Wireless neckband earbuds are still in, or so OnePlus hopes with the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. These neckband earbuds are the the companion accessory to the company’s flagship phone. It’s designed similarly to the original Bullets Wireless improved battery life and aptX HD support to justify the price hike.
Editor’s note: this review was updated on March 9, 2020, to address Bluetooth multipoint support and Amazon availability.
Who is it for?
- Anybody can enjoy wireless neckband earbuds. They’re nearly as convenient as true wireless earbuds with better connection quality. Sound quality is clearer than the original Bullets Wireless due to the three-unit driver array, which is similar to the 1More Triple-Driver.
- OnePlus users will like these earbuds because they’re a fine solution to the headphone jack-less OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro smartphones. Unlike how the Huawei FreeLace provides exclusive features for Huawei users, the Bullets Wireless 2 doesn’t have an ace up its sleeve for OnePlus users.
What’s it like to use the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2?
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 are a lot like the original Bullets Wireless. The earbud housings are a bit larger, but the design language is familiar. Its in-line control module and neckband are identical to the first-generation earbuds. A rubberized material coating the flexible collar creates a comfortable amount of friction during wear.
These isolate so well, they could be mistaken for noise cancelling earbuds.
Angled earbud nozzles make for an ergonomic fit. If the default ear tips aren’t suitable for you, test out the other sizes. Not only will it make wearing the earbuds more enjoyable, but it’ll also improve sound quality. A three-unit driver lay beneath each nozzle, producing greater clarity than a single dynamic driver.
Unlike the old Bullets Wireless, wing tips aren’t included. You get three pairs of ear tips, though, which isolate well. The earbuds stay in place well but don’t exercise with these. OnePlus’ safety information guide explicitly advises against letting the earbuds contact liquid. Doing so may damage them, which isn’t covered by the warranty. On the whole, the earbuds seem more durable than before. On our first-gen review unit, one of the flat housing panels came off in transport. This has yet to happen with the Bullets Wireless 2.
Will they work with an iPhone?
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 work just fine with an iPhone. Audio quality isn’t the best, though, since AAC isn’t supported. This means iPhone users are bumped down to the basic SBC codec. If you’re an Apple fan in need of wireless earbuds, we highly recommend the Beats Powerbeats Pro. They’re true wireless earbuds that afford all the conveniences of the AirPods (2019) with a much better fit.
Related: Best iPhone earbuds
How long does the battery last?
Battery life is not an issue for the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. OnePlus claims a 14-hour battery life, and our testing yields 14.23 hours of playback. Once the battery is depleted, you can connect it to the included USB-C cable. If you don’t have a couple of hours to spare, quick charging performance is impeccable: 10 minutes connected to the USB-C cable provides 10 hours of playback.
Since different phones decode Bluetooth audio codecs with varying efficiency, how a given pair of earbuds sounds is dependent on what phone is used. In the case of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, you’ll experience less latency with the OnePlus 6T as opposed to the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Since they support aptX HD, sound quality will generally be better than aptX and noticeably better than steaming over AAC with an Android phone.
To actually pair the Bluetooth 5.0 headset, press and hold the shortcut button (located on the left end of the neckband) for five seconds. Then select the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 from your phone’s menu. You can pair and connect to a second device via Bluetooth mulitpoint. Doing so lets you switch from one to the other by double-tapping the shortcut button.
What does it sound like?
Sound quality is quite good. Bass frequencies are a bit louder than mids, but this isn’t cause for concern since auditory masking isn’t an issue. The three-unit dispersion of frequency reproduction bears clear audio. This results in detailed vocals and harmonies as well as accurate bass lines.
Isolation is phenomenal. At first glance, the isolation chart reads as if these are noise cancelling earbuds. They’re not. External noise fades away, making these a great choice for commuting and studying in high-traffic areas. What’s more, because environmental noise is blocked out, you’re less likely to increase the volume to potentially dangerous levels.
Lows, mids, and highs
Maggie Rogers’ song Retrograde, opens with a winding sound effect. From then, individual notes are quickly played to underscore Rogers’ repeated “Ahs.” At 0:11, the drums signal the first verse. Thanks to the dedicated low-end driver, the kick drum leaves Rogers’ vocals unmasked. This lets listeners enjoy her ethereal tone, instead of straining to hear it.
Treble reproduction is excellent. I’ve listened to this song tens of times, if not a hundred, and failed to hear the cowbell prior to these ‘buds. Skip to 2:22, just before the chorus begins. If you listen intently, you can hear the faint cowbell through the left channel. This is typically masked by consumer earbuds.
Depending on what headset you’re currently using, it may be completely imperceptible once the chorus starts. I assure you, however, it’s exceptionally clear with the Bullets Wireless 2. This instance also serves as a great example of the realistic, three-dimensional space rendered by the ‘buds.
Is it good for phone calls?
Yes, the integrated mic is preferred over standard phone microphones. Voices sound natural, making this an unusually good headset mic. In fact, this happens to be one of my favorite headsets for fielding phone calls, but don’t take my word for it; hear it for yourself instead.
OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 mic demo:
As good as the microphone quality is, one of its shortcomings relates to the physical placement of the microphone. When I wore a jacket, the microphone often rubbed against the collar, transmitting an unappealing crackling noise. When walking around, make sure the microphone isn’t swinging into your clothing.
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Should you buy the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2?
If you’re looking for a wireless solution that doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount, then the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 hits that sweet spot. While the neckband design isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, OnePlus makes it look sophisticated. It also includes some enticing features. The aptX HD support satiates most audiophile needs, while the top-notch passive isolation will make you wonder if these are actually noise cancelling earbuds.
If you don’t care much for audio quality, the original Bullets Wireless may be more appealing. They’re $40 cheaper and offer similar functionality. Granted, they only support aptX and have less impressive battery life, but those sacrifices may be moot to you.