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Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The OnePlus Nord was the company’s first foray into the mid-range market. After several rather underwhelming follow-up attempts at the budget end of the market, the company is back with the mid-range OnePlus Nord 2. However, the market for affordable smartphones is more competitive than ever. The Nord 2 has its work cut out if it’s to stand out.
I definitely agree with our initial review of the phone, which you can find below, but have some additional avenues I want to explore. So let’s get into Android Authority’s OnePlus Nord 2 review second opinion.
Our verdict: OnePlus Nord 2 review — Powerful hardware, ailing imaging
Pretty much everything you want from a phone?
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
OnePlus dropped the “pretty much” from its slogan this year, claiming that the Nord 2 offers “everything you could ask for” in an affordable smartphone package. With an improved camera sensor, bigger battery, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and super-fast 65W charging onboard, OnePlus has clearly improved on last year’s formula. Combined with a smooth 90Hz AMOLED display, Android 11 out of the box, and plenty of storage, it’s hard to argue that the Nord 2 fails to offer a well-rounded package for a mid-range price.
The 65W charger bundled in the box takes the phone from empty to full in just 31 minutes, which is as fast as the company’s flagship smartphones. It’ll also charge at 18W via USB Power Delivery. The 90Hz display is snappy and smooth for browsing and looks great when gaming. But the real speed boost with the Nord 2 comes from the new MediaTek Dimensity 1200 AI processor.
The Nord 2 offers a major performance boost over the Nord, but maximizing the chip’s potential drains the battery too fast.
So does the OnePlus Nord 2 provide absolutely everything you need? Well, it’s missing a headphone jack (a common feature at this price), although it does support AptX, AptX HD, LDAC, and AAC Bluetooth codecs. There’s no IP rating whatsoever, no HDR gaming support, and no wireless charging here either. Even so, the decent-looking 90Hz display, super-fast charging, 5G networking, and solid all-day performance will have most people’s daily use cases completely covered.
What’s perhaps more questionable are the options that OnePlus touts and then disables. The phone is clearly riding the limits of its battery life and dials back on some features as a result. More demanding gamers and multimedia enthusiasts may find that the phone doesn’t quite offer everything they’d want.
Cameras: Starting from scratch, again!
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
If there’s one thing you can guarantee about every OnePlus release, it’s that the cameras will underwhelm at launch and there’ll be some vague promise about patches to improve quality. The OnePlus Nord 2 is no different. Despite boasting the same 50MP IMX766 sensor found in the OnePlus 9’s decent wide-angle camera, the results definitely don’t live up to the quality of its more expensive sibling.
Generally speaking, the camera’s white balance is good outdoors but more hit-and-miss indoors. OnePlus hasn’t managed to match the color profile or exposure when moving between the main and wide cameras. The 50MP main camera takes 12.5MP snaps by default and captures a decent amount of detail, albeit with too much sharpening applied. The 8MP wide-angle camera is poor by virtually all standards, particularly when it comes to detail capture.
The first major problem I have with the Nord 2’s camera is oversaturation. Greens and blues in particular are pumped up to ludicrously unrealistic levels. The HDR effect, while powerful and quite effective most of the time, ends up adding an unnecessary amount of bloom and edge smudging, as does engaging the AI enhancement toggle. The second problem is a lack of dynamic range, which results in some pictures looking underexposed with clipped highlights and crushed details in the shadows. Then there’s the image clean-up, which relies far too heavily on sharpening to extract details. The results are messy even without close inspection, particularly when pushing the phone out to 3x zoom and beyond.
There are always compromises at lower price points and the OnePlus Nord 2 can deliver some reasonable photos. But compared to other phones on the market the imperfections are obvious. The camera’s saving grace is that it performs quite well in low light. Combined with OnePlus’ powerful night mode, the phone can capture some decent snaps when the lights go down, although you can often spot noise and banding from the lack of dynamic range.
Without Hassleblad, the OnePlus Nord 2 camera’s color processing is back to being bad.
I’ve taken some comparison shots with the slightly more expensive OnePlus 9 below. I think the results speak for themselves. The Nord 2 is clearly a backward step for the company’s photography processing capabilities.
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The OnePlus Nord 2 runs the somewhat contentious Oxygen OS 11.3 software. I find Oxygen OS 11 perfectly serviceable, striking the right balance of useful features without feeling bloated. It’s definitely a departure from the stock-like approach of previous years, but the skin looks appealing and is hugely customizable, Zen Mode is as good as ever, and OnePlus’ apps all do everything you’d expect of them.
But OnePlus’ closer partnership with OPPO has raised further eyebrows about the future direction of the software. OnePlus previously confirmed to Android Authority that the Oxygen OS skin would continue to be used for global devices, although that doesn’t rule out Color OS and Oxygen OS becoming increasingly similar in the near future. A few features from Color OS have already made their way into Oxygen OS, such as the camera apps and settings. This is definitely something to consider regarding future updates, as we can’t be entirely sure just how close the phones from these two companies will become.
OnePlus improves its update promise for the Nord 2, but it’s far from the best in the business.
With regards to updates, the Nord 2 will receive two major Android updates and three years of security updates. That’s fairly standard and obviously better than the single upgrade provided to the OnePlus Nord N10 and N100. It still falls short of OnePlus’ flagship promise, though, as well as rivals Google and Samsung, the latter of which has promised four years of OS updates for all its post-2023 handsets, including mid-rangers. OnePlus isn’t quite keeping up with the competition here.
OnePlus and OPPO integration: Reasons to be nervous and excited
OnePlus Nord 2
The OnePlus Nord 2 follows up the company’s mid-range debut from 2023. The phone builds on last year’s formula with a new design, faster processor, and the 50MP camera sensor from the higher-end OnePlus 9 series.
