It’s been less than three months since we put OnePlus’ first TW (True Wireless) Bluetooth Earbuds under the scanner. It should come as no surprise that we’ve already seen a follow up. It’s 2020 and Bluetooth earbuds are seriously all over the place. There’s never been a time when wires were more out of fashion; […]
It’s been less than three months since we put OnePlus’ first TW (True Wireless) Bluetooth Earbuds under the scanner. It should come as no surprise that we’ve already seen a follow up. It’s 2020 and Bluetooth earbuds are seriously all over the place. There’s never been a time when wires were more out of fashion; a time when you get judged if you show up for that online meeting with your wired headset.
The OnePlus Buds Z made a quiet debut along with the launch of the OnePlus 8T, probably our favourite OnePlus device this year. Let’s set the expectations straight even before we dive into the product. Just like how TW earbuds cut the clutter, we’ll get straight to it. These buds cost Rs 2,999 and they’re well worth it.
OnePlus calls this seashell design. This is a nice looking charging case with a slim profile. This one chooses a longer, capsule shaped case, a contrast from the circular, pebble shaped case that we encountered with the OnePlus Buds. These buds sit quite interestingly – at an angle, inside the case. OnePlus has learnt fast; these buds don’t take a ‘one-size fits all’ route like their pricier predecessor – you get a choice of silicon tips. The other upside with this design decision is better sound isolation. There’s no ANC (Active noise cancellation) on the headphones but the buds do a decent job of filtering out external sounds.
Calls are a big part of the earbuds value proposition. Earbuds or headphones have not been exclusively music accessories for a while now. From fitness to gaming to calls, each consumer has their purchase driver. The OnePlus Buds Z handles calls with relative ease. My callers could hear me clearly even with external sounds in the background. Battery life is probably a deal breaker for most consumers. That’s an area where most earbuds have got their act together, at least in the first one to two years of the product’s life cycle. These buds clock around 4 to 5 hours and OnePlus pegs the battery life with the case at about 20 hours. There’s a convenient quick charge that powers your buds for three hours of usage in just 10 minutes. We have not been able to validate the 20-hour claim in our initial tests but these buds have managed to clock at least 4 hours in our tests for continuous use.
Setting up these buds is a breeze – I tried it an iOS and Android device. You could add the HeyMelody App on your Android device to keep tabs on the latest updates but it doesn’t offer much functionality at this point. The OnePlus Bud Z come with an IP55 rating – you’re good for those runs under a heavy drizzle and those days when your gym trainer makes you sweat. It’s a nice to have feature at this price.
The OnePlus Buds Z are kitted with 10 mm dynamic drivers. The bass is certainly not short on thump but the sound gets tinny when you pump up the volume. Celeste’s Hear my voice (From the Trial of the Chicago 7) has been on loop on my playlist; the vocals didn’t quite shine through at high volume levels. This is an area where the pricier OnePlus Buds with their 13.4mm drivers do better. But then again, these buds cost lesser than a leather case you might have bought for your flagship smartphone. And overall, the combination of sound isolation, decent battery life and sound make it well worth the asking price.
The OnePlus Buds Z are priced at Rs 2,999 and come in white (that we checked out) and gray.