CMF Buds Pro 2 Review: Dials Up the Bass, Not the Sound

Beebom Score

7
CMF Buds Pro 2 bring some attractive features and improvements over its predecessor, but somewhat struggles to deliver on the basics, which is the sound experience. Overall, these are a good pair of earbuds and needs work to compete with other offerings in its price bracket.
Pros
Compact and unorthodox case design
Great connectivity options
ANC and transparency works well
Comes with LDAC support
Cons
The case hinge feels flimsy
Overall sound is too bass heavy
Fiddle with equalizer for better sound

A couple of months back, I tried out the CMF Buds (review) and despite some issues, I considered it a good buy for the features, design, and quality it offered for the price. Nothing’s sub-brand has now come out with the CMF Buds Pro 2, boasting high-end features such as LDAC support and 50 dB of ANC; not to forget a bump in the price tag. But how does it fare in real life, and how does it compare with other options like Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro and Realme Buds Air 6 Pro in its price range? Let’s find out in this review of the CMF Buds Pro 2.

We have the orange color variant of the CMF Buds Pro 2 with us but the buds will also be available in dark grey, light grey, and blue color options. This review is based on my week’s usage of the CMF Buds Pro 2.

CMF Buds Pro 2: Box Contents

CMF Buds Pro 2 Box Contents

Before we jump in, here is a quick look at what you get inside the retail box of the CMF Buds Pro 2:

  • CMF Buds Pro 2 with charging case
  • Pair of small and large ear tips (medium pre-applied)
  • User Manual, Safety, and Warranty Card
  • USB-A to USB-C charging cable

Design and Build

Key Takeaway

1. The case has a small and rounded design that easily fits inside pockets.
2. The hinge of the earbuds case lid feels loose and flimsy.
3. The earbuds carry on the same design as we saw with the CMF Buds.
CMF Buds Pro 2 Design 2

The CMF Buds Pro 2 ditches the circular design of the original Buds Pro case for a rectangular one, similar to the CMF Buds. The case feels a bit more compact and dense in terms of feel. The edges are also more rounded compared to the original Buds case so they don’t dig into you when you slip them in your jeans pocket.

CMF Buds Pro 2 Design Comparison

Notably, the dial on the case now features grooves for volume control, addressing user feedback from the previous model. Yeah, you read it right, the dial lets you change the volume and acts as a button to control music playback, skip track, and invoke voice assistant. All this can be customized using the Nothing X app (more on that later).

Moreover, every time I opened the case to pull out the earbuds, I was greeted with a lid that felt a tad loose and flimsy. This wasn’t the quality I was expecting from Nothing’s new Rs, 5000 TWS earbuds. The earbuds themselves mirror the original CMF Buds’ design, with an in-ear style and an elongated stem.

I’ll have to admit that they feel too plasticy when you put them on. The size and shape of the buds might also not be comfortable for you as some of my colleagues couldn’t wear them for long hours. In terms of design, they look unique but don’t necessarily invoke the premium feeling you get with other earbuds at this price range like the Realme Buds Air 6 Pro or the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro.

CMF Buds Pro 2: Connectivity

Key Takeaway

1. Comes with Bluetooth 5.3, Google Fast Pair, and Microsoft SwiftPair.
2. CMF Buds Pro 2 lets you connect to two devices at once.
3. The connection remains sturdy and solid even at far distances.

As someone who constantly switches between their laptop and phone, I cannot thank the brand enough for including dual device pairing. The audio switching between the two devices was also instant with only minor delay to report.

The buds quickly connected to any device I tried pairing them without any hassle. The connection remained strong and didn’t drop even when I left the phone far out of my eyesight. In fact, I was so impressed with it that I tried moving to the other floor to see if the connection would drop. That’s where I guess I pushed too far as it disconnected from the phone. Still, in terms of connectivity, it scores an A.

CMF Buds Pro 2: Sound Quality and Experience

Key Takeaway

1. The sound leans heavily towards lower frequencies offering bass rich audio.
2. The bass sometimes overhwhelms the vocals and treble, which isn’t to my liking.
3. Turning on LDAC does improve the sound but highs still need improvement.

Coming to the sound, I want to get the specs out of the way first. The CMF Buds Pro 2 comes with a dual driver setup and supports LDAC high-res audio codec. It also features Spatial Audio, Ultra Bass 2.0 technology, and Dirac Opteo tuning. These sound good on paper but how well do they translate in real life?

CMF Buds Pro 2 Music Listening

In short, the CMF Buds Pro 2 is tuned for heavy lovers. The experience is good if you prefer the jumpy and bouncy kind of bass in your music. The Ultra Bass mode featured in the app only lets you increase the addition of the bass further. But sometimes, the lower frequencies take center stage in songs, drawing out the vocals and the treble.

In tracks like Kun Faya Kun by A. R. Rahman and Mohit Chauhan, these buds somehow added bass to Mohit Chauhan’s voice. This was with Ultra Bass turned off. Enabling LDAC improved the sound output, particularly the vocals, but the treble remains somewhat lacking.

Instrument separation also needs some work here. The Dirac Opteo tuning works only with LDAC turned off, improving highs but sacrificing mid-clarity. So, you will have to pick and choose which you prefer the most.

CMF Buds Pro 2 Sound

I was waiting on an update to fix the bass issues as they did with the CMF Buds. But these earbuds are still stuck at version 0.0.5.7 as of writing this review. They are not bad per se, but I would have liked them more had they been priced the same as the original Buds Pro.

There are better options out there that offer more detailed and balanced sound, but if bass is your preference above anything else then you can consider the CMF Buds Pro 2.

