OnePlus Buds 3 review: budget friendly wireless earbuds with clout

If you want a decent pair of earbuds with good design, the OnePlus Buds 3 should be on your list

The OnePlus Buds 3 in blue
(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)
T3 Verdict

While the market for wireless earbuds is crawling with competition, getting the basics right is the first port of call. Great design, decent sound quality and a comfy fit? Check, check and check. For around £100, there are few better options out there.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    3D Audio is brilliant

  • +

    Beautiful design

  • +

    Slim case

  • +

    Fast charging

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    App is still poor

  • -

    Sound is good, not great

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If you're looking to buy a pair of wireless earbuds, you probably know just how congested the market is. Whether you have Tardis pockets or need to stick to a stringent budget, there are a wealth of options on offer.

Today, I'm reviewing the OnePlus Buds 3. These are the latest earbuds from the brand, boasting their latest and greatest tech. The Buds 3 launched alongside the OnePlus 12 handset, as part of the brand's 10th anniversary celebrations.

But are they any good? Well, let's dive in and find out.

The OnePlus Buds 3 in blue

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Price and Release Date

The OnePlus Buds 3 were unveiled on the 23rd of January 2024. In the UK, the earbuds have a retail price of £99.99.

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Features

Let's kick off with the specs. The OnePlus Buds 3 utilise a dual driver setup which fuses a 10.4mm woofer with a 6mm tweeter. That ensures a frequency range of 15Hz to 40kHz is covered, which should promote some fantastic sub- and supersonic detail.

Then, there's the active noise cancellation on these earbuds. That gives users a whopping 49dB of noise reduction, allowing you to be totally immersed in the audio you're listening to.

Each bud weighs just 4.8g, too. That means you should be able to wear them on longer stints without feeling like your ear is going to fall off.

One of the biggest features on this model is the Touch Volume control. That allows users to adjust the volume of their audio, without having to reach for their phone.

The OnePlus Buds 3 in blue

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Performance

In practice, the buds perform really well. Sound quality is decent, with faithful reproduction across the sound range. It's nothing to write home about, but it's a decent enough sound.

One thing you do need to do is turn on the OnePlus 3D Audio. That's turned off to start with, but I honestly can't see why. Without it, it sounds like a bargain basement pair of earbuds – just get it switched on and forget about it.

To do that, you'll need to head into the HeyMelody app. That's the same one used on the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro earbuds I tried recently. That's... err... fine. Look, it's far from the best app on the market. The design is basic and, really, so are the controls. You won't find the kind of customisation you'd get on other options, sadly.

Fortunately, the noise cancellation redeems the Buds 3. It's great, offering a really decent level of reduction for the price. It's not quite as good as more expensive devices, but you wouldn't really expect it to be either.

Transparency mode leaves a little to be desired, though. It almost feels as though the earbuds are too polite, refraining from mixing the external sounds in.

Oh, and last but not least, the Touch Volume control. It's fantastic, working really smoothly and doing exactly what you'd hope. I'm a big fan of simple things done well, and that's exactly what this is.

The OnePlus Buds 3 in blue

(Image credit: Future / Sam Cross)

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Verdict

The OnePlus Buds 3 earbuds are undoubtedly a great value for money pickup. At just under £100, these are well designed, sound good and offer a decent spec sheet.

Sure, you could pay more and get more, but if you need to get great sound on a budget – and can do without having lots of in-app control – this should definitely be on your list.

OnePlus Buds 3 review: Alternatives

The main competitor to the OnePlus Buds 3 remains the Nothing Ear (2). These have long been our pick for around £100 – a little more at retail, sure, but they're often on sale – and make for quite a compelling alternative.

Another good pick is the Sony WF-C700N. Not only do you get a decent pair of earbuds from a big name brand, you'll gain access to the brilliant Sony Headphones app – arguably one of the best you'll find, anywhere.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.