OnePlus Buds Z2 Review – Best Budget ANC Buds?

Reviewing the OnePlus Buds Z2, a premium true wireless budged ANC earbud, going through design, connectivity, touch controls, audio quality, active noise cancellation, and battery life. So let’s dive in.

Design

OnePlus Buds Z2 Design

First, the oneplus buds z2 look kind of remarkably similar to the original oneplus buds z. They come in two colours, either obsidian black or this pearl white version. which is kind of airpod-reminiscent. You do get slightly shorter stems than before though, so they don’t drip out of your ear quite as badly as the original ones, and they do come in at under five grammes each as well. so nice and light, and I thought they were perfectly comfortable to stuff inside of my lugs for a good couple of hours at a time, at least before I started to get that ear fatigue, and you do get three different sizes of rubbery silicone tips bundled in the box as well.

So you’re bound to find a size that fits you fine, and I found that once they’re in there, they hold in firm as well, no shaking about nor wriggling even on those rare occasions where I was actually moving at speed. The good news is that if you are going to be moving at a pace and getting all sweaty, maybe you want to pair true wireless earbuds to work out in the gym while the OnePlus Buds Z2 have full ip55 protection, so they can get very moist indeed, all nice and sweat drenched, and it’s not going to bulk them up, and in fact, even the case is ipx4 splash resistant.

Connectivity

On the connectivity side, you’ve got bluetooth 5.2 support here on the oneplus buds z2, and I found that connection stayed strong and stable even in heavily packed out areas. As usual, the oneplus buds z2 do work best if you’ve got a oneplus smartphone, because then you just dive into the audio settings and directly customise the touch controls and everything through there. You can just download the Hey Melody app from the Google Play Store and use that instead, and it’s also available via the Apple App Store if you’ve got one of those iPhone.

Touch Controls

Now, I wasn’t a big fan of the touch controls on the recently released OnePlus Buds Pro because they involved squeezing the stems, and I found it just a little bit awkward and kind of bulky at times. But thankfully, here on the Oneplus Buds Z2, the tap controls involved just tapping up. Here at the top end of the buds, I found this to work absolutely perfectly. It’s a single tap to pause or play music, double tap to skip forward, and a triple tap to skip back.

Now you could also press and hold either of them to toggle noise cancellation either on or off, and I found all these touch controls worked absolutely perfectly, were very intuitive, and took me zero time whatsoever to get used to them. They are definitely better than that stem squeeze.

And you’ve also got auto pause as well when you remove either of the buds, or whether you listen to a podcast or a bit of music or whatever someone starts chatting at you, just pull out a bud, have a better conversation, and they finally bugger off and leave you in peace, just shove it back in your log hole, and it’ll auto resume. And because those touch controls are up here at the top end rather than the actual stems themselves, I thought that wasn’t accidentally activating them when I wanted to, you know, just adjust one of the buds or just pull one out to have a quick chat.

Active Noise Canceling

OnePlus Buds Z2 ANC

OnePlus Bud Z2 serves up full-on active noise cancellation that peaks at an impressive 40 decibels. You’ve got two different modes to choose between: faint and extreme, and I just left them on extreme full-time to be perfectly fine. Because I found it brilliant, I could be walking down the high street with buses flying past me and children running around making all those horrible noises that children make and I thought it drowned most of it out very nicely.

indeed very impressive, especially at this sort of budget, and OnePlus has built in some wind noise reduction as well. I found I did get a little bit of feedback from the wind when I was moving up here, so it was particularly blustery, but nothing too troublesome at all, certainly not as bad as some rivals, and if you do need to be suddenly aware of everything that’s going on around you, you can just pull that, but of course then it will auto-pause whatever you’re listening to. Otherwise, as I said before, just give it a long tap, and then that will turn on the transparency mode so you can hear exactly what is going on all around you for full awareness.

Audio Quality

What about the actual audio quality though? Well, the good news is you’ve got the exact same 11 mil drivers that were stuffed inside of those more expensive oneplus buds z pro, and these serve up some very respectable audio at this price point. Definitely don’t go stuffing these things inside your head expecting much in the way of base, but the audio quality is comparable to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Buds, which are going to be more expensive. I was perfectly happy to listen to any kind of music, be it like really just chill out ambient stuff or even proper full-on dance rock metal. In terms of if you’re actually streaming a bit of Netflix, Disney, or anything like that, the syncing up between the video and the audio is perfect. Look at that awkward thing where lips are flapping and then the voices come a millisecond later.

You’ve got a triple mic setup on both of these little bleeders right here, so that’s great news if you have to take a lot of phone calls on your true wireless earbuds when you are pounding that pavement. One mics focuses on your voice and picks that up cleanly while the other mics pick up all the stuff that’s going on around you and help to down on the phone so the person on the other end can hear you quite easily. It’s not perfect, but it does work pretty well again for a pair of budget true wireless earbuds.

Battery life

I found the performance of the OnePlus Buds Z2 to be quite similar. With noise cancellation on, you’ll get about five hours of continuous use, but if you turn it off, it extends to around six and a half to seven hours, which is respectable for true wireless earbuds, especially ones with noise cancellation. When they run out of battery, you can simply put them back in the case, which is not the most compact but still easy to carry in your pocket. It resembles a large suppository, but let’s not dwell on that. The case supports fast charging via USB-C for quick recharging. Unlike the Pro model, the Z2 doesn’t support wireless charging, so keep that in mind if it’s important to you.

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