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You're reading Oneplus Nord 2 Second Opinion: Struggling To Stand Out
Gran duración de batería
Calidad de cámara principalContras
Relación de precio y prestaciones
Pantalla LCD y no OLED
Sin cámara gran angularNuestro veredicto
El OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G es un teléfono inteligente asequible, pero debe competir con muchos de sus rivales que, teniendo las mismas especificaciones, resultan ser más baratos. No defraudará a nadie por su software, pero hay opciones mejores y más baratas.
La gama de teléfonos OnePlus se ha vuelto cada vez más complicada a lo largo de 2023. Es de suponer que el OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G comparte una gran cantidad de ADN con el OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G anterior, pero en el fondo son bastante diferentes.
Este nuevo participante de la gama media más asequible cuenta con una lista de especificaciones bien diferente, a pesar de que su precio con respecto a la versión normal tan solo se reduce en 50 €. OnePlus compite consigo mismo, lo cual es algo confuso.
Esto no impide que sea un teléfono bastante sólido en lo que se refiere a la fabricación. Pero echamos en falta el típico estilo y la sensación de calidad que tradicionalmente ha caracterizado a los teléfonos de la marca. Es un poco monótono y resulta caro al estudiar a la competencia.Diseño y calidad de construcción
Más pesado que el Nord CE 2
Acabados en azul
Tiene conector de auriculares
El Nord CE 2 Lite 5G es un teléfono más grande y pesado que el Nord CE 2 normal que probamos en su momento meses atrás. No diríamos que es difícil de manejar, pero con un grosor de 8,5 mm y un peso de 195 gramos, desafía cualquier valor a pesar de estar hecho de materiales de plástico.
La parte posterior del teléfono tiene un diseño y una forma bastante genérica, con el panel posterior curvo tan habitual y el módulo de cámara alargado. Hemos probado el modelo con acabados en azul cuyo fondo parece cambiar a tonos turquesa, y existe otro adicional en negro mate.
Un detalle diferenciador frente a otros OnePlus son las líneas verticales delgadas que aparecen a la altura del módulo de las cámaras. No tienen textura ni función alguna, pero hacen que el teléfono se vea un poco menos corriente de lo que suelen.
Contamos con un sensor de huellas dactilares montado en el costado justo debajo del botón de encendido que es agradable de usar y bastante fiable. El borde inferior del teléfono cuenta con puerto USB-C, conector de auriculares y un altavoz mono bastante discreto.Pantalla
Panel LCD IPS de 6,59 pulgadas
Frecuencia de actualización de 120 Hz
El Nord CE 2 Lite se aleja del tipo de pantalla utilizada en el Nord CE 2 y de otros teléfonos Nord, y eso la verdad es que resulta algo decepcionante. En lugar de usar una AMOLED de 6,43 pulgadas, lo que obtienes es una pantalla LCD IPS de 6,59 pulgadas de peor visualización.
Las cifras nos confirman que es ligeramente más grande de tamaño, con una frecuencia de actualización interesante de 120 Hz, lo que mejora los 90 Hz que tenía el móvil Nord CE 2 que se supone que es el modelo superior.
Ambas pantallas tienen resoluciones FHD+, pero la pantalla LCD IPS utilizada aquí no muestra los mismos colores vibrantes o negros profundos que la CE 2. Simplemente, debemos decir que no se ven tan premium.
Tampoco se siente premium en el manejo. Ofrece una sensación de pantalla manchada que me hizo tratar de limpiarla con un paño a los pocos minutos de estar tocándola por primera vez. OnePlus no menciona si es Gorilla Glass 5, como sí tiene el Nord CE 2, lo que me lleva a sospechar que no lo es.
En el modo de color de pantalla Vivid predeterminado, registré una cobertura de gama de 99,6 % sRGB, 80,8 % Adobe RGB y 97 % DCI P3, lo cual no está nada mal. Sin embargo, querrás cambiar al modo de color Normal si deseas optimizar el equilibrio y la precisión de visualización.
Cuando ves que el Poco X4 Pro 5G te ofrece una pantalla AMOLED de 6,67 pulgadas y 120 Hz por menos dinero, la pantalla del Nord CE 2 Lite realmente no es nada del otro mundo y queda en un segundo plano frente a la de sus competidores.Rendimiento y especificaciones
Procesador Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM de 6 GB
El OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite funciona con procesador Snapdragon 695 5G de Qualcomm, que es el mismo chip de gama baja que alimenta el Poco X4 Pro 5G de precio similar. Esto está respaldado por los 6 GB de RAM, ampliables con hasta 5 GB de RAM virtual temporal.
Es una configuración que ayuda a que el CE 2 Lite se sienta razonablemente rápido y fluido en tareas de navegación. Incluso puedes manejar tareas más avanzadas razonablemente bien. Genshin Impact sigue siendo jugable, aunque lejos de ser suave como la seda, en configuraciones altas de 60 fps.
En las pruebas comparativas, el teléfono se queda un poco por detrás del OnePlus Nord CE 2, tanto en términos de CPU como de gráficos GPU. Es más o menos igual al Poco X4 Pro, como era de esperar, dado que tienen los mismos componentes en su interior.
En el área de almacenamiento, obtienes 128 GB como valor estándar, además de la ventaja de poder ampliarlo mediante el uso de tarjetas microSD.Cámaras
Buena principal de 64 MP
Lente macro y de profundidad
Sin ultra gran angular
OnePlus ha dotado a este teléfono económico de uno de esos sistemas de triple cámara que en realidad es un sistema de una sola cámara. Obtiene un sensor principal de gran angular de 64 MP, que realiza un buen trabajo en diferentes situaciones.
Sin embargo, la segunda lente macro de 2 MP y el sensor de profundidad, también de 2 MP, no hacen mucho para mejorar los resultados. En otras palabras, es una configuración similar a la del Nord CE 2, menos por el hecho de que omite el ultra ancho.
Al igual que con ese teléfono, el Nord CE 2 Lite ofrece resultados aceptables con una iluminación decente. Los colores son profundos y vibrantes sin falsear, y los detalles son buenos junto a un rango dinámico que bien podríamos decir que es perfecto. Es todo lo que cabría esperar a este precio.
