OnePlus Buds Pro review: Sound thrills but controls ruin user experience

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Since its integration with OPPO, things are shaping up quite differently for OnePlus – mostly in a good way. Changes in the Nord 2 5G (review) smartphone were subtle yet apparent, same is the case with the recently launched OnePlus Buds Pro wireless earbuds. On paper, the OnePlus Buds Pro comes across as an all-round package deal in the wireless earbuds segment. But how does it fare in real life? Let’s find out:


Design





This is one area where OPPO’s influence is apparent. The OnePlus Buds Pro looks similar to the OPPO Enco X in more ways than one, but with a better texture design language. It boasts in-ear design with a tiny stem protruding from the earbuds. Made of plastic, these earbuds have a matte black finish (review unit) with a dual tone colour texture. The matte finish makes the buds easy to handle use. As for quality, the earbuds seem to have a durable sturdy build. They might withsteveryday abuse, but they do easily become dirty require regular cleaning to stay in a good condition. The Buds Pro is IP55-rated for water dust resistance.


 The black matte finish extends to the earbuds’ charging-cum-storage case. It is a tiny rectangular unit with curved corners which makes it slide easily even in the most cramped spaces like a jeans pocket. On the front, there is a tiny LED battery indicator that doubles up as the pairing light indicator. The back side sports the case USB-C charging port. The top, surprisingly, is not boring features the OnePlus branding. The OnePlus Buds Pro’s charging case is heavier than those of most peers, but it is one of the few that come with wireless charging support. The case is water resistant too (IPX4) but not dust resistant.


Features performance


From adaptive active noise cancellation to wireless charging, Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, Dolby Atmos support, the OnePlus Buds Pro is brimful with premium features. However, most of its key differentiating features are limited to OnePlus smartphones, that too not all of them. For example, the buds’ fast pair function is available on the OnePlus 6 series smartphones above. Likewise, the Dolby Atmos is available only on the OnePlus 7 series smartphones above. The earbuds support LHDC (Low Latency High-Definition Audio Codec), besides SBC AAC. But then there are not many smartphones compatible with LHDC. Therefore, the Buds Pro mostly uses AAC as standard for audio transmission.


The OnePlus Buds Pro impresses nonetheless with a rich sound signature. These earbuds’ audio output is bass-rich, something that ticks with Indian consumers. Interestingly, the bass-heavy output does not kill other definitions – vocals treble. The earbuds’ sound output is thrilling with crisp trebles, deep bass clear vocals. It is one of the few earbuds that work well for most audio profiles, including music, instruments, podcasts.


Rounding off the stellar performance are earbuds’ value-added features. The Buds Pro supports adaptive noise cancellation, which automatically adjusts the ANC intensity based on the ambient environment. It works as advertised is a great addition to the mix. Besides auto, there are manual controls to adjust the ANC intensity between extreme light. And then there is the transparency mode, which lets the ambient noise pass through the earbuds, so you stay aware about your surroundings.


The OnePlus Buds Pro is among the few pairs of wireless earbuds that work as well with the Apple iPhones as with Google Android devices. Besides, these can be used with a wide range of Bluetooth-enabled devices, including PCs tablets. Managing the buds is easy too, through the supplementary app named ‘Hey Melody’ – available on both Google Play Store Apple App Store. A good thing about the app is that it lets you test the earbuds’ fit so that you get the best experience. Besides, the app shows the case earbuds’ battery lets you upgrade the firmware, whenever available. The app support is appreciated, but the absence of basic functionalities like equalisers, sound profiles, etc, makes the app insufficient, especially for pro users.


As for the user experience, the Buds Pro are good in terms of fit handling but things go downhill when it comes to controls. This is because the Buds Pro uses pressure-sensitive press controls. A light press (single press, double press, triple press) on the buds’ stem activates the respective actions. These press controls are cumbersome. They affect the buds’ fit sometimes result in their accidental ejection from the ears.


