Mixing it up amongst midrange buds

  • OnePlus Buds 3

    Midrange marvels

    OnePlus has shaken up the midrange headphone market with its Buds 3, a captivating new set of true wi-fi earbuds that ship nice worth, with good sound, sturdy battery life, and competent ANC for his or her inexpensive price ticket, plus a classier design than most earbuds of their class. 


    • Typically good audio high quality
    • Characteristic-rich and versatile
    • Elegant design

    • Sound stability falls off at larger volumes
    • ANC is not something to jot down house about
    • No wi-fi charging

  • Pixel Buds A series charcoal white background

    Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence

    Ageing gracefully

    $94 $99 Save $5

    Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence nonetheless maintain their very own for audio high quality and luxury. Nevertheless, they’re beginning to present their age as different inexpensive choices introduce options the buds lack, like ANC and multipoint connectivity. Nonetheless, the vented design makes them nice for many who need to keep in contact with the surface world. 


    • Good sound at an inexpensive value
    • Strain vents supply consolation and transparency
    • Accessible in enjoyable colours

    • No ANC
    • Mediocre battery life
    • No wi-fi charging

There’s a rising marketplace for inexpensive true wi-fi earbuds that may nonetheless ship strong sound high quality whereas not skimping on further options like lively noise cancellation. Over the previous 12 months, we’ve seen some attention-grabbing new entries within the sub-$100 value vary from Samsung, Jabra, Sony, and even boutique manufacturers like Cambridge Audio. Now, OnePlus is throwing its hat into the ring with the OnePlus Buds 3, a set of midrange earbuds that sit between the corporate’s nearly ridiculously cheap Nord Buds 2 and its flagship OnePlus Buds Professional 2.

They’re a captivating new entry into an area that was as soon as dominated by Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence however has grow to be way more aggressive over the past 12 months. Are OnePlus’ new buds a worthy contender towards Google’s originals? Let’s discover out.

Learn our rating

Finest low cost true wi-fi earbuds in 2024

These distinctive earbuds will not break the financial institution whereas nonetheless delivering high quality

Worth, availability, and specs

The OnePlus Buds 3 launched in early 2024 and will be bought for $100 from Amazon or straight from the OnePlus web site. They’re obtainable in Splendid Blue or Metallic Grey with an identical case.

However, Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence have been round for practically three years now, having launched in June 2021. Which means that though they’re nonetheless formally priced at $99, it’s not onerous to seek out them on sale for a lot much less. They’re obtainable in Charcoal, Clearly White, Darkish Olive, and Sea.

  • OnePlus Buds 3 Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence
    Battery Life 6.5 hours (with ANC), further 21.5 hours with case 5 hours (24 with case)
    Noise Cancellation Sure No
    IP ranking IP55 IPX4 (earbuds solely)
    Supported codecs AAC, SBC, LHDC AAC, SBC
    Charging USB-C USB-C
    Driver dimension 10.4mm woofer + 6mm tweeter 12mm
    Worth $100 $99

Learn our evaluate

OnePlus Buds 3 evaluate: Proper down the center

✓ Respectable audio ✓ ANC ✓ $100

Learn our evaluate

Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence evaluate: Fundamental, however not unhealthy

Google’s $99 earbuds are advantageous

Design & match

Trendy and comfy

True wireless earbuds next to a OnePlus smartphone

No person is about to accuse the OnePlus Buds 3 of breaking new floor in design, however the firm has nonetheless given them sufficient aptitude so that they really feel like an excellent match for the OnePlus household.

Whereas the general fashion is paying homage to Apple’s AirPods Professional, the blue and grey colours and metallic sheen on the stems set them aside properly. Don’t be fooled by the advertising and marketing photos, although, because the Splendid Blue stems are rather more of a silver coloration that merely displays the encircling blue. The Metallic Grey is extra trustworthy to its images, with an obsidian-like sheen on the stems. Simply bear in mind that the shiny end is each bit the fingerprint-magnet that you simply’d anticipate.

In distinction, Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence function a rounded stemless design that has an interior ear hook to maintain them snugly inserted. There are additionally strain vents providing extra consolation than most earbuds, however that’s a trade-off that ANC-equipped earbuds just like the Buds 3 can’t afford to make.

The OnePlus Buds 3 and Pixel Buds A-Sequence each use touch-sensitive controls that lack any haptic suggestions, however the place Google’s buds are restricted to easy faucets to play, pause, change tracks, reply calls, or name up Google Assistant, the OnePlus Buds 3 add a slide gesture that can be utilized to regulate the amount. That’s one thing you’ll want to drag out your cellphone to do with the Pixel Buds.

