OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Glossy Buds, Shiny Sound


The OnePlus Buds 3 has a rather unique positioning. They aren’t exactly affordable, but at the same time, they don’t cost you an arm and a leg for aural necessities, such as active noise cancellation (ANC) and customisable sound. But do they deliver on their promises, or are they simply cut-price compromises? Let’s delve into their design, sound quality, features, and battery life to see if they strike the right balance.

OnePlus Buds 3

Rs 5,499















Value for Money


What Is Good?

  • Decent ANC
  • Good sound quality for the price
  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and comfortable

What Is Bad?

  • All plastic build
  • Average transparency mode performance

OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Design & Comfort

We have seen a trend of buds becoming more like cotton balls, ditching the stem entirely. But, the OnePlus Buds 3 go all-out with a stem-style design, sticking true to the usual OnePlus Buds silhouette. They’re lightweight and comfortable, thanks to a snug fit aided by the included ear tips. However, I’m not too impressed with the overall plasticky build of the case.

Design Semi in-ear with short stem
Build Material Earbuds: Plastic with glossy stem and matte silicone ear tips; Charging Case: Polycarbonate
Weight Earbuds: 4.8g each; Charging Case: 38g
Water Resistance IP55
Colour Options Metallic Gray, Splendid Blue

The glossy finish on the buds themselves feels premium, though some might find it prone to fingerprints. The charging case is compact and pocketable, with a satisfying magnetic closure. However, the plastic construction throughout does lack the heft and perceived value of some metal-bodied competitors.

OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Sound Quality

The Buds 3 offers a balanced sound profile, leaning slightly towards warmth. Bass is present but doesn’t overpower the mids and highs.

Drivers 10.4mm woofer + 6mm tweeter (dual drivers)
Frequency Response 15Hz~40KHz
Microphone Sensitivity -38dB
Microphones 3 mics per side
Bluetooth Codec LHDC 5.0 / AAC / SBC
Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) Up to 49dB (Three Levels: Mild, Moderate, Deep)
Bass Basswave Enhancement
Special Features OnePlus Audio ID 2.0 (Personalised Audio Experience), 3D Audio

While not audiophile-grade, the sound is detailed and enjoyable for most genres. The companion app (we’ll get to it in a moment) also has a customisable EQ, allowing users to tailor the sound to their preferences.

OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Active Noise Cancellation

The ANC on the Buds 3 is decent, effectively dampening low-frequency noises like traffic hum or aeroplane noise. However, it doesn’t completely eliminate them, and higher-frequency sounds still bleed through. You can’t really put them up against the Boses or the Sonys of the world, but they easily undercut the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2.

However, the transparency mode was average. I like higher-than-usual audio feedback from my surroundings. There was a minuscule difference between ANC turned off and the transparency setting turned on.

OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Additional Features

  • I tested the Buds 3’s IP55 water resistance by showering with them. Sound and mic quality weren’t affected after that. We tried this extreme scenario to let you know the limits of the Buds, but we don’t encourage you to try it out.
  • They also come with in-ear detection for auto-pause/play, a standard feature for the price.
  • Google Fast Pair helps in quick pairing with Android devices.

  • The companion OnePlus HeyMelody app allows for some customisation, including touch controls and EQ.
  • Golden Sound, which we have seen in some premium OPPO buds, is also present here. This feature personalises your earbuds’ audio by analysing your ears for a richer listening experience.
  • For an immersive experience, OnePlus has a 3D audio mode. It can convert a plain-jane stereo output into spatial audio. It’s not a jaw-dropping difference, but it’s a great feature to amuse you on those boring and long train rides.

OnePlus Buds 3 Review: Battery Life

The Buds 3 boast a commendable battery life, with up to seven hours from the buds themselves and an additional three charges from the case, for a total of 28 hours.

In simple terms, these are three-day buds, so you’ll have to charge them once a week. They take about 50 minutes for a full charge. You get about three hours’ worth of full-volume playtime with 5 minutes of charge, which isn’t too bad.

OnePlus Buds 3: Verdict

The OnePlus Buds 3 is a solid offering in the mid-range true wireless earbuds segment. They deliver good sound quality, decent ANC, and impressive battery life, all at a competitive price point. However, the lack of a good transparency mode and a slightly plasticky build are its downsides.

Overall, they are in-sync with OnePlus’ pattern of uniquely pricing their products in 2024 – not too high, but not too low while having very few competitors in the segment.