OnePlus Type-C Bullets full review

If you thought OnePlus’ phones were excellent value then get a load of its headphones. The OnePlus Type-C Bullets are unbelievably good and that’s mostly because they’re unbelievably affordable.

They might not fit every ear and you can definitely get better sound quality elsewhere but you’re going to have to spend five or ten times more to notice the immediate difference.

Price and availability

In the UK the Type-C Bullets are £15.99 direct from OnePlus. In the US they are $19.95. This is markedly cheaper than other wired alternatives and they remain one of the few widely available pairs with a USB-C connector instead of the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Design and build

The Type-C Bullets are basically the same product as the Bullets V2 that have a headphone jack. This is a good thing. The design is as basic as you can get with three tip sizes in the box, an anti-tangle flat cord and an inline remote for volume and play/pause buttons and a mic for hands-free calls.

The three tips should ensure that the Bullets fit your ears no matter what shape, but this reviewer found that even the smallest tips were too big for their ears and didn’t stay in properly for long periods.

However, we find this the case for all in-ear headphones, so we blame our ears, not the product. Other members of the Tech Advisor team (in fact most of them) have no issue with the fit of the Bullets. But it’s worth bearing in mind if you have trouble with in-ear fit usually, as you’ll find the same problems here.

They are very lightweight and the 1.15m cable length is pretty standard. These are no-frills but the in-line remote with mic is a good inclusion at the price.

Sound quality and features

The Type-C Bullets have a built-in DAC (digital to analogue converter) that drastically improves the quality of audio from your USB-C phone or device. It’s noticeable when compared to other very cheap headphones and is of particular use in the age of streaming.

Streamed music is heavily compressed, so a DAC that improves the basic sound quality of all audio is a real bonus. Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” sounds excellent with the resonant and booming bass shining through almost unbelievably for earphones so small and so cheap.

“Dark Spring” by Beach House has room to breathe in all its shoegaze strut, while something altogether more taut like “Microphone Fiend” by Eric B and Rakim pops well, with good stereo separation.

Sound is spacious if a little muddy when the music approaches cacophony, but give these little guys a chance. There’s a fullness to the mid-range that you simply don’t get on other sets of headphones in this price bracket.

The bombast of Guns’N’Roses “Civil War” has crisp hi-hats, distorted guitars and soaring vocals bouncing around at pleasing levels, while Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows” sparkles in all the right places with a fullness you don’t expect with such small drivers.

But we shouldn’t patronise the Type-C Bullets for their low price and high capabilities. OnePlus is a company that has worked out how to eke quality out of products that cost less than the obvious competition.

If there’s a criticism it’s that, like Beats headphones, the bass is louder and better represented than the treble, the latter of which can be drowned out a little at times. But this is to be expected on small driver headphones. It’s impressive that the bass is as good as it is.

Just be reminded that the sound quality is a lot worse if the things don’t fit your ears properly, as we have said this writer found. You need to have a seal formed by the tip fairly deep in your ear canal for the full sound to come through and to get proper noise isolation.

USB-C compatibility

The best thing about the OnePlus Type-C Bullets is that they worked with every single USB-C audio device we tested them with. For reference, this was the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S9, Google Pixel 3 X, Oppo Find X, Huawei P20, HTC U12+ and 12in MacBook. That’s pretty good going for a USB standard that is far from standardised.

It’s worth noting that the in-line remote didn’t always work (though it did most of the time, even on the MacBook) but audio performance was the same across the board. If you have a new-gen MacBook, Windows laptop with USB-C and a USB-C phone, these headphones will work with all of them.

Following the disappearance of the headphone jack, this is a great thing.

Verdict

These are no doubt the best value USB-C headphones you can buy, and pretty much the best headphones for the money in any category. The only thing to be wary of is the in-ear fit that some might struggle with, but if in-ear headphones work for you and you have a USB-C audio device, these are totally worth every penny of the insanely low asking price.