The Google Pixel Bud Pro and Pixel Buds A Series against a green background

Each earbud units embrace the same old three sizes of ear ideas and the accompanying charging case. The instances for the OnePlus Buds 3 match the blue and grey colorways, whereas the Pixel Buds A-Sequence presents a broader coloration array however solely provides that splash of coloration to the within of the case, providing primary white on the surface.

The OnePlus Buds 3 come out a bit forward in sturdiness, with an IP55 ranking for mud and water resistance, versus IPX4 for Google’s earbuds. You continue to gained’t need to allow them to take a dunk, however IP55 is a good ranking for true wi-fi earbuds in any value vary. Nevertheless, neither case is rated for any mud or water resistance.

Sound & name high quality

Spectacular sound, middling ANC


The OnePlus Buds 3 earbuds’ dual-driver configuration is one nice shock. In contrast to many different earbuds on this value vary, every earbud packs a ten.4mm woofer and a 6mm tweeter. This offers them a surprisingly good bass response, though you gained’t hear it out of the field as they don’t appear to have a bass-forward tuning by default. We discovered that we would have liked to make just a few easy tweaks within the companion app’s equalizer to get the bass to the place it wanted to be for hard-driving genres like heavy rock, EDM, and hip-hop. As soon as there, nevertheless, the Buds 3 sounded remarkably good for a set of headphones of their class.

Codecs and sound signature

Naturally, you shouldn’t anticipate the sound to rival even OnePlus’ Buds Professional 2, a lot much less different high-end choices. Nevertheless, you’re getting what you’re paying for right here, and probably a bit extra. There aren’t any mainstream high-resolution codecs — solely SBC and AAC — except you rely the comparatively LHDC 5.0 that’s discovered on OnePlus and Nothing telephones, however not a lot elsewhere.

In our listening assessments, the high-end acquired a bit exaggerated once we cranked up the amount. This was seemingly a consequence of the discrete tweeter in every earbud and was one thing we couldn’t completely compensate for with the EQ settings. It’s not a significant issue even when it does happen, and because it solely kicks in at excessive volumes, many of us gained’t be bothered by it in any respect.

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series and the Pixel Buds 2020 version lying next to each other on a green and red cardboard background

The Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence additionally ship spectacular audio for his or her value, particularly contemplating they incorporate solely a single 12mm customized driver in every bud to deal with your entire sound spectrum. The Bluetooth codecs are equally restricted to SBC and AAC, however the sound is obvious and crisp, and bass is current, even when it’s a bit much less refined. The Pixel Buds A-Sequence lean extra towards vocals of their default tuning, making them nice for issues like Zoom calls and Podcasts, however whereas there aren’t any EQ settings, there’s a bass increase that kicks in a good quantity of low-end while you need it.

Energetic noise cancellation

The OnePlus Buds 3 have a slight edge in sound high quality, however they actually pull forward by providing ANC help — one thing the Pixel Buds A-Sequence lacks completely. Google has tried to deal with this with an Adaptive Sound function that routinely adjusts the amount to compensate for the encircling noise (and would possibly clarify why the buds lack onboard quantity controls). It doesn’t even come near ANC, because it’s actually simply turning up the amount to drown out the din round you.

That’s to not say the ANC within the OnePlus Buds 3 is especially stellar, however at the least it’s there. It’s sufficient to take the sting off environmental background noises like visitors and jet engines, however you’ll should crank up the amount if you wish to drown the whole lot out. The Buds 3 lack a correct transparency mode, however you possibly can compensate for that through the use of the Good Scene noise cancellation setting, which tries to routinely alter the ANC to match your atmosphere. There are additionally three depth ranges — Gentle, Reasonable, and Max — to select from should you’d fairly management the ANC straight. The ANC is first rate for headphones on this value vary, nevertheless it’s not the most effective we’ve skilled.

Name high quality

The mics on the OnePlus Buds 3 present good readability for voice calls, though the protruding stems undoubtedly assist. OnePlus boasts an AI Clear Name algorithm that makes use of further built-in mics to chop out wind and different background noises. The Pixel Buds A-Sequence aren’t any slouches right here, although, and are additionally enhanced by comparable background noise filters. Whereas we’re not followers of Google’s Adaptive Sound for music, it comes into its personal for cellphone calls since it may possibly routinely elevate the amount when issues round you get louder to make sure you can nonetheless hear the particular person you’re speaking to.

