Presentation and unboxing
OnePlus introduces the Buds Z2, a successor to the brand’s OnePlus Buds Z. For the most part, the design and overall look of the buds are the same as the Buds Z, but with overall improvements throughout the product, including larger drivers and improved battery life. . These new Buds are designed for a battery life of up to 38 hours in the best case.
Like the OnePlus Buds Pro, the OnePlus Buds Z2 have an in-ear fit and both use the same 11mm drivers. The Z2 Buds now feature active noise cancellation and pass-through audio, features normally seen on TWS buds at higher prices.
The Buds Z2’s bodies are made entirely of glossy plastic and offer IP55 water resistance (in addition to nano-coating) while the charging case is rated IPX4. They’re available in Obsidian Black or Pearl White and the CD pattern makes an appearance here as spiritual successors to the OnePlus Bullets headphones.
OnePlus Buds Z2 Specifications and Features:
- Dimensions and weight:Buds: (33 x 22.4 x 21.8mm), 5g (each); Charging case: (73.2 x 37 x 29mm), 42g (excluding headphones)
- Construction: Glossy plastic, silicone tips (3 sizes), IPX4 (charging case only) and IP55 water and sweat resistance (headphones only)
- Equipment: 11mm dynamic drivers (emphasis on bass), triple microphones (per earcup); proximity sensor (in-ear detection); touch controls li>
- Charging and battery life: Rated for 5 hours (ANC) or 7 hours (no ANC) on one charge; up to 27 hours of total listening time with ANC or 38 hours without ANC; Charges via USB-C port; A 10 minute charge gives a total of 5 hours of playtime
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2; Voice assistant via touch control.
- Various: Active noise cancellation between 24 and 40dB; Android Quick Pairing
The OnePlus Buds Z2 promise excellent sound quality and the three microphones should deliver clear calls. We’ll test these and other features and compare the Z2 to its direct competitors, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series.
The OnePlus Buds Z2 include three pairs of silicone tips (small, medium or large) and a short USB-C to USB-A charging cable. There’s also a helpful quick start guide in the package that shows how to pair and reset the Buds Z2.
Design and comfort
The design of the OnePlus Buds Z2 is reminiscent of the OnePlus Bullets. It has the same chunky shape that works inexplicably to some people’s ears (myself included) with the CD motif synonymous with older-gen Bullets and previous-gen Buds Z.
OnePlus has managed to squeeze more material into these buds while reducing the length of the stems by 15%. Each Z2 bud measures 33 x 22.4 x 21.8mm while the case measures 73.15 x 36.8 x 29.1mm. Each bud weighs 4.5g and the case adds 40.5g. The charging case is only a few millimeters higher and wider than its predecessor while remaining very compact and easy to carry. The charging case is shaped like a large pill with a flat bottom and is comfortable to hold.
There is a battery LED indicator on the front. On the back, there’s a pairing button and a USB-C charging port.
The hinge seems robust and solid. The cover is not fragile and does not move during transport. While everything else is glossy plastic, the inside of the lid is where some of the trim is decorated with a matte finish.
The Z2 Buds themselves are rated IP55 for water and sweat resistance, while the charging case is IPX4 splash resistant.
Coming from the OnePlus Buds Pro, I must say that the size of the OnePlus Buds Z2 is compact and more manageable for my ears. The Bud’s over-the-ear main body is smaller and easier to wear for extended listening sessions. Keep in mind that everyone’s ears are different and this may not be the case for you.
The OnePlus Buds Z2 are no problem to wear when you’re busy for hours. They’re light enough that you’ll forget you’re even wearing them. I have found the most comfortable way to wear them is to insert them into the ear and then twist the stems forward slightly so they point towards the mouth.
They fit quite well in the ear. I tested it during a sweaty yoga session and the OnePlus Buds Z2 didn’t budge. I can’t comment on high impact workouts like running though.
They are comfortable for traveling thanks to the compact size and portability of the charging case. In addition, the noise cancellation works correctly in flight. More on that in the Performance section below.
Software and Features
The OnePlus Buds Z2 have the Hey Melody app compatible with Android and iOS. If you’re using a OnePlus phone, the integration is built into the OnePlus firmware. There are also a few features you’ll only find if you pair the Buds Z2 with a OnePlus smartphone.