Verdict


Priced at Rs 9,990, the OnePlus Buds Pro is a pair of solid wireless earbuds with experimental press controls that somewhat ruin the overall user experience. On the positive side, the Buds Pro is unlike any of the wireless earbuds OnePlus has launched before. It is not a pair of regular earbuds but one that rubs shoulders with the best available in the market, both in terms of sound quality features. Rounding off the package is the premium design modest on-battery time. In the overall scheme of things, though, the experimental press controls seem a tiny trade-off.

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Microsoft snaps up in-browser video editing software startup Clipchamp

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Microsoft’s latest acquisition could add an easy-to-use video editing experience to its software suite. The tech giant has purchased a startup called Clipchamp, which is known for its in-browser video creation editing tool. In its announcement, Microsoft says Clipchamp’s approach combines “the simplicity of a web app with the ability to process video using the full computing power of a PC with graphics processing unit (GPU) acceleration,” which is “something that was formerly limited to traditional video applications.”

Clipchamp specifically targets non-professionals non-creatives — people who don’t have or know how to use specialized software for videos, in other words. “Our mission is to empower anyone to tell stories worth sharing millions of people around the world… We will continue to make video creation even easier, more accessible fun,” company CEO Alexander Dreiling wrote in a post announcing the acquisition. 

Neither party has disclosed the terms of their agreement, but as CNBC notes, Clipchamp said in July that it has 17 million registered users with an adoption rate that’s up 54 percent year over year. The service saw huge growth in 9:16 aspect ratio exports, in particular, which are commonly used for TikTok Instagram or Facebook Stories. Microsoft was one of its clients before the acquisition, along with Google. While Microsoft has yet to announce how it will offer Clipchamp to its customers, it called the tool a “natural fit” for its cloud-powered productivity experiences in Microsoft 365. A spokesperson also told CNBC that the tech giant will eventually introduce a process to convert existing Clipchamp users to Microsoft subscribers.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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MARKET LIVE: Sensex, Nifty volatile at open; telcos in focus

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LIVE market update: BSE Sensex traded lower on Wednesday dragged by Infosys, Maruti Suzuki, Bajaj Auto, Sun Pharma, TCS. The index quoted at 58,212 level, down 67 points or 0.12 per cent in early deals.


It’s NSE counterpart Nifty50, meanwhile, dipped 14 points at 17,344 levels. In the broader markets, the BSE MidCap SmallCap indices were flat


On the global front, Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.8 per cent. On the flipside, South Korea’s Kospi, Australia’s ASX200, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped up to 0.7 per cent.

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Strong earthquake hits east of Acapulco, Mexico, ‘people are worried’

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A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rattled the southwest region of Mexico late Tuesday prompting local leaders to appeal for calm in communities impacted.

Social media images showed buildings swaying people standing outside their homes trying to keep their balance during an apparent aftershock. 

“There are nervous breakdowns, people are worried because there have been aftershocks,” Adela Román, the mayor of Acapulco, told television news outlet Milenio. She said there are “many gas leaks in many places” as well as some landslides fallen walls. There were no immediate reports of casualties from the quake, he said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 10 miles northeast of Román’s city. The quake was so powerful, it caused buildings to rock sway in Mexico City, nearly 200 miles away. The ground shook for nearly a minute in some parts of the capital some people evacuated their buildings briefly.

HAITI EARTHQUAKE: TROPICAL DEPRESSION GRACE A CONCERN FOR RECOVERY EFFORTS WITH FORECASTS OF HEAVY RAIN

People gather outside on the sidewalk after a strong earthquake was felt, in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.  (AP Photo/Leslie Mazoch)

Mexico City authorities added there were no early reports of significant damage in the city, though they said electricity was knocked out in some neighborhoods. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Apple’s next big thing in doubt as chief of self-driving car project exits

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The abrupt departure of Apple Inc.’s top automotive executive imperils its efforts to develop a self-driving car, a project that’s been seen as one of the tech giant’s biggest bets.