Una vez que cae la luz del día (o con fotos en interiores), el sensor tiene algo de dificultad al ser más pequeño. La falta de estabilización óptica de imagen (OIS) comienza a molestar, pero aún así obtuve resultados que pueden ser utilizados con el modo nocturno proporcionado.
No hay una cámara de teleobjetivo dedicada, pero ese sensor principal es lo suficientemente denso en píxeles como para hacer que las tomas 2x recortadas digitalmente parezcan aceptables. Es la omisión del ultra gran angular lo más molesto aquí.
Ya en la parte frontal, contamos con una cámara para selfies de 16 MP, que tiene problemas con la exposición y con la imagen un tanto pastosa de los rostros, pero por lo demás, son fotografías que podrás manejar.
La grabación de vídeo solo se extiende a valores de 1080p con tasa de 30 fps. Esto está muy por debajo del Nord CE 2 que es capaz de ofrecer grabación 4K a 30 fps, o bien 1080p a 120 fps.Autonomía y carga
Batería de 5000 mAh
Dos días de autonomía con uso ligero
Carga al 51 % en 30 minutos
OnePlus ha equipado su teléfono asequible con una gran batería de 5000 mAh, que coincide con el Poco X4 Pro 5G y supera al modelo que no es Lite. Esto nos da energía suficiente para usar el Nord CE 2 lite 5G durante un día completo de uso moderado (3 horas y 30 minutos de pantalla a tiempo) con más del 50 % de sobra.
Se trata de un resultado sólido, aunque el Poco X4 Pro 5G logró tiempos similares. Por alguna razón, la prueba de batería PCMark Work 3.0 no se completó repetidamente durante mi tiempo con el OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G, por lo que no puedo ofrecer ninguna de las comparaciones de referencia habituales.
Decir que OnePlus incluye su teléfono con un cargador de 33 W. Esto nos permite alcanzar el 51 % de la capacidad de carga en un tiempo de 30 minutos, y completar la carga al 100 % en poco más de 1 hora y 15 minutos, tiempos razonables en el año en el que estamos.
Cabe señalar que el OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G te brinda un cargador de 65 W por solo un poco más de dinero, mientras que el con el móvil Poco X4 Pro 5G obtendrás un cargador de 67 W de potencia menos dinero.Software y apps
Oxygen OS 12.1
Solo dos actualizaciones Android
El OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G viene con la versión de sistema operativo Android 12 sobre la que corre la capa de personalización de la compañía, que en esta ocasión se corresponde con la versión de OxygenOS 12.1.
Esta última no es la interfaz de usuario de Android audazmente independiente que solía ser, ya que la fusión con Oppo esencialmente lo convierte en una versión diferente de su propio ColorOS. Pero conserva sus fuentes e íconos atractivos, al menos, y es agradable y fácil de usar.
No soy un gran admirador de OnePlus Shelf, un menú lleno de widgets al que se accede arrastrando hacia abajo desde la parte superior derecha de la pantalla. Se ve un poco torpe y se siente extrañamente diferente al resto de la interfaz de usuario.
Aún así, al menos es posible desactivarlo dentro del menú de Configuración. OnePlus promete dos actualizaciones importantes de Android y tres años de actualizaciones de seguridad. Eso es lo mejor que hay en esta gama de precios, lo que garantiza Android 14.Precio y disponibilidad
El OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G está disponible en la web de OnePlus a un precio de 309 € con una única configuración de 6 GB de memoria RAM y 128 GB de almacenamiento, unas cifras bastante respetables para dotar del rendimiento apropiado a este terminal.
Podrás adquirirlo tanto en color azul como en negro, con el extra de que contamos con ranura de tarjetas microSD para poder ampliar la capacidad de almacenamiento con el paso del tiempo.
Aunque el OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G coloca a la marca en la categoría de teléfonos asequibles, de alguna manera todavía se siente un poco caro. Los gustos del Poco X4 Pro 5G y el Realme 9 5G tienen especificaciones similares, pero cuestan unos 30 y 50 € menos respectivamente.
A esto hay que añadir el desafío y la competencia que le genera el OnePlus Nord 2 CE 5G normal, que es un teléfono mucho mejor, especialmente en las áreas clave de la pantalla y las cámaras, y que cuesta solo 50 € más.
Consulta nuestro ranking especial de los mejores teléfonos móviles baratos que puedes comprar este año.Veredicto
El OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G es otro teléfono asequible muy competente de una marca ya bien establecida.
Tiene una construcción sólida, cuenta con una pantalla fluida de 120 Hz y funciona razonablemente bien. Mientras tanto, la cámara principal de 64 MP es capaz de capturar imágenes muy válidas a plena luz del díal.
Sin embargo, no se puede escapar el hecho de que este es uno de los teléfonos OnePlus menos emocionantes que hemos visto en mucho tiempo. En cierto modo, se siente francamente innecesario si vemos el precio similar al Nord CE 2 5G mucho mejor.
Por 50 € menos, obtendrás un teléfono con una pantalla LCD inferior, un rendimiento peor, una carga más lenta y un sistema de cámara menos flexible. Por su parte, sus rivales como Xiaomi y Realme ofrecen especificaciones similares o incluso mejores por menos dinero.
