In January, OnePlus experienced a bustling month with the launch of the OnePlus 12, OnePlus 12R, and the Buds 3 on January 22. The OnePlus 12 has already hit the market, while the 12R and Buds 3 are currently available for purchase. Notably, a recurring theme in these products is OnePlus’ emphasis on refinement. The company has strategically incorporated high-end features into more affordably priced devices, a trend notably observed in the OnePlus 12R and the OnePlus Buds 3, both of which we are evaluating in this review.
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Additionally, we have the OnePlus 12 review available for you to explore at OnePlus 12 review.
On paper, the Buds 3 appear to be the ideal earbuds. Priced at Rs 5,499, they seem exceptionally reasonable, boasting an impressive set of features that closely resembles what the company offers in the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. However, it’s crucial to note that specifications alone don’t determine performance. While there are differences between the Buds Pro 2 and Buds 3, my experience using the Buds 3 and comparing it to my nine-month usage of the Buds Pro 2 revealed a surprising closeness between the new non-pro earphones and the best of OnePlus.
Now, let’s delve into the specifications. The Buds 3 is equipped with dual dynamic drivers, supports Hi-Res Audio via LHDC 5, boasts a low latency of 94ms, features touch volume control, provides up to 49dB of active noise cancellation, carries an IP55 rating for water and dust protection, and offers up to 44 hours of playback time with the accompanying charging box. It also supports dual-pairing and Google Fast Pairing. Are there any notable omissions compared to the Buds Pro? The only significant differences, although impactful, are the absence of support for spatial audio and a potentially better-tuned 11mm woofer in the Buds Pro 2.t
Considering the price, the OnePlus Buds 3 offers an extensive range of features. The critical question then arises: how does it perform in real-world usage?
Design and Construction of OnePlus Buds 3
A glance at the Buds 3 reveals OnePlus’ commitment to a serious design upgrade. These new earbuds adopt the short-stemmed design seen in the Buds Pro 2, drawing some inspiration from the Apple AirPods Pro as well. The charging case also undergoes a transformation, resembling the case housing the Buds Pro 2.
Presented in two colors, Splendid Blue and Metallic Grey, the earbuds exude a refined aesthetic. While the Grey buds exude a classic charm, the funky blue shade, featured in this review, adds a cool and fresh touch with a subtle metallic undertone, devoid of excessive shimmer. Despite the glossy plastic composition of the buds, the material and finish manage to avoid appearing commonplace or inexpensive.
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Despite the light shade of blue, which initially made me wary of potential dust or stains, I’ve carried these earbuds with me everywhere for the past week – in bags, my jeans pocket, on the dining table, and more – and to my surprise, there are still no scratches or stains on this beautiful shade.
In comparison to the Buds Pro 2, the Buds 3 are lighter. Admittedly, I generally prefer the substantial feel of more premium earphones, but during my usage, I didn’t find the Buds 3 to be tacky or cheap. The hinge on the charging box is both smooth and snappy, contributing to an overall quality that makes the Buds 3 appear more expensive than their actual cost.
OnePlus Buds 3: Is it worth buying?
As a reasonably reliable pair of True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbuds, the OnePlus Buds 3 ticks several boxes. While they may not reach Pro-grade status—despite an impressive on-paper specification— it’s important to consider that their price doesn’t align with the Pro-level category either.
For individuals seeking a solid pair of TWS earbuds with a combination of appealing design, good sound quality, effective noise cancellation, and commendable battery life, the OnePlus Buds 3 is a compelling choice. Priced at Rs 5,499, especially for TWS with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), the OnePlus Buds 3 stands out as a top contender in its category.
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