Doug Field, a Tesla Inc. veteran who joined Apple in 2018 to head up its car project, left Tuesday to become Ford Motor Co.’s chief advanced technology officer. The announcement, which came after Bloomberg first reported the news, made only passing reference to Field’s work at Apple.


Field’s exit calls into question the progress Apple has made toward developing the technology experience needed to compete in the auto industry. It’s just the latest upheaval for the division: Field is the fourth executive leading the Apple car project to step away in its seven-year history.


Not that developing self-driving cars has been easy for anyone else. Tesla, the market leader in electric vehicles, is still probably years away from offering fully autonomous cars. Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo has suffered a rash of departures in its efforts to develop the technology. And Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to sell off its autonomous-driving division last year.


Apple’s car efforts have always been a bit of a paradox — it’s a hotly anticipated product that the company says almost nothing about. Field’s official title at Apple was vice president of special projects, belying the significance of his role. But he was entrusted with developing one of the company’s “next big things,” a product that could keep sales growing the way the iPhone, iPad Apple Watch did in the past decade.


Apple first kicked off plans to develop a self-driving electric car around 2014, entering a race with the likes of Tesla. By 2016, the project was struggling with confusing messaging from leadership, a lack of vision problems surrounding autonomous-driving technology. Apple also found it hired too many people laid off hundreds of engineers from the project in 2016 2019.


Around the time of the first layoffs, former chief Apple hardware engineer Bob Mansfield began overseeing the effort — known as Project Titan — sought to refocus on the underlying capabilities. Apple seemed to zero in on the technology that runs self-driving cars, rather than trying to build a whole car itself.


But then Field arrived in Cupertino in 2018. He had previously worked for Apple before leading Tesla’s engineering efforts for the popular Model 3, his return was seen as a sign that the company was back to building an actual vehicle. Field reshaped the car group, bringing in Tesla’s former executives in charge of self-driving software, car interior exterior designs, drivetrains.


After Mansfield retired last year, oversight of Field’s project shifted to John Giannandrea, Apple’s top executive in charge of artificial intelligence. By late 2020, Apple appeared to be making progress attempted to negotiate deals with a bevy of carmakers for components, manufacturing other partnerships.


But by early 2021, it was still hard to gauge the company’s progress. Despite reports that an Apple car would go into production in three years, people familiar with the situation said development work was still at an early stage. Then the departures began anew. Benjamin Lyon, Dave Scott Jaime Waydo — three of the top Apple car managers — all left in the first half of this year.


Filings with the California Department of Motor Vehicles indicated that its testing on public roads in 2020 lagged the year prior that the reliability of its technology is still not approaching competitors like General Motors Co.’s Cruise Waymo.


Kevin Lynch, who has run Apple’s smartwatch health software efforts, took over some software aspects of the car project. That move raised its own questions inside the company given that Lynch didn’t come from the car industry.


There were other changes, with senior engineers from products like the iPhone joining the endeavor. Apple also hired Ulrich Kranz, who oversaw panned vehicles from BMW’s electric car division had failed stints as a top leader of Faraday Future Canoo.


It’s unclear who will ultimately replace Field if existing managers or Giannandrea will take a larger role. Apple said it wishes Field well, but it wouldn’t comment on how he would be replaced. Field’s departure could also indicate that he believed he had a better shot shipping electric cars at a legacy company rather than Apple — despite it being the most valuable technology company in the world with nearly limitless resources.


After launching the Apple Watch in 2015, Apple has been seeking breakthrough new product categories to continue expits territory gain new customers.


Its other forays, such as its Apple TV+ streaming service, haven’t had much of an impact. Apple is working on a headset that would mix virtual augmented reality, it could be announced as early as next year. And it’s working on lightweight AR glasses that could be released later this decade. But that product category is still nascent, companies like Google have failed to find a successful formula.


That’s why so many eyes were on Apple’s car potential. If successful, it could have added billions of dollars to the company’s bottom line. With Field out, the road to that happening is less immediately clear.

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