After the Nord Buds, OnePlus also released its affordable CE variant, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE and it’s the first TWS earbuds in the Nord CE Series while second in the whole Nord lineup. The highlights and features of the earbuds include 13.4mm Titanium-coated dynamic drivers, Dolby Atmos support, Sound Master Equalizer, a lightweight and compact design, an IPX4 water-resistant rating, and offers up to 20 hours of battery life with 10-minute quick charging. Here’s what we have to say about the earbuds in our OnePlus Nord Buds CE review.
Design, Build & Ergonomics
About the design of the Nord Buds CE, they look nothing like the Nord Buds, the latter has a highly distinctive design while the Nord Buds CE comes with an open-fit design with long stems, quite comparable to the Apple AirPods design. Compared to the Nord Buds, you don’t get replaceable silicone tips, IP55 dust, and water-resistant design but rather IPX4 water-resistant rating.
The OnePlus Nord Buds CE comes with a glossy oval-shaped charging case and is available in two colors – Moonlight White and Misty Grey. The front has an LED indicator, the bottom side has a USB Type-C port for fast charging, and no pairing button. The overall design of the case looks neat, compact, and has a solid build quality.
The earbuds are extremely light in weight, you don’t feel like you are carrying them in your ears, it’s easy to hold and easy to carry due to their compact and sleek design. The Nord Buds CE weighs around 33 grams (case) and 3.5 grams (each bud), lighter than many earbuds in this range. About the comfort, they initially didn’t fit in well, I had to adjust them to my comfort, also wearing them might not be easy if you prefer the earcups type, it has a hard ear-tip design.
Performance, Features & Connectivity
The OnePlus Nord Buds CE equips 13.4 mm Titanium-coated dynamic drivers with support Dolby Atmos for stereo surround sound and Sound Master Equalizer. No ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) is available on the earbuds, hence no Transparency feature. There’s AI Noise Cancellation (similar to ENC Environmental Noise Cancellation) which helps block wind and outside noise while you are on call, but nothing is as good as the ANC which silences the ambient noise completely.
The sound quality of the Nord Buds CE is great, the bass is exceptional due to its larger-sized driver (13.4 mm), the closed-tube design boosts the bass up to 3dB while the highs and the mids are good. You get a reasonable audio quality from these earbuds. You have the built-in Sound Master Equalizer (also seen on the Nord Buds) to tune the audio to your desired playback needs. The earbuds offer you a 94 ms ultra-low latency for smooth lag-free audio while gaming and it’s useful when you play multiplayer games online.
The OnePlus Nord Buds CE can be paired easily, it has Bluetooth 5.2 support and uses Fast Pair for instant pairing. It is also compatible with the HeyMelody app which is used for connecting the OnePlus and OPPO earbuds, it lets you access more features of the earbuds using your smartphone. You can view the earbuds’ features from the Bluetooth device menu, just tap the Nord Buds CE.
The HeyMelody app lets you connect earbuds to your smartphone, use its features, and also enables you to download firmware updates. It displays battery information and lets you customize gesture controls. The app is available on Android and iOS platforms.
The gesture controls worked out well, you can change the single tap, double tap, and triple tap gestures inside the app, enable Dolby Atmos sound profile, click photos using the double tap gesture while using the phone’s camera, and use the equalizer to listen to the music as per your taste.
Battery Runtime & Charging
About its battery, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE has a claimed battery life of up to 20 hours which is sufficient for many users, although you still have earbuds from rivals that offer much better battery backup, take for instance realme Buds Q2s and the realme Buds Air 3 Neo both priced at ₹1,999. On the other side, there’s a larger 13.4 mm driver than both above which certainly improves the sound quality, especially the bass.
For its 20-hour battery life, assuming that if you use the OnePlus Nord Buds CE for 3 hours in a day, you can expect it to last about 7 days on a full charge with its case. Each earbud can last up to 4.5 hours of music playback and up to 3 hours of calling means both buds if used individually can last up to 6 hours for calling and 9 hours of playback (which varies according to your usage and volume levels).
You do get the 10-min quick charge which gives you about 81 minutes or up to 3 hours of battery life. The fast charging can be handy at times and the Nord Buds CE has it.
Like the rest of the wireless earbuds we saw in this range, the OnePlus Nord Buds CE has all the features – good battery life of 20 hours and quick 10-min charging support, AI noise cancellation for calls, and IPX4 water-resistant design. Other than that, it is extremely light in weight (3.5 grams each), looks great, offers exceptional sound quality with its 13.4 mm drivers with support for Dolby Atmos, and comes with a custom equalizer. If you are looking for a wireless pair of earbuds, you won’t go wrong with the OnePlus Nord CE at this price (₹2,299).
You can also check out the OnePlus Nord Buds which has a slightly distinctive look that blends with your Nord Series smartphones as well as with the OnePlus 10R and also has a far better battery backup (30 hours). If you are looking for earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) feature, look for other options in a slightly higher budget such as the realme Buds Q2 with ANC.