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Reviewed on Aug 16, 2018 , Marc Henney, Yannick Khong

KZ ZS10
HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

Test Benches:

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.5
Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.1
Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.3
Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
7.1
Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
6.2
Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
6.0
TV
Score components:
5.6
Gaming
Score components:
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Balanced Armature

The KZ ZS10 are decent mixed usage wired in-ears that look great and sound above-average with most tracks. They have a cool design that showcases the electronics inside the buds. The buds are also angled to better fit the contours of your ears and have a detachable audio cable, which makes them a bit more durable overall. Unfortunately, they are a little bulky, so they won't be as comfortable for all listeners. They also do not have a mic or in-line controls, although you can purchase a variant with both.

Test Results
Design 7.1
Sound 7.0
Isolation 7.5
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 4.8
Pros
  • Above-average sound quality.
  • Good design and build quality.
  • Very low leakage.
Cons
  • Slightly bulky earbuds.
  • The no in-line remote variant is a bit limited.

Check Price

7.1

Design

Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Design Picture

The KZ ZS10 are a decently well designed and great looking pair of wired in-ears. They have angled earbuds shaped to fit within the contours of your ears and come with a couple of tip sizes to help you find the right fit. This makes them a bit more comfortable than average in-ears, but unfortunately, the buds are a little bulky, so they may not be as comfortable for listeners with smaller ears. On the upside, they have a stable fit for the gym, they're compact enough to carry on your person at all times, and they have a sturdy build quality with a detachable and replaceable cable, which makes them a lot more durable. They do not provide an additional cable in the box, which is slightly disappointing, but for their price range, their build quality is very good.

Style
KZ ZS-10 Design Picture 2

The KZ ZS10 have a stylish-looking design that feels a lot more premium than their price range would suggest. They have slightly bulky, but angled earbuds that fit a little better than most typical in-ears. The buds also have transparent casings that showcase the electronics and looks great, especially with the red highlights of the PCB ( printed circuit board). The braided cable also adds to their high-end appeal, which puts them on par (look-wise) with much pricier in-ears.

7.0 Comfort
What it is: Adjustability and degrees of freedom, pressure, stiffness and weight.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used for long durations.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
KZ ZS-10 Comfort Picture
Weight : 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
What it is: The force that the headphones exert on your head, once you have them on. This is purely a measurement of the force applied, which does not take into account the earpad's surface area and the resulting pressure you will feel, on or around your ears.
When it matters: The tighter the headphones, the more force they put on your head. This can get uncomfortable or cause pain and soreness during long listening sessions.
:
0 lbs

The KZ ZS10 have a decently comfortable in-ear fit. They come with a couple of tip sizes to help you find the right fit. They also have an angled design to better fit the contours of your ears. Unfortunately, their earbud design is rather bulky which may not fit as well in the ears of every listener. This makes them slightly less comfortable than some of the other angled design like the Shure SE215 or the Westone W40 but still a bit better than typical in-ears.

0 Controls
What it is: The control scheme of the headphones, the number of functions provided, button layout and ergonomics as well as the quality of tactile feedback.
When it matters: If you want to control volume, pause your music or make phone calls without directly interacting with your audio device.
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
What it is: Being able to mix audio channels directly on the headphones.
When it matters: This is most useful when using a separate chat software so that you can mix in-game audio and chat audio depending on your needs.
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : N/A
Talk-Through : N/A
Additional Buttons : N/A

These headphones do not have a control scheme and do not come with an extra cable with an in-line remote. On the upside, you can get a version of the KZ ZS10 with an in-line mic and remote, but it only has one multi-function button and no volume controls.

8.8 Breathability
What it is: How hot the headphones get when you wear them for an extended period of time.
When it matters: If you often have long listening sessions or use your headphones while doing physical activities like running or working out.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Breathability After Picture
Avg.Temp.Difference : 1.2 C

These headphones, like most in-ear models, are very breathable and will not make you sweat more than usual even during more strenuous activities. The earbuds are a little larger than your average in-ear design so they will trap a bit more heat within the notch of your ear but it's not a very noticeable temperature increase. They will be breathable enough for most casual activities and for running and working out.

9.0 Portability
What it is: The volume of space occupied by the headphones when folded into their most compact format.
When it matters: If you're often on the move and need to carry your headphones in a bag, purse , or pocket.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Portability Picture
L : 2 "
W : 2 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 4 Cu. Inches
Stand required : N/A

Like most in-ears, the KZ ZS10 are very portable headphones. They will easily fit into your pockets and aren't much of a hassle to carry on you at all times. Unfortunately, they do not come with a case which is slightly disappointing.

0 Case
What it is: The provided carrying options to protect your headphones when transporting them.
When it matters: To prevent damaging your headphones, if you often carry them in your bag or pocket.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
Type : No case
L : N/A
W : N/A
H : N/A
Volume : N/A

The KZ ZS10 do not come with a case.

8.0 Build Quality
What it is: Durability, material quality, cheap/expensive feel.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used by multiple users (classes/studios), by children, in tough conditions, on a daily basis, or for exercise.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
KZ ZS-10 Build Quality Picture

The KZ ZS10, have a good build quality and come with a replaceable cable. The earbuds are decently dense with a see-through casing that looks great and should be durable enough to handle multiple drops without cracking. The cables are also braided and durable enough for most conditions, although they are not as thick as some similarly designed in-ears like the Shure SE425. On the upside, you can replace the cable if it gets damaged, which makes them a lot more durable than typical in-ears, but unfortunately, they do not include an extra cable in the box like the Mee Audio M6 Pro or the Westone W40.

