenders. Here, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 takes an emphatic lead, and for a number of reasons. For one, the earbuds feel every bit as premium and luxurious as Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 headset. At the same time, the individual earpieces as well as the case weigh less than their Apple counterpart. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro 2

To that end, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2’s earpieces tip the scales at just 4.9 grams. The AirPods Pro 2’s earpieces, on the other hand, weigh 5.3 grams each. Do note that the difference isn’t night and day, so you should find both earbuds superbly comfortable to listen to music for hours on end. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro 2

With that said, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is available in more colors. On that note, you can pick up the buds in an Arbor Green or an Obsidian Black hue. In contrast, the AirPods Pro 2 can only be purchased in a white colorway.

Furthermore, OnePlus has stylized the Buds Pro 2 in a unique, two-tone finish. So, you’ll notice that the stem of the earbuds offers a glossy finish, whereas the rest of the headset is enveloped in a matte finish.

That’s not all, as the Buds Pro 2 is impervious to dust particulates too – at least, to a certain degree. To wit, the AirPods Pro 2 comes with IPX4 certification that should safeguard the buds against sweat and splashes of water. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2, on the other hand, ship with a more resilient IP55 rating. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

I’d also like to add that the Buds Pro 2 look eerily similar to the AirPods Pro 2. In fact, upon closer inspection, you’ll observe that the length of the stems, as well as the curvature of the outer casing, is near-identical on the two earphones. If anything, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 ships with a thicker stem. Other than that, though, the earbuds look like a facsimile of one another.

AirPods Pro 2

As prefaced previously, both earbuds score high in terms of comfort too. Now, I did notice the AirPods Pro 2 stick to my ear better. To wit, I had to reposition the Buds Pro 2 time and again when I was working out. Thankfully, I was able to get a better in-ear seal with a different set of ear tips I had lying around.

And since we’re on the subject of comfort, you should note that both the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and the AirPods Pro 2 will bite your ear if you go to bed wearing the earbuds. In particular, if you’re a side sleeper, then you might want to opt for a different headset with an even smaller casing.

Carrying Case

As for the carrying case, both earphones come bundled in high-quality receptacles that double up as a battery bank too. Interestingly, both cases come with a dedicated button to put the earbuds in pairing mode. Further, you’ll also get an LED indicator with the cases that can help you ascertain when the earphones are connected, or in pairing mode. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro 2

The carrying case for the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 and the AirPods Pro 2 also features magnetic latches that should keep the buds from falling out on the off chance you drop the case. Moreover, both cases come with IPX4 certification as well. If anything, I like the clasping mechanism of the AirPods Pro 2’s case a bit more and the unit snaps shut with a satisfying slam. 

Moreover, the AirPods Pro 2’s case features a slot to tie a lanyard loop too. On the flip side, I wish the company would’ve opted for a Type-C connector to charge the case and the earbuds. Don’t get me wrong – the AirPods Pro 2’s lightning connector is most certainly not a deal-breaker, especially if you already have an iPhone. If anything, I won’t have to worry about carrying an additional cable if I’m traveling with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2.

Also read: Best leather cases for the AirPods Pro 2.

App and Features 

Before I talk about each earbud’s feature set, you should know that you won’t be able to get the most out of any Apple AirPods if you pair them with an Android. Similarly, although the Buds Pro 2 gel well with an iPhone and other Android devices, the earbuds will work best with a OnePlus phone.

Notably, OnePlus’ walled-garden approach restricts non-OnePlus users to tap into select features of the Buds Pro 2. Chief among them, being, support for enhanced audio playback that is facilitated by the company’s LHDC codec. Moreover, you can only use the Buds Spatial Audio feature with the OnePlus 11. And, that’s about it, really.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

So, what can you do if you pair the Buds Pro 2 with a non-OnePlus device? Well, a whole lot, if I say so myself. To wit, the Buds Pro 2 gets adaptive ANC with three varying strengths. You also get a transparency mode, which should come in handy when you’re traveling.

The Buds Pro 2 also allows you to tweak the EQ by choosing from one of five pre-installed presets that have been co-created with Dynaudio. You also get the option to whip up a custom EQ too. 

Other than that, the Buds Pro 2 ships with ‘pinch’ controls that require the user to press the stem to invoke an action. Although the pinch controls take some time to get used to, they can be customized via the company’s HeyMelody companion app on any phone, which is great.

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

The AirPods Pro 2 also bar non-iPhone users from accessing some features of the headset. However, the earbuds will sound the same, be it on an iPhone or any modern Android handset. The reason is, the buds relay audio via AAC, which is a more accessible Bluetooth codec. 

More notably, you will miss out on seamless pairing and support for spatial audio as well as the brand’s Find My network, which comes in handy should you misplace the buds. Additionally, the earbuds also restrict Android users to leverage automatic ear detection. For those unaware, the feature automatically pauses the music playback if you were to remove an earbud from your ears.

AirPods Pro 2

So, what features can you expect to work if you pair your new AirPods Pro to an Android device? Well, you can still leverage the unit’s ANC and transparency modes. Furthermore, the earbuds also let non-iPhone users control their music playback via gesture controls. To that end, you can use pinch controls to pause or go forward / backward a track. You can even swipe up and down on the stem to variate the volume levels. Much to my dismay, you cannot customize the pinch controls on an Android device. 

