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[Accessory Review Challenge] OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z - The Audio Flagship Killer

  1. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020

    yashonagori , Sep 6, 2020 :
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    With the gradual demise of the headphone jack over the years, the demand for wireless audio devices has been ever-increasing. From semi-wireless to completely wireless buds, there are a plethora of options to choose from and it does lead to one thing - decision anxiety.

    While OnePlus is not a brand that anyone would associate with audiophile gear, they have been in the game for a long time now and it has surely given them a ton of time to perfect their offerings. They've always gained decent traction --- demand wise --- and it definitely reflects this time around as well. Quick disclaimer, these earphones are definitely not meant for audiophiles, as the price would suggest, and thus, the review shall proceed further with the view that these will be used for normal day-to-day usage.

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    (One true pairing)

    The Bullets Wireless Z are a successor to the Bullets Wireless V1 and 2, which confuses a lot of consumers who think these are supposed to outperform both of those earphones. However, these are not a successor to the Bullets Wireless 2 but are a cheaper alternative coming in at about a third of their price at Rs. 2000. However, some would argue that these do, in fact, outperform the Bullets Wireless V1.

    So how exactly are these earphones the flagship killers? Let's find out.

    Before getting to my experience, here's the specifications for those who are interested:​
    1. Wireless earphones with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity (up-to 10m)
    2. IPS5 rated water resistance.
    3. Single 9.2 mm driver
    4. 20-hour battery life, support for warp charge, Type-C connectivity.
    5. Physical buttons for navigation, calls, and virtual assistant.
    6. Available in Mint, black, blue, and Oat tones.
    INDEX
    1. Unboxing
    2. Design and hardware
    3. Battery life and connectivity
    4. Audio and Mic performance
    5. Conclusion

    1. Unboxing

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    Unlike almost all other cheap or budget earphones, OnePlus does not skip over a premium unboxing experience for the customers. The earphones come inside a fairly large and sturdy cardboard box with the necessary paperwork and, well, a pair of buds.

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    Included inside the box, is some paperwork, the earphones themselves and surprisingly; a charging cable! Yes, at the mere price point of Rs.2000, OnePlus made the amazing decision to include one for those people who still might not be on the Type- C train or if you need to charge these while you charge your phone.

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    OnePlus were also kind enough to include 3 sizes of ear tips; small, medium and large to cover all sorts of users. All in all, this is the best experience that you can expect at this price point.

    2. Design and Hardware

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    I wasn't expecting anything extraordinary in terms of design when I first decided to get my hands on these earphones due to their fairly low price. But, to my surprise, when I first looked at these, they reminded me of the Bullets Wireless V2 in almost all aspects.

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    I expected cheaper plastic and build but that wasn't the case. These earphones look premium and classy without any unnecessary branding or prints. I got the matte black finish, which looks elegant. They weigh fairly less at 28 gms and the band rests fairly comfortably on my neck. When I compare these to my BoAT Rockerz 255, which are similarly priced, OnePlus has already beat them by a fair margin as those are made with some really cheap plastic materials.

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    The earphones have two sets of buttons, one near the neckband to toggle power on and off and for quick pair options and another on the left wire for manipulating volume and play/pause options. The buttons are quite tactile, easy to use, and simple to understand. Overall, the OnePlus Wireless Z earphones are built well way beyond its segment and would certainly impress any user. This feature could especially be a deal maker for a ton of users as customers do demand durability from their tech as it has been sort of lacking in recent times from various manufacturers.

    The OnePlus Bullets wireless Z also have sweat resistance, which makes them usable as gym or workout earphones. However, it is not advisable to use them while running or working out outside in pouring rain.

    You can access the google assistant on your android phone or Siri on your apple devices by long pressing the middle button on the volume array. I’m not much of a virtual assistant user as of now but for those who are, this is a decent feature to have onboard.

    I also did a fitting test as to see how well these stayed aloof in my ears. Disclaimer: I ended up looking like I’m having a seizure.

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    3. Battery life and connectivity

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    OnePlus claims the Bullets Wireless Z can last up to 20 hours on a single charge, and I've been using them for the past week without having them charged once, so I can pretty much say with certainty that they're living up to the standards here.

