Though not quite as clean sounding as their predecessors, the Lypertek PurePlay Z5 continue Lypertek’s winning streak of excellent headphones at an affordable price point. Just don’t go in expecting anything revelatory from its active noise cancellation feature…
Rich, full-bodied sound
Poor active noise-cancelling
Battery life sacrificed for ANC
Why you can trust TechRadar
Coming from out of nowhere a couple of years back, Lypertek has quietly built a reputation for itself in delivering true wireless headphones that massively outperform the value-orientated price point they sell at. So much so, in fact, that recent pairs like the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (originally called the Tevi) and Lypertek PurePlay Z3 2.0 were awarded coveted 5-star ratings on TechRadar.
Its latest offering, the Lypertek PurePlay Z5, offer a similar value proposition, if priced a little higher thanks to the inclusion of active noise cancellation tech – a first for Lypertek. The PurePlay Z5 headphones don’t quite hit the same heights as their predecessors, but remain a wonderful sounding set of true wireless buds that again sound far better than their price point would lead you to believe they would.
Price and Availability
The Lypertek PurePlay Z5 true wireless earbuds are available now, and are priced at £119 / $129 – that’s around the AU$225 mark. That’s a tad more expensive than the $89 / £109 PurePlay Z3 2.0 earbuds that we love so much, but that’s because of the PurePlay Z5’s inclusion of noise cancellation features.
By comparison to the market leading Sony WF-1000XM4, priced at $279.99 / £249.99, that’s a steal. But not all noise-cancelling headphones are created equally, and the effect produced by the PurePlay Z5 pales in comparison to what the premium Sony buds achieve. Frustratingly, as we’ll discuss, it’s also at the expense of battery life for the PurePlay Z5, which may mean the Z3 2.0s remain the cheaper option of choice.
At face value, the Lypertek PurePlay Z5 earbuds are similar to many true wireless earbuds that have preceded them. You have a small, pill box-like case that houses the two individual wirefree earbuds, which magnetically lock into place in recesses in the case. Each earbud holds some battery charge, while the case itself can be charged externally to restore power to the earbuds while they are stored away.
In a departure from previous Lypertek models, the Z5 opt for a stem-like earbud design, akin to the AirPods Pro, rather than the pebble-like bulbs of their predecessors. To our ears, this is the favored shape for true wireless earbuds – they just feel more comfortable in the ear, with a less intrusive insertion into the ear canal and a better distribution of weight. You can wear the Lypertek PurePlay Z5 earbuds for hours and barely notice they are in your ear at all.
The case itself is small and box-like in shape, with its corners sloped off. Made from a black plastic, it’s sturdy enough, with a chrome-finished Lypertek logo on the top side. It’s not unattractive, but that hardly matters – it’ll sit in your bag or jacket pocket for most of its life, aside from when it needs to be recharged. Charging takes place over a USB-C connection or via wireless charging, with quick-charge support giving around two hours of playback from just a 15-minute charging hit. A small LED indicates charging status and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, with a button on the inside of the case activating Bluetooth pairing.
Battery life is a bit of a let down with the PurePlay Z5, unfortunately, especially given how generous the battery capacity of previous Lypertek models has been. When the active noise cancellation mode is switched on, you can get a total of just 20 hours of battery life from the case and earbuds – and that’s inclusive of four hours worth of charge in the earbuds themselves. Turn off ANC and things get a bit better – you’re closer to 7 hours from the buds and more than 30 overall when combined with the case. But if you weren’t after that ANC feature, you’d just be buying the cheaper Z3 models, from which you can eke out closer to 80 hours overall. With the ANC effect a bit underwhelming anyway, a key draw to the Lypertek line up is lost here.
Bluetooth 5.2 offers solid connectivity and codec support, with the PurePlay Z5 playing nicely with SBC, AAC, aptX and aptX Adaptive codecs. The buds have rainy day-friendly IPX5 water resistance – just don’t go swimming with them – while a generous amount of ear tip options are included in multiple sizes and material finishes, including a snug foam option which offers the optimal passive noise cancellation in our experience.
