The OnePlus Buds Z are affordable true wireless earbuds with fast charging support
OnePlus has been making wireless audio accessories for a while now, but they’ve mostly been wireless earphones rather than the true wireless earbuds that are all the rage these days. Don’t get me wrong: the OnePlus Bullets Wireless are great Bluetooth earphones, but some people would prefer to have a pair of truly wireless earbuds. Enter the OnePlus Buds: the company’s first foray into the TWS earbud segment with a design pretty in line with the rest of the industry. But these earbuds aren’t perfect: Their half in-ear design might be too loose for some users, the IPX4 rating might not offer enough protection, and the price may be more than some people can stomach. OnePlus’ answer to all of these complaints comes in the form of the new OnePlus Buds Z, a pair of true wireless earbuds that are even more affordable than their first-gen Buds.
The OnePlus Buds Z was announced today alongside the OnePlus 8T, the company’s latest flagship smartphone with a 120Hz display, 65W charging, and Snapdragon 865. OnePlus has equipped the Buds Z with 10mm dynamic drivers that can deliver a punchier bass. This, according to OnePlus, works in synergy with bass boosting technology and dynamic 3D stereo powered by Dolby Atmos in order to deliver a richer audio experience. The Buds Z also feature the same in-ear detection and touch control solutions from Goodix that we saw on the original Buds.
The OnePlus Buds Z, like the earlier OnePlus Buds, do not feature active noise cancellation, which is unsurprising given the price point. But they do feature what the company calls “environmental noise cancellation”, which was also featured in the OnePlus Buds. Since the original Buds featured a more open, rigid “half in-ear” design without silicone tips, some users had difficulty getting a proper seal for passive noise cancellation. However, this time around, the Buds Z feature a “full in-ear” design with silicone tips for a better seal. This gives the OnePlus Buds Z an advantage over the previous model if you’re comparing noise cancellation, although some people might not prefer the look and feel of those silicone tips. Alternatively, the silicone tips might provide a better fit, making the Buds Z less likely to fall out of your ears given they stick further into them.
OnePlus claimed the original OnePlus Buds could provide up to 7 hours of continuous listening, and if you factor in the additional battery life from the charging case, you can get up to 30 hours of total playback from a single charge. The OnePlus Buds Z, on the other hand, is said to provide up to 20 hours of total playback time and around 5 hours of continuous listening, which is a step down from what the original model offered. A quick 10-minute pop-up can provide up to 3 hours of additional playback, though.
The OnePlus Buds Z also feature better water resistance, but it’s not waterproof by any means. The OnePlus Buds featured an IPX4 rating, which meant that they could withstand some water splashes and light sweat. The Buds Z have an IP55 rating so it should be able to withstand a little bit more abuse than the standard model. They’re Bluetooth 5.0 compatible, come with three different sizes of silicone tips to ensure a snug fit for everyone, and just like the older ones, they support Quick Pair, Quick Switch, and a handful of other features.
The OnePlus Buds Z will be available to purchase from OnePlus.com and Amazon starting November 2nd for $45.99 in the US and $69.99 in Canada. You’ll also be able to pick them up starting November 4th for £55 in the UK. There’s also a special-edition colorway by Steven Harrington which will set you back $59.99 in the US and $84.99 in Canada and will only be available through OnePlus.com.
Overall, the OnePlus Buds Z are more affordable versions of the regular OnePlus Buds with a new design and better water resistance. It’s hard to complain about missing features like wireless charging or active noise cancellation at this price, so if you’re looking to grab a pair of true wireless earbuds with your new OnePlus 8T, the Buds Z seem like they’ll be a good companion.