OnePlus Bullets Wireless review: Aging out but still good. Oneplus bullets wireless z bass

OnePlus Bullets Wireless review: Aging out but still good

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The Bullets Wireless is a fine middle-ground headset between the Bullets Wireless Z and Bullets Wireless 2.

OnePlus OnePlus Bullets Wireless

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless earbuds are showing their age due to Bluetooth 4.1 firmware and average battery life relative to OnePlus’ other offerings. Upsides include aptX support and a comfortable fit. Plus, the magnetic housings are an effective form of cable management when the earbuds aren’t in use. However, most are better off saving up for the second-gen model or saving money with the Bullets Wireless Z.

What we like

Magnetic housings control play/pause

OnePlus OnePlus Bullets Wireless

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless earbuds are showing their age due to Bluetooth 4.1 firmware and average battery life relative to OnePlus’ other offerings. Upsides include aptX support and a comfortable fit. Plus, the magnetic housings are an effective form of cable management when the earbuds aren’t in use. However, most are better off saving up for the second-gen model or saving money with the Bullets Wireless Z.

Update, December 11, 2020: This review was updated to address the OnePlus Buds Z as an alternative.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless headset is an old dog, but the price has dropped with the advent of the Bullets Wireless 2. Listeners who want better sound quality than the Bullets Wireless Z without paying a premium for the second-generation earphones, should consider these buds.

This OnePlus Bullets Wireless review comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take on the OnePlus Bullets Wireless.

Using the OnePlus Bullets Wireless

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The aluminum alloy housings look nice but sport a dubious build; the right earbud panel of our review unit dislodged itself, and I used tape to remedy this. Once the earbuds were reconstructed, the auto-play and pause controls worked flawlessly.

While OnePlus states that listeners can run but not swim with the earbuds, I was cautious about exercising in them because the OnePlus warranty states that the company “makes no guarantees” about water-resistance and that liquid damage isn’t covered.

Do the earbuds stay connected?

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless neckband earbuds operate via Bluetooth 4.1 firmware, which isn’t nearly as power-efficient as the more updated Bluetooth 5.0 firmware seen from both the Bullets Wireless 2 and Bullets Wireless Z headsets. I was able to test the limits of the 10-meter wireless range before any connection stutters occurred when both inside and outside. Unfortunately, Bluetooth multipoint isn’t supported, but you can quickly switch between the current and previously connected device via the dedicated button on the neckband. The earphones support aptX, a high-quality Bluetooth codec, which benefits Android devices.

How long does the battery last?

According to SoundGuys’ OnePlus Bullets Wireless review, the headset lasted 7.16 hours on a single charge. While this falls slightly short of the listed eight-hour battery life, it can be forgiven due to the insanely fast Warp Charge technology. Connecting the neckband to the included USB-C input for just 10 minutes yields 5 hours of playback, which is some of the most efficient fast charging we’ve experienced.

Do the OnePlus Bullets Wireless sound good?

Each earbud houses a 9.2mm dynamic driver that’s paired with an “energy tube” to reduce harmonic distortion. While this sounds like quite a bit of PR verbiage, it proved effective in testing: the earphones deliver a clear, consistent neutral-leaning sound that bodes wells or all genres.

Bass and midrange notes are relayed equally loud, which sidesteps a common phenomenon that plagues consumer audio products: auditory masking. This is when a loud sound makes it difficult to perceive a relatively quiet one (e.g. kick drums making it hard to hear vocals). To improve bass response and isolation, you may want to pick up a pair of memory foam ear tips, as OnePlus only supplies the silicone variety.

How does the OnePlus Bullets Wireless compare to the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 and OnePlus Bullets Z?

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The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 features double the battery life as the original Bullets Wireless neckband headset, yielding 14.23 hours of playtime on a single charge. Just like the Bullets Wireless and Bullets Z, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 supports Warp Charge: 10 minutes of USB-C charging supplies the user with 10 hours of playtime; this is the same rate that the cheaper OnePlus Bullets Z affords. OnePlus dropped the wing tips from the Bullets Wireless 2 and opted for a less angular, more rounded housing to accommodate the triple-unit driver system comprised of two Knowles balanced armature drivers and one 10mm dynamic driver in each earbud. The drawback to the Bullets Wireless 2 is its price — it costs 30 more.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z is a great option for listeners who want many of the same premium features afforded by the OnePlus Bullets Wireless and Bullets Wireless 2 for nearly half the price. Warp Charge efficiency is identical to the premium Bullets Wireless and quick switch is also supported, making up for the lack of Bluetooth multipoint support. This headset is both dust and water-resistant, and has an IP55 rating to prove it.

