OnePlus Bullets Wireless

Score

Pros

  • Clear, clean sound
  • Superb design
  • Clever magnetic earpieces

Cons

  • Limited soundstage width

Key Features

  • Review Price: £69.99
  • 8-hour battery
  • Fast charging
  • aptX
  • 3-button remote
  • Bluetooth

What are the OnePlus Bullets Wireless?

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless are Bluetooth earphones released as a companion to the OnePlus 6, one of our favourite phones of 2018.

However, you don’t need that phone to enjoy them. They’ll work with any mobile, and are among the best-value Bluetooth earphones available today.

They cost £69, where many pairs in this style are over £100. You don’t get the bass power or battery life of the SoundMagic E10BT, but smart design and solid sound quality make the OnePlus Bullets Wireless easy to recommend.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless — Design and Comfort

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless are neckband earphones. A flexible rubber and plastic band hangs around your neck, and holds the electronics any Bluetooth pair needs to function.

You tend to get better value, and longer battery life, than with the true wireless kind.

Design is perhaps the OnePlus Bullets Wireless’s strongest element, but I’m not talking simply about looks.

The earpieces have dark metallic shells with a little circle of glass on their backs. A ring of concentric circles sits under the glass for a glossy metallic effect.

This probably all sounds great on paper, but in person the OnePlus Bullets Wireless earpieces simply look fine, not much more. Take off their stabilising ear hooks and you’ll see the metal doesn’t run through the whole thing. The end part that holds the aperture is plastic.

It’s the neckband part that deserves most praise. It looks very simple, a neutral matte black with no oversized or heavy parts.

The flexible band just puts the slightest pressure on your neck, to make sure they stay in place when you go out running with them on. Their stability and comfort are excellent, making these perfect for gym-goers and runners. And everyone else, really.

They are somewhat water-resistant too. “Take them for a run yes, but not for a swim!” says OnePlus. They are ready for simple sport and the outdoors, but not canoeing.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless — Features

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless’ special feature is that the earpieces clip together magnetically. This is fairly common among new wireless pairs like this, but OnePlus goes further.

They switch off when together, and turn on again when separated. It’s handy if you’ll wear them around your neck most of the day, popping them in when you want to listen to music.

When they wake up, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless will automatically attempt to re-connect with your phone. And it doesn’t have to be a OnePlus 6. I’ve used the LG G7 ThinQ, Nokia 8 Sirocco and HTC U12+ with them. All work just fine.

They don’t stay on perpetually when not clung together either – instead they sensibly go to sleep if there’s no connection. You won’t find them dead if you leave them in a coat pocket overnight, the buds separated.

This approach does make the pairing process potentially a bit more fiddly, though. Most wireless earphones use lots of audio prompts. Press the power button and you’ll hear a tone. Long-press it and you’ll hear a pairing sound. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless does have a power button on the neckband, and there is one ‘power-up’ audio prompt.

However, you seem to have to press the button for an unusually long time to get the earphones to respond. The message: use the clasp mechanic, not this power button.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless’ battery lasts for a solid but unremarkable eight hours, where some with this design last for 10. SoundMagic’s E10BT last a full 12, but use a slightly annoying power brick to do so.

These are just about the fastest charging wireless earphones I’ve used, promising five hours’ use from a 10-minute charge. That is great, although I wish there was a button to press that would reel off the battery level in audio form. A quick press on the neckband button would fit this function well.

Like most wireless pairs, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless have a three-button remote for music control. An ultra-light remote sits on the left bud’s cable. It has buttons for volume control, and the central one play/pauses, and skips tracks with a double press. Hold onto this button for a couple of seconds and it awakes the Google Assistant.

In terms of design and features, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless are a solid match for pairs up to twice the price. They fit well, look good enough and function just about flawlessly.

Wireless stability is good too, although when walking around with two phones and a wearable, I did hear some interference one day. This was a one-off occurrence, mind.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless — Sound Quality

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless have 9.3mm dynamic drivers and support aptX for higher quality Bluetooth streaming, often missing from cheaper Bluetooth pairs.

While sound quality is one of the less remarkable elements of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless, it’s still solid. These earphones sound clean and clear, with less of an obvious bass emphasis than many pairs of this type.

There are two wireless neckband pairs I tend to recommend to people on a budget – the SoundMagic E10BT and the Skullcandy Method Wireless. Both are solid, and currently cheaper than the OnePlus Bullets Wireless at £49.99.

Comparing them, the OnePlus Bullets have real benefits. Their mids are more detailed, they are less prone to congestion and the sound is cleaner all round.

However, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless’ low and sub-bass is rather polite, slightly timid even. Everyone loves a good sub-bass kick. Adding more of one would make these headphones a little more fun.

Still, those frequencies are absolutely present. They are simply subtle.

I enjoy quite restrained, deliberately neutral-sounding signatures. And while the OnePlus Bullets Wireless don’t have that kind of clinical accuracy, they get closer to it than most affordable wireless sets.

There’s one element of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless sound I don’t like.

These earphones do not have a particularly wide or expansive soundstage. To represent the effect of this more visually, music through the OnePlus Bullets Wireless seems to come from a 100-degree cone in front of you.

The most expansive earphones can give the impression of 200 degrees of sound field, or even more. SoundMagic’s E10BT have an appreciably larger soundstage. Just like the restrained bass, this makes the OnePlus Bullets Wireless sound a little polite in their delivery.

Should I buy the OnePlus Bullets Wireless?

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless are not perfect wireless earphones. But they get closer than just about any pair at this price I’ve used.

Their design is excellent, fast charging is a godsend and while some of you might want the more excitable bass of an ultra-populist earphone, my only criticism is that the soundstage needs to be wider, grander.

However, as an all-round package I’ll be recommending these earphones to anyone willing to spend a little more than the cost of the Skullcandy Method Wireless and SoundMagic E10BT. Have a bigger budget? I still prefer the V-moda Forza Metallo wireless sound.

Verdict

Superb design and great value, these earphones are only held back by a modest soundstage

Score