OnePlus Buds Z2 leak shows off the next affordable earbuds from OnePlus

The OnePlus Buds Z in white, held in someone's hand
The original OnePlus Buds Z. (Image credit: Future)

You're spoilt for choice at the moment if you want some wireless earbuds from OnePlus, with the OnePlus Buds, OnePlus Buds Pro, and OnePlus Buds Z all available at the moment – and it's the latter pair that look set for an upgrade next, according to the latest image leaks.

Some unofficial renders posted by 91mobiles and seasoned tipster Steve McFly – apparently "based on real-life images" – have made their way on to the web, indicating that we're not going to see many design changes from the OnePlus Buds Z.

The original OnePlus Buds Z earbuds broke cover in October 2020, so it's almost time for an update if OnePlus is planning an annual refresh, and the sources of these pictures are established and reliable enough for us to think they're probably pretty accurate.

Audio on a budget

Of the three pairs of wireless earbuds that OnePlus makes, the OnePlus Buds Z are the most affordable, cutting back on features like active noise cancellation to hit a price point of $49.99 / £55. It's likely that the new OnePlus Buds Z2 will be priced at a similar level.

As you can see from the images we've linked to, the only slight change in terms of the aesthetics of the earbuds is the slightly angled ear tips. Even the charging case looks almost identical to the one that came with the original OnePlus Buds Z.

These leaked images show the earbuds in white, but it's likely that other colors will be available. As yet it's not clear exactly when the OnePlus Buds Z2 will make their debut, or which markets they'll be available in, but they could launch alongside the OnePlus 9RT.

Analysis: wireless earbuds for all

Nothing Ear 1 earbuds with their case.

The Nothing Ear (1) wireless earbuds. (Image credit: Future)

Apple didn't invent wireless earbuds, but there's no doubt that the arrival of the Apple AirPods in 2016 accelerated the development of these audio accessories – just about every company who makes phones now makes a pair of wireless earbuds to go alongside them.

That's why we have the OnePlus Buds Pro, and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2, and the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, and so on and so on. They're not just useful for listening to music and podcasts, either – they can also help you interact with your phone (and its digital assistant) while you're on the move.

Wireless earbuds are now so popular that they've become a mini-industry in themselves: look at the launch of the Nothing Ear (1) for example – a pair of earbuds from a company headed by Carl Pei, who was one of the original founders of OnePlus.

As this latest OnePlus Buds Z2 leak reminds us, every price point is now covered by the flood of wireless earbuds now arriving on the market. Whether you want the very latest in audio technologies, or you'd rather save some money and just stick to the basics, there's a pair of wireless earbuds out there for you.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.