Cheatsheet:

  • The OnePlus Buds Z2 are a follow up to the OnePlus Buds Z
  • They come with improved sound and get the same 11mm drivers as the pricier OnePlus Buds Pro
  • They’re available in a choice of two colours—Pearl White and Obsidian Black
  • Battery life at 38 hours is a huge jump over the Buds Z. There’s no wireless charging though.
  • Active noise cancellation (you can choose from two modes) is a great add-on at this price point

 

When the OnePlus Buds Z made its debut in late 2020, they were easily one of the best buys at their sub-Rs 3,000 price point. The Buds Z2 may be positioned as a follow-up, but this is more than just an annual update. OnePlus is aiming to create a product that borrows some of the key features of its flagship OnePlus Buds Pro at a more affordable price point. The Z2 is a major step up from the OnePlus Buds Z and will rival the Nothing ear (1). After a few days with the Buds Z2, we think OnePlus is on to something here.

 OnePlus Buds Z2

Familiar Design

It’s the same pill-shaped case that we saw on the Buds Z and Samsung’s earlier generation TWS earbuds. We prefer the flatter design of the OnePlus Buds Pro case that doesn’t bulge as much when you’ve got those tight jeans on. The case is marginally heavier than the Buds Z but the buds’ stems are 15 percent shorter. I wore the buds for about three hours on two different occasions, and they were light and comfortable, and I didn’t really experience any fatigue. The buds and the case opt for a glossy finish and stick to predictable black and white colours.

Surprisingly Good Sound

Straight off the bat, these are among the best-sounding TWS earbuds under Rs 5K. The sound quality is a surprise at this price point. The sound quality can be attributed to the 11mm drivers used in the OnePlus Buds Pro. I kept alternating between these and the Pro; the Buds Z2 do quite well in comparison. The only area where the Pro had a clear edge was when I pushed the volume levels beyond 80 percent. The bass is solid and the buds kept up with the diverse set of tracks and podcasts I checked out.

Noise Kept Out

Pairing is quite effortless. I hooked the buds up with an iPhone 13 Pro Max and also installed the Hey Melody app (The companion app for OnePlus and Oppo earbuds). If there’s one crib, it’s that OnePlus reserves some extra features, like an equaliser, for OnePlus smartphones, but that’s becoming the script that most brands like Apple and Samsung stick to. ANC is impressive, and you get a couple of modes: Faint (+/-25dB) and Extreme (+/- 40dB) and that gives you more control over your music.

 OnePlus Buds Z2 tws

It All Adds Up

The extra heft of the case (compared to the Buds Z) is not very noticeable and it adds a more formidable 520mAh battery. You don’t get wireless charging. OnePlus claims a 38-hour battery life; that’s almost twice as much as the Buds Z, but we weren’t able to validate this in our 3-4 days of usage. The Buds Z2 also scores on the call quality front; my callers could hear me even with external sounds in the background. I didn’t get to test it in very noisy environments like my gym though. Other useful touches include an IPX4 dust- and water- resistance rating for the case and an IP55 rating for the buds. The OnePlus Buds Z2 is one of the best TWS earbuds you can snag for under Rs 5,000 and offer great value for bargain hunters looking for a solid audio and call experience.

The OnePlus Buds Z2 comes in Pearl White and Obsidian Black and costs Rs 4,999.