Microphone Quality

CMF Buds Pro 2 Calling

There are a total of 6 mics on the CMF Buds Pro 2, with 3 mics on each earbud. They also come with CMF’s Clear Voice Technology 2.0. They did a decent job of picking up my voice, especially in indoor situations. But calling someone when you are out and about in traffic makes your voice sound muffled. On multiple occasions, I had others telling me that my voice sounded distorted or muffled.

Even while inside, the voice wasn’t as clear but it did get the job done. I believe a future software update should improve the mic pick-up. Hopefully, this will be addressed soon.

Noise Cancellation and Transparency

Key Takeaway

1. CMF Buds Pro 2 offers 50 db of noise cancellation, up to 5000 Hz.
2. It cancels out most enviromental noise when listening at 50% volume.
3. Transparency mode has been improved with better clarity overall.

CMF claims the Buds Pro 2 can cancel out 50 dB of sound, with a frequency of 5,000 Hz. You can choose between different levels of active noise cancellation from the app. Or, you can also set it to “Smart,” which increases or decreases the noise cancellation based on your surroundings.

CMF Buds Pro 2 Noise Cancellation

The noise cancellation is one aspect that you are going to enjoy a lot on these earbuds. It is a little coarse when you turn it on, creating a vacuum in your ears.

You wouldn’t be able to hear much if anything, when playing audio at 50% volume. This was true even during my commutes in the Delhi metro. However, some sounds, like traffic or people talking loudly, can still be faintly heard, which is typical for ANC earbuds.

CMF Buds Pro Transparency Mode

Transparency mode is where I feel Nothing engineers have cooked. It’s a clear improvement over the CMF Buds. Outside noise is audible, and human voices sound relatively clear. However, some wind noise is present while walking, which can be bothersome. But aside from that, it is on par with how one would expect transparency mode to function.

CMF Buds Pro 2: Touch Controls

CMF Buds 2 Pro Touch Controls

You have to give it to Nothing and CMF for offering comprehensive touch controls. Through the Nothing X app, you can manage the touch controls and customize them to control playback, play next or previous songs, answer or decline calls, switch between different modes, access the voice assistant, and manage volume. You get the following touch controls out of the box:

Touch ControlsAction
Double TapSkip forward/ Answer calls
Triple TapSkip back/ Hangup or Decline incoming call
Tap and HoldSwitches between ANC and Transparency modes
Double Tap and HoldCustomizable

Uniquely, the case itself also has controls. Like the buds, you can customize them through the companion app. Rotating the wheel only lets you change volume, but you can customize single, double, trips, and press and hold gestures for the button as well.

CMF Buds Case Controls

There is a slight delay between when you turn the wheel and the registered action, which can be a little annoying. It is a cool party trick if you ask me, especially if you are not a fan of touch controls on earbuds.

Companion App Experience

The best part about testing CMF or a Nothing TWS is using their Nothing X companion app. This is a simple, clean, and well-designed app that greets you with cool-looking animations when you pair the buds. It gives a premium feel regardless of the earbuds you use it with.

CMF Buds Pro 2 Companion App

You can check the battery level of the buds and the case right from the app. The option to turn on Spatial audio is also present on the home page along with equalizer, touch controls, noise controls, and the Ultra Bass mode. The option to turn on LDAC, dual device pairing, and game mode can be enabled through settings.

I wish they would at least shift dual device pairing and LDAC to the home page making them more accessible. Other than that, I would like to reiterate that I am a fan of how the buds appear in the app as if they are floating. Nothing X, hands down, is one of the best companion apps ever.

Battery and Charging Time

Key Takeaway

1. The buds alone can last about 6 hours with LDAC and ANC enabled.
2. With ANC and LDAC turned off, buds can last up to 10 hours and 34 hours with the charging case.
3. Takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge the case and the buds.

All these fancy features and modes will affect how long your battery life lasts so let us talk about it. The buds’ battery life is quite good, lasting around 6 hours with ANC and LDAC enabled. Disabling these features can extend it to over 10 hours, with the case providing an additional 34 hours.

CMF Buds Pro 2 Charging

I managed to get 6.5 hours with a few long calls in between and still had time to finish two episodes of The Boys. When you have drained the buds and the case, it takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to fully charge the case along with the earbuds using the supplied cable.

Our Verdict: Should You Buy the CMF Buds Pro 2?

CMF Buds Pro 2 Design Comparison 2

CMF Buds Pro 2 brings a lot of compelling features that I think justify the “Pro” tag. These include better noise cancellation, dual device pairing, and the Ultra Bass mode. Not to forget the functional dial they have added this time around to the case is decent too.

What hampers the experience for me is the audio experience. The bass-heavy sound signature and lack of refined audio tuning for LDAC are drawbacks that can’t be overlooked. But what irks me the most is its price. CMF is known to be a budget-friendly brand, and these buds don’t quite deliver on that promise with the Rs 4,299 price tag.

Ultimately, I can only recommend the CMF Buds Pro 2 to bass-loving users or those who prioritize the unique volume control dial. If a balanced sound is your priority, then you should definitely buy the Oppo Enco Air 3 Pro (Rs 4,299) that is selling for the same price right now. Or, you can pick up the Realme Buds Air 6 Pro (review) as well.

Does the CMF Buds Pro 2 live up to your expectations? Are you looking forward to buying a pair? Tell us in the comments.

Beebom Score
7
7
Design and Build
9
Connectivity
7
Sound Quality
6
Microphone Quality
8.5
Battery Life and Charging
9.5
Companion App Experience
CMF Buds Pro 2 bring some attractive features and improvements over its predecessor, but somewhat struggles to deliver on the basics, which is the sound experience. Overall, these are a good pair of earbuds and needs work to compete with other offerings in its price bracket.
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