Echa un vistazo a nuestro especial de los mejores móviles de la marca OnePlus que encontrarás a la venta.Especificaciones
Pantalla de 6,59 pulgadas y resolución FHD+
Panel LCD IPS con 120 Hz de frecuencia de refresco
Sensor de huellas dactilares en lateral
Chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
RAM de 6GB LPDDR4X
Almacenamiento de 128 GB
Cámara principal de 64 MP, f/1.7
Cámara macro de 2 MP, f/2.4
Sensor de profundidad de 2 MP, f/2.4
Cámara frontal de 16 MP
Vídeo trasero de hasta 1080p a 30 fps
Doble SIM y ranura microSD
Conectividad WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac y Bluetooth 5.2
Batería de 5000 mAh. Carga de 33 W
Sistema operativo Android 12 con Oxygen OS 12.1
Dimensiones de 164,3 x 75,6 x 8,5 mm
Peso de 195 gramos
OnePlus Nord Buds 2r
Extra tips (Large and Small)
Type-C Charging cable
Safety and Warranty Guide
Red Cable Club Card
The packaging of the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r is pretty compact. It looks attractive in the Black and Nord Blue colors, and the big text ensures your eyes won’t miss out on the Nord Buds 2R from a bunch of headphones on the shelf. It suits well in terms of OnePlus’s marketing strategy to catch eyeballs.
Though when it comes to the unboxing experience, it is very unpleasant. I don’t know why they considered designing the accessories’ bottom like a pastry box that is not solid. Opening without precaution can lead to dropping all the accessories, which I don’t want to happen with a brand-new pair of headphones.Design & Build Quality
Building on Nord Buds 2’s curved design (reviewed by my colleague), the case is comfortable to hold. And can be slid into the pocket with ease, without feeling annoying. The all-plastic construction makes it extremely light, weighing just 38 grams so that you won’t feel its presence in your pocket.
The Matte finish case gives it a premium look of earphones priced in the four to five thousand range. Over time it will pick up scratches, and if you’re a rough user, you’ll need to handle them with extra precaution.
The earbuds are super light and weigh only 4.3 grams, and the flat stem design makes it easy to be worn with a helmet (though I won’t recommend you to do it).
The earbuds are IP55-rated for water and sweat resistant, so you do not need to worry about wearing them during your workout sessions or outdoor activity.
Akin to other Buds in the Nord lineup, the Nord Buds 2r comes with a comfortable and ergonomic design and can be worn for long music-listening sessions. Even I fell asleep listening to music on the Nord Buds 2r and didn’t feel any pain at all.
Pairing the Nord Buds 2r for the first time is convenient as all you have to do is open the case lid, and it will automatically enter pairing mode. Bear this fast pairing works only with OnePlus phones (OnePlus 6 or later) running Android 11 or later.
For other phones, you need to pair it manually, which takes a U-turn, as the Nord Buds 2r does not have a dedicated pairing button on the case, unlike previous buds.
To pair a non-OnePlus or a second phone, both earbuds must be pressed for 4 seconds, which is hard to get used to. This is another cut corner by OnePlus which shouldn’t have been done, considering the Buds 2r’s case is slightly larger than the Buds 2.
To update the firmware or customize the tap gesture, you need to:
Update the Wireless Earphones app (OxygenOS 12 or later), or
Install the OnePlus Buds app (OxygenOS 11), or
Install HeyMelody App on Non-OnePlus phones.
iPhone users can’t update the firmware or customize the controls as the HeyMelody App on iOS does not support the Nord Buds 2r. They either have to rely on the default controls or set them up on an Android phone and then use them on iPhone. The good thing is that the controls are saved on the buds and work with all devices.
The little glossy circles on earbuds are the touch sensor to control the buds; they are flushed into the flat stem with a slight inner curve, making your fingertips land perfectly on the right spot.
The default controls of the buds are as follows:
Single tap to Play or Pause Music
Double tap to change the next track
Triple tap to play the previous track
With the app, these gestures can be customized for both the individual earbuds. In contrast, the long touch and hold can only be used to switch between paired devices and can’t be customized.
Double tapping either bud works as a shutter button for your phone’s camera, which works with OnePlus phones.
While the touch gestures work well with mobile phones, I did face a few hiccups on Windows, as often it didn’t recognize the play and pause gestures, and I had to control it on Spotify manually. It also registers accidental touches pausing the music when not intended to.
There are three holes on each earbud, but strangely only two are microphones. There’s no statement from OnePlus about the extra hole at the top. It should be for some noise cancellation, but the Nord Buds 2r does not come with Active Noise Cancellation.
The OnePlus Nord Buds 2r uses Bluetooth 5.3 for connectivity and works well up to a wireless range of 10 meters. I had no connectivity issue during my time and could leave my phone or laptop three rooms away, yet they didn’t lose the connection. With already good latency performance, the dedicated game mode drops even lower to 94ms without noticeable delay.
They can be paired with multiple devices, and long pressing either bud switches to the last connected device. As for the audio formats, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r supports AAC and SBC
The audio quality of the Nord Buds 2r is pretty good for the price. If judged solely based on sound quality, they sound as good as headphones double their price, around INR 4,500.
The Nord Buds 2r has a large 12.4mm dynamic driver, focussing on the bass, which is pretty good. Using the app or the native controls on OnePlus phones, you can switch between the three sound profiles.
Balanced: It mixes the bass and vocals while retaining the details and does not overpower. Good for casual music listening.
Bass: To power the bass, it increases the audio slightly and loses the vocal details, which sounds kind of hollow to me. If you’re not bothered about details and like bass, you’ll be quite happy with the Bass mode on Nord Buds 2R. Considering they come just for ₹2,200.
Bold: It tones down the highs to focus on the mids and vocals while slightly decreasing the overall volume.
The lack of Active Noise cancellation does feel like a missed opportunity, considering the other corner-cut considering size or earbud is almost identical to that of Nord Buds 2, which have ANC.
Each earbud packs a 36 mAh battery making 72 mAh for both buds. That can last 8 hours with continuous music playback or 4 hours of continuous phone calls. During my test, they lasted for 7 hours and 15 mins at 80% volume and a few jumps to max volume.
After spending my time with the Nord Buds 2r, here are the Pro and Cons to summarise my review:Pros
Comfortable and Compact
Overall good sound quality
Long battery life
IP 55 ratingCons
Case easily picks up scratches
No wear detection
Lack of a dedicated pairing button
Lacking highs and vocals
No App support for iOS
With a price difference of INR 800, the OnePlus Nord Buds 2r does offer a really good audio experience similar to Nord Buds 2, except for the ANC and transparency mode. However, the lack of a dedicated pairing button creates more mess than making things easier.
