OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 sound better than they should and have great battery life
Last year, OnePlus introduced their first wireless(-ish) headphones, the OnePlus Bullets. These launched, somewhat ironically, with their last device equipped with a headphone jack, the OnePlus 6. The bullets were generally well received, and we found them to be a solid, no frills, low-cost Bluetooth audio option. Now that OnePlus has, unfortunately, killed the 3.5mm headphone jack on their most recent flagships, they’ve updated and improved the aptly named OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. Let’s take a look and see if they’re still a compelling option.
Note: I purchased the Bullets Wireless 2 headphones with my own money. They were not provided by OnePlus.
Packaging and Design
As you can see up top, If there is one thing OnePlus has dialed in over the years, it’s packaging. The Bullets 2 come in the typical red and white box we’ve come to expect. The presentation is impressive and the Bullets themselves seem well protected. The red and white look is further emphasized with a very short USB A-to-C cable for Warp Charging.
The Bullets themselves feel well made and sturdy. OnePlus claims they have a “seashell inspired” design. Sure. They are unique in that they’re not truly “wireless” earbuds, the earbuds themselves are joined by a wire to a flexible piece (which has the USB port) that rests around the neck. The neckpiece is a nice soft touch finish and is comfortable enough.
The actual earphones come with the middle size silicon tip installed, with large and small in the box. The tips have a nice subtle red design that slightly shows through. The first generation bullets had little silicon “wings” to help them stay in the ears, but the latest Bullets remove these and instead have a little “bump” that sits in the back of the ear. I don’t have problems keeping them in my ears, but I do think the previous generation was a bit more secure, albeit annoying to put in your ears.
Lastly, they come with a bright red silicone case that snaps shut with a couple of magnets. On first blush, this is a great carrying case. In reality, it’s just small enough that i find it pretty difficult to ever actually fit the bullets in. In fact, the photo here is the only time I’ve ever been able to fully do it, with Bullets 1 or 2. Overall, I came away impressed by the packaging, and fit and finish of the Bullets themselves.
OnePlus boasts a few features for the Bullets Wireless 2:
- Superior Sound
- Charge for 10 minutes, listen for 10 hours
- Easy controls
To the first point, the Bullets come equipped with Qualcomm’s aptX HD codec, Bluetooth 5, and some things called “knowles advanced micro-acoustics,” (more here if you’d like to learn more.) I’m particularly pleased to see aptX HD here. There’s quite a large difference in the standard baseline SBC codec, and almost any High Definition codec. The last version of the bullets only supported aptX (non-HD) so credit to OnePlus for going a step further.
To my, non-audiophile ears, these sound great. Audio is full and clear sounding. With the default “Dynamic” Dolby Atmos profile on the OnePlus 7 these are punchy and loud with good bass. I mostly prefer a flat sound profile and the Bullets deliver that with Atmos being set to “none.” Music has a great profile with crisp highs and mids that aren’t drowned out by outrageous bass, even with Atmos on. Podcasts and voice content also sound clear and crisp. I personally don’t like silicon tips, so I put some Comply foam tips on the earbuds, and they fit great and isolate sound very well. The Bluetooth connection is crystal clear with no noise and interruptions. They were a breeze to pair and the Bluetooth connection has been very strong and stable compared to my Galaxy Buds.
Like the OnePlus 7, the Bullets 2 support Warp Charging. OnePlus claims that 10 minutes gives you 10 hours of playback and a “full charge” provides 14 hours of playback. I’ve certainly not listened to 14 hours straight of audio, but the battery life here so far feels incredible. I took these along for a 2-hour flight and they lasted about 2 hours at the airport and through my flight. When I landed I still had “80% Battery Left.” This is one advantage to a semi-wireless design, more space for batteries.
OnePlus touts “Easy Controls” as another major selling point. The biggest components here are easy pairing with a OnePlus device (from the OnePlus 5 onward,) and magnetic control. Easy pairing works just as it sounds, simply separate the earbuds, and tap connect on the notification that pops up on the OnePlus phone, it worked exactly as described for me and is a nice touch.
Magnetic control is a convenient feature whereby music or audio can be played or paused by connecting or disconnecting the earbud from each other. Simply pull them out of your ears and clip them together with magnets to pause what you’re listening to. This is actually a very clever feature. It’s very nice to be able to just quickly clip them together to speak to someone or take care of something and simply let them hang around the neck. In lieu of magnetic pausing, there is also a play/pause button, flanked by volume up and down buttons on the left earbud wire. Controls here are well thought out and indeed easy.
Overall, I’ve got mostly good things to say about OnePlus’s second iteration of the Bullets. I still lament the (totally unnecessary) loss of the headphone jack, but at least OnePlus sells a quality set of earbuds to somewhat mitigate it. At $100, these sound better than they should, have a terrific battery life, and have a great feature set. Unfortunately, there’s no water resistance rating to be found here, just like the OnePlus 7 Pro. I really think we ought to have some sort of IP rating on these. And of course, if you want truly independent wireless earbuds, you’ll, of course, have to look elsewhere. But if you’re ok with the neckpiece and a couple of wires, there is a very compelling package here, which is just a little bit better if you’re pairing them with a OnePlus phone.
In case you’re interested in another perspective, this is what XDA TV’s Miles Somerville had to say:
I never had the chance to try out the original Bullets Wireless from OnePlus. That being said, I didn’t know what to expect when testing out the successor. For the price, the Bullets Wireless 2 are a great option for those looking for the perfect audio companion to their OnePlus device. They’re very comfortable and I’ve had no trouble getting a good fit in the ears or keeping them in place. The battery and charging is one their strongest features. I have yet to ever kill them after a full days use (6AM – 10PM). Sound quality is perfectly fine for the price. They get reasonably loud, and offer great noise isolation without being a “noise cancelling” pair of earphones. The mids and highs offer great clarity in all genres of music. The mids and highs seem to lack that punch that you would get from higher end wired pairs. The low ends are great if you’re not the type to tweak your audio with an EQ. Tracks with heavy bass will sound very distorted and mushy if you push the low ends above their default flat settings.