OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC: In-Depth Review

  • 18 Sep, 2023
OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC: In-Depth Review
We haven't had a wireless headset with a neckband in a while around these parts. That is sad because they were in many respects superior to the currently well-liked TWS earbuds, including having a longer battery life, more tactile controls, and stronger networking capabilities.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 was the last model we evaluated with this design, and now we have the updated model with active noise cancellation. The India-exclusive Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is only marginally more expensive than the Z2 at INR 2299. They are still among the most affordable wireless earbuds in the OnePlus lineup and the most affordable with ANC because of this.

Design and Comfort Assessment:

We are all well aware of the pretty straightforward design of the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC at this time. The neckband is incredibly flexible, and the entire body has a rubberized touch.

The complete set of controls for volume, playback, and ANC capabilities are located on the left stalk, which I terribly miss on TWS versions. To change the ANC modes, hold down the middle button while pressing it twice or three times to skip back and forth between tracks.

A multi-function button is also present, but it only has two functions. You can double-press it to immediately connect to the previously connected device or press and hold it to initiate pairing mode. Each button functions correctly and feels high-quality.

The earbud cables are trustworthy, and the neckband feels solidly constructed. You also receive an IP55 rating for protection from dust and water.

The user's perception of comfort will determine it. I'd forgotten how it might be initially inconvenient to have the neckband on your bare neck or the cables brushing against your face. However, it was also very practical to simply take out the earbuds and magnetically clasp them together to turn them off without fumbling with a case and possibly dropping the earbuds. Neither the case nor a single earbud may be lost. It depends on how you want to look at it as to whether TWS or the neckband is more practical.

Software and Feature Analysis:

The HeyMelody software, an app created by HeyTap, which is a service of a Singapore-based firm named Bravo Unicorn, is how the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC connects to your phone. The same software, which is accessible for iOS and Android, is used by all OnePlus, Oppo, and Realme audio products.
The earbud features on OnePlus phones can be managed simply through the Bluetooth settings without the need to download additional software.

Options are restricted because the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC has few functions. ANC can be turned on, off, or in transparency mode. The four EQ settings are switchable, and you can also create your own. Finally, you can make very simple modifications to the actual switches.

Any modifications you make in the app are recorded on the earphones, meaning they are transferred over to the next device even if that device is something like a PC that does not support the app.

Performance Evaluation:

Titanium-coated dynamic drivers measuring 12.4 mm are present in the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC. SBC and AAC codecs are supported by the earbuds via a Bluetooth 5.2 connection.

The audio quality on the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is subpar by default. The music features the same obscenely bass-heavy onslaught that has since come to be recognized as the OnePlus house sound.

The Z2 ANC's default preset, the stupidly titled Balanced, has significantly too much bass. The mids and highs can never truly escape the heavy blanket of mush that covers the entire frequency range. It isn't especially clear, well-spoken, or even tasteful.

When the bass is not overpowering it, the mid-range can be beneficial. Though a little too warm and stuffy, the vocals have a wonderful timbre.

The high end falls short. The high end simply lacks the drive to balance the sound, which in particular causes the overall sound profile to be dark, muddy, and unbalanced.

There are two presets specifically designed to lower the bass, suggesting that OnePlus is at least partially aware of the shortcomings of its default tune. The highlighted Bold setting significantly reduces the bass, which enhances the mid-range in the mix. Sadly, it offers little to enhance the highs, which are still too muted. The Serenade lowers the bass even more, which forces the mids to take center stage in the mix and gives the sound an inverted V shape because the highs are stubbornly fixed in place.

In the event that you have hearing loss or wish to acquire it, there is also a Bass setting that sounds similar to the Balanced preset but with additional bass.

Fortunately, the six-band custom EQ is really helpful. I was able to achieve a much more balanced tuning by using the preset that is depicted above, which therefore made it easier to concentrate on other facets of the sound. Unfortunately, installing the app is something that many people choose not to do because it is necessary for both the custom EQ and the more sensible presets.

The sound is more engrossing and detailed when the highs have been toned off. This is particularly true at low volume levels, where it is challenging to hear anything over the bass without raising the volume, which amplifies the bass.

Blame the drivers' quality rather than the absence of a higher resolution codec for the general lack of detail and resolution in the sound. Additionally unimpressive and unremarkable are imaging and soundstage. The music from these earbuds may still be somewhat nice with custom tuning, and I didn't have many complaints about it when I was out and about. Although it sounds perfectly acceptable for the price, the default tuning makes it sound terrible.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC makes up for any audio quality shortcomings with a superior microphone. With the exception of the sporadic popping noise, the voices in the recorded audio performed really well. With little to no discernible background noise, the recording quality remained good even when there was some of it. Due to this, making audio or video calls using the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is a fantastic choice.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC's new ANC mode also performed admirably. It performs best with low-frequency sounds, such as the rumble of a bus or airplane engine, but it also does okay with domestic noises like air conditioners and fans. Mid- and high-frequency sounds are where it struggles, but those are typically the purview of larger, more expensive headphones.

The transparency mode, however, is disappointing because it sounds muddled and isn't very transparent. It's acceptable if you merely want to move around without being totally unaware of your surroundings, but I still thought it would be better to simply unplug the earbuds to improve my hearing.

The audio quality is barely affected while changing ANC modes. When transparency mode is turned on, the sound becomes even faintly lighter and less bass-heavy than when ANC is turned on.

Performance in terms of latency can be acceptable. If the program is identified as a game on your OnePlus device, you experience extremely low and practically noticeable latency. The latency can be pretty significant and would be unsuitable for gaming if it is not recognized as a game or if you do not have a OnePlus device. Even with a PC, it's still suitable for video playback.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC's connectivity performance was stable, and no problems with connection quality or stability were seen.

Battery and Charging Assessment:

Battery life for the Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is 20 hours with ANC and 28 hours without ANC, according to the manufacturer. While OnePlus does not specify, it is safe to infer that the 20 hours of playback after a 10-minute charge are with ANC turned off.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC I tested had a battery life of 27 hours and 7 minutes with ANC turned on, and 19 hours and 38 minutes without. The earbuds played for 14 hours and 36 minutes with ANC on and 20 hours and 21 minutes with ANC off after a 10-minute charge.

OnePlus does not clarify, however, it is safe to presume that this is with ANC turned off.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC I tested had a battery life of 27 hours and 7 minutes with ANC turned on, and 19 hours and 38 minutes without. The earbuds played for 14 hours and 36 minutes with ANC on and 20 hours and 21 minutes with ANC off after a 10-minute charge.

The extended battery life is most likely the main argument in favor of continuing with the neckband design. Even on the world's longest nonstop flight, you might complete the journey with just one charge. Alternatively, you could simply binge-watch an entire season of a television show.

Final Thoughts:

For the money, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is a great product. Depending on how you feel about neckband designs, it may be comfortable. It is also well-built, has an excellent microphone, and has a long battery life. The connectivity performance was strong, and the ANC also functions fairly well. Gaming performance with low latency is also possible while using OnePlus devices.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is the most recent victim of OnePlus' poor default audio tuning when it comes to audio quality. Fortunately, there are simple ways to get around that and still have an excellent listening experience that is reasonable for the cost.

Overall, if you're still looking for wireless neckband headsets, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 ANC is an option to take into account.