If OnePlus could improve the packaging, accidental touch issues, and optimize the vocals in the bass mode. The OnePlus Nord Buds 2r can be a good option for Bass lovers for INR 2200.
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Great overall sound
Outstanding bass response
Very good noise cancellation
Cheap plastic build
Hi-res limited to few phones
Iffy in-ear detection
Software bugs and gripesOur Verdict
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are very good true wireless earbuds with superb noise cancelling and above average bass. They’re a well-priced option if you have an Android phone.
Although they have only been popular for the last five years or so, wireless earbuds are now so ubiquitous it’s difficult to know where to begin when buying a pair (unless you just go and buy AirPods, of course).
The bottom line with the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 is they are some of the best wireless earbuds for under $200/£200/€200, with features you don’t normally find at this price range such as superb active noise cancelling (ANC) and Hi-Res Audio support.
The successor to the OnePlus Buds Pro feel a little cheaply made and I experienced some connection issues but judged on their sound quality and ANC the Buds Pro 2 are a success.Design & build
The Buds Pro 2’s slightly cheap looking and feeling plastic case flips up to reveal black buds that are made from matt plastic. The buds pick up surface scuffs easily, as does the case. But at 4.9g per bud they are very lightweight and comfortable to wear.
Each bud has a shiny metal accent on the stem to spice up the look a bit, with a couple of grilles on the head of the buds, mics on the bottom of each stem, and two silver contacts for charging in the case.
This is standard fare for earbuds and the case is quite compact, hardly noticeable even in a front trouser pocket. My review unit was black but you can also get green, the colours matching the two hues of OnePlus 11 phone.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
I found the best fit with the small size silicone ear tips, which are included with medium and large sizes too. OnePlus has sensibly opted for slightly flatter oval shaped tips that stay in my ears better than circular ones.
The buds snap magnetically flat into the case to charge, with a single USB-C port on the case to charge the whole package. The buds are IP55 water and dust resistant, so can withstand light rain but not much else beyond that if you want to be safe.
… at 4.9g per bud they are very lightweight and comfortable to wearSound quality
Very good bass response
The Buds Pro 2 sound phenomenally good out of the box, and I became more impressed the more I used them. They have dual 11mm and 6mm drivers co-designed by audio company Dynaudio, a partnership that appears to have paid off.
They have a very good, punchy bass response that doesn’t overpower the mix, giving many songs the drive that the original recording had but is lost on lesser earphones.
Days by Television shines with good separation of the guitar arpeggios and the bass guitar well represented. It’s a busy song, but the buds offer a distinct soundstage.
The bass guitar, drums and horns on Jazz on the Autobahn by The Felice Brothers are well produced with the right emphasis on all the right frequencies and with good stereo field.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
Kim Deal’s Wish I Was pulses with its intended menace while the guitars on Chaise Longue by Wet Leg punch through the mix where intended. Not all wireless earbuds are this clear and well-calibrated for the compressed Spotify streams I tested them with and via which most people will be listening to them.
The buds can also get incredibly loud – almost too loud. The high end of One More Time by Daft Punk got on the verge of grating, but the buds gave a good thud to the track despite being at the edge of their capabilities with such a full mix.
The Buds Pro 2 sound phenomenally good
Dipping into some Beethoven was also not out of the question with the Buds Pro 2 showing considered balance and warmth with a recording of Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor. I was impressed with how many genres the Buds Pro 2 handle well, perhaps electronic music aside as mentioned.
The buds’ secret weapon is their Hi-Res audio playback compatibility thanks to the LHDC 4.0 lossless codec (OnePlus says an update to 5.0 will come soon). At their time of release in February 2023 this is still relatively rare for wireless earbuds, and partly because you need to pair them with a compatible playback device and file formats.
I tested them with the compatible OnePlus 11 and some of my favourite tracks in locally stored FLAC format. REM songs Harborcoat and So. Central Rain sounded incredible, with almost as much roundness and clarity as I found them when played on a dedicated Sony Walkman player with good quality wired in-ear monitors.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
The downside is LHDC is a less common codec for phones to be compatible with than LDAC. You’ll need to check if your phone supports LHDC, or the Buds Pro 2 won’t play back in hi-res. Aside from the OnePlus 11, the Oppo Find X5 Pro supports it, but not many other popular phones. Check the specs of your phone before you buy the buds or you’ll be disappointed.
The same hardware match up limitations apply to the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, which are limited to hi-res only on Samsung phones.
Overall, the Buds Pro 2 are powerful, punchy earbuds with the bonus of Hi-Res support, futureproofing them for when such a feature, hopefully, becomes more widely available on popular streaming platforms.
Despite this, I came across some connection issues. The buds would sporadically pause audio in both Spotify and Pocket Casts, particularly when I used them with a Samsung Galaxy phone, but it also happened with the OnePlus 11 regardless.
I had to take my phone out to press play again, as the bug meant the squeezable stems became momentarily unresponsive to pressing, which usually plays or pauses.
It happened often enough in my testing that I’m confident this is a bug. Hopefully, it can be fixed with a software update but for now, it’s putting me off fully recommending them.
… I came across some connection issues. The buds would sporadically pause audioNoise cancelling & smart features
Bad in-ear detection
Spatial audio support
The noise cancelling on the buds is very good. The only pairs I’ve personally used that I think best the OnePlus are Apple’s second-gen AirPods Pro and the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. Sony’s WF-100XM4 are also great, but I struggled with the fit.
Those competitors truly shut the world out as well as the best over-ear ANC headphones can. OnePlus is nearly there though, which is mightily impressive considering their price.
On a packed London Underground train, I could hear all the details of my favourite Interpol album with only the uncancellable rattle of the loudest rail noises on the capital’s Tube system hovering in the background – very dampened though.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
You can select from mild, moderate, and max levels of cancellation or set the buds to smart mode to sense which is best. I tended to leave them on smart mode, so impressive is the effect. There’s also a transparency mode for listening to the world around you when you’re wearing the buds.
