The wireless earphone space is getting more competitive as several brands believe now is the right time to enter before it gets more crowded. Despite the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 virus, companies are leaving no opportunity to introduce budget-oriented wireless earbuds. There are many who aspire to buy Apple’s Airpods, but the sheer price tag pushes them away. However, the real trend of having a wireless pair of audio products has just started as Xiaomi and Realme have entered the TWS space and it is likely to become aggressive in the near future. Also Read - Confirmed! OnePlus 9T series not launching, but there’s OnePlus 9 RT coming soon
While OnePlus is also being rumored to finally jump into the true wireless earbuds category, it still competes in the wireless space, but in the form of neckband-style earphones. Yes, here we are talking about the new OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, which costs Rs 1,999 in India. The company is boasting of features like fast charging, quick pair, and 10 hours of battery life on 10 mins charge, similar to the more expensive OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. We have been testing the earphones for a few days and here’s why we think this is currently a good deal for its price. Also Read - OnePlus, Oppo unified OS to launch in 2022, will debut on OnePlus 10 flagship phone
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The latest neckband earphones are a more affordable iteration of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 and the company has, of course, cut some corners to balance the cost. One of the changes, which is easily visible is the plastic build. It misses out the premium glossy metallic sheen on the earpieces and matte rubber finish on the battery modules. Other than this, both the earphones share the same form-factor. Now, you also get the earphones in two new beautiful colors. While we didn’t get the new colors for review, both the Mint and Blue options look attractive. Also Read - Best 12GB RAM phones for gaming to buy in September 2021
The earphones are quite lightweight in comparison to Bullets Wireless 2. They feel solid and are also well built. Though the rubberish cables coming out of both ends are not very thick and it is advised to use it a bit carefully as you don’t want it to be frayed. The neckband is flexible, but this doesn’t mean you can just fold it and keep it in your pocket. The earbuds offer a very comfortable fit and you can easily wear them for long stretches. Like the previous one, they have magnets in them, which prevent wire tangles and even saves battery. When snapping them together, the earbuds turn off, and separating them turns the music on.
The controls on the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z are similar to the Bullets Wireless 2. The inline remote falls within easy reach, but the buttons are not super clicky. You will still find the power/pairing button, indicator light, and USB Type-C port on one of the battery modules. The earphones are IPX5 rated, which is a reasonable level of protection against water and dust. The company ships the product with three pairs of ear tips, but there isn’t any carrying case, which the wireless 2 sales package includes.
The OnePlus Wireless Bullets Z supports quick switch tech, which is one of the best features. It allows you to switch between two simultaneously connected devices. So, if you want to immediately switch to another device without disconnecting or stopping the music on the previous device, this can be done by just double-clicking the earphone’s power button. It is also called the pairing button. The reason I love this feature is that it is super fast and takes less than even a second to switch to another device, which is a convenient feature done right.
The process of pairing the earphones is very simple and you don’t even have to open the Bluetooth settings to pair it with the phone. You just need to long-press the pairing button and a notification will pop up, which you just need to accept and you are done. This feature requires a compatible OnePlus smartphone. If you are a non-OnePlus device owner then you need to open Bluetooth settings, find the device, and connect. Also, when the magnetized tips are separated, they instantly reconnect to the last-used device. The wireless neckband earphones support Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and 10-meter range. The connection didn’t break when I moved to the nearby room.
The company has replaced Bullets Wireless 2’s 10mm drivers by 9.2mm. A pair of wireless earphones can sound really good, especially with support for sound quality improving techs like aptX, aptX HD and AAC. But, here OnePlus has skipped Qualcomm’s aptX HD tech, and the audio product supports AAC Bluetooth codec. This was expected as this is a low-budget earphone.
As far as audio quality is concerned, if you listen to bass-heavy tracks, you will not be very pleased as there was less thump in the bass. The amount of response is very decent and bass lovers won’t feel every beat drop. The soundstage did feel wide, and vocals were quite clean and loud too. Additionally, instruments in several tracks were well-represented too. Overall, we can assure you that you will like the audio quality of the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, when its price point is considered.
In order to balance the cost, OnePlus has not added support for noise cancellation. While this feature could have helped to cancel external sounds, the earphones do offer very good noise isolation as the ear tips create a tight seal to block ambient sound, though not to a very high level. The OnePlus Bullets wireless Z does a good job with voice calls. The receiver never complained and the person on the other end of the call sounded very clear. The audio product also supports Low Latency mode that syncs audio to improve your gaming experience, so that you don’t witness even a slight delay in sound.
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offers excellent battery life. The company claims that the earphones can deliver up to 20 hours of battery life. During our usage, we did get close to 19 hours of battery life, and we were very impressed as after just one or two days you will not feel the need to charge it. But, it all depends on how you use the neckband earphones. With light usage, you should get around 4 days of battery life.
The best part is even if your usage is heavy and the battery runs out in 2 days, you don’t need to worry. The company claims that 10 minutes of charging will give you 10 hours of battery life, which we found to be accurate. I can say that the standard charger tops up the battery super fast and it took around 23 minutes to fully charge, which is really majestic.
The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z is one of the best deals that you can get for Rs 1,999. While brands are offering you TWS earphones for Rs 2,000, we can say that you will get good overall experience with the Wireless Z than other audio products in its price range. For the price, you get well-built earphones and a good level of comfort that you can wear it all day. It not only has a reasonable water certification, but also provides a great battery life, and you will not be worried about charging it again and again. What else, it offers quick switch and quick pair features, and with just 10 minutes of charging, it can survive for up to 10 hours. The overall audio experience is also good for its price and you will enjoy using it.