ANC and Battery Life

I won’t beat around the bush at all – the Buds Pro 2 and the AirPods Pro 2nd Generation cancel out noise equally well. There were instances where one cut down the ambient sound better than the other, but even then, the difference was minute, at best. For instance, both earbuds did a commendable job of suppressing my Uber driver’s voice when he was chatting away on his phone. At the same time, the duo cut down the revs of automobiles when I was out and about too. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro 2

As for the battery backup, the AirPods Pro 2 lasted me close to five hours off a single charge, and that’s with ANC enabled. The OnePlus Buds Pro 2, on the other hand, also managed to stay on for up to five hours. Do note that I was using the LHDC codec to relay media via the Buds Pro 2. Additionally, I was using the pair with ANC as well. 

Of course, you can always use the bundled case to top up the earbuds. On that note, the case for both earbuds adds an additional 25 hours of music playback, which is great. Moreover, both our contenders support wireless charging too, so you can plonk the cases on a wireless charging pad and top up the buds wirelessly.

Sound Quality & Performance

Coming to the meat of the matter, the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is undeniably the better-sounding TWS headset of the lot. But before we get into that, allow me to run some numbers by you. Starting with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2, the headset is backed by a dual-driver array comprising a 6mm planar magnetic driver and an 11mm dynamic driver positioned inside each earpiece.

The Buds Pro 2 can operate across a frequency range of 10Hz to 40KHz and support LHDC, AAC, LC3, and SBC Bluetooth codecs. In contrast, the AirPods Pro 2 is backed by a redesigned 11mm driver that sits inside each earpiece. Also, the earphones support SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2

Right off the bat, I noticed that the Buds Pro 2 sounded fuller than the AirPods Pro 2. Don’t get me wrong – the AirPods Pro 2 sound surreal as well and the earbuds do justice to songs from a variety of genres. However, the Buds Pro 2 churned out significantly more detail when relaying music over the LHDC codec. AnnenMayKantereit’s Tom’s Diner is a good example of the same, wherein, the Buds Pro 2 reciprocated the grunts in Henning May’s raspy voice to a tee. 

The texture in the singer’s voice was relayed beautifully by the earbuds and I couldn’t help but bob my head to the lyrics. In other words, the Buds Pro 2 excel at delivering nuanced details in any soundtrack. The same can be accredited to the unit’s dual-driver array that segregates frequencies better. Moreover, the headset can relay a truckload of information owing to the high-bandwidth LHDC codec. A fringe benefit of the same is that the pair offers exceptional imaging too. To that end, you will be able to decipher each and every instrument in a chaotic ballad with the Buds Pro 2 at your disposal. 

AirPods Pro 2

The Avalanches’ Frontier Psychiatrist is a great example of the same wherein, the Buds Pro 2 manages to make sense of the cacophony of sounds after the first verse. In contrast, the song sounds a bit congested on the AirPods Pro 2. I also found the Buds Pro 2’s sound signature more to my liking. To that end, while both of our contenders favor the low-end, the Buds Pro 2’s sonic profile adds a certain vigor and energy to the beats. 

AirPods Pro 2

For instance, listening to Stormzy’s Vossi Bop, the beats offered a more satisfying slam when relayed through the Buds Pro 2. At the same time, the low-end didn’t eat into the rest of the frequency spectrum and allowed the singer’s voice a spot under the limelight too. The AirPods Pro 2 did justice to the soundtrack as well, however, the bass output felt a bit feeble when compared to the Buds Pro 2. Interestingly, the low end felt a tad too emphasized when I was using the AAC codec with the Buds Pro 2.  As such, I would recommend you use the headset with LHDC codec for the best results.

As for the highs, the AirPods Pro 2 sound a tad brighter but the wealth of information you get with the Buds Pro 2 makes listening to songs from the rock genre more fun as well. Santana’s Into the Night is a testament to the same. Here, the strums from the guitar had a bite to them when relayed via the AirPods Pro 2. And, although the Buds Pro 2’s sound output wasn’t as bright, the unit’s superior imaging made listening to track an enjoyable experience, nonetheless.

AirPods Pro 2 vs OnePlus Buds Pro 2: Verdict

Apple has been the trendsetter in the audio space for a hot minute and it was not long after the company ditched the headphone jack that other brands followed suit. Similarly, the company played an integral role in popularizing the TWS earbuds as well. It’s not surprising then, that smartphone vendors want to create an ecosystem of sorts that mimics Apple’s walled-garden approach too.

So, where does that leave us? Well, if you’re team Android, then it makes little sense to buy the AirPods Pro 2. Although the earbuds offer decent sound quality and ANC tech, you will miss out on a plethora of features, including automatic ear detection and the works.

On the flip side, the Buds Pro 2 gel well with most Androids as well as Apple’s iPhone range. You can simply download the company’s HeyMelody app and customize the bud’s sound profile as well as music playback controls to your liking. 

OnePlus Buds Pro 2 vs AirPods Pro 2

That said, the earbuds work best with a OnePlus phone. So, if you are rocking an Android – in particular, a OnePlus device – you should get the Buds Pro 2 in a heartbeat. Similarly, the Buds Pro 2 is a good option for iPhone users who can make do without the company’s seamless pairing features. But, if you have more than one Apple device at your disposal and don’t mind spending a couple more bucks, it’s hard to beat the AirPods Pro 2’s feature set. 

Do let us know which earbud you would rather buy in the comments below! And, for more comparisons, stay glued to our blog. 

Last updated on 04 March, 2023

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