OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 is priced at Rs 5,990 and currently available for purchase.
The Bluetooth wireless earphones come with support for Qualcomm aptX HD protocol.
The Bullets Wireless 2 do not come with water resistance, or native AAC support.
China-based smartphone giant OnePlus announced OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, its second-generation Bluetooth wireless earphones along with its OnePlus 7 series a little over a week back. During the launch event for the OnePlus 7 series, OnePlus revealed some details about its Bullets Wireless 2 earphones teasing the changes were to be expected in the second generation Wireless audio product. Talking about the changes, the company has increased the price of the Bullets Wireless 2 to Rs 5,990 from the Rs 3,990 for the first generation OnePlus Bullets Wireless. Calculating this, the price of the Bluetooth wireless earphones just went up by about 50 percent. Considering that we are talking about an accessory for a smartphone, this jump is significant.
Second are slight tweaks to the design along with improvements in the hardware of the wireless earphones, something that we will talk about in the specification section below. It is worth noting that Bullets Wireless 2 is not the only earphones that OnePlus sells and anyone who does not mind wires can look to its OnePlus Type-C Bullets earphones. The only catch here is that they don’t seem to be updated in 2019. That being said, if you are still interested in the Bullets Wireless 2 then you can purchase them on the OnePlus India store right now. However, with a 50 percent increase in price, and slight redesign, are they really worth your hard earned money. Let’s find that out in our review of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2.
OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 Specifications and features
Let’s talk about the specifications for people who want to know about the technical details of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. This way, you know what you are getting with the second generation wireless earphones from OnePlus and we won’t have to mention the specifications sporadically in the sections down below. So, first up is the Two Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers and a 10-mm dynamic driver setup in each earbud that is powering the entire thing. For the people unaware, Knowles Electronics is a United States based company that has been in the audio industry for more than 70 years focusing on advanced micro-acoustics.
OnePlus has also added support for Qualcomm aptX HD, a protocol that can allow a device to deliver HD audio. The interesting fact about this is that this allows for 24-bit music quality over Bluetooth providing “better-than-CD” quality and being “indistinguishable from High Res audio”. Talking about Bluetooth connectivity, the Bullets Wireless 2 comes with support for Bluetooth 5.0. Similar to the first generation Bullets Wireless, the Bullets Wireless 2 also comes with support for Warp Charge through a USB Type-C port where the company claims that 10 minutes of charging will provide 10 hours of playback time while a full charge will provide up to 14 hours of playback time.
Comparing the second generation with the first one, OnePlus claims that this marks about a 50 percent increase in the playback time after 10 minutes of charge. Talking about other features, the wireless earphones bring back the Magnetic control to control the playback. Given that the earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0, users can easily switch between two paired devices with the help of a simple double press of a button that is located on the battery bulge that is located at the end of the neck connector on the left side of the earphones. OnePlus has also added Quick Pair, Google Assistant support, and Qualcomm cVc noise cancellation technology for improved voice clarity during calls in the Bullets Wireless 2.
Design and Comfort of OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2
Now that we have covered the specifications of the wireless earphones, let’s dive into the review with my thoughts on the design of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. With the second generation, OnePlus has changed the design of its Bullets Wireless 2 along with the material users to build the earphones. In terms of the major changes here, the new Bullets Wireless 2 come with a stainless steel design instead of aluminum and the ear-fins from the first generation are a think of past making the second gen more comfortable and stealth.
Rest of the aspects, the silicon bud, the portion of the earphones that rests on the neck area, the bulging batteries on both sides of the earphone, and the playback control module on the left side, all remain largely unchanged. Here, I wish that the playback control module had bigger buttons so that they can be pressed easily. Overall, the design changes are not as extreme as the comfort that the first generation offers was quite good. In fact, the removal of the ear fins only seems to improve comfort-level while wearing the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2.
I spent about 6-7 hours wearing the Bullets Wireless 2 and found them to quite comfortable. The neckband that connects both earphones is made out of rubberized material that has a certain amount of tight shape to it which increases the comfort of these earphones. Talking about the actual earbuds area, we get a steel mesh design inside the silicon buds that is likely present to stop dust from getting inside and the earbuds are actually at an angle for improved usability and noise isolation (more on that later).
The wire connecting the earbuds to the neckband may be a cause of concern for how thin they are but that is not out of the ordinary. One should take care that they properly use both hands to remove objects and take the earphones out from their packed backpack or any kind of pouch instead of finding one end and just trying to pull the earphones out for extended durability. One thing to note here is that this does not come with any water resistance to make sure that you are not wearing them in rain or even light drizzle as that may cause damage to the earphones.
OnePlus provides three different sizes of silicon tips that users can change to best suit their ears. Along with the one that already comes attached to the earphones, the company also provides two more sizes. In addition that that one also gets a silicon pouch and a small Type-C USB charging cable to charge the earphones out of the box. Talking about the silicon pouch, it was somewhat smaller and a lot more restricted to my liking making me worry about long time use and potential damage to the wires. This is because one has to fold the Bullets Wireless 2 several times to actually get them inside this pouch, leaving it with a bulged once done.
