OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z Review: Impressive Audio, Ease-Of-Use And Excellent Battery Life

Rohit Arora

Amidst the entire craze for true wireless earphones, the classic neckband-styled OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z came across as a refreshing pair of wireless earphones. The budget neckband earphones were launched alongside the OnePlus 8 series at a very aggressive price point of just Rs. 1,999. While it's not exactly the successor of the Bullets Wireless 2, it borrows almost all the features and the premium design of the pricey earphones.

Importantly, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z also offers some great upgrades. The affordable wireless earphones bring IP55 certification for protection against dust and water. These earphones promise even longer battery life, up to 20-hours of audio playback on one full charge. You also get premium features like the Quick Switch, Type-C charging port along with magnetic buds for ease-of-use.

Sounds impressive? Read the review to find out why the Bullets Wireless Z is a great alternative to the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 earphone which is currently selling at Rs. 4,499.

Design- Premium Construction

Despite a huge price difference, there's no visible compromise in the overall build quality. The Bullets Wireless Z look identical and feel as premium as the pricey Bullets Wireless 2. When placed side by side with the Bullets Wireless 2, you won't be able to identify which are the budget ones. This is remarkable as you get the same premium build quality at almost one-third of the price.

The cost-cutting has been done by using plastic-made earbuds but the same glossy finish and the choice of good quality material make it virtually impossible to find any fault. At 28g, the Bullets Wireless Z earphones are slightly lighter than its predecessor and also lack signature red color ring on the outer surface of the earbuds.

Magnetic Eartips, In-Line Mic Controller, IP55 Rated Design

Moving on, the rubber threads maintain the same high standards of durability. And like the premium Bullets Wireless 2, you can just clip earbuds together on the Bullets Wireless Z to pause the audio playback, thanks to the magnetic tips. The same also shuts down the earphones instantly. They connect automatically to the paired device when unclasped, provided that the paired device's Bluetooth is enabled. The easy-to-operate in-line mic controller (on the left) with volume rockers offers good tactile feedback.

You can also invoke your phone's smart assistant by long-pressing the centre button on the controller. Last but not the least, the Bullets Wireless Z earphones are IP55 certified which means they are sweat and water-resistant and also offer protection against dust and minute particles. You can wear them while running, cycling and during intense workout sessions in the gym.

Neckbands Are More Comfortable And Practical Than True Wireless Earphones

You can consider the similarly priced Redmi Earbuds S and the upcoming Realme Buds Air Neo for their true wireless form factor; however, the neckbands come across as much more comfortable and practical wireless earphones. They offer better wearing comfort, better controls for ease of use and you don't have to worry about keeping secure a tiny charging capsule which can be easily misplaced in daily routine.

That being said, the Bullets Wireless Z's rubberized neckband combined with the lightweight body makes them comfortable for all-day use. The earbuds have soft rubber tips that don't cause any discomfort to ears even with extended use. Most importantly, the neckbands tend to last considerably longer on one full charge than the TWS earbuds.

Connectivity Features

The Bullets Wireless Z earphones use the latest Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to smart devices. Like the premium earphones, the Bullets Wireless Z also feature a USB Type-C port and offer solid wireless connectivity for up to 10m range. My favorite feature of the Bullets Wireless Z is the Quick Switch Mode. It lets me switch between two paired devices, such as my phone and laptop in a jiffy. Simply press the function button twice to switch between paired devices.

Audio Performance

Comparisons to its predecessor were quite natural but I was not expecting the similar audio performance as the Bullets Wireless Z earphone are priced much lower, almost one-third of the price of the Bullet Wireless 2 which are currently selling at Rs. 4,490. However, the Wireless Z earphones have surprised me with the overall audio performance as the sound produced more than justifies the price tag.

Starting with good things, the Bullets Wireless Z earphones are powered by 9.2mm drivers and get fairly loud. The Feel (Radio Edit) sounded very enjoyable with crisp highs and clear vocals. I would have preferred slightly tighter bass in 'Way Down We Go' but then the bass came across just perfect while listening to Sol by Alef and Na Le by Omiki.

The vocals also sounded clear and loud making these affordable earphones quite suitable for vocal-heavy music and podcasts. The treble response is also handled quite well creating a pleasant overall listening experience.

On the downside, the audio delivery seems to be slightly inclined towards the low-end spectrum as you could hear the rumble in almost every track you tune in to. This reminds me of the 'Bass Mode' in the Oppo's Enco W31 true wireless earphones. The constant flow of low-end bass overpowers other elements, especially the mid-range.

Now some audiophiles like their music this way as it gives the overall sound signature a definite oomph, but I prefer a more balanced output which is why I loved the Bullet Wireless 2. The Wireless Z simply lacks that expansive soundstage of its predecessor.

But that being said, the Bullets Wireless Z comes across as great budget wireless earphones for audiophiles who prefer that constant rumbly music and warm overall output. Overall, these budget neckband earphones deliver an enjoyable listening experience.

And while we should not compare the Bullets Z Wireless with the Redmi Earbuds S as the latter is true wireless earphone, we must highlight that the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z offer better audio performance in the sub Rs. 2,000 price bracket.

Crisp Call Quality, No Noticeable Latency Issues

I have been using the Bullets Wireless Z as my daily driver for phone calls. While I can hear the caller's voice loud and clear, folks on the other side have often complained about the background noise. It seems the microphone lacks effective noise cancellation, which was not an issue on the Bullets Wireless 2 earphones.

Moving on, playing PUBG with the Bullets Wireless Z is an enjoyable experience as there's no noticeable latency. The earphones feature 'Low Latency Mode' that ensures the audio stays in sync while you indulge in intensive gameplay on your smartphone.

Best-In-Class Battery Life

The battery is one department where the Bullets Wireless Z earphones truly shine and even scores higher than the Bullets Wireless 2. These budget neckband earphones can last a full day with heavy usage which makes them perfect wireless earphones as the primary choice.

I got 18-19 hours of backup on one full charge with audio being streamed at 80% - 100% volume levels on Wi-Fi over popular streaming apps and on phone's music player. The phone calls count is usually higher, more than 35, and I only have to plug these earphones the next day. Most importantly, the company's claims of 10 hours playback with 10 minutes of charging hold the water very well.

I happen to have the OnePlus' latest charging brick which recharges the Bullet Wireless Z in less than 30 minutes from zero to 100%, which is simply insane. Overall, the stellar battery life makes the Bullet Wireless Z a great option for anyone looking for a budget pair of wireless earphones for daily use.

Should You Buy OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z Earphones?

At Rs. 1,999, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z earphones deliver more than its price. You get the premium design of the Bullets Wireless 2, good overall audio delivery and excellent battery life. Also, features like a quick switch and IP55 rating add great value to the overall package. In all, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z is undoubtedly one of the best sounding budget neckband earphones you can buy today in the Indian market.

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