OnePlus Buds Z2 review: ANC earbuds on a budget

The OnePlus Buds Z2 are worth considering if you’re on a budget

OnePlus Buds Z2 review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The OnePlus Buds Z2 combine affordability with great sound and effective noise-cancelling. You'll be able to make the most out of everything they have to offer if you own a OnePlus smartphone but even if you don't these are well-rounded wireless earbuds that are excellent value for money.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Three noise-cancelling modes

  • +

    Ear detection so you won’t lose one

  • +

    Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Need a OnePlus phone to make the most of them

  • -

    No manual equaliser

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Looking for cheap earbuds with noise-cancelling? Check out this OnePlus Buds Z2 review. 

The best cheap headphones don’t have to be perfect as long as they work well, sound good and offer excellent value. If those are the criteria for success then the OnePlus Buds Z2 are definite contenders. 

As well as having decent sound, you get plenty of useful features here like ear detection and noise cancelling in a sleek pair of wireless earbuds. They sound good and they’re inexpensive - what else could you need? 

On an even tighter budget? Take a look at the best budget wireless earbuds for some options that cost less than $60 / £60. 

OnePlus Buds Z2 review: price and what’s new  

You can buy the OnePlus Z2 right now from Amazon for $99.99 in the US and £99 in the UK. To see where else you can buy a pair, take a look at the widgets on this page. 

Following on from the OnePlus Buds Z, these earbuds take the next step and improve on their predecessors in a few ways. Firstly, the stem is shorter and the buds are lighter which should  give them a more comfortable fit. They also have improved battery life at 7 hours of listening in the buds and 38 hours with the charging case. You also get improved sound and ANC here for the first time, as well as three different sound modes and Dolby Atmos support. 

OnePlus Buds Z2 review: design and fit  

OnePlus Buds Z2 review

(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus Buds Z2 are little wireless earbuds that you can buy in a glossy white or back colour - they look smart in both with an AirPod-esque dangling stem deisgn although they do stick out of your ears more than other buds on the market. 

Largely made from plastic, the OnePlus Buds Z2 are strong and sturdy without feeling cheap.  They won’t give you the same high-end feeling as some of the best wireless earbuds you can buy but you won’t lose out on quality

They come in a matching pill-shaped charging case with OnePlus written across the top. It has a tiny LED light on the front to let you know the battery level, and there’s a Bluetooth reset button on the back alongside the USB-C port. The buds magnetically snap back into place so putting them away is just as quick as taking them out. 

In the box, the buds come with three sizes of silicone ear tips. Whatever your ear shape and size, you’ll be fit them comfortably and they won’t budge even when you’re working out at the gym or going for a run. That’s partly helped by the fact that the bud itself rests on your ear as well as inside it. In the accompanying smartphone app, you can also perform an ‘earbud fit test’ to check you’ve made the right choice in ear tip. You just need to ru the test and the app will let you know whether you should try a different size or not. 

The OnePlus Buds Z2 are IP55 water and sweat resistant so you won’t need to worry about damaging them if you get caught in the rain. Even the case is IPX4 rated so that will be able to withstand splashes as well. 

You can manage your music using the touch controls on the outside of each bud. The default controls are tap once to pause or play, tap twice to skip forwards and tap three times to skip backwards, and hold down to switch between noise cancelling modes, you’ll her a tone to ley you know that it has worked. You can change what each gestures deos using the Hey Melody app available on iOS and Android

When it comes to the battery life, you’ll get 5 hours of listening from a single-charge while the case will give you a total of 38 hours so you’ll rarely need to remember to plug it in. A quick 10 minute charge will give you about 5 hours of music. 

OnePlus Buds Z2 review: performance 

OnePlus Buds Z2 review

(Image credit: Future)

Using 11mm drivers, the OnePlus Buds Z2 sound great overall. They’re full and balanced with plenty of bass, you’ll easily be able to make out each instrument in the track whil vocals cut through nicely across most genres. You do sometimes get a slight hiss at times but honestly, it’s barely even noticeable for the most part. One minor niggle is the lack of manual equaliser settings, it’d be great to be able to adjust the audio according to your own preference. 

Thanks to the three noise-cancelling modes, you’ll be able to focus on your music no matter where you are. Max noise-cancelling does a great job to cut out distracting noise almost entirely, be that the sound of the train, keyboard taps or office chatter. Granted tehy’re hardly going to match up to the best noise-cancelling headphones but for a pair of affordable wireless earbuds, it’s impressive. If you don’t mind letting some sound in, there’s a standard noise-cancelling mode as well as a transparency mode which should balance outside noises better with your music so you can still hear bits and pieces. 

Dolby Atmos support means you’ll be able to get fully immersed in watching your shows on the go, but you’ll only be able to make the most out of it if you own a OnePlus smartphone. That’s not the only feature you’ll need a OnePlus phone for - like being control everything about the buds from your phone’s settings app, if you use any other type of handset you’ll need to download the Hey Melody smartphone app. 

With instant pairing using Google fast pair, all you need to do is take them out of the case and your phone will connect immediately. They stay connected without any problems at all. 

If you’re worried about losing your buds when you’re out and about, the OnePlus Buds Z2 have ear detection so the music will pause if one falls out - that way you’re much more likely to notice if one falls out. 

OnePlus Buds Z2 review: verdict  

OnePlus Buds Z2 review

(Image credit: OnePlus)

The OnePlus Buds Z2 are some of the best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds under $100 - the quality of the sound and the ANC could fool more as being from a much pricier pair. If you own a OnePlus smartphone but you’re not keen on spending $150 / £139 on the OnePlus Buds Pro then the OnePlus Buds Z2 are a no-brainer. 

You won’t miss out on too much if you use another type of phone because you can still download the HeyMelody smartphone app to get the majority of the features, it’ll just take up space on your device.  

OnePlus Buds Z2 review: also consider  

If you’re not so bothered by noise-cancelling and you’d rather have a discreet pair of buds, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are the best cheap wireless earbuds. They sound amazing considering how cheap they are! 

Another pair of headphones you should consider if you’re on a budget are the Panasonic RZ-S500W. They have adjustable ANC as well as excellent sound quality and a few different sound modes to choose from. 

Yasmine Crossland
Freelance Tech Expert

Yasmine is the former Reviews Writer for T3, so she's been knee-deep in the latest tech products for reviewing and curating into the best buying guides since she started in 2019. She keeps a finger on the pulse when it comes to the most exciting and innovative tech and is happy to tell you exactly what she thinks about it too. In her free time, you'll catch her travelling the globe – the perks of being a freelance tech expert – tending to her plants when at home and, but of course, planning her next big trip.