OnePlus may launch a cut-price sequel to its first true wireless earbuds, the OnePlus Buds, when it debuts the OnePlus 8T next week. Image files recovered from a anonymously-shared proprietary APK show off what is being called the OnePlus Buds Z as a slimmer version of their progenitor. There's also word of a new OnePlus Bullets product as well.
The OnePlus Buds Z image repository, as provided by Oxygen Updater, contains three sets of icons that may appear in said app. They depict the OnePlus Buds Z and their new-look charging case in white, grey, and black — the black image set is using its corresponding OnePlus Buds images at the moment, perhaps as a placeholder. As such, they will not appear in our gallery down below.
Left: OnePlus Buds / Right: OnePlus Buds Z
In comparing profiles, the Buds has a larger concha-resting chamber than the Z does and has a slightly thicker stem as well. The eartip on the Buds Z is also noticeable here.
Indeed, purported specifications from established Indian leaks blogger Ishan Agarwal (via 91mobiles) seem to align with the new design: the drivers shrink from 13.4mm on the Buds to 10mm on the Z; battery life goes down from 7 hours to 5 hours; cumulative potential play time as allowed with the charging case drops from 30 hours to 20 hours; a 10-minute charge of the case gives up to 3 hours of playback, not 10 hours, and; the Z will lose a microphone and only sport two of them. On the flip side, the Z does attain an IP55 certification against the Buds' IPX4, and they both share Dolby Atmos (OnePlus 7, 7T, 8 series) and Dirac (Nord) support. The Buds Z weighs 4.35 grams, a 0.35 gram difference from the Buds.
Also in the mix is an update to the neckband-based Bluetooth earbuds, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z, with a new Bass edition: it will come with a 17-hour battery life (not 20), 9.2mm drivers, and a 10-minute charge capacity for up to 10 hours of playback.
For all that change, OnePlus has set a tough benchmark to beat by pricing its Buds at $79. If the plan really is to introduce the Buds Z alongside the OnePlus 8T on October 14, we'll have to see how willing the company is to play limbo. Also, is U.S. Customs and Border Patrol going to mark them as counterfeits?