Finding the controls for the buds is a pain. Even on the same-brand OnePlus 11 it’s not obvious you must tap through to the controls via the Bluetooth settings menu. On other Android phones, you must download the HeyMelody app, which isn’t even OnePlus branded and is not pushed to the user by the software.
You can also select from EQ presets or create your own to tailor the sound profile. The buds are also capable of spatial audio but without many compatible Android apps using the technology yet it was a little difficult to test. OnePlus says it works with any dual-channel audio.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
To test I had to play songs then go into the buds’ settings and turn on the function. It made songs sound very tinny and they would frequently distort. This is likely because the buds and phone (running Android 13) is trying to create a spatial reproduction of a song that is a compressed stereo stream. Apple is having more success with its own Spatial Audio for Apple Music because the tracks are only compatible when they have been actually mastered for the 3D effect.
I appreciate the tracks I tried weren’t necessarily compatible but when you give users the option to use a function on audio it’s not designed for then you’ll get people (like me) using it incorrectly and have a bad experience.
To control playback audio playback, OnePlus has nabbed the AirPods Pro’s squeezable stem. It works well, but like Apple’s buds, you can’t control volume without whipping your phone or smartwatch out. You can also skip tracks and switch between ANC and transparency modes, or invoke a voice assistant.
Also the in-ear detection is so unreliable that I was convinced the buds didn’t have the feature. It’s meant to pause audio when you take one bud out of your ear and resumes it when you pop it back. It worked very infrequently compared to competing products such as the Google Pixel Buds Pro where it works flawlessly.
I never ran out of battery in one sitting with the budsBattery & charging
Solid all-day battery
Several charges with case
OnePlus promises 25 hours of battery life with ANC and 39 with it off, which includes the charges from a fully charged case. There’s a small USB-C cable in the box, but no wall plug as per usual.
Henry Burrell / Foundry
I never ran out of battery in one sitting with the buds but I used them how I normally use buds – for an hour or so at a time and never for eight hours straight without a break.
The case (and buds) can be charged for 10 minutes to get three hours of playback, which is a neat feature, and the case can recharge on a Qi wireless charging pad too.Price & availability
The OnePlus Buds Pro 2 cost $179/£179/€179 which is a very good price considering their sound quality and noise cancelling chops alone.
You can buy them direct from OnePlus in the US, UK and Europe.
The buds are less than the $249/£249/€299 second-gen Apple AirPods Pro by some distance, and a much better pick if you use an Android phone. They also undercut the £250/$280 Sony WF-1000XM4 and $299/£279.95/€299.95 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, suggesting the OnePlus aren’t truly premium earbuds – but I think they hold their own, particularly with their excellent ANC and hi-res audio support.
Samsung’s Buds 2 Pro also support hi-res (with the right set up) at $229/£219/€229.
You can find the Sony for about the price of the OnePlus these days though, which I would recommend for their superior sound, ANC and smart features. But if you prefer the AirPod-esque OnePlus design then you should go for the Buds Pro 2 – I have small ears and they fit me much better than the Sony.
Henry Burrell / FoundryVerdict
OnePlus has a great product in the Buds Pro 2. They have good universal fit, superb ANC, excellently tuned audio with impressive bass response and good battery life to boot.
Hi-Res support also ensures they are future-proofed for the still-emerging technology (in terms of Hi-Res wireless audio at least) but you must make sure your phone supports the LHDC standard, and I’d ignore using the spatial audio feature at all until that standard has also matured.
The wireless earbuds market is a crowded place but if you use an Android phone then the OnePlus Buds Pro 2 are an excellent option. They have surprised me by being better than their price tag suggests and can hold a candle to products by audio titans Sony and Bose for around $100/£100/€100 RRP less.Specs
Active Noise Cancelling
Wireless: Bluetooth 5.3 LE, LHDC 4.0
Voice control: Yes (not automatic)
Touch controls: Yes
Battery life: 25 hours total with ANC, 39 without (both with case)
Ear tips and wing tips: Three sizes
IP55 sweat and weather resistant (buds)
Weight: 4.9g per earbud, 47.3g case
Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
See price at Samsung
The ups and downs of foldable design
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
As someone who only had fleeting looks at the likes of the original Galaxy Fold, HUAWEI Mate X, and Royole Flexpai at industry trade shows, jumping straight to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 for testing as a daily driver means I’ve skipped some of the early teething issues with large screen foldables.
Best of all, Samsung has implemented an IPX8 water resistance rating here. This represents a major step for foldable phones in narrowing the feature/durability gap to conventional flagship phones. Unfortunately, the phone isn’t rated for dust protection, which is a downer and means you might still have to baby the phone in certain situations or leave it at home if you’re heading to the beach.
Another notable hardware improvement is that Samsung claims the foldable screen is 80% stronger than before. Samsung is also confident enough in the folding screen’s durability to offer S Pen support, albeit via a bespoke Fold Edition stylus ($49) with a tip that retracts under pressure.
More reading: The best thing about foldables could one day be their durability
It’s also worth noting that the Z Fold 3’s foldable display has a noticeable crease, which makes me wonder just how much bigger previous creases were. The crease is very noticeable under your finger too. However, I did get to spend a few hours with the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and I’d say that the crease there makes for a worse experience, as you’re almost always going to be touching it. On the Z Fold 3 though, you’re mostly touching the left and right-hand sides of the foldable display and avoiding the middle altogether.
As for handling the phone while closed, the narrow design when folded means that the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is pretty comfortable for daily use, despite the thickness and heft in general. The external screen — clad in Gorilla Glass Victus for protection — is pretty sharp and gets more than bright enough when outdoors too.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 could do with a wider external display. HUAWEI managed to do this with the Mate X2.
