With the OnePlus Buds Z2, OnePlus is once again launching excellent wireless earphones for an affordable price. This time with ANC.
The OnePlus Buds Z2 follows the first generation that appeared at the end of last year in the form of the OnePlus Buds Z . These wireless earphones were a huge leap forward from the OnePlus Buds at the time and we praised them for their strong price/quality ratio. With the OnePlus Buds Z2, OnePlus does not immediately deliver a direct successor, but a new product with extra options. The earphones can be borrowed from the OnePlus Buds Pro launched earlier this year.
Specifications OnePlus Buds Z2
- Dimensions: 33×22.4×21.8 mm
- Weight : 4.5 grams (white), 4.6 grams (black)
- Drivers: 11mm
- Frequency : 20-20,000 Hz
- Maximum volume: 98 dB
- Impedance: 16Ω
- Bluetooth : 5.2, 10 meters
- ANC : up to 40dB
- IP55: yes
- Number of earplugs : 3 pairs
The OnePlus Buds Z2 is similar in design to the previous generation, but there are some differences. You won’t notice that from the case, because we would have found it difficult to distinguish them if we hadn’t received the new Obsidian Black variant. The other option is the familiar Pearl White. In black, the case is even more sensitive to fingerprints and we secretly hope that OnePlus will use the matte finish of the Buds Pro more often. The ears are about fifteen percent shorter than their predecessor, although you only notice that if you place them next to each other.
Although the design is very similar, we did have some problems wearing the earbuds. They are certainly comfortable, but where the original Buds Z fit our ears perfectly, that was less the case here. We tried the three different caps supplied (we recommend this to everyone anyway), but none of them were really perfect. This was also confirmed by the HeyMelody app, which kept indicating that our left earpiece was not properly placed during the earbud fittest. This caused us to sometimes lose an earplug, even if we were sitting still on the train. This will of course vary from person to person.
Active Noise Cancellation
Also new with the OnePlus Buds Z2 is ANC up to a maximum of 40 decibels. This translates into two modes: Extreme (40db) and Faint (25db), similar to that of the Buds Pro. Where we suffered from an annoying noise with the latter, that was not the case here. The difference between Extreme and Faint is not very big, but otherwise, the earphones managed to dampen annoying background noise well.
The extensive touch functionality of the Buds Z2 also makes using it frustration-free. If you place your finger on the earpiece for one second, you can easily activate the ambient mode. The touch functionality has also been expanded with double and triple taps so that you can easily control your music. Finally, you can also keep your finger on an earpiece for three seconds to switch your Bluetooth connections between the last two devices used. Very useful if you often switch between smartphone and laptop or tablet.
The sound quality of the Buds Z2 is fine for wireless earphones in this price range. OnePlus has updated the drivers from 10mm to the 11mm copies that we know from the Buds Pro. There are also different sound modes depending on your usage: Cinematic Movie, Immersive Music, and Mobile Gaming. However, it was not entirely clear to us how these are activated because they were not shown in the app, but this is probably only in combination with a OnePlus smartphone. Gamers who enable the Pro Gaming Mode on their OnePlus phone can also enjoy the ultra-low latency function with a maximum delay of 94ms. You can also enjoy Dolby Atoms support, but only in combination with the OnePlus 7/7 Pro, 7T/7T Pro, 8/8 Pro, 8T or 9/9 Proand although the sound sounds a bit more spacious, it is not immediately a reason to ignore the Buds Z2 if you do not have a OnePlus smartphone in your possession.
Short Questions, short Answers
Are the OnePlus Buds Z2 easy to connect?
The OnePlus Buds Z2 supports Google Fast Pair, so you’ll see a handy pop-up when the earbuds are near your phone for the first time. Very useful. If you lose your ears, you can count on Find My Buds.
Are the OnePlus Buds Z2 water-resistant?
As with the previous generation, IP55 water and dust resistance have been ensured, so that the earphones can sometimes fall into a puddle (we are not the only ones who have experienced this before?) and are simply easy to rinse. The case itself is limited to IPX4.
How is the battery life?
The battery life of the Buds Z2 has increased considerably from 20 hours to a whopping 38 hours with ANC off and up to 27 hours with ANC on. In our case sufficient for a city trip of four days with quite long train rides. Flash Charge provides 5 hours of listening time in 10 minutes, so we had no reason to complain about that either. A short USB-C cable is also included.
Do I need a OnePlus smartphone?
No, you can just download OPPO’s Hey Melody app and use most of the earphone’s features, with the exception of ultra-low latency gaming and Dolby Atmos.
OnePlus Buds Z2: TechPulse’s Verdict
With the Buds Z2, OnePlus once again delivers excellent wireless earphones for an affordable price of 99 euros. Improvements have been made over the first generation on just about every level: the battery life is longer, there is more touch functionality and the same 11mm drivers from the Buds Pro were chosen. We personally found the fit a little less, but your experience may be different.