OnePlus is a household name in India and for many, a go-to brand while buying a premium smartphone. But the brand has since grown in other categories, especially in TWS. The OnePlus Buds Z truly-wireless earphones are the most recent offering in the category, which compete against plenty of options available in the country. Now, the question that poses before buyers is whether OnePlus Buds Z are worth buying when there are so many options out there.
OnePlus Buds Z are priced at Rs 2,999, a competitive price point making the earphones appealing to many. There are white and grey finishes to choose from, but they are almost identical so you cannot go wrong with either. But there's more to the OnePlus Buds Z than meets the eye.
To refresh your memory on what the OnePlus Buds Z offer, take a glance at the key specifications below:
Design & Fit
OnePlus Buds Z have come a long way from the original OnePlus Buds. OnePlus Buds Z, at a glance, would like much like other TWS earphones in the market, Apple Airpods and all. If you look closer, you'll see how the OnePlus TWS are different. The stemmed design connecting to a flat circular end, which doubles as a base for gestures, and the other end has the most evident change - ear-tips.
OnePlus Buds Z have the much-needed ear-tips, which is a massive upgrade as compared to the OnePlus Buds, which weren't quite the most comfortable TWS out there. It's nice to see how quickly OnePlus resolved it and offered an upgraded product at such a compelling price point.
Wearing the OnePlus Buds Z gives users an assurance that they won't fall off. We comfortably used the Buds Z while walking, riding, and even during jogging and they tend to hold off firmly, giving a proper seal. But users need to make sure they choose the right ear tip size, small, medium or large, to get the most comfortable grip.
But the ear-tips aren't worth highlighting alone. The OnePlus Buds Z come with an IP55 rating, which means it is sweat and water-resistant. But when worn, you'll rarely feel the weight wearing your ears down. Each earbud weighs just about 4.3 grams, so all those long-wearing sessions won't be a problem after all.
As far as the looks go, OnePlus Buds Z are trendy and do make a statement that you're up to date with the latest trends. The flat circular surface responds to touches quite accurately. The default setting is double-tap to skip track, but you can use the HeyMelody app to remap the controls on non-OnePlus phones, which we felt like a bit of a stretch having to install an app just to get some extra functions. It could be a one-time thing and delete the app if its presence concerns you.
What we loved about the Buds Z is ear detection. Since you can simply pause a track by removing one of the earbuds, the ear detection works accurately every time. As soon as you put the earbud back into the ear, it gets paired almost immediately.
The first time setup is also just as simple - press and hold the button at the back of the case and find OnePlus Buds Z in Bluetooth pairing. One tap to pair and voila, you're all set for an uninterrupted experience. The range is quite good too as long as you're within 10m radius.
First things first, OnePlus Buds Z audio performance is at par with most in its range. These are one of the better sounding earphones with a great base. The audio on low mid-range is reproduced well and the upper mid-range is quite alright. But if you are comparing from the first-gen TWS, these are definitely better in part credit to the in-canal fit.
The OnePlus Buds Z are ideal for your late-night movie streaming or binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Spotify listeners will also enjoy the experience, but music aficionado who has an ear for every detail will pick the misses in detail. For casual listening, be it while jogging or working out, you won't feel the difference.
Overall, the audio delivery is clean and refined. The punchy bass will be liked by many and it's easy on the ears.
Moreover, it's worth noting that the OnePlus Buds Z support Bluetooth 5.0 and AAC codec. We used it paired to both OnePlus 8T and iPhone 12 Pro Max, so high-quality streaming wasn't an issue. But with SBC codec, some Android users might miss out on the quality experience.
The microphone is a bit of challenge in TWS, and only a handful get it right. OnePlus Buds Z is not too great nor too bad. It gets the job done, but don't expect the other party to hear you clearly if you're riding a bike.
OnePlus Buds Z carry case to the rescue in this department. The earbuds can deliver 4 hours of mixed usage, but as long as you have the precious case with you, expect three more full charges. So if you're travelling, do not forget to carry the Buds Z capsule case in your pocket or backpack. The fast charging support is welcome in this category.
There are a few things OnePlus Buds Z lacks, ambience mode, ANC and wireless charging, as you would get in OnePlus Buds. But for someone who wants to jump into the TWS bandwagon, OnePlus Buds Z is a good way to start. The TWS is not for everyone as we've seen people ditching their precious truly wireless earbuds for something like a neckband-style or even a good wired one. But it all comes down to personal preference.
OnePlus Buds Z, however, stands tall amidst the competition and the pricing makes it all the more perfect to just get them. The comfortable design, secure fit, balanced audio and 20 hours battery life is something you can turn your head away from if you're really in the market for some good quality TWS earphones.