Smartphone accessories come in all shapes and sizes. From weird to wacky to everything in between. Somehow, through a transition phase to more powerful phones with affordable prices, the humble earphones started to get left out of the box. Granted, most of these weren’t any good but in a worse case scenario, these were life savers. Disappointingly, earphones have been relegated to the accessory status, what was once “Taken for granted”, now needs to be bought separately. On the flip side, this has allowed most manufacturers to give them a do-over, to increase quality, while not pricing them to high heavens.OnePlus delivered a solid set of earphones with the first version of the Bullets, they sounded great but were overshadowed by the superior Pistons, competitor Xiaomi’s offering. With the Bullets V2, OnePlus is pushing the notion of good sound at a lower price point to the extreme.
The general design of the earphone is functional, these aren’t going to grab eyeballs when you have them on, instead, there is a clear preference of function over form here. The casing which houses the electronics is made of plastic and comes in either a shiny silver finish or a shiny black finish depending on the version you get. The earbuds are comfortable to wear for about an hour or so, after which I did find myself taking it out for a break. The flat-ish wire that One Plus uses is not tangle-free but surprisingly held it’s own when I tried tangling them as a test. If you crumple and toss these babies in a bag, they hold on just fine. One thing that did annoy me was the placement of the Call/Receive, Volume buttons, they are placed under the right earphone which meant taking calls or fiddling with volume had to be done by raising my arm somewhere close to chin, and a strong push of the button would always dislodge the earphone, which is irritating. After a while, I just stopped using the controls altogether.
How do these sound?
Well..supercalifragilisticexpialidocioussupercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Am I right? Huh? Can I get a high five..huh..high..eh..forget it! To put it simply, these are excellent for the price they are sold at.
We tested the earphones across five songs, The format for the songs we used was FLAC.
A.R. Rahman, Masakalli from the Delhi 6 OST: We started things off with this Mohit Chauhan classic from Delhi 6, the Bullets handled the song well, the bassline was punchy but not prominent and the accordion sounds were reproduced with clarity as well. The vocals were clear and pierced through the instrumentation but did not overpower the instruments, the only complaint I can make at this point, is weirdly there doesn’t seem to be much separation, all of the instruments sound weirdly packed in together, like all of them occupy a centre channel in the mix.
Ulcerate, Yield to Nought from Shrines of Paralysis: This is a tough song for any earphone to reproduce, even the more expensive options, the Bullets do very well here, the droning almost wavy guitar riffs are pristine and clear and the thick snare sound during blast beats were impactful as well, maybe it’s the way the song is mixed but the vocals and the bass really suffer here, neither being very audible.
Venetian Snares, Hajnal from Rossz Csillag Alatt Szuletett: On to a bit of Drum ‘n’ Bass, the violin sound that introduces the track is reproduced pristinely as is the rest of the orchestration leading up to the Jazzy Break, which introduces a Drum Kit and a low Bassline which is handled with aplomb, when the breakbeats kick in, the Bullets handle it well, not letting the clarity slide even during breakneck percussion speeds.
DJ Krush, Interlude from Kakusei: More of a bass test than anything else, this short piece has a low, deep bassline that the Bullets struggle with a little bit but to its credit does not distort, the clarity is still there, even if the low frequency of the bass rattles the Bullets a bit. The weird Shamisen melody and the deliberate white noise effect in the background are handled really well, though, you can even point out the faint speech samples that play fairly low in the mix.
Led Zeppelin, Black Dog from Led Zeppelin: The classic big riff from the opening is pounded out with the Bullets, even reproducing some of the reverb present in the recording, the high pitched vocals are clear and distinct, the snare, cymbals and kick drums are all here and clean. The only thing that the Bullets seems to have trouble with again is the bass guitar but that could be because of the way the song is mixed.
Overall, a pleasant surprise, the Bullets V2 handled electronic, rock, metal and Bollywood with surprising efficiency, the only thing I found problematic is that, at higher volumes, there does some to be a bit of distortion that creeps in, the sweet spot for this headphone is at seventy percent volume, anything higher than that introduces a little bit of distortion.
At a price of Rs. 1,199, these are an absolute steal. They sound good and handle pretty much any music thrown at it, with a workmanlike efficiency. They are a little out of their depth sometimes but at this price, you will be hard pressed to find earphones that sound as good.