OnePlus ear-buds: A silver bullet of sound


OnePlus sells their One at extremely low prices. One of the measures taken to keep prices at a low-level is to sell the One with pretty much no profit margin. Of course they need to make money and one way OnePlus wants to make a profit is by selling accessories for their phone.

Their first lot of accessories, the StyleSwap covers which were actually advertised as a feature of the OPO were canned, meaning profit from those was out of the window and so new products were dreamed up. The first of which to go on sale are OnePlus’s own OnePlus Silver Bullet earphones. As you would imagine, they sold out pretty quickly but we managed to bag a a pair for review.

OnePlus Silver Bullets Review: Unboxing

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OnePlus delivers the Silver Bullets in a white square-shaped cardboard box, which has the ear-bud’s contours imprinted on its top, along with a OnePlus logo on the very top right corner. The look is very similar to the packaging of the OnePlus One’s wall charger. The rear has the technical specifications and inside the box there is a red plastic case with a semi-transparent top. Inside, the headphones are wrapped around a red cube, making it perfectly suitable for storing them. As with the Xiaomi Pistons 2 three pairs of replacement ear-nubs are included, all with different sizes to ensure a comfortable fit.

OnePlus Silver Bullets Review: Build Quality & Specs

OnePlus claims to pay special attention to quality, and this does not only apply to the audio quality, but to the build quality too. According to their claims, they paid special attention to the plug and the housing of the headphones, which is supposed to be very tough and long-lasting. At first glance we were quite worried about the cable which appears to be very thin and fragile when compared to the kevlar coated design of the Xiaomi Piston 2. Luckily, we didn’t have any issues during the review, but it would have been nice to see something more substantial for peace of mind.

The headphone’s remote control has quite a nice feel to it, not quite as good as the alloy one found with the Xiaomi Piston 2, but good enough. We also don’t like the face that the entire remote is basically one large button. The top and bottom being for volume and the middle for select. This makes using the remote a little hit and miss unless you are looking directly at it. We do like the position of the remote though. OnePlus have positioned it high enough on the cable so you can hide the wire under your clothing and not have to fish around under your top, hunting for the control.

Slipping the OnePlus Silver Bullets into our ears put them on par with the Xiaomi Piston 2 in terms of comfort. The noise cancellation is surprisingly good as well, yet not as good as with the Xiaomi ear-buds.

OnePlus Silver Bullets Review: Specifications

  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 108dB
  • Power Rating: 3mW
  • Frequency range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Plug: 3.5mm jack
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Remote: 3 buttons

OnePlus Silver Bullets Review: Audio Quality

For a fair test we have plugged the OnePlus Silver Bullets to our Macbook Pro and compared them to the Xiaomi Piston 2, Apple’s own earbuds and a pair of Super.Fi 5 Pro earphones.

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Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to the way they want their music to sound, so we aren’t going to be able to give a clear winner (although if we had to the Apple buds would be the losers), but voice our findings of each and let you decide which would suit your music style and tastes best.

The Silver Bullets compared to the Xiaomi Piston 2’s for example offer very different sounds. Where as Xiaomi have created an earbud for well rounded musical tastes, the OnePlus Silver Bullets are more suited to fans of bass, and lots of it. If you are a fan of deep rich bass, and partial to Dubstep then the Silver Bullets are the way to go.

Xiaomi and the Super.Fi 5 Pro earphones are more balanced all rounders and produce a great sound for all music types, but if you need some extra boom in the bass department they might sound a little lacking after using the OnePlus earbuds.

The Apple EarPods completely loose out for both categories, as they simply lack isolation, which results in a loss of acoustic pressure.

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Now for the mids and treble, Xiaomi’s Piston 2 headphones and the Super.Fi 5 Pro are ahead here. Listening to classical and jazz music is pure bliss with these headphones and you can hear every single note. The Silver Bullets loose a lot of this clarity due to their bass heavy nature. It feels like some filter would be placed on top of the music, which is reducing high frequencies to a minimum.

In terms of surround sound, the OnePlus ear-buds are lacking again, because of the previously mentioned issues. It’s hard to locate single instruments or estimate distances. The overall “sound picture” appears to be rather blurred. The Xiaomi Piston 2 are the headphones with the best performance here. Listening to high quality live recordings, really makes you feel like you are thrown directly into the party. This is something the Silver Bullets can’t get close to replicating. The Pistons are really on-par with the Super.Fi 5 Pro here, which are real high-end in-ears.

OnePlus Silver Bullets Review: Conclusion

Now that was a lot of information. Time to put it all together in a few short but useful sentences. Taking a sober view on the OnePlus Silver Bullets we would say, they are the perfect daily drivers for lovers of heavy bass and offer good noise cancellation. If you are more serious about sound quality and looking for outstanding, natural audio, the Xiaomi Piston 2 or Super.Fi 5 Pro are way to go.

As for the pricing: The OnePlus Silver Bullets are priced at $14.99 plus a shipping fee of $16, the Xiaomi Piston 2 are priced at $19.99, the Super.Fi 5 Pro at a whopping $199.99. As you can see, in terms of price-performance-ratio, the Xiaomi’s are the winner. If you are looking for our Xiaomi Piston 2 review, you’ll find this one here.

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