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    The earphones also support OnePlus' proprietary Warp charge, which means they can give 10 hours of listening time with just 10 minutes of charging, which is again a really nice feature to have. Overall, OnePlus has gladly nailed this department as well. It would be safe to say that the marathon battery life on these earphones is the best in the segment by a mile.

    The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z also include features like Quick pair, which basically helps you connect them to your device of choice with just one tap. There is also a double-click to switch devices feature, which I found really helpful because it helps me switch between my iPad and my phone really easily. All these quirks make the Wireless Z earphones a delight to use and keep as a daily driver.

    I came across a fairly unique problem when I started using these earphones. Apparently, when you turn on these earphones for the first time and use them for some time, then go on to attaching the earbuds with the magnetic link, they automatically turn off. When I pressed the power button, I was shook to see no LED indication for them turning off. I though the went out of charge. When they were all charged up, I tried turning them on with the earbuds still attached and again, I couldn’t see the lights turning on. I somehow got stuck in this loop and though my earphones were broken. But eventually, I came to realize that the power button only works after you’ve detached the earbuds. In reality, it was a handy feature that they automatically turned off to save some battery and maximise efficiency. Not having used OnePlus earphones before and lack of research did cost me anxiety this time around.

    4. Audio and Mic Performance

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    Music (Spotify):

    The best budget earphones I've used, from the audio output and performance purview, have to be the native ear pods that came along with Apple devices back in the day. To my ears, they sounded just perfect for every use, and they did sport the best of the class microphone array, which just completed the whole package. However, they were wired earphones and the ones with a 3.5mm jack are really hard to find these days.

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    I took upon myself to try a few alternatives in this range and ended up trying the BoAT Rockerz 255 and BoAT AirDopes 441.



    The first frequencies I wanted to test were the lows or the bass. For this, I used the song "Cane Shuga" by "Glass Animals". To my surprise, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z sounded full and adequately punchy, being not too bass-oriented but being just enough.

    The AirDopes, on the other hand, sounded like any other budget pair of earphones and were less bass oriented than their OnePlus counterpart. For my taste, these sounded perfectly balanced, and of course, tweak the settings if you want to with an equalizer app to fit your preferences.



    To test the highs, I listened to the symphony "Ave Maria". Both of the earphones performed decently in this segment, with no noticeable distortion at any volumes level. Keeping in mind the pricing, you won't be disappointed with either one of these.



    Warning: Explicit Content

    And finally, for the mids, I chose to test one of my favourite tracks of all time, "Fast Lane" by "Bad Meets Evil (Eminem ft. Royce da 5'9")." As always, it was a pleasure to listen to this song on these. Not the best I've ever heard, but definitely one of the best by any budget earphone ever. The AirDopes on the other hand barely performed above average.


    Gaming (latency and quality):

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    Even though these earphones do not have any high end Apt-x codecs for Bluetooth and have scored below par in many benchmarks, crossing the latency of 300ms in some tests, while using the earphones to play PUBG mobile (RIP) on my OnePlus 8 Pro, I couldn’t notice any severe lag or latency in the audio output. Having decent bass, the in-game audio did stand out and add to the surrounding experience. Plus, gaming on 90Hz and having good audio isn’t everyone’s luxury, thanks to OnePlus for that! The low latency mode with the Fnatic mode on OnePlus devices drastically reduces the latency, if any, and makes it barely noticeable even in fairly rare instances.

    Anyhow, most people game on their mobile phones for leisure and not any sort of professional or competitive use, thus it isn’t a deal breaker for many. This is really impressive to see considering that a lot of Bluetooth devices still aren’t able to achieve this feat in 2020. OnePlus really seem to have perfected the smaller details with this audio marvel.

    Mic:

    As far as the mic goes, here’s an audio sample I recorded in a fairly quiet room but with a bit of distant noise.


    I don’t know if it’s the software’s or hardware’s problem, although the quality of the voice sounds decent, there’s a lot of noise captured in the recording. To alternatively try other options, I called up a few of my friends and asked them if they noticed any disturbances. As a relief, they didn’t and ultimately that’s what matters. I’ve been regularly using these earphones to take calls and up until now, I’m yet to receive any complains. Considering the price, I’d say these earphones do get the job done.

