OnePlus launched the Nord Buds as its cheapest earbuds with a price tag of $39, but the older OnePlus Buds Z, released in 2020, now sells for the same price, thanks to a price tag. So are these old earbuds worth buying in 2022, or are the newer Nords Buds the better budget earbuds? The Nord line is OnePlus’s line of entry-level and mid-range smartphones. However, the launch of the Nord Buds revealed that the Nord name isn’t exclusive to smartphones.
With earbuds now carrying the Nord name, one can’t rule out the possibility of other non-phone products launching under the line. And while it is still too early to say, one can’t rule out the possibility of OnePlus spinning off the Nord line into an “independent” brand. Not that it is unheard of. Redmi started as a line of affordable smartphones from Xiaomi but is now a separate brand with its own phones, earbuds, smartwatches, fitness trackers, smart TVs and even laptops.
Both the OnePlus Buds Z and the Nord Buds adopt the stem design popularized by Apple’s AirPods, but they look nothing alike. The former has long and slender stems, while the latter has short and thick ones. Despite the Buds Z having the bigger form factor, it is the lighter one. Each of its earbuds weighs 4.35 grams, while the Nord Buds weigh 4.82 gams per bud. OnePlus says the inspiration for the design of the Buds Z comes from a fusion of seashell and a polished CD pattern. On the other hand, the Nord Buds are described as smooth like a rolling stone and are coated with the same metallic NCVM finish as the more premium OnePlus Buds Pro. Both earbuds have IP55 dust and water resistance. The Nord Buds are sold in Black Slate, while users can purchase the Buds Z in White or a colorful Steven Harrington Edition.
Both Earbuds Have Dust & Water Resistance
The Nord Buds have 12.4 mm, titanium-coated dynamic audio drivers, while the OnePlus Buds Z has smaller 10mm, dynamic drivers. They both have support for touch controls, Dolby Atmos, and adjustable equalizer settings, but the Nord Buds come with three preset equalizer modes and the option to create a custom one in the Sound Master Equalizer settings. These budget earbuds lack active noise cancellation, unlike the more expensive Buds Z2, but they have noise reduction for calls. However, the Nord Buds should provide a better calling experience as they have four microphones while the Buds Z have just two.
Another area where the Nord Buds shines is the battery department. It boasts seven hours of playback time on a single charge and a total of 30 hours with the charging case. It also supports Flash charge — a 10-minute charge will provide three hours of listening time or five hours if the case is also plugged in and charging. On the other hand, the OnePlus Buds Z will provide five hours of playback time on a single charge and a total of 20 hours with its charging case. It also supports fast charging but only manages 1.5 hours after a 10-minute charge or three hours with the case plugged in. Nevertheless, both can’t match the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2, which provides up to 20 hours of use after a 10-minute charge. Neither earbuds support wireless charging. Instead, they charge via a USB-C port. The Nord Buds have Bluetooth 5.2, while the Buds Z have Bluetooth 5.0. The newer Bluetooth technology on the Nord Buds translates to its 94ms low-latency when in Gamer mode in contrast to the Buds Z 103ms low-latency in gaming mode. OnePlus has equipped both pairs of earbuds with a fast pair mode, but the implementation is different. On the Buds Z, it is called Quick Pair, and it works with any Android device running Android 6.0 and later. In contrast, the Nord Buds has what is called OnePlus Fast Pair, and it works only on the OnePlus 6 and newer OnePlus phones running Android 11 and later.
The newer Nord Buds are the better earbuds as they have longer battery life, faster charging, superior noise cancellation for calls and are better for gaming. However, the older OnePlus Buds Z may appeal to those who don’t like the design of the Nord Buds or find them too small for those with large fingers. It is also the lighter one of the two.