OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 review: still the best sub-£100 wireless earbuds?
Last year, OnePlus created a surprise by launching its first pair of headphones. This year, the brand is back and jointly unveiled its second generation of Bluetooth earbuds, logically called OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, with the new OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro. Are they as good as ever? What are the notable differences with the first generation? The answer to those questions and more is right here.
- Passive insulation
- Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX HD
- Sound quality
- Quick charge
- No IP68 certification
- Not true wireless
The price stays under £100 (just)
For its new headphones, OnePlus has decided to advance the range. The brand offers new features such as fast charging, better battery performance and Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX HD compatibility). As a result, the price also rises. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 cost £99 in the UK.
A slightly different design from the competition
Like last year, the Bullets Wireless 2 headphones offer a different design from the competition since they are not true wireless headphones but Bluetooth earbuds linked by a cable. This type of headphone design that rolls around your neck are not for everyone but comfort is always excellent for me. The weight ensures perfect stability on your shoulders, and even athletes will quickly realize its practical because running with these headphones is a real pleasure.
Compared to the first version, the Bullets Wireless 2 move away from fin-shaped stabilizers by directly integrating a stabilizer part into the chassis of the earbuds. In terms of materials, there is still stainless steel for its buds themselves and the famous magnetic system that allows you to attach the two headphones together. In addition to avoiding nodes, this system automatically cuts and restarts playback. This saves you time and battery.
OnePlus offers several ear tips to perfectly fit your ear canal, the charging cable is housed in a small red silicone box with a magnetic closure that also serves as a carrying case.
For controls, there is a small remote on the right cable. It allows you to control the volume knobs but also play/pause, to skip to the next track and even activate Google Assistant (or Siri if you use an iPhone) with a long press. Unfortunately, it is still not possible to return to the previous track via these controls.
A microphone is also available on the Wireless 2 Bullets and acts as a hands-free kit. This one is quite good in most sound environments. As always, if you are in a noisy environment, such as the subway, you will have to bring the microphone closer to your mouth. Finally, on one of the blocks used to hold the headphones, a power button is present.
While the overall design and conception of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 is convincing, it is still a shame not to have IP68 certification. Of course, OnePlus assures us that water does not frighten these headphones, but an official certification could have removed all doubts.
Impressive passive insulation
The price increase suggests that the sound quality has improved, and this was confirmed in my tests. On the technical side, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 offer two Knowles mobileiron drivers and a 10 mm voice coil in each earbud. The headphones are now also compatible with Bluetooth 5 (with Qualcomm aptX HD compatibility). If you have a OnePlus smartphone (from the OP5), pairing is done very quickly with two clicks. For the others, you have to go through the parameters but nothing is very complicated.
On a daily basis, the passive isolation provided by Wireless Bullets 2 is simply excellent and sometimes even suggests that the headphones benefit from active noise cancellation. The headphones provide a good sound experience with a beautiful stereophonic scene and accurate sound accuracy.
OnePlus does not fall into the trap of offering a sound too rich in bass. The reproduction of the high frequencies is excellent, for example. The volume is also good, and there are no problems with distortion, which is also very low as long as you don't push the volume to the maximum. For those who listen to many podcasts, also know that voice reproduction is very detailed. In short, for 99 pounds, I am more than delighted with the result.
10 minutes of charging for 10 hours of listening
If the battery life of the Wireless Bullets was already good (8 hours), that of the Wireless Bullets 2 is even better. I easily exceeded the 13 hours in use. The magnetic system of the headphones works in saving energy. The 14-hour promise is, therefore, almost fulfilled.
In the end, it is above all the arrival of the fast charge (Warp Charge 30) on the headphones that changed the deal and seduced me. A quick 10-minute charge provides almost 10 hours of use - a real pleasure in everyday life. The only regret is that OnePlus only offers one USB-C cable in the box (the quick charging technology is inside), so you must provide a power supply unit yourself. Too bad.
With this second generation, OnePlus has succeeded in offering a more advanced and complete pair of headphones. The Wireless Bullets 2 provide quality sound with particularly successful passive isolation. While OnePlus overlooks real true wireless again, the excellent range and comfort of the Bullets Wireless 2 make them an excellent companion for everyday use, and of course all this at a decent price. The Wireless Bullets 2 clearly position themselves as a reference for wireless headphones in this price bracket.