    Noise Reduction:

    The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z do not have Active Noise Cancellation feature, which is generally non-existent in this price range. However, these earphones do have passive noise isolation, thanks to the in-ear design. I tested these earphones in all sorts of noisy environments, and can easily attest that you won’t have problems listening to what’s playing even in the noisiest of situations like trains or in between traffic jams.

    Overall, again, OnePlus have come up with one of the best in segment audio experience, if you prefer slightly bass oriented sound. These definitely crossed all my expectations and if you prefer the balanced sound with a bit of bass orientation, these would cross yours too.

    5. Conclusion

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    Punching above their weight in almost all categories, these are one of the best earphones that you can buy this price range. For this segment, these are THE BEST wireless earphones that you can get your hands on right now considering that you like the comparably bass oriented sound profiles and do not intend to heavily game on non-OnePlus devices.

    For normal users looking to move beyond the wired world, these would act as a great entry point. If you're an existing OnePlus user, it's an added bonus that you can change these at warp speeds with no extra cost and have the advantage of Fnatic mode. If you prefer a more neutral sound profile, you can look at other options but otherwise, if you're looking to buy these, go for them without hesitation. You won't regret it.

    And finally, I come to my title - "The Audio Flagship Killer". This piece of hardware takes me way back to initial days of OnePlus and their frontier marketing taglines for the initial models like the OnePlus One, Two and so on. In its essence, OnePlus promises to deliver the highest value for money for it's user base and keep them involved with continuous and mutual growth. By not being the very best in every category, OnePlus hits the sweet spot in this segment by being very good at almost everything. The premium build, amazing software and futuristic energy management speaks the brand of OnePlus in a very vivid manner. All of this brings a sense of nostalgia that every OnePlus fan would gladly appreciate.

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    Never Settle! ;)
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020

    #1
  2. Batman360
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 6, 2020

    Batman360 , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Soo beautiful 😍🔥😍🔥
    Such brilliant animations 🔥
    Stellar work Yash!!!
     

    #2
    Starcommander and yashonagori like this.
  3. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020

    yashonagori , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Thankyou so much Aakash[e]1f64c[/e] It was my first time animating, had a ton of fun. Glad you liked it!
     

    #3
    Batman360 likes this.
  4. yashwant24
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 6, 2020

    yashwant24 , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Very nice review [e]1f44d[/e]
    Beautiful animations
    But I think you got wrong with "power ON " button.
    Actually I think there is no such button, only the magnetic link is used to turn ON and turn OFF. When you detach the earbuds they turn ON and led light turns ON. The button is used only for Quickswitch between devices. I use BW2, and all the controls features are mostly similar.
     

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  5. Cakepips
    Ice Cream Sandwich Sep 6, 2020


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  6. U1594968905422
    Cupcake Sep 6, 2020


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  7. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020

    yashonagori , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Thanks a ton! Also, I realised the power issue soon enough with my use. Came across an article later on[e]1f602[/e]
     

    #7
    yashwant24 likes this.
  8. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020

    yashonagori , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Sep 6, 2020 :
    thankyou so much! Spent a bit too much time on the animations but really happy with how it turned out!
     

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    AbhilashSaikia and Cakepips like this.
  9. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020


    #9
    AbhilashSaikia and Oreo. like this.
  10. JelleZon
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 6, 2020

    JelleZon , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Ohh, what a great review.
    Awesome images and animations, really love it!
     

    #10
  11. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 6, 2020

    yashonagori , Sep 6, 2020 :
    Thank you so much! :D
     

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  12. Oreo.
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 7, 2020


    #12
  13. Sin_of_Wrath
    Donut Sep 7, 2020


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  14. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 7, 2020

    yashonagori , Sep 7, 2020 :
    Thankyou so much guys, appreciate the love!
     

    #14
  15. Shubham_Ag.
    Ice Cream Sandwich Sep 10, 2020

  16. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 11, 2020


    #16
  17. fromsophie
    Honeycomb Sep 11, 2020


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  18. yashonagori
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 12, 2020


    #18
  19. Starcommander
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Sep 13, 2020

    Starcommander , Sep 13, 2020 :
    Amazing review mate 😍😍😍😍 OP animations 🔥😍
     

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    yashonagori likes this.
  20. AbhilashSaikia
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Sep 13, 2020


    #20
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