The external display is a little too narrow though. This downside is felt keenly when you need to enter text, as the keyboard is just a little too small for the screen. It’s also acutely felt when reading passages of text (e.g. in the Kindle app). I understand that design considerations likely forced Samsung’s hand here, and I’m well aware that this still seems to be a big improvement over the original Galaxy Fold. But it certainly feels like Samsung is gently prodding you to use the large screen when reading.
On the plus side, scrolling through something like Reddit and Twitter is pretty neat here. You’re only getting slightly more content in your feed compared to a traditional smartphone, but it’s still a pleasant experience. Nevertheless, perhaps going a little wider while slightly reducing the overall thickness would be a better solution for a future Z Fold device. After all, the HUAWEI Mate X2’s phone display goes a little wider (delivering a 21:9 aspect ratio).
There’s definitely room for improvement though. For example, the ability to toggle refresh rate by screen would be great. Separate volume controls for each screen would also be handy, as I’m far more inclined to require volume on the media-friendly foldable screen.
Samsung’s foldable software is pretty polished, but it could do with a few more mindful tweaks.
Another minor annoyance is that auto-rotate can’t be toggled on a per-screen basis. The external display is just too narrow for doing things in landscape orientation, but things like Flex Mode rely on auto-rotate functionality. There are rotate prompts as per Android 11, and these do make life easier, but these prompts affect the other screen too. So that means when rotating a video on the main screen to landscape, you’ll need to hit the rotate button again before closing the device, as your smartphone screen will be in landscape mode too.
Perhaps the biggest issue with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 software experience is that quite a few third-party apps still don’t account for the foldable form factor. For example, Samsung’s own keyboard offers a split arrangement, with half the keys on the left side and half on the right (and nothing on the crease). However, Google’s Gboard misses out on this feature altogether. It’s a particularly weird omission as Android Marshmallow for tablets offered a split keyboard way back in 2023.
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Another major third-party app that hasn’t been optimized for foldables is Instagram. You’d think the company would want to use the entire foldable screen to showcase content, but you get an extremely unpolished interface instead, as seen above. This is doubly disappointing because this was an issue with the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 2 but still hasn’t been resolved.
Hey, Galaxy Z Fold 3, 2023 called and it wants its cameras back
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Those hoping for a modern flagship camera experience will be disappointed, as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 camera specs read like a Samsung flagship from a few years ago. The rear combo features three cameras, namely a 12MP primary sensor, 12MP 2x telephoto shooter, and a 12MP ultra-wide lens.
You’ve also got a 12MP selfie camera in a punch-hole cutout on the front and a 4MP under-display selfie camera on the foldable screen. The latter produces a very noticeable haze with light backgrounds. You’ll also notice the camera outline when the screen is turned off or against dark colors.
I could certainly excuse the haziness if the under-display selfie camera was good, but even budget phones have better selfie shooters than this. Despite Samsung’s software smarts, the under-display camera lacks detail, with shots in ideal conditions looking mushy too. And you often don’t have to pixel-peep to notice how bad these images look. An equally big casualty is dynamic range, and while it’s clear that the phone’s image processing attempts to balance things, it simply doesn’t hold up compared to even budget phones from three or four years ago.
Then again, Samsung is positioning this for use during video calls. Either way, you should use the smartphone screen’s shooter, as it’s noticeably better in terms of capturing overall detail in the scene as well as HDR. Check out a comparison below.
Video quality tops out at 4K/60fps, and the actual quality is pretty good. I saw little to no dropped frames and while there is some noise in dark parts of the clip, it’s kept under control. Samsung also offers a Super Steady mode, which tops out at 1080p/30fps. Stabilization here is pretty solid, albeit with the jelly effect now and again. I would love to see Samsung bring this up to 1080p/60fps, as the extra frames make for a much smoother video.
Taken together, the cameras are definitely the weakest link in the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s chain. And if Samsung wants to attract Galaxy Note enthusiasts or premium flagship fans in general, it’ll need to address this with the Galaxy Z Fold 4, because software updates can’t fully address everything that’s wrong or missing here. That’s not to say you aren’t getting a decent camera experience in general, but you can get a similar experience from other phones like the Galaxy A72 and Galaxy S20 FE for under half the price. You can take a look at full-resolution shots via our Google Drive folder.Flagship-level performance
The Galaxy Z Fold 3, much like Samsung’s previous foldables, has high-end internals to keep things ticking. For 2023, that means a Snapdragon 888 SoC, along with 12GB of RAM, and 256GB to 512GB of expandable storage.
Benchmark performance generally reflects the flagship silicon, although the AnTuTu score was a little on the low side. Meanwhile, our in-house Speed Test G benchmark yielded a time of about 97 seconds. That’s significantly slower than phones like the Xiaomi Mi 11 series, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and the OPPO Find X3 Pro.
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t top of the class for benchmarks, but real-world usage shows that it’s pretty fast.
The phone clearly delivers plenty of real-world horsepower then, but what about mileage? I was able to get over six hours of screen-on time with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on several occasions using the dynamic refresh rate option. This usage was mainly via the smaller screen and was relatively heavy too, with one cycle consisting of roughly 90 minutes of YouTube, half an hour of Genshin Impact, some YouTube Music playback, and podcasting.
A day of pushing the device pretty hard resulted in six and a half hours of screen-on time. This consisted of plenty of benchmarks, just under an hour of gaming/emulation, and almost three hours of YouTube playback (mostly on the small screen). That’s quite impressive in our book, so mobile gamers or those wanting to consume plenty of videos will be in good stead here.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 review second opinion: The best foldable, but not the best phone
Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
The Galaxy Z Fold 3 isn’t necessarily the best foldable for all people, as the Galaxy Z Flip 3 is a great pick if you want to buck the trend of ever-larger smartphones while still having all the wow factor of a folding screen. Samsung’s smaller foldable also delivers a more durable screen and an IPX8 design, but the small size comes at the expense of a decently sized battery and telephoto camera.