Cut the cord with the OnePlus Buds

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OnePlus entered the true wireless market with its OnePlus Buds, which borrow a familiar stemmed, open-type design. Users are able to hear their surroundings when wearing the OnePlus Buds, which may be beneficial for listeners in loud environments. I was unable to keep the totally wireless earphones in place when exercising, but some may have better luck.

The Buds have sensors for automatic ear detection, and it’s very responsive for immediate auto-pause and resume of media playback. Other features include Warp Charge for the USB-C case, and an excellent microphone array. Unfortunately, software updates are limited to OnePlus smartphone owners which is a huge knock against the headset. If you have a OnePlus smartphone and like the open-type design, the OnePlus Buds are a fine deal at just 69.

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z review: Affordable almost-wire-free audio [Video]

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z might not be at the top of most shopping lists when you’re in the market for a pair of wireless earbuds, mainly due to that extra tether.

However, when you consider the 49 entry price, they start to become a little bit more compelling. The previous-generation Bullets Wireless 2 happened to be really great for the active Android owner, even at 99. So when OnePlus announced what amounted to essentially a half-price plastic version of the Bullets Wireless 2 in a range of colors alongside the OnePlus 8 series, I was excited to get my hands on some.

Like many of you out there, I’m still eagerly waiting on OnePlus to launch their own truly wireless earbuds, but until then, I am more than happy to “settle” for the tethered option. The Bullets Wireless 2 are now a mainstay in my everyday carry, simply for a number of things I think the Z model might improve upon in a number of ways.

With a more enticing entry price, slightly nicer color options to choose from, and some admittedly minor corner-cutting, just how do the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z stack up against the competition — and last year’s offering?

Design and hardware

Lightweight everyday comfort

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If you have ever used the previous generation, you’ll instantly notice where the cost-cutting begins with the Bullets Wireless 2. Rather than metal, the entire earbud is now made of plastic. This isn’t unexpected, but it is noticeable, as the shiny plastic can’t quite mimic the metallic sheen of the Bullets Wireless 2. Is this a bad thing? I’d have to say no, as the Bullets Z still maintain the exact same shape, size, and core design.

The rest of the design is also the same as it previously was. You get that thick, silicone-coated tether with an inline remote, at the left side, and those nodules for the battery, quick switch toggle and charge port. There is quite a sizeable weight difference due to the move from metal to plastic on the earbuds themselves — ~32g versus 28g.

This has a dual effect, as the lighter build actually makes the magnetic snap ever so slightly stronger on the Bullets Z than you’ll find on the Bullets 2 — meaning no unwanted pairing or connections throughout your day.

Because there have been some cost-cutting measures, it might come as a disappointment that you don’t get any sort of carrying case with the Bullets Wireless Z. I wouldn’t look at this as too much of a negative, as the silicone case that came with the Bullets Wireless 2 was, and still is, frustrating and finicky. Due to the number of unwanted connections to my phone, I basically stopped using it not long after release.

Having picked up these buds in the striking blue color, it’s nice to see some flair being added to earbuds. Sure, most people want something a bit inconspicuous, but overall it’s nice to have options for audio accessories.

Comfort and fit

Now even more comfortable

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So the earbud shape and size has remained the same, but due to the decrease in weight and for my particular ear shape, I have found the Bullets Wireless 2 and Z to be the most comfortable I have ever worn.

When slapped (or carefully placed) into my ear canal, I’m happy to wear them for hours at a time without having to take them out. The standard silicone tips also help with my own comfort, as they are thin but stretchy for better in-ear isolation. Of course, your mileage may vary, but I cannot speak more highly of the Bullets Wireless Z comfort.

Having a tether is great for working out, as you can just let them hang down out of the way. Personally, I’m quite forgetful with “free” earbuds. I often take one out, put it in my or misplace them. Having a tether is especially useful in that regard, but if you don’t like wearing something round your neck all day, then you might want to give these a miss.

Pairing process

Snap and play

If you have a OnePlus device, the quick pairing process means that your phone will instantly recognize the Bullets Wireless Z the first time you separate the magnetic buds. The pop-up notification will have you paired in seconds. That said, the pairing process is straightforward on any other device, just open your Bluetooth settings, tap “OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z,” and you’ll be listening to your favorite tracks in no time.

Sound quality and controls

Solid but not quite spectacular

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The drivers have taken a minor bump, as you now get 9.2mm drivers rather than 10mm found in the Bullets Wireless 2. There are some changes to the audio codec support found on the previous gen, with aptX HD being a standout missing codec — although there is support for high-quality AAC audio files.