Features and app
First, the bad news: the noise cancellation capabilities of the Lypertek PurePlay Z5 just aren’t very good. While the earbud tips themselves do a good job of passively knocking off external noises, the mic active noise cancellation is weak. As a bare minimum with active noise cancellation, you expect the low level hum of transport motors, or air conditioners, to be reduced or drowned out entirely, and at its best ANC can even dial out chatter in a noisy office environment. But on all counts the ANC in the PurePlay Z5 proved rather ineffectual and in some cases making the noise of gusts of wind even more pronounced. In this respect, you get what you pay for here.
Thankfully, that’s not the full story of the Z5 though. For starters, the ambient audio pass through option works really well, activated by simply pausing whatever music or audio you’re listening to. While they’re not as smart as Sony’s WF-1000XM4s in terms of automatically assessing when ambient noise passthrough would be beneficial (such as when recognizing the movement of a jogging session), the simple direct control of the pause works well. Call quality over the microphones was praised too by those on the receiving end of our conversations, whether via phone call or numerous computer video calling apps.
Likewise the touch controls on the Z5 work surprisingly well. All too often touch controls for earbuds can be imprecise – it can be hard to accurately register a series of taps and holds on such a small surface area. But the PurePlay Z5’s are responsive and not overly complicated when it comes to registering playback, volume control and activating voice assistants.
Lypertek has also built a well-featured app to accompany the PurePlay Z5, called PureControl ANC (not to be confused with the existing “PureControl” app that works solely with older models). Here you can play with equalizer settings, access touch controls, adjust ANC and ambient passthrough parameters and find the last known connection location of your earbuds, should one go missing. The equalizer settings (complete with well-tuned presets) are robust and effective, and it’s also here where you’ll find the excellent proprietary LDX audio setting.
Performance and sound quality
While the active noise-cancelling feature disappoints, the overall sound quality of the Lypertek PurePlay Z5 is excellent. It’s a little busier and thicker than the near-neutral Z3 earbuds that we loved so much, but still rich with detail.
Making use of a pair of 10mm dynamic drivers, the default soundstage can feel a little narrow, capping the low-end and making the mids work a little too hard. But activate the LDX mode through the app and everything opens up, expanding the soundstage and giving more room for all the elements of your music to breathe. Unless it’s a processing ceiling lifted by the smartphone app, it’s hard to understand why LDX mode isn’t the default tuning for the Z5.
The earbuds proved incredibly dynamic across a range of genres, pleasingly delivering the hazy crunch of Big Deal’s Teradactol, before effortlessly allowing for the space in Kraftwerk’s Spacelab to punctuate with its metronomic synth undertones. The buds handle moments of crispness really well though – the surf-like twang of a guitar breaking through the otherwise raspy Phoebe Bridgers’ vocal on the song Smoke Signals, for instance. Whatever you throw at the Z5, in the LDX mode at least, there’s a believability and presence that far outshines the sub-$150 price point they land at.
Should you buy the Lypertek PurePlay Z5?
Buy them if…
You want solid audio performance
The Lypertek PurePlay Z5 continue in the tradition of their predecessors in delivering great, natural-sounding audio.
You like tinkering with audio settings
The accompanying app and its equalizer settings can make a genuine difference to the sound profile of the Z5, with the LDX preset a particularly revelatory option.
You’re on a tight budget
The Z5 punch well above their weight in terms of price to performance – though the even cheaper models from Lypertek may prove a better purchase overall.
Don't buy them if...
You want to really block out external sound
The active noise cancellation tech in the Z5 isn’t really very effective, and remains a tough nut to crack at this price point.
You need long-lasting battery life
While not terrible, the battery life of the Z5 isn’t great either. That’s a real shame considering how capacious the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 earbuds were in this respect, especially if that trade off was made in favor of underwhelming active noise-cancelling features.
- The best true wireless earbuds you can buy right now
Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of iMore.com. Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.