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OnePlus Buds Z2 leak teases possible AirPods killer

An unofficial render of the OnePlus Buds Z2
An unofficial render of the OnePlus Buds Z2 (Image credit: OnLeaks/91mobiles)

We've previously seen unofficial renders of the rumored OnePlus Buds Z2 and now a new leak claims to have filled in some of the earphones' purported specs.  

According to leaker Max Jambor on Twitter, the new buds are "Pretty much the [OnePlus] Buds Pro for less." And given that he claims they'll have not only have a super-low price but also Active Noise Cancelling, they could be a genuine rival to the much more expensive AirPods.

Currently, OnePlus' cheapest earbuds are the $49/£55 OnePlus Buds Z, and it makes sense that the Buds Z2 will cost a similar amount, while seemingly offering some far more desirable specs. 

With the AirPods costing $159/£159, OnePlus users may end up with a much better deal for entry-level earbuds than Apple fans. Even the fairly cheap but well-featured Nothing Ear (1) buds cost $99/£99.

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The Buds Z2 are also said to use active noise cancelling, a common feature on many earbuds, but notably not the basic AirPods. The image attached to Jambor's tweet also mentions Dolby Atmos, a feature that OnePlus offers on its other earbuds including the excellent OnePlus Buds Pro, although only when used with one of its own phones such as the OnePlus 9 Pro

The rumored battery life looks particularly impressive. Jambor says the buds will last for 7 hours, or a combined 38 hours with the case's battery included. These are likely the figures for when ANC is disabled on the buds, but as you can see from the table below, that would still make the Z2 some of the longest lasting around. 

What's more, they will seemingly charge up fast, too, with ten minutes of power giving five hours of playback from the Buds, according to Jambor. 

Battery life with ANC onBattery life with ANC off
OnePlus Buds Z2 (rumored)N/a7 hours and 38 hours*
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro5 hours and 18 hours8 hours and 28 hours
AirPods5 hours and 24 hoursN/a
AirPods Pro4.5 hours and 24 hoursN/a
Jabra Elite Active 75T7.5 hours and 24 hoursN/a
Sony WF-1000XM48 hours and 24 hours12 hours and 36 hours

* these figures are not specified with or without ANC enabled, but have been assumed to be with ANC off due to similarities with other rival earbuds' figures.

Another impressive feature would be the rumored IP55 water/dust resistance. This is the same as the original OnePlus Buds Z, which is not only better than the IPX4 AirPods, but arguably beats the majority of other earbuds simply by offering dust resistance. That should hopefully give the earbuds a long life by keeping the sensitive internals safe.

As for colors, Jambor says you have the simple choice of either black or white 'buds. The buds apparently also come armed with Bluetooth 5.2, which isn't the latest version of the wireless comms standard but is likely still good enough, if the price is as low as the leak claims.

There's nothing about the design mentioned in this latest leak. However we can go by an earlier leak which came complete with unofficial renders (see above), which seem to show OnePlus sticking with the silicone tips and long stems from the original Buds Z. 

However, the angle of the tips appear to have changed, and new cutouts on the head have appeared. These arguably back up Jambor's claim of ANC being introduced, because a different angle could help make a tighter in-ear fit, while the cutouts could hide the extra microphones required to make ANC work.

There's no mention of a release date for these new buds from Jambor. However, the previous leak mentioned it would arrive pretty much a year after the Buds Z launched, which was in November 2020. 

With the OnePlus 9T officially canceled, it seems possible that the Buds Z2 will debut alongside a new batch of OnePlus Nord handsets, given that some of the previous-gen devices like the OnePlus Nord N10 and OnePlus Nord N100 also launched last November.

Of course, we can't say for sure that the leak is genuine, but we certainly hope that it is. If these specs turn out to be accurate, we could easily have a contender for our best cheap wireless earbuds guide. 

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. 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.