I haven’t noticed an immediate drop in overall quality, but you can tell there is far less “thump” in certain tracks that rely on heavy bass. It’s not massively detrimental to the overall experience, but it’s something to note. The sound stage is still nice and wide, and instrument separation is good enough, given the sub-50 pricing. I do prefer the Bullets Wireless 2 sound quality, but the differences are very marginal.

For those of you out there wondering about phone call quality, the positioning of the inline microphone means that you’ll have no problem being heard. On top of that, with good isolation, you’ll be able to hear callers loud and clear.

The shape and silicone ear tips also help isolate sound much better. It’s not quite up to the levels you’ll get with dedicated noise cancellation, but with the right placement in your ear, I don’t think you’ll miss the potential battery-hogging feature. That said, noise cancellation would be nice on an upcoming pair of OnePlus earbuds.

I’m still not a huge fan of the tiny inline control buttons, but you can still detach the magnetic earbuds to start listening to any previously playing audio after a short five-second delay. Like the Bullets 2, the Z also allows you to answer voice calls when you open them. Snapping them back together ends a call or stops any currently playing music — this is great for quickly stopping and starting audio on the go.

Battery life

Long-term life span

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The battery on the Bullets Wireless Z is rated for around 20 hours. I haven’t found that to be exactly true in real life, but I’ve only had to charge once a week. I’d estimate that the battery managed around 18 hours or so, which is still impressive and actually substantially more than the Bullets Wireless 2.

I’m glad that OnePlus included support for Warp Charging with the cheaper buds. Just 10 minutes plugged in will net you around 10 hours or so of extra life. This is great for quickly topping up if you forget, and using one cable for your phone and your headphones is something I support wholeheartedly.



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While the sound isn’t quite as “full” as you’ll find with the Bullets Wireless 2, the Bullets Wireless Z will undoubtedly be a great choice for many people out there wanting to free themselves of at least one wire connection to their smartphone.

At 49, the market is a little saturated with poor wireless earbuds. The Bullets Z are not meant to compete with the likes of Airpods or even the recently released Pixel Buds. They are designed to give you a cheap everyday pair of Bluetooth earbuds that you can just throw over your neck and go about your day — and they excel at that.

If you value the overall audio experience, then you might want to opt for the Bullets Wireless 2, but the Wireless Z is a good-quality, long-lasting, affordable pair of earbuds that are great for most people.

Where can I get the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z?

The affordable tethered earbuds can be purchased directly from OnePlus for 49.

on OnePlus:

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OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z Review: Bullets on a Tight Budget

A lot of eyebrows went up in surprise when OnePlus announced the Bullets Wireless Z for Rs 1,999 in India. The main reason for this was the fact that the previous wireless earphones from the brand, the Bullets Wireless 2, had been priced at Rs 5,999. The reason for this was was simple: the Bullets Wireless Z was targeted at a very different audience – one with a much tighter budget.

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Cutting back on a case and sound

Of course, with that lower price come some compromises. And the most obvious of these is in the sound department. While the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z does deliver sound at a decent volume, it is definitely a big step down from the Bullets Wireless 2. Yes, there is an attempt to deliver a slightly more bass-friendly sound (something which is assumed to be popular), but this sometimes tends to drown out other instruments and vocals.

If you like music with a lot of percussion and beat, it is a fair chance that you will like these earphones, but if you like a little more stress on vocals and stringed instruments, you might not really like the sound as much. Simple English: pop and dance music lovers will like the sound, rock, folk, and jazz fans might not. We are not even going to consider the audiophile audience that prefers a more balanced sound. There is also a slight distortion at high volumes, although, given the high output of the earphones, we would not recommend using them at maxed-out volumes!

And well, another cost-cutting measure is the absence of that trademark orange carrying case into which you could squelch and squeeze your Bullets Wireless. Get your own case for this one (would love it if OnePlus did start selling those orange cases, though).

Sticking to a design that works

But those are perhaps the only major cutbacks as far as the earphones go. In terms of design, they stick to the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2, a neckband with two capsule-like compartments, with wires running from them to the buds, which are flat on the back with a bit of shine on them and are magnetic. The buds themselves come with removable tips (three in all) and generally fit very snugly in your ear, although there is no wingtip to keep them secure. There is a tiny controller on the left wire for volume, pause, and play, with the pause button also for summoning the virtual assistant. It is a rather small controller, and finding the buttons can be a little bit of a task, but one gets the hang of it. On the capsule on the left is a single button for powering on the buds, putting them in pairing mode and also switching between devices. There is also a USB Type C port on this side.