A long exposure panorama of the Vancouver skyline. For this image Sharon Tenenbaum used a 13 stop neutral density filter at f/11 and a 10 minute long exposure. Sharon Tenenbaum
Long exposure photography can distort time and transform an everyday scene into something otherworldly. For Vancouver based photographer Sharon Tenenbaum, this mystical quality is a big part of what makes the technique appealing. While normal exposures typically take just a fraction of a second, long exposures leave the camera’s shutter open for extended periods of time. The resulting photos capture objects that remain still while moving subjects turn into dreamy blur, or disappear completely.
“Long exposures change the way we that we see reality,” she says. “It eliminates the unnecessary details and creates more of an emphasis on art.”
The Vasco de Gama Bridge in Lisbon, Portugal. Tenenbaum used a 13 stop neutral density filter at f/11 and an 11 minute long exposure to capture this. Sharon Tenenbaum
Tenenbaum began photographing seriously in 2006 after she found herself unsatisfied with her career as a civil engineer and wanting to switch gears with her life. She brought her camera—which she had received as a gift—on a trip and quickly fell in love with the medium. She discovered a passion for photographing architectural structures and landscapes with a fine art bend. She quickly started winning awards for her work and even had an image published by National Geographic. She began experimenting with long exposures very early in her photography career.
RELATED: How to create striking abstract architectural photography
Although Tenenbaum shoots a mixture of natural landscapes and architectural structures, and her approach to the two is quite different, her love of long exposures tend to pop up in all of her work and is something she covers in the site-specific photo workshops she runs throughout the year.
A long exposure of the Manhattan skyline. Tenenbaum shot this with a 16 stop neutral density filter, an aperture of f/24 and a six and a half minute exposure. Sharon Tenenbaum
We spoke with Tenenbaum to learn more about the tips and tricks for getting started with this photographic form.Choosing gear
Tenenbaum says that it’s smart to choose the gear that you are most comfortable with—and this applies to camera bodies, lenses, and tripods.
“A lot of times people get heavy cameras and then they think twice if they should even take it out or not. They are thinking of lugging it around,” she says. “ Get gear that isn’t going to bog you down.”
Lighthouse Park in Vancouver. This image was shot with a 13 stop neutral density filter, an f/11 aperture and a 10 minute long exposure. Sharon Tenenbaum
Although a tripod is obviously important for long exposure shots, where the shutter is open for a long amount of time, getting the heaviest, largest one isn’t going to do you much good. She recommends a mid-level tripod for photographers just starting out.
“There is no need for something that weighs as much as you do—if the conditions are that windy you aren’t going to want to be out shooting anyway” she says. “But a travel tripod can be a bit too flimsy.”Using Neutral Density filters
Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Canada. Tenenbaum shot this image with a three-stop neutral density filter at f/22 with a two-second exposure. Sharon Tenenbaum
Shooting with neutral density filters reduces the amount of light hitting your camera’s sensor. Adding an ND filter allows you to extend your exposure times on bright days without blowing out highlights in an image. But ND filters also allow you to “cheat” long exposure shots. In this shot of the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver Tenenbaum was shooting in the middle of an overcast day at f/22 with a three-stop ND filter. The two-second exposure time helped create the streaks caused by car headlights.
“There are cheat sheets that you can keep in your filter bag, but there are also apps now that will do the calculations for you,” she says, in regards to getting the right exposure.
Although Tenenbaum says she prefers the old school paper cheat sheet, she notes that LExp – Long Exposure Calcs is a good digital choice.
There are also several kinds of ND filters depending on how much light you want to block. Darker filters will result in longer exposures. Variable neutral density filters allow you to tweak just how much light you block by rotating like a circular polarizing filter. They’re convenient, but often hundreds of dollars to get something of good quality.When to shoot
The city of Chicago captured at sunrise. Tenenbaum used a 10 stop neutral density filter, an f/11 aperture and a three minute exposure for this frame. Sharon Tenenbaum
Although using an ND filter gives you the option of shooting in the middle of the day, Tenenbaum still prefers an early morning shoot or right at sunset to catch the golden hour—especially if you want to capture the colors in a scene.
In terms of seasons Tenenbaum notes that Vancouver’s climate is ideal for long exposure photography. The city is located in the middle of a rainforest, which makes for lots of clouds and high elevation winds.
Shooting long exposures at sunrise or sunset will reveal the beautiful colors of a scene. The images above were both shot with a 13 stop neutral density filter, an f/11 aperture and an 8 minute exposure. The color differences come from the time of day that they were shot. Sharon Tenenbaum
“The clouds are moving fast, but at higher altitudes,” she explains. “The tripod can stay sturdy on the ground not be affected by the winds.”
“I find that the transition seasons are the best, the fall and the spring,” she says. “In the winter it can be too rainy or snowy and in the summer it can be just cloudless”Finding subjects
The Brooklyn Bridge, New York. Tenenbaum says that bridges are one of her favorite architectural subjects to capture with a long exposure. Sharon Tenenbaum
In many of her frames Tenenbaum says she likes to juxtapose the temporary and the permanent. “Structures will weather the test of time, they will be here for hundreds of years,” she says. “Where as clouds are coming and going.”
She says bridges are one of her favorite structures to photograph for this very reason.
“Bridges convey safe passage from one place to another,” she says. “What I love about the bridges and long exposure is it shows a bridge is so resilient.”
RELATED: These pinhole cameras are capturing 1000 year exposures of Lake TahoeChoosing between color or black and white
City of Arts and Sciences building, Valencia. Sharon Tenenbaum
It’s often the hardest choice for a photographer, and one that Tenenbaum says she still struggles with from time to time. She admits that there are occasional frames that she will edit both ways. One thing she tries to remember when she can’t seem to decide?
“Black and white celebrates form and color conveys emotion,” she says. “You need to keep those things in mind in if you don’t want to be a one in a million Instagram type photographer. What do you want your image to convey? What is your image about?”
See more of Tenenbaum’s work and check out her upcoming workshops on her website.
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