Software program

Versatile sound

Earbuds next to a phone running the Spotify app

OnePlus presents a HeyMelody app for Android and iOS that mirrors practically all of the capabilities you’ll get by pairing the OnePlus Buds 3 with a OnePlus cellphone. That’s a refreshing degree of openness from OnePlus’ prior earbuds, which reserved some options like Spatial Audio for their very own smartphones and tablets.

Probably the most helpful a part of HeyMelody is a six-band equalizer, which, as we talked about earlier, you’ll seemingly must get the sound curve to match your most popular listening fashion. Past that, HeyMelody can allow Hello-Res audio on telephones that help LHDC 4.0 or later, arrange a customized sound profile for the form of your ears with Audio ID 2.0, and allow 3D audio.

The Buds 3 nonetheless have one OnePlus-exclusive trick up their sleeves, the Professional Gaming mode, which might cut back Bluetooth latency right down to 94ms. Nevertheless, this latency degree is offered solely when the buds are paired with suitable OnePlus telephones.

True wireless earbuds in a charging case, next to a smartphone running their companion app

The faucet gestures on the Buds 3 are additionally fairly versatile; HeyMelody can be utilized to assign as much as three features individually to every earbud by way of single, double, and triple faucets. Single-tap gestures are off by default, prone to keep away from interfering with the amount slider, however you possibly can allow them manually and even assign a single faucet for play/pause on just one earbud whereas utilizing the opposite solely for quantity management.

Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence are powered by the Pixel Buds app. That is the place iPhone customers needn’t apply — the app is unsurprisingly solely obtainable for Android units. That doesn’t imply you possibly can’t pair the Pixel Buds with an iPhone utilizing commonplace Bluetooth, however you’ll don’t have any choices for configuring them and even updating their firmware. When used with any Android system (not only a Pixel cellphone), you get voice-activated Google Assistant and the flexibility to customise the contact controls, alter different options of the earbuds, and activate the bass increase.

Battery life

One clear winner

A wireless earbud charging case, plugged into a USB cable

OnePlus claims the Buds 3 can run for as much as 44 hours with the charging case within the combine, however that’s with out ANC and with the amount at 50%. In that mode, the earbuds will run for 10 hours on a single cost.

Nevertheless, change on ANC, and OnePlus says the run time drops to about 28 hours — 6.5 from the earbuds, plus somewhat over three extra expenses from the case. Quick charging additionally enables you to high up the earbuds from the case, with a 10-minute cost supplying you with two extra hours of listening time.

These run occasions are successfully twice what the Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence offers you. Google guarantees 5 hours of listening time on a single cost plus an extra 15 hours from the case. Nevertheless, keep in mind that’s with out factoring in ANC, because the Pixel Buds A-Sequence don’t have it.

The instances for the Pixel Buds A-Sequence and OnePlus Buds 3 cost up utilizing a normal USB-C connection, however there’s no wi-fi charging help right here.

Which is best for you?

For most folk, we predict the OnePlus Buds 3 are the clear winner right here. They test all the precise bins for good sound high quality, lengthy battery life, and different options. The ANC isn’t something to jot down house about, nevertheless it’s competent for earbuds at this value, and it’s one thing Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence doesn’t supply in any respect.

Whereas design is subjective, we additionally like what OnePlus has carried out right here with shiny metallic finishes that assist set the Buds 3 aside from Google’s extra pedestrian A-series buds.

The OnePlus Buds 3 and case

OnePlus Buds 3

Editor’s choose

Nice sound high quality and ANC for the worth

The OnePlus Buds 3 are a strong new entry from the fanatic smartphone model, that includes a shiny metallic design with strong sound high quality and competent ANC. OnePlus has minimize some corners right here, however they’re largely the precise ones, and the Buds 3 ship good worth.

However, Google’s getting older Pixel Buds A-Sequence nonetheless have a spot, particularly for folk entrenched within the Google ecosystem or who merely need a pair of earbuds that maintain them conscious of the world round them. You get voice-activated Google Assistant help, and the strain vents will let outdoors sounds by means of in a manner that almost all earbuds don’t. This additionally improves consolation for many who don’t like having their ears plugged. They’re earbuds which might be so mild and comfy you possibly can simply overlook you’re sporting them, they usually are available some enjoyable colours, too.

Pixel Buds A series charcoal white background

Google Pixel Buds A-Sequence

Nonetheless within the operating

Traditional buds that stay related

$94 $99 Save $5

Google’s Pixel Buds A-Sequence as soon as outlined the marketplace for inexpensive true wi-fi earbuds, however they’re beginning to present their age, missing options like ANC and multipoint connectivity in an period when extra inexpensive headphones are catching up. Nevertheless, they nonetheless ship good audio high quality and a snug light-weight match.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *