OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 test: a justified price increase

ByPonyo Hall 2019-06-06 1530

OnePlus seems to be positioning itself on all fronts this year with at least three new products at the beginning of the year. The Chinese brand has renewed its Bluetooth headsets with the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, but are they worth 30 euros more than the previous generation? Let's see this in a complete test that looks back at the audio quality of these wireless headphones (or almost), their comfort of use and their autonomy.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2

OnePlus has released the great game for this first half of the year with a new range of smartphones that, although divided, the OnePlus 7 Pro undeniably represents a serious move up the range. Alongside these smartphones were presented wireless headsets, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, whose name immediately reminds us that this is the second generation of a product released last year.

After our test of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless in 2018, I kept these headphones as a backup pair, which I use mainly for sports. My argument will therefore essentially be based on a comparison of the two models in order to explain whether or not the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 deserve their price increase of 30 euros.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 Data Sheet

● Style: in-ear

● Integrated remote control: yes

● Impedance: 16 Ω

● Frequencies: 20 - 20k Hz

● Sound pressure level (SPL): 97 dB

● Bluetooth: 5

● Autonomy (music): 14 hours

● Charging port: USB-C

This test was carried out with a product that was offered to us by the brand.

A new design for the best (but always with wire)

Let's get to the bottom of this right away: OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 are not true wireless headphones. If no wires connect them to your smartphone, computer or tablet, there is a physical connection between the two headphones, to be passed behind the back of the neck. So it would be totally ridiculous to compare them to AirPods or that kind of aircraft in many ways, starting with design.

With their cable, 2 batteries and the small remote control on the wire, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 look very impressive in 2019, maybe even a little retro. For my part, I have a lot of trouble with true wireless in general and I find this design more pleasant, even if it is less practical to carry, unless you keep your headphones wrapped around your neck all day long.

OnePlus has also significantly improved its design, although the differences may not be obvious to everyone. Last year, for example, I criticized the fact that "the two batteries fall a little too low for my taste, which makes the cables hang a little strangely on the face". Don't worry, the problem has been fixed here: the wires are a little less rigid and the batteries fall much better on the clavicles for a much more natural and pleasant wearing, especially during physical exercises (the cables no longer whip the face).

The other notable difference is the absence of fins on the headphones. While the first generation held it in the ear by these small pieces of rubber that came to espouse the flag, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 are satisfied with a simple intra-ear format (3 sizes of ear tips are provided), but with a revised and corrected design. The result: this new model is simpler (no need to adapt the fins to its ear size), more discreet and holds just as well, even during intense head movements.

Apart from their very good ear hold, Bullets 2 offer good passive isolation. It is certainly not an active noise reduction, but the insulation is good enough to cut you off from the noises of other passengers on public transport, for example. However, you will still hear the dull noises of the train or the squeals of the subway tracks.

From an aesthetic point of view, OnePlus remains sober with a glossy black coating and a thin red border to highlight the whole. But the most important thing is that the base of the Wireless Bullets 2 is flat and magnetic to connect the two headphones together, which is much more practical than it seems.

In use: the best friend of OnePlus 5, 6 and 7

The only thing Apple AirPods and OnePlus Wireless 2 Bullets have in common is that they both try to create a unique and simple experience.

Pairing Wireless Bullets with a OnePlus smartphone is a breeze: just "take off" them while staying close to the phone in question, and a notification will be displayed. Click on it and it's over! For other devices, however, it will be necessary to use the classic pairing button.

It should be noted that it is possible to pair several devices simultaneously with the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 and switch from one to the other with a simple double-click on the button. Very convenient to switch from a computer to a smartphone for example.

The magnet is also very practical. In addition to the ease of storage, it also allows you to turn off the headphones - and therefore your music or podcast by extension - as soon as you connect the two headphones. This is a very practical feature that reminds you of AirPods and their automatic pause when you remove a headset. Note that this does not allow you to pick up a call or restart a music and that you must use the button on the integrated remote control to do so.

However, it is a blessing as well as a curse. Very convenient on a daily basis if you keep Wireless 2 Bullets around your neck, it becomes more annoying if you sometimes throw the headphones at the bottom of a bag. With or without the small magnetic carrying case provided with the headphones, the magnet may fall off at the bottom of the bag and you may wonder why you don't hear any sound when you call: it is redirected to the headphones at the bottom of your bag. So remember to cut them off when you remove them to avoid this kind of inconvenience.

Audio quality: Increased sound quality

The main reason for the price increase of OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 is the increase in audio quality. Between the switch to Bluetooth 5 and compatibility with aptX HD, OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 are not only more stable (although the first generation was already), but also much better in terms of sound quality.

Switching from Wireless Bullets to Wireless Bullets 2 marks a clear move up the range quickly noticeable to the ear. The sound is louder, clearer, clearer, with higher frequencies and better chiselled midrange. Fortunately, the sound is powerful, so you won't have to push the volume and suffer the distortions that appear.

Overall, the sound is therefore much better than in the first generation, with warmer mid-volume tones and more detailed frequencies. Not all frequencies, however, since the basses are a little lower. This is suitable for listening to podcasts and for a large number of musical styles (jazz whose basses are not predominant, metal where the bass could cover the rest of the instrument...), but it is true that on other styles where we expect a deaf "boom boom boom" in the ears (some raps or techno that is supposed to be typing), we tend to turn up the volume a little more to find sensations. Except that we're back to the problem of high-volume distortions.

This problem is highlighted when the source is not particularly good quality. Do you like the good old punk registered in a garage? You may burn your eardrums on a dirty electric guitar while trying to get the bass line or bass drum back when you turn up the sound.

Nevertheless, despite this small lack, the sound remains very good for this price range and you will have a better quality with the Wireless 2 Bullets than on many true wireless headphones costing twice as much.

On appeal, that's correct.

During calls, the sound received is very good, clear and distinct in all circumstances. On the other hand, my interlocutors reported a certain continuous whispering in the background despite a good rendering of my voice. Moreover, the attenuation of external noise is far from perfect despite the integration of new noise suppression technologies.

We expected better, according to OnePlus, but don't think of it as a horrible weakness: the discussions remain fluid.

Autonomy, the best excuse for yarn

At the beginning of this test, I explained that I am not particularly fond of true wireless headphones, for two reasons: having very good audio quality and no latency usually requires a high price and the autonomy is insufficient for my often prolonged use.

With the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, the presence of a wire allows you to integrate two small batteries that, according to OnePlus, offer up to 14 hours of continuous music listening. If you are looking for headphones for everyday use, this is a strong argument.

Overall, on mixed uses, by varying the volume for my regular tests, I was effectively approaching 14 hours of listening between two recharges. In any case, it is undeniable that the autonomy is better than on the first generation.

In addition, OnePlus' fast USB-C search allows you to recover 10 hours of listening time in 10 minutes of charging. Again, this is a huge strength for Wireless Bullets, which are always available or can be very quickly.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 pricing and availability

The OnePlus Wireless 2 Bullets are available since May 21, 2019 at 99 euros on the official OnePlus website. That's 30 euros more than the first generation. If the increase in quality explains this price, it is still an increase of about 43%. By way of comparison, it's like a smartphone going from 600 to 860 euros from one generation to the next.

Still, it's still a very good deal if you don't want to switch to true wireless headphones.

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