OnePlus Buds Z2 Design
OnePlus may have started with the popular ‘Outer Ear Fit’ of the original Apple AirPods, but the company is now making ‘In-Ear Fit’ products with active noise cancellation after that. The design of OnePlus Buds Z2 has also been made in such a way that maximum active noise cancellation is available. To make sure the buds fit snugly in the ears, there are three pairs of silicone ear tips in the box, along with a short USB Type-C charging cable.
If we look at the OnePlus Buds Z, there has been no significant change in the design of the OnePlus Buds Z2. The earpiece and charging case look similar. One difference that is seen in the new model is the grille cover on the inner microphone for active noise cancellation. The second big change is the color. Black and White color option is available in OnePlus Buds Z2, which was not in OnePlus Buds Z.
I really liked the all-black color of my review unit. However, the glossy finish of the device tends to catch fingerprints very quickly, so the earpiece and case need to be cleaned frequently. The charging port and pairing buttons are present on the back side of the case. The OnePlus logo is given on the top of the lid and there is an indicator light on the front.
The case is not too big and fits easily in the pocket. IPX4 water resistance rating is given with the case, while IP55 dust and water resistance rating is available with the earpiece. Each earpiece weighs 4.5 grams and both have three microphones each, which come with ANC and voice pickup.
The outer side of the earpiece is touch-sensitive to control playback. These can be customized through the Bluetooth settings on the OnePlus smartphone or via the HeyMelody app. It lets you control music playback, switch between ANC and Transparency modes, turn on the voice assistant on the smartphone, and switch between the last two paired devices using different gestures. Huh.
If you use OnePlus Buds Z2 with a OnePlus smartphone, all these settings and customizations are easily available to you in the Bluetooth settings. In this you can check the current level of battery of earpiece and charging case. You can switch between the given two ANC modes – Normal and Max. You can also select the active Bluetooth codec, switch between ear detection to play and pause music, test earfit, and update the earphones’ firmware.
This customization menu on OnePlus smartphones is very easy to use and fast too. But if you don’t have a OnePlus smartphone, you can also do customization through the HeyMelody app (available on iOS and Android). Although the smoothness in the app will be a little less, but it works well with the Buds Z2. What’s disappointing here is that you can’t customize the equalizer either through the app or through the OnePlus smartphone’s settings.
For Android smartphones, Google Fast Pair has been supported in this. Dolby Atmos and Gaming Mode (94ms latency) only work on select smartphones from OnePlus 7 and above. 11mm dynamic drivers have been given in the earphones. These have a frequency response range of 20 to 20,000Hz and connectivity of Bluetooth 5.2 equipped with SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.
The battery of OnePlus Buds Z2 is quite good according to this price segment. The earpieces are backed up to 4 hours and 30 minutes at 60 percent volume with ANC mode on. With the help of the charging case, it can be fully charged 4 times, which means that the total battery life becomes 23 hours. There is no fast charging option, but it is claimed to get 5 hours of playback time in 10 minutes of charge.
Punchy sound, good active noise cancellation on the OnePlus Buds Z2
OnePlus has grown at a very slow pace in its true wireless earphones segment. The company has launched a number of earphones and the OnePlus Buds Pro priced at Rs 9,990 is the winner. The OnePlus Buds Z2 comes in at half that price, but it has one feature in common with the more expensive headsets, which is active noise cancellation. In this area, the Buds Z2 performed just as I had expected.
The performance of the OnePlus Buds Z2 does not depend on the device, that is, which smartphone you are connecting it to, it does not make much difference. With the help of SBC and AAC bluetooth codecs, I OnePlus 9 Paired these earphones with and was able to use Dolby Atmos and low-latency mode. For a long time during the review, I Apple iPhone 13 And I was able to customize it easily with the help of HeyMelody app.
You can often expect sonic signature sound when buying an affordable true wireless headset, which slightly raises the bass (lows) and trebles (highs) and slightly suppresses the mid-range. This is the kind of sound most buyers look for in their affordable earphones. I really liked the punchy sound of these OnePlus earphones in some tracks.
I heard Glitter from Keys N Krates, the lows in the beat sounded aggressive and powerful, while the melody of the 70s was pretty clean. One feature you will find in OnePlus Buds Z2 is that these earbuds have a very good balance of bass and treble. I really liked the bass-focused sound in David Guetta’s fast and aggressive song ‘Dirty Sexy Money (Mesto Remix)’. The OnePlus Buds Z2 are quite loud and apart from punching sound, are able to maintain the pace even with fast paced music. Compared to other headsets in this price range, they have a re-verb feel to the bass, which is not found in others. Compared to the rough and finishless sound of OnePlus Buds, the new Buds deliver a much refined sound.
Dolby Atmos and low-latency mode worked well when used with the OnePlus 9. Atmos is designed for a slightly open and airy sound compared to the high resolution sound of Apple Music. The low-latency mode was activated as soon as you turned on Pro Gaming Mode on the OnePlus smartphone. It managed to deliver better latency.
Active noise cancellation is only available in a select few true wireless earphones under Rs 5,000, but OnePlus has done a good job in this area. However, there was a slight difference when compared to the expensive earphones like OnePlus Buds Pro and Nothing Ear 1, but still I found them better than other earphones I have used in this price range in terms of price.
There are two modes for ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) – Normal and Max. I didn’t notice any significant difference between these two. However, after activating these, the noise heard in indoor and outdoor while listening to music, audiobooks and calls has reduced significantly.
In Transparency mode, I was able to hear the surrounding sounds easily, but my own voice was too loud and strange to hear. In such a situation, while talking to someone, removing the earphones from the ear seemed a better option. The call quality and connection stability of the device is quite good. There was no stability issue in the earphones even at a distance of 4 meters from the paired device.
OnePlus may have taken a long time to enter the true wireless segment, but it is making a big mark in this segment thanks to its recent products. The OnePlus Buds Z2 also seems to be following the same trend and offer an impressive sound experience as well as ANC and some handy features, including fast charging and Dolby Atmos support. However, to make the most of them, you have to use them with the recently launched OnePlus smartphones. Even if you have another Android smartphone or an iPhone, the OnePlus Buds Z2 TWS is a great option under Rs 5,000.
Realme also offers similar features in this price segment but the quality of OnePlus gives a tough competition to the rest in this segment. I didn’t see any major flaw in the device. If you have a tight budget of Rs 5000, then you can definitely buy these, but I think by spending a little more you can also buy Nothing Ear 1 or Jabra Elite 75t, which are better options.