Audio Performance on OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2: Bass, Treble, Clarity
You may think that a lot has been written about the design and specification aspects of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 that you may have to go through several paragraphs in the performance section to get to the conclusion about the sound quality. I will save you time by saying that these wireless earphones are really, really good. Even at an expensive Rs 5,990 price, I think that they offer an incredible upgrade over the first generation in terms of the sound quality that they offer both while playing back music or during calls. I listened to these for about 50 hours while playing the most challenging audio tracks to test the performance and I was genuinely impressed by them.
For people who need details, I should give credit where it is due as the 10mm dynamic driver along with two Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers in each earbud significantly improve the low-end, mid tones and bass of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. The vocals in the music had excellent clarity, the bass though not as incredible as dedicated high-end audio products was significantly improved when compared to the first generation. The treble was good along with great spacial segregation between different instruments in the audio track. The best part about this was no matter what, the sound produced by these offered balance, low-end, mid-tones and reverb. The earphones handled the sudden audio attack and decay, the sudden beginning of sound and abrupt stopping of sound in an impressive manner in songs like Das Speigel by The Chemical Brothers.
The shifting between different frequencies, from the high sounds to the low in Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin was great and the bass and reverb in A Milli by Lil Wayne helped me paint a clear picture on how well these earphones perform. The way the earphones handled Hurt by Johnny Cash, A Life in Music The Star Wars Theme by John Williams, Coward from Interstellar by Hans Zimmer, Udaan by Amit Trivedi completely sold me. Different sounds and frequencies do not get muddled up together to maintain great clarity in the most challenging of situations.
If I had to nit-pick the few areas that I found to be slightly problematic were the shills in certain songs and almost seemed to bleed out on the high end, bass slightly overpowering the mid-tones, and slightly unimpressive audio at the low end because it is great at high sound levels. However, these issues were limited to very few tracks. As mentioned above, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 offers great audio clarity when it comes to calls and includes a good integrated-mic. The angled earbuds seem to offer excellent passive noise canceling along with Qualcomm cVc noise cancellation technology. It was so good for the price and these earphones that one may mistake them for active noise cancellation but that is really a testament to the design and improvements by OnePlus.
Connectivity and magnetic controls
Bluetooth 5.0 along with Quick Pair technology made it a to initially pair the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 to the OnePlus 7 Pro. In fact, the Quick Pair technology is available on OnePlus 5, 5T, 6, 6T, 7 Pro and the upcoming 7 for improved pairing experience. The 10 feet distance that general Bluetooth devices tout was on point with no degradation in quality. The pairing and quick switching between two different devices with a double tap was impressive as not many earphones provide that functionality. One thing to note here is that these earphones don’t support AAC audio codec which makes them a no go for iPhone users as the overall audio quality turns rather unimpressive from lack of AAC. For some context, AAC is the native audio codec for Apple iPhone devices.
Talking about the magnetic controls, they work similarly to back when we saw them in the first generation OnePlus Bullets Wireless. Detaching them resumes the audio playback after a 5-second delay and an audio cue, enough time for users to put the earbuds in their ear canals. Snapping them back together pauses the audio playing on the OnePlus devices. The audio playback and calls work in a similar manner as the phone receives the call after a five-second delay on detaching and disconnects the call when they are snapped back together.
Software and Battery Life
OnePlus has added a number of software controls in OxygenOS for the Bullets Wireless 2. However, nothing is limited to these particular earphones as these features are available for most earphones. Features like EQ settings, Sound Style, Caller ID, Auto Play, Smart Answer, and “Scenario-based enhancement”. Lastly, the battery life that the Bullets Wireless 2 offer was impressive and almost in line with what the company claims. This is one of the most underrated features that should be talked about more in the audio equipment community as no other wireless earphone or headphone accessory comes with support for any fast charging technology in the mainstream.
The 10-minute charge for 10-hour playback is real and I got about 13 hours of battery backup on one full charge instead of the advertised 14 hour which was impressive. Though, users will need to connect the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 to the Warp Charge 30 adapter for the 10 minutes charging magic. Even though there is no audio battery level functionality, one can easily check the battery level of these earphones in the status bar or the Bluetooth section on their Android smartphone. In fact, they also show the battery level as a screen overlay as soon as the user connected them back to their device.
OnePlus has made massive improvements when it comes to audio quality and battery backup from 10 minutes of charge. Even though the company has increased the price by the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 by 50 percent, I think the things that you get for the Rs 5,990 are impressive. The support for Warp Charge, Magnetic controls, and improvements in audio quality manage to almost make up for the price hike that pushes it in the audiophile category of products.
There are some things that the company can improve like the lack of water resistance, lack of active noise canceling, and lackluster carrying pouch but most of its competition is in the same boat. This means that even its rivals in the sub-Rs 10,000 price range are a few steps away from perfection. If you want more audiophile level equipment then you need to extend your budget and look beyond this range. But, I doubt if you can get anything better on the wireless side of things as true audiophiles swear by wires. In addition to this, if wireless is not your jam then save some money and go for the wired ones.
To conclude, if you don’t mind spending Rs 5,990 and need a great pair of Wireless earphones for your Android smartphone, especially if you own a OnePlus device.