OnePlus is an established name in India. The smartphone maker’s devices have always offered incredible value in their price brackets, as have the accessories.
Let’s put these claims to the test.
Build and design: 7/10
Disregarding the price, the OnePlus Bullets V2 aren’t exactly well built. I like the fact that the cables are flat, which should make them less prone to getting tangled, but the quality of the material used means that it’s not stiff enough to alleviate tangling issues. As an example, Apple’s, bundled EarPods use stiffer materials in the construction of the cable and it's less prone to tangling than the Bullets V2.
You get an in-line mic, which I can best describe as being made up of well-finished cheap plastic. The middle button that you’d use for playing and pausing tracks or answering calls is a bit stiffer than on other sets that I’ve tried. The volume buttons are also a bit stiff, but less so when compared to the middle one.
The earplugs are also a little stiffer than I’m used to, but they’re not painful to use and offer reasonable isolation.
Ignoring the price, I’m not very impressed with the Bullets V2’s build. Considering the price, however, most of these issues disappear. I still think that Apple’s EarPods are better built and for the same price, even come with a hard-plastic case. They’re not in-ears, however and the Bullets V2 do sound slightly better overall. More on that later.
The Bullets V2 come in a nice, foam-padded box, which is nice. You also get a two extra pairs of tips in different sizes.
Sadly, there’s no carrying case.
I’ll say it right now, the OnePlus Bullets V2 are the best sounding earphones I’ve heard in this price range; but spend a little bit more and you’ll definitely get better sound. If you can't spend a rupee beyond Rs 1,500, simply pick up the Bullets V2 and don't look back.
Now that I have that out of the way, here’s what I think of the audio quality.
My reference headphones were the Audio Technica M50X on PC and the Beyerdynamic DTX 100 on the phone. The tracks I used for reference include Mick Gordon’s Hellwalker, Waldeck’s Memories, Metallica’s The God that failed and an assortment of tracks from Dave’s True Story, ZZ Top and others. For movies, I used The Dark Knight and Star Wars: Episode VII as reference.
Right of the bat, I was hit with how muted the bass was. It’s there, but it’s as if it’s not being given room to breathe. The only analogy I can come up with is a flat Coca Cola. Without the fizz, you still get all the flavours, just not the experience. That said, the bass definitely has more thump than on the EarPods.
I tried swapping between OnePlus’ bundled ear tips to no avail. When I used the ones from my DTX 100 however, there was a marked improvement in quality. Such a marked improvement, in fact, that it’s worth chucking out the bundled ear tips and just buying a much better pair from somewhere else.
One disclaimer I’d like to add here is that everyone’s ears are different. If the bundled OnePlus ear tips fit snugly in your ears, and I mean really snug, you probably won’t need to dump the tips.
The rest of the audio spectrum is represented about as well as the bass was. It’s there, you can hear it, but it’s not as amazing as it could have been.
In particularly heavy tracks, I found that some of the clarity would get lost.
As with the build quality, in isolation, these earphones qualify as average. However, at Rs 1,199, I can’t think of a single set on the market today that sounds better. Spend just Rs 500 more, however, and you’ll get better sets from established audio brands like Audio Technica, Koss, JBL and Sony.
Verdict and price in India
I honestly don’t believe that OnePlus has hit the price-performance sweet spot here. Considering the quality, I think a sub-Rs 1,000 price would have been a better bet. The bundled ear tips in particular are terrible and OnePlus would do well to replace them with better quality ones.
In fact, I’d heartily recommend the Bullets V2 at this price if the ear tips were of better quality.
I really wanted to like the Bullets V2. I was hoping that they’d represent another Creative EP630 moment in budget audio. Sadly, that’s not the case here.
The OnePlus Bullets V2 are really good value, but they definitely do not offer the best bang for your buck.
If you’re interested in alternatives under Rs 2,000, I’d suggest that you pick up something from Koss or Audio Technica instead. Above Rs 2,000, just about anything from a reputed brand (I prefer Beyerdynamic and Denon, but your mileage may vary) will sound good.
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