OnePlus Buds Z2 Released In USA: Considering OPPO And Value

With OnePlus Buds Z2, the company releases a pair of earbuds that bring noise cancellation tech down to a sub-$100 price point. These aren't the sort of earbuds that'll go to war with the Sony WF-1000XM4, but they're certainly in contention with the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 – and they might just be inexpensive enough to make the jump.

With Google Fast Pair, you'll connect the OnePlus Buds Z2 to your Android smartphone or tablet with ease. Pairing works with the latest in Android wireless connectivity making them able to skip between devices, too. Once you connect the buds to one device logged in to Google with your email, you'll find them in your list of recognized devices on all other Android devices with that account logged in.

Even without any OnePlus software, these earbuds appear with battery life on each individual bud, and they appear with a handy instantly-loading image of their hardware form in Android Bluetooth settings. This may seem like an unimportant detail in the future when this sort of thing is common, but for now, it's a nice touch.

If you're using any device other than a OnePlus smartphone, the software you're going to need to use with these earbuds to attain full functionality is called HeyMelody (as seen below). This is an app made by HeyTap, a company that is functionally independent from OPPO and OnePlus – as far as we can tell.

In a OPPO support document, OPPO suggests that they have a "strong business relationship with HeyTap," and that this is "not an outsourcing partnership". HeyTap is owned/operated by a Singapore-based company called Bravo Unicorn Pte. Ltd. (HeyTap). If we dismiss any other concern we have for requiring a 3rd-party app to operate a OnePlus device, we still have the optics to address.

When I buy a device from one company, I generally expect software support for that device to come from the same company. It may be that HeyTap is a perfectly wonderful company that makes software that's superior to anything OnePlus made for their devices in the past – but first impressions are important.

My first impression of this situation is that I expect that if I need to use a special app to use a pair of earbuds, that app will be developed by the company that manufactured the earbuds. I expect that this will be true of a significant number of other potential OnePlus Buds buyers, too.

Once I'm past that bit, the OnePlus Buds Z2 are allowed the ability to choose between two noise-cancellation modes. I can also use the app's own Find My Buds feature, and adjust the buds' "triple tap" feature.

If you happen to be using a OnePlus smartphone, you can use the Find My Buds feature, switch between modes, and choose your triple tap feature without the HeyMelody app. Any other phone brand requires the HeyMelody app for these features.

Once the HeyMelody app delivers full functionality, the OnePlus Buds Z2 are a powerful value proposition. For approximately $100 USD, you're getting a pair of earbuds that work with active noise cancellation in two modes, Faint and Extreme, which work at a range between 25dB all the way to 40dB. The buds also include the OnePlus "Transparency Mode" which effectively turns the buds into hearing aides – though not to a degree that'd be recommended as a replacement for medical-grade hearing aides, of course.

These buds work with 11mm dynamic drivers with a frequency response range between 20-20,000Hz. They're still no The full audio delivery system of the OnePlus Buds Z2 works pretty decent, especially considering the price. Audio quality is more than high quality enough to consider the buy price at launch.

If you're looking for the Dolby Atmos functionality shown in promotional materials for the earbuds, it's important to note that you'll absolutely need a OnePlus smartphone for that feature. Basically any OnePlus device from OnePlus 7 on forward will work with Dolby Atmos with these earbuds.

OnePlus Buds Z2 will be released on the OnePlus online store for approximately $99 USD on December 16, 2021. They'll be available in Pearl White right out the gate, and if you want to buy a pair in "Obsidian Black," you'll need to wait a bit longer. At the moment, OnePlus suggests the Obsidian Black iteration will be released in "early 2022."