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We would not call the design premium, but it is very Smart. In a neat touch, OnePlus has also added new colors to the range – mint, blue, oat, and of course, the usual black (our review unit). Most of the components are plastic but seem very sturdy, and well, the earphones are sweat and dust resistant. OnePlus has kept its branding subtle, as always, with the name appearing only on the left capsule – quietly classy we think. Finally, like its predecessors, the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z can also be mashed up into any shape and then untangled without any trouble at all. You can bundle them into your trouser if you wish!

Adding a battery that rocks, and some neat touches

It all works very well too. And it is in functionality that some neat touches come to the fore. The ability to switch between two connected devices is a godsend for all those who work on notebooks or even on more than one phone – you can literally switch from watching Netflix on your notebook to taking a call on your phone by hitting a button. Speaking of watching Netflix, the level of latency is very low here – you can hardly sense any gap between the moving images and words. It gets a little more pronounced in gaming, but at its price point, this is rather impressive.

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Then there is the close to the twenty-hour battery life of the earbuds which is among the best at its price point. We comfortably got sixteen to eighteen hours on a single charge, and if you have a 30W charger, you can get 10 hours of listening by charging the buds for a mere ten minutes. We got about eight hours, which is again exceptional – in fact, that is the total battery life of some devices the Bullets Wireless Z are competing with. Call quality was good too, and we did not hear any complaints about not being clear when we were on the phone.

It is not all roses, though. We are not the biggest fans of the magnetic earbuds. We like them being magnetic, but their switching off when together and switching on when apart can lead to some very odd situations. We suddenly lost sound on our phone because the buds had separated in our and the call had gone to them (the magnets connecting them are not the most powerful). Similarly, we do wish the volume buttons were larger or at least felt more distinct (we love some of the large buttons on Skullcandy devices really).

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z: one of the best below Rs 2,000

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So how good a proposition are the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z? Well, in some ways, they remind us of the Realme Buds Air, which stunned us with the features they offered at the price, rather than their sound quality. Similarly, we love the battery life of the Bullets Wireless Z, the fast charging, dust and water resistance, and the option to switch between devices. The sound quality is frankly middling, with the accent on bass tending to muddle the experience at times, but then the sound is rarely the forte of wireless devices at this price point.

They do face some very stiff competition, notably from Sony which has the Wi C200 at around the same price with fast charging and better sound, albeit slightly lesser battery life, and the Wi C310, which offers better sound (especially bass) at a slightly higher price. There is also the Oppo Enco M31, which has just been released, at Rs 1,999 and comes with support for hi-res audio, and of course, lurking around also are the Realme Buds Wireless earphones and the Mi Sport Bluetooth earphones (which have an older version of Bluetooth but larger drivers).

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z do not outclass them all, but bring their own strengths to the contest – good battery life, decent (rather than exceptional) sound, and some snazzy features. In fact, the battery life, the ability to switch between devices, and the good call quality make them one of the best options for anyone who is looking for a pair of wireless earbuds mainly for handling calls and work, on a relatively tight budget.

  • Great battery life
  • Option to switch between devices
  • Sweat and water resistance

OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 review

The Bullets Wireless Z2 is the latest pair of in-ear wireless earbuds from OnePlus. Unlike many of the company’s recent launches, the Bullets Wireless Z2 return to the neckband design that the company started with in 2018. The Bullets Wireless Z2 is an entry-level product and is currently only sold in India.

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The Bullets Wireless Z2 design is largely identical to that of the Bullets Wireless Z Bass Edition. The neckband terminates in two chunky columns that have the cables jutting out their ends.

The left column houses the controls for volume and media playback. The middle button is a bit overworked here; you can press it once to play/pause your music or answer/end your calls. Press it twice to skip to the next song and thrice to go back to the previous one. Press and hold the button to initiate pairing.

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The buttons have a nice clicky feel and work reliably. However, they are a bit too far apart, so you have to hunt around for them before you find the one you are looking for. Even if your thumb does land on a button, it’s difficult to tell which one it is without sliding it up and down to place it among the trio. It would have been better if all three buttons had fit within the width of the thumb.

The chunky design of the Bullets Wireless Z2 can be a bit irritating. It’s not particularly large but still feels like it takes up too much space around your neck. It’s also one of the heavier models I’ve used and I can always feel its presence around my neck.

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The build quality and finish of the headset is very good. The rubber feels pliant and durable, and the plastics all have a quality feel. The rubber for the cables is also striated. The headset is also IP55 rated, so it can survive being splashed with water.


The Bullets Wireless Z2 is a comfortable headset. The ear tips are made out of soft rubber and have the oval design found on the OnePlus Buds Pro and Buds Z2. They fit the ears well and can stay there for hours without being uncomfortable.

