Adidas Z.N.E 01 ANC True Wireless
The Adidas Z.N.E. 01 ANC wireless earbuds utilise the technology that all best earbuds for running, travelling and cycling utilise: Active Noise Cancelling. If you’re used to reading up on earbuds, you know what ANC does; rather than blocking out external sound with physical measures alone, ANC counteracts the soundwaves that you receive, making the opposite vibrations so that you experience none at all. It’s sort of like mixing acid and alkali together – they cancel each other out.
Many earbuds that use ANC now also feature an alternative mode that’s LESS silence-efficient, in order to keep you safe when on the move! The Z.N.E 01s do this as well, allowing you to switch between Active Noise Canceling mode and Awareness mode. Some earbuds have several degrees of the ANC to Awareness spectrum, but I appreciate that the ZNE 01s keep it simple – either, you want to block out sound, or you want to stay aware of your surroundings. ‘Awareness Mode’ doesn’t leave you high and dry, though – there is still a softening of sound, and you can still hear your audio with a crispness and depth. You’ll just also hear the relevant traffic as you cross the road!
If you want further options over your earbuds’ sound and setup, however, you can have them: the earbuds come with an accompanying app that allows you to customise your earbuds’ settings and balance, meaning you can fine-tune them to meet your needs and get the sound you want out of your audio.
For me, after sound quality, the most important thing about ear buds is the comfort. If they’re not comfortable, you’re not going to opt to wear them – it's as simple as that. This is even more important in buds, as this fit is also what keeps them secure. Fittingly, as they have been created by a sports brand, the Adidas Z.N.E. 01s are both secure and comfortable – I had no fear of them falling out when jogging, so I know I could trust them during a workout, and they’re not going to distract me whilst I’m in the gym with a so-so fit, either. Why spend good money on the right shoes or the right gear, and not get the right ear buds? These are lovely and sleek, keeping you streamlined, and they’re extremely comfortable. Adidas describes them as fit for ‘all-day wear’, and whilst I’m quite fussing about earbuds and can't leave them in for that long, I must admit that these weren’t a bother to have in at all.
Disappointingly, considering that they are for ‘all day wear’, these earbuds don’t have the best battery life compared to a lot of the models we review. I’ve become accustomed to 6-8 hours from one charge, with 20-30 hours total charge from the case: in contrast, these have 4.5 hours of playtime per full charge, with 15.5 hours total from the case. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is at odds with this ‘all-day wear’ goal. There is an eco-charging mode that helps to extend this battery life, but this is only half a win when some earbuds have that extended life as a starting point.
I think it’s fair to say that one of these earbuds’ main selling points is their brand. They’re good earbuds in their own right, but let’s be honest - a degree of the price tag is for the Adidas name. Adidas makes sure you get what you pay for in that regard, with their logo appearing clearly on the stems of the earbuds as well as on the front of the charge case itself. These are attractive buds, as one would expect from a brand like Adidas: like the non-ANC ZNEs, they feature a black-on-black or white-on-white shattered glass design on the case and buds – the black, in particular, looks awesome with the white Adidas logo against it. These buds are about looking the part as well as feeling the part, and deliver both.
As they’re designed for use during workouts, these ear buds have an IPX5 rating, meaning they are sweat-proof and water-resistant - an essential in any sporting bud. Their case is also hardy – I wouldn’t be worried if it got knocked or dropped whilst you’re running or throwing it into a locker. This, combined with intuitive sound-blocking technology, makes them a great item to take to the gym with you.
Overall, these are very good earbuds. Their sound quality, app-based editability, ANC technology, comfort, fit, look and IPX rating are all what you’d want. My only real critique is that battery time, but then again, the difference is made up by their Eco mode, leaving you with everything you could want from this product.
Comfortably, secure fit
Edit earbud output on app
Clear, deep, crisp sound
Sweat-proof & water resistant
Not the best battery life