TLDR; 1. Better active noise cancellation. 2. Volume control. 3. In-ear detection.
I was looking for a new pair of TWS ANC earbuds (true wireless stereo with active noise cancellation earbuds) since my two-year-old daughter dunked my OnePlus Buds Z2 in a glass of water. Though the Z2 is still functional after the immersing incident, however some key features such as quick connect don’t work as intended. Just the right excuse to start researching for a new pair 🙂
I waited for the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 launch, believing OnePlus might serve an ace. And this time around I was willing to pay a premium of a good pair of earbuds, since these ear accessories have become essential to my everyday life, both at work and at home. I believe smart earbuds to be the next big thing in consumer technology which will alter how we consume content. But then, we are still some time away. More on that in some later post.
The OnePlus Buds Z2 were somewhat of a disappointment in the noise cancellation front and I sincerely hoped OnePlus would fix its act with their new top-of-the-line earbuds.
In fact, when I bought the OnePlus Buds Z2 after forgetting my realme Buds Air 2 on a flight, I had to exchange the Z2. The noise cancellation was so poor compared to the realme Buds Air 2, I thought I got a faulty device. The replaced device was no better. As it was non-returnable, I had to live with it.
Noise cancellation is important for me in earbuds particularly in noisy work environments and during long-distance travel.
When the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 reviews started coming in, I paid close attention to what the reviewers were saying about the ANC. The verdict was almost unanimous: ANC in the Buds Pro 2 were less than satisfactory.
Many reviewers also lamented the lack of volume controls. Though not a must-have feature, it is good to have volume controls on the earbuds itself so that you don’t have to pull out the phone every time you wanted to adjust the volume.
One observation in another review, raised an important red flag: “There’s also no in-ear detection, a feature found on many other buds that pauses audio when you remove one bud from your ear and restarts it when you replace it.” This, is a must-have feature.
Making gadget purchase decisions was much easier for me when I was a technology editor and experienced new devices first-hand even before they hit the market. It has been long since I moved to different roles at work and much of our team continues to work from home. Which means, I no longer don’t get to see and play with the devices that come in for review before I go out to buy them. So I have to rely a lot more on what others have to say.
At the end, it was fairly easy to ditch the OnePlus Buds Pro 2. But what was the alternate?
I prefer earbuds with a stem because they give a better look and fit and I find the controls easier to manage. I had a budget of around Rs 10k-12k . And I wanted them to have as many features as possible along with good noise cancellation. And the Oppo Enco X2 checked all the boxes and was priced Rs 1k lower than the Buds Pro 2.
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 was supposed to take a lot of inspiration from the Enco X2 (OnePlus is a subsidiary of Oppo). Wonder why it failed to?
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is yet to hit the market (goes on sale from February 14, 2023) and I have already been using the Enco X2 for a couple of days. And I am quite pleased with the purchase. The sound is excellent, the ANC is good. But then no device is perfect. I don’t quite like the glossy surface of the Enco X2. I have a preference for subdued matt exteriors. It is slippery too. Also the rectangular charging case of the Buds Pro 2 was more suited for my aesthetic than the oval of the Enco X2.