If you’re not using a OnePlus phone, the Hey Melody app will let you perform firmware updates, change touch controls, perform a headphone fit test, and switch between music settings. noise cancellation/sound transparency. However, if you need an equalizer or an option to adjust bass levels, you must use a OnePlus device.
You can ring an earpiece if you can’t find it. Of course, keep in mind that this means the earbud must be connected to your device and charged to stay connected. Buds are not traceable if inside the case and unopened. The built-in Find My Device feature will only show you the last location the Buds were connected to.
Quick Switch to alternate between two devices is a nice feature. It can be performed by holding a bud for three seconds. The Buds will disconnect from a paired device and reconnect to the previous paired device, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or computer.
Headphones sound good. Output is generally good with strong bass and strong mids. The bass booms out loud, which will resonate (hah) well with the average listener.
The highs, on the other hand, sound breathy and borderline unpleasant. The buds are tuned to boost the upper EQ range that is otherwise lost due to compression, giving the illusion that the sound is clear. This is most apparent in the “esses” of singers and high-pitched instruments like violins and cymbals. The buds sound like they’re tuned for volume on a well-balanced sound.
When you remove one earbud, presumably to talk to someone or hear your surroundings, the remaining bud in your other ear automatically switches to transparency mode.
Transparency mode works well. It does what it’s supposed to do – channel outside sound into the ears. It does something interesting when it’s windy – it temporarily stops passing sound through the pickups until the wind stops. It then returns to Transparency mode.
The Hey Melody app allows you to choose between a regular level of noise cancellation and “Max”. I found regular mode worked better than “Max” with the roar of jet engines. The latter produced a high frequency that could have resulted from aggressive noise cancellation.
Anyway, the noise cancellation was pretty decent. Sound came out clearly and comfortably around the 45% volume level. 50% was enough to drown out any remaining noise, and any noise that has been left was easy to forget after a few minutes.
In total, the OnePlus Buds Z2 are rated for 38 hours of total listening time with ANC turned off. The Buds themselves can last up to 7 hours on a single charge or up to 5 hours with ANC on. Each bud holds a 40mAh battery while the charging case houses a 520mAh pack.
The Buds support OnePlus’ “Flash Charging” which is defined as a 10-minute charge giving around 5 hours of listening time. With that claim comes a caveat: in addition to requiring 7.5W of power via USB, the 5 hours of listening consists of 2 hours from the Buds plus 3 hours from the charging case. This means that the claim only applies when charging the case with the Buds inside.
Compared to Google Pixel Buds-A
The OnePlus Buds Z2 are twice as expensive as the original Buds Z, but the added features make them a worthy competitor to the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, which cost the same.
The Z2 Buds are much more comfortable and secure in my experience. The Pixel Buds’ funky fit isn’t secure in my ear, and the stabilizing arcs don’t even make contact with the conchas of my ears.
The feature sets are quite different between the two pairs of Buds. Although they have similar touch controls, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series don’t have any noise-canceling or audio-passing features.
The Z2 Buds have basic interaction with Google Assistant via a double or triple tap on the earbuds you program for Voice Assistant. The Pixel Buds A-Series will offer the most comprehensive integration with Google Assistant. The ability to quickly and easily tap to talk to Google Assistant, listen to and respond to messages, and make phone calls from a tap or wake phrase is great.
OnePlus Buds Pro (top) vs. OnePlus Buds Z2 (bottom)
Then there’s the fact that the Google Pixel Buds-A sound better. Although both have comparable speakers, the Buds Z2 peak too high in the upper range, giving the illusion of full range. In comparison, the sound is more balanced on the Pixel Buds-A.
When it comes to comfort, the OnePlus Buds Z2 are significantly more comfortable than the Pixel Buds A-Series in my personal experience. Although the Pixel Buds have an interesting and unique design with the silicone arc stabilizers, they don’t work for all ear shapes.
The OnePlus Buds Z2 are a nice pair of wireless earbuds for $99. Active noise cancellation and passthrough sound are popular features and it’s nice to see them coming at this price point.
The compact size of the case and the comfort of the Buds make them a pleasure to carry and wear, but their sound tuning could be better. Bass can drown out vocals and treble dominates music, though you can definitely improve the bud sound if you know your device’s EQ settings.
- Small compact case
- ANC and passthrough sound is nice at this price
- Great battery life
- Powerful buds
- Hey Melody is simple and straightforward
- Sound quality is adjusted for volume