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As mentioned before, the only annoyance is the neckband hanging around your neck, which is just a tad thicker and heavier than it should have been.


The Bullets Wireless Z2 do not have a dedicated companion software. On OnePlus phones, you do get a dedicated info screen for them but there’s nothing here to adjust. Also, even though you can see the firmware version here, there isn’t any way to actually update it.


The Bullets Wireless Z2 have relatively large 12.4mm drivers. They connect over Bluetooth 5.0 and support SBC and AAC codecs.

The tonality of the sound is similar to OnePlus’ recent products, with neutral-leaning mids and treble and over-the-top bass.

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The bass response on the Bullets Wireless Z2 is garish. It has an exaggerated upper and mid-bass response, which can be overbearing. The bass is tolerable when listening at lower volumes but becomes genuinely fatiguing at higher volumes, not to mention obnoxious and overpowering over the rest of the frequency response.

It’s not that this doesn’t work for some tracks or genres. Indeed, some music can sound significantly more exciting when you throw this much bass at it. But sometimes you just want to lie down and listen to some relaxing tunes or a podcast, which can be difficult to do when the speakers are constantly in party mode.

This is a shame because the mid-range is actually quite good. Vocals have a smooth and mellow timbre that’s very pleasing to listen to. Instruments have a similarly pleasant tonality to them, with everything from the piano to the guitar coming through quite well.

To top it off, the treble performance is great as well. It shares some of the mellowness of the mid-range so there’s no unwanted harshness or sibilance at the cost of some air and brilliance. However, it still comes across as detailed and articulate without being dark or muddy.

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In terms of technical performance, Bullets Wireless Z2 have a moderate level of resolution and detail in the sound. This usually comes down to the choice of drivers used rather than the codec, although a higher bit rate codec couldn’t have hurt. Imaging and soundstaging were unobjectionable and offered some space and directionality to the sound that made the overall presentation pleasant to listen to.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 get sufficiently loud, with the maximum volume being uncomfortable to listen to on all but the quietest of recordings.

The microphone performance on the Bullets Wireless Z2 is good. There is audible compression when speaking even in quiet environments but voices still sound relatively clear with good tonality. In noisier environments, the AI scene-model algorithm does a good job of reducing ambient sounds and prioritizing the voice, which sounds fairly similar to speaking in quiet environments.

OnePlus claims a latency of minimum 94ms when paired with select OnePlus phones, although it fails to mention which exact OnePlus phones, how the headset achieves this lower latency, and what the latency is with other devices.

During my testing, the latency performance was good for watching videos as the delay was barely noticeable when paired with an iPhone. Latency on Android was notably higher when using AAC and the audio also took longer to sync when unpausing or skipping but was fine when using SBC.

Latency in applications was poor. Games and music apps demonstrated notable delay, with apps like piano players having almost half a second of latency after a key was pressed. As usual, I would recommend wired audio if latency is important to you or if you want to use the microphone while gaming.

The Bullets Wireless Z2 had minor connectivity issues during my testing. When testing with Apple Music on an iPhone XR, there would be moments where it would sound like the player would skip or rush past certain segments of the track, especially at the beginning. Adjusting volume on the iPhone would also occasionally result in pauses in sound.

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With a OnePlus 10 Pro, the phone would frequently lose sync between audio and video while watching YouTube videos, and it would take several seconds before the two synced again.

It’s hard to say who’s at fault here, as neither phone demonstrates these issues with other headsets nor does the Bullets Wireless Z2 have these issues with other devices.

Aside from that, there were no other problems with connectivity.


The Bullets Wireless Z2 has exceptional battery life. During my battery drain test, the headset ran continuously for 28.5 hours, which is very close to the 30 hours claimed by OnePlus. After a ten-minute charge, the headset went on for 20.4 hours, which is just over the 20 hours claimed by the company. With normal use, the headset should last well over a week on a single charge.


The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z2 are priced at INR 1999, which is only about 26. For that price, you are getting a good product overall, with good build quality, comfort, and microphone performance. The battery life, in particular, is excellent.

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Where the headset disappoints is in audio quality. OnePlus went from making balanced-sounding headsets to obnoxious bass cannons over the past few releases, and the Bullets Wireless Z2 is perhaps the worst offender. It’s like they figured out a while back that people like bass and haven’t stopped turning that knob since even though it’s starting to get silly. I would gladly recommend a Non-Bass Edition if they ever were to make one because I don’t have any major complaints about the sound otherwise.

But of course, if that’s your preference, then you will find plenty to like with the Bullets Wireless Z2.

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