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Home / Technology / OnePlus Buds Z review: brilliant budget buds [Video]

OnePlus Buds Z review: brilliant budget buds [Video]

OnePlus may be in a transitional phase at the moment, but they still managed to launch many new devices and another pair of reasonably priced wireless earbuds in the form of OnePlus Buds Z.

With so many companies offering their own branded Bluetooth earphones, it is difficult to really tell which earphone is right for you. The original OnePlus Buds are difficult to recommend at launch due to firmware updates that only apply to OnePlus smartphones, and the latest HeyMelody app makes them easier to recommend to all Android owners.

With the products released together with the equally affordable OnePlus Nord N10 5G and Nord N100, can the OnePlus Buds Z become another affordable option for almost everyone by cutting prices and cutting a little corner?

Video — OnePlus Buds Z review

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At first glance, OnePlus’ latest earbuds have the appearance of the original Buds. However, if you look closely at Buds Z, you will find very small (and important) differences between them.

The shiny case looks very similar to the suitcase that comes with the Galaxy Buds and Galaxy Buds+. Just like their smartphone design and OxygenOS software, OnePlus seems to be severely affected by the South Korean tech giant. However, it is actually limited to carrying cases, because the dry design is a hybrid of other OEMs in this regard.

From the housing to the earbuds, plastic does dominate the OnePlus Buds Z. There is an embossed OnePlus logo on the sleek suitcase, with a slightly recessed lid and LED indicator, allowing you to get battery status information at a glance.

So far, similar to all other earplugs on the market. Well, the earbuds essentially merge OnePlus’ existing Buds and Bullets Wireless designs into a hybrid of the two. There is also a USB-C port for charging, but unfortunately, OnePlus Buds Z does not support wireless charging.


The plastic hinge is one of the biggest disappointments on the OnePlus Buds Z. The box on the original Buds is one of the best parts of the package, which is not the same here, but it is powerful, and thanks to the magnetic clasp inside, it keeps the Buds Z safe.

Each earbud has an IP55 waterproof and dustproof rating, making it ideal for running and exercising. I’m sure they will be ideal gym companions, but living in the UK where there are regional restrictions, I gave OnePlus Buds Z a thorough rain dog walk test drive, they are very suitable for this additional protection.



The shape of OnePlus Buds Z fits the value I get from the popular Bullets Wireless and Bullets Wireless Z. One of my biggest complaints about OnePlus Buds is the poor shape. Of course, because ears come in various shapes and sizes, many are subjective.

Silicone earbud headphones are great for ensuring that the OnePlus Buds Z really stays firmly in your ears-this is a real problem with normal OnePlus Buds, unless you stay still. Stems may also be the best way for this style of earplugs to help stabilize the whole.

The weight of each earplug is about 10 grams, so there will be no discomfort when worn for a long time. I did find that the stem fits my earlobe very well, but even after hours of wearing it, it did not cause any concerns about the comfort of Buds Z.

Sound quality

Silicone earbuds are very useful in reducing sound leakage, and I find that standard Buds can sometimes be problematic. More airtight sound means “fuller” sound, but there are also subtle differences. You can get some excellent isolation with the included earbud headphones-three different sizes to choose from.

It can be managed with a smaller 10mm drive (compared to the 13.4mm drive in OnePlus Buds). Let’s not add sugar to it, because bass is a very prominent feature on OnePlus Buds Z. In other words, the sound will not be overpowered by the bass tone. The human voice is clear and concise, and will not be overwhelmed by low tides and strokes.

There are obviously no nuances in the repertoire, but this is not necessarily a disruptive factor when considering the price of the OnePlus Buds Z here. Audiophiles are not interested at all, but for casual wear, I think the audio experience has always been good for asking prices.

One small disappointment for codec nerds is the high-quality single audio codec supported by OnePlus Buds Z. Support AAC, AAC is usually associated with iPhone. If something goes wrong, Buds Z will default to SBC.


When watching video content on Pixel 5, I don’t see any obvious audio delay, which is always a concern for wirelessly connected headphones. It may be improved by some features unique to OnePlus (such as game mode), which should reduce the audio delay in the game, but I am not a huge mobile gamer-except for Google Stadia-to really give you “True” indication of “Bluetooth delay”.

Bluetooth 5.0 helps to ensure that the connection with the device remains stable without any cuts. As for the connection range, I started to notice some small gaps at about 15 meters, which may be farther than the distance you can risk with your smartphone while connected.

Noise during calls has also been reduced to help resist wind and general background noise. I think it sounds good in most cases, but compared to some other earbud microphones, it does compress a bit.

Integration and control


To really get the most benefit from Buds Z, you need the HeyMelody app. Before this version is released, you will need a OnePlus smartphone to get firmware updates and any potential new features.

The out-of-the-box touch controls are quite basic, if you don’t use the HeyMelody app, you can only double-click to skip the track. However, if you need other functions, you can adjust the controls. Since each earbud has a large flat activation pad, I find that double-clicking is accurate and easy to activate.

Another return feature of the previous generation product is the ability to remove earplugs and pause audio playback. This is thanks to a small sensor in each earbud that can detect when they are placed in the ear. I really like this feature, mainly because it can remove the earbuds and talk to someone, which is very good, and when you put it back in your ear, the audio can be restored to where you left off.

On OnePlus Buds Z there is an additional bonus of Google Fair Pair. As someone who frequently changes Android devices, this has become an essential tool because it can simplify the pairing process with multiple devices by linking to the account at the top of each device. .

Battery Life

One of the very few pain points I have encountered with the OnePlus Buds Z is battery life – it’s not bad just imagined. However, these are not the longest life earplugs on the market.

OnePlus requires that each bud be fully charged for 5 hours. I found that in the last few weeks of testing, each bud took about 4 hours. The suitcase does provide an additional 20 hours of battery life, which in my tests is equivalent to only charging it 5 times before I need to plug it in.

Like their “premium” partners, OnePlus Buds Z only includes wired USB-C charging. In the grand scheme, this is not a big problem, but it is good to be able to tap the air cushion and recharge without pulling the cord. However, the charging is still very fast. In my own test, it only takes 15 minutes to get about 4 to 5 hours of extra gaming time for the carrying case and earplugs.

Final thoughts


Now that the HeyMelody application has basically eliminated the lock, unless you have a OnePlus branded device, it is difficult to sell OnePlus mobile phones. For almost all people with limited budgets who buy Bluetooth earbuds, adding mobile phone Z is an attractive Power package.

Of course, there are some design ideas that infringe on the Samsung Galaxy Buds, but in general, I think the OnePlus Buds Z may be better than the original OnePlus Buds, if only for its updated design.

In other words, it boils down to how you feel about the silicone tipped Bluetooth earbuds and solid-state shape design. They are great if you want to use more sound isolation features and are happy to make a difference in battery life, but for improved batteries and audio, the price of OnePlus Buds will be around $10 to $20 higher. However, I feel that the price of OnePlus Buds Z is much cheaper due to the design of the headset. Either way, OnePlus Buds or Buds Z are reliable everyday earbud options for people with deep roots in Android.

Where can I get OnePlus Buds Z?

OnePlus Buds Z can be purchased directly from OnePlus for $49.99. If you prefer the original design and want better audio, you can now buy the original OnePlus Buds from Amazon for only $59.99.

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