The newly revealed OnePlus Buds Z2 look like a serious bargain. In fact, they could have the potential to top our best cheap wireless earbuds list.
The official announcement (via Weibo) of these new well-priced 'buds came alongside the OnePlus 9T, a new entry-level flagship phone that's only going to be available in China and India. International availability for the Buds Z2 hasn't been announced yet, but the original Buds Z came to the U.S. and U.K. so we can hope OnePlus will do the same this time.
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If you're in China, the Buds Z2 will sell for 499 yuan from October 19. That's about $77 or £56 if you directly convert the currency. Given that the current OnePlus Buds Z cost $50/£55, perhaps we can expect a small price rise in line with the enhanced capabilities of the second-gen Buds Z.
The design remains pretty much the same with its gel tips and straight stems. This time you have a choice of two colors though: black or white. The Buds Z2's biggest changes lie within in the form of three microphones per earbud instead of the previous two, and slightly larger 11mm drivers, the same size as the ones in the rather good OnePlus Buds Pro.
Like before, the Buds Z2 offer active noise canceling (ANC), along with a transparency mode for when you need to concentrate on the outside world. Considering the low price of these buds, the fact they offer any form of ANC is quite impressive.
The battery life claims are particularly impressive. OnePlus says the Buds Z2 will last 27 hours total with the charging case and ANC on, or 38 total without ANC. That's almost identical to what the Buds Pro manage, and also the longevity of our current best wireless earbuds pick: the Jabra Elite Active 75T.
There will also be Dolby Atmos support on ColorOS phones, which includes Oppo devices and future OnePlus devices. Oppo and OnePlus are currently merging, hence why OnePlus is talking about compatibility with an operating system it currently doesn't design.
The Buds Z2 will also pack in Bluetooth 5.2 and an IP55 dust/water resistance rating. OnePlus promises wireless latency under 100ms, too, for more responsive sound when watching movies or playing games.
OnePlus may have picked an interesting time to release a new pair of earbuds, as rumors point to Apple revealing the AirPods 3 next week at its upcoming Unleashed event. These new buds are tipped to offer a new shape more like that of the AirPods Pro, and possibly ANC and Dolby Atmos support just like the OnePlus Buds Z2. They will likely be far pricier than the Buds Z2 though, giving OnePlus' offering at least a small advantage for users with tighter budgets.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.