OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Specs and features compared

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro
(Image credit: OnePlus/Apple)

The OnePlus Buds Pro is officially coming on September 1, and it’s set to be the most advanced pair of OnePlus headphones by far. With adaptive active noise cancellation (ANC) and personalized sound, it could even be a contender for our list of the best wireless earbuds.

But how do its specs and features stack up against those of the AirPods Pro: one of the most popular earbuds ever? In this OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro comparison, we’ll take a look at what each pair has to offer, until we can complete our full Buds Pro review in August.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Specs compared

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Header Cell - Column 0 OnePlus Buds ProAirPods Pro
Wireless Charging CaseYesYes
ChipNot statedH1
Battery Life (Rated)5 hours (ANC on), 7 hours (ANC off), 28 hours (charging case with ANC on), 38 hours (charging case with ANC off)4.5 hours (ANC on), 5 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case)
Water ResistanceIP55 (earbuds), IPX4 (case)IPX4 (earbuds only)
Case Size2.4 x 1.9 x 1 inches1.8 x 0.9 x 2.4 inches
Case Weight1.8 ounces1.6 ounces
Special featuresAdaptive active noise cancellation, transparency mode, Warp Charge fast-charging, Bluetooth 5.2, OnePlus Audio ID, IP55 water and dust resistance, wireless chargingActive noise cancellation, transparency mode, adaptive EQ, spatial audio, automatic switching, customizable fit, audio sharing, Fast Fuel charging, Headphones Accommodations, announced messages with Siri, “Hey Siri” voice-activated assistance, wireless charging case

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Price

The OnePlus Buds Pro is the cheaper of the two pairs by a comfortable margin, with an MSRP of $149. In fairness to the AirPods Pro, Apple's model has dropped significantly from its $259 launch price, and now goes for around $189. But the brand-new Buds Pro will likely always be the more affordable option.

Noise-cancelling earbuds seem to be getting less and less expensive, save for intentionally premium outliers like the Bowers & Wilkins PI5 and Sony WF-1000XM4. While the OnePlus Buds Pro represents a significant hardware upgrade over the OnePlus Buds, the Pro seems to be following in this trend.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Design

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but from where we’re beholding, the OnePlus Buds is a little more handsome than the AirPods Pro. They share a remarkably similar silhouette, however, with visible-but-short stems and in-ear tips.

In contrast to the pure, porcelain-white AirPods, the Buds Pro earpieces adopt a mixture of matte plastic on top and a glossy metallic effect around the stems.

We have no complaints on the styling, then, although we’ll have to wait and see whether the OnePlus Buds can beat the AirPods Pro on comfort and fit. The Buds definitely have slightly better protection against water and sweat, though, as well as dust ingress. These earbuds meet the IP55 weatherproofing standard, whereas the AirPods Pro may only reach IPX4. Apple’s charging case design also lacks water resistance on its own, whereas the Buds pro case meets the IPX4 standard.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Special features

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

ANC is a major selling point for both pairs of buds. This is actually one area in which the OnePlus Buds Pro might face an uphill struggle, as Apple’s noise-cancelling tech is some of the best you’ll find in a pair of wireless earbuds.

To give its device the best possible chance, OnePlus has equipped the Buds Pro with adaptive ANC. This means it should be able to detect when ambient sounds are getting louder, such as when you move from indoors to outdoors, and increases the ANC intensity accordingly.

Another potentially powerful feature on the Buds Pro is OnePlus Audio ID. With the aid of a mobile app, this functionality tests your sensitivity to different frequencies, and tunes the sound output to create a personalized sound profile. The AirPods Pro has a very similar feature, however, in the Headphones Accommodations tool on iOS and iPadOS.

For those who own an iOS phone, AirPods Pro also delivers fast pairing, hands-free voice activation for Siri and full spatial audio support with head tracking. The Buds Pro can fast-pair with OnePlus handsets, but doesn’t have a spatial audio equivalent.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Battery life

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

On paper, the OnePlus Buds Pro has a slight advantage on per-charge playback time: It’s rated for 5 hours of ANC-enabled playback, compared to 4.5 hours on the AirPods Pro. That said, we find Apple’s earbuds generally stay true to this figure in practice, but we’ll have to wait and see if the Buds Pro can make it to the full 5 hours in the real world.

The charge case could also tip things in OnePlus’ favor. The AirPods Pro promises a total of 24 hours uptime through multiple charges; the OnePlus Buds Pro claims 28 hours, and that's with ANC enabled. Switch this feature off, and the Buds can apparently make it to 38 hours.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Tom's Guide)

We’re also interested to try out the Buds Pro’s Warp Charge capability, which OnePlus claims can deliver 10 hours of juice from a quick 10-minute charge. By comparison, Apple says you can get 1 hour from 5 minutes of charging.

It’s worth noting that Warp Charging requires a USB-C connection, though. If you use wireless charging, which both the Buds Pro and AirPods Pro support, OnePlus’ earbuds won’t recharge as quickly.

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro: Outlook

OnePlus Buds Pro vs. AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

As with any set of headphones, the most important quality of the OnePlus Buds Pro will be its sound quality. We look forward to seeing, or rather hearing, how it stands up to the AirPods Pro in this regard. That’s partly because, in a straight specs shootout, neither pair looks significantly likely to beat the other.

The OnePlus Buds Pro’s strengths appear to lie in its more affordable price, longer battery life and arguably superior design. But few wireless earbuds can match the sheer wealth of features that the AirPods Pro possesses. Stay tuned, and we’ll bring you a hands-on showdown between these earbuds as soon as possible.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.