7.5 Stability
What it is: How the headphones are designed to prevent them from slipping off your ears or falling off your head.
When it matters: If you plan on using the headphones while doing sports or other physical activities that requires a lot of movement.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
KZ ZS-10 Stability Picture

The KZ ZS10 are stable, wired in-ear headphones. They have a pseudo-ear-hook design that's flexible doesn't have real rubber or plastic hooks but has a slight coating on the parts of the cables that attach to the earbuds, that you can wear behind your ears. It's not as stiff as the other ear-hook models like the Anker SoundBuds Curve, but they're still stable enough for most sports and exercises and will rarely fall out of your ears unless you physically pull them out or the audio cable gets hooked by something.

Cable
KZ ZS-10 Cable Picture
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS

These headphones come with a detachable audio 1/8 TRS cable with no in-line remote.

Top
Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.0

Sound

What it is: How accurately the audio is reproduced. The tests are performed with the headphones' most commonly used features enabled (noise-cancelling, wireless, etc.)
KZ ZS-10 Frequency Response

The KZ ZS10 is a decent sounding pair of closed-back in-ear headphones. They have a deep, powerful and consistent bass, an even and decently balanced mid-range and a good treble. However, their bass is a bit boomy and muddy, their mid-range sounds a bit recessed and hollow on vocals and lead instruments, and the treble is a little on the bright side. Also, they are a bit inconsistent with sibilances (S and T sounds), and like most other in-ear headphones, don't have a large and speaker-like soundstage.

8.7 Bass
What it is: Frequency Response from 20Hz-250Hz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on bass frequencies, such as those of kick drums and bass guitar.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Bass
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in bass frequency response (20Hz-250Hz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) bass performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.98 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
What it is: The lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: Shows how extended the bass is.
Good value: <40Hz
Noticeable difference: 5Hz
:
12.07 Hz
Low-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 20Hz-60Hz.
When it matters: Kick drums and low frequency effects get their 'thump' from this range. Mostly felt than heard.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-1.8 dB
Mid-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 60Hz-120Hz.
When it matters: Melodic bass instruments have most of their fundamental frequencies in this range. This is where the 'body' and 'punch' of the bass sits.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.08 dB
High-Bass
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 120Hz-250Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments get their warmth and full-ness from this range. When over-emphasized, mixes tend to get muddy and boomy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.01 dB

The bass is great. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 12Hz, which is great, but low-bass is lacking by about 2dB. This means that the KZ ZS10 lack a little bit of thump and rumble compared to our target, but this won't be noticeable to most people. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and the punch of kick drums is flat and well-balanced. However, high-bass, responsible for warmth is overemphasized by more than 3dB, making the bass of these headphones a bit boomy and muddy.

8.3 Mid
What it is: Frequency Response from 250Hz-2KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on mid-range frequencies. This is the case for the majority of audio content.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Mid
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in mid frequency response (250Hz-2.5KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) mid performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.3 dB
Low-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 250Hz-500Hz.
When it matters: Most instruments have their fundamentals or low harmonics in this range. Over-emphasis in this range sounds muddy and cluttered. Under-emphasis, thins out the vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
1.32 dB
Mid-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 500Hz-1KHz.
When it matters: This range is occupied mostly by upper harmonics. Over-emphasis sounds forward and boxy. Under-emphasis pushes instruments to the back of the mix.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.65 dB
High-Mid
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 1KHz-2KHz.
When it matters: Most instruments, especially vocals, get their intensity and clarity from this range. Over-emphasis sounds honky and harsh, under-emphasis sounds weak and distant.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
0.35 dB

The mid-range is very good. The overall response is quite even and decently balanced. However, the broad 5dB recess centered around 700Hz pushes vocals and lead instruments towards the back of the mix by giving more emphasis to the bass and treble frequencies.

7.8 Treble
What it is: Frequency Response from 2KHz-20KHz
When it matters: When the material is heavy on high-range frequencies, such as voice, cymbals, and any other material where brightness, brilliance and airiness is desired.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Treble
Std. Err.
What it is: The amount of deviation (weighted standard error) in treble frequency response (2.5KHz-20KHz) as compared to a target response that would sound perfectly balanced to most people.
When it matters: When a balanced and neutral (reference) treble performance is desired.
Good value: <4dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
3.62 dB
Low-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 2KHz-5KHz.
When it matters: Almost all instruments rely on this range for their presence, detail, and articulation. Over-emphasis can sound harsh and painful. Under-emphasis hurts the comprehensibility of vocals and lead instruments.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
2.52 dB
Mid-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under emphasis in frequency response from 5KHz-10KHz.
When it matters: This is the sibilance range. Cymbals, vocals, and lead instruments rely on this range for brightness and presence. Over-emphasis sounds piercing and painful, under-emphasis sounds dull and lispy.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-2.16 dB
High-Treble
What it is: The average amount of over/under-emphasis in frequency response from 10KHz-20KHz.
When it matters: This range gives brilliance and airiness to the sound. Over-emphasis sounds hissy, under-emphasis sounds closed-up and lifeless.
Good value: +/-3dB
Noticeable difference: 0.1dB
:
-0.54 dB

The treble performance of the KZ ZS10 is good. Low-treble is over our neutral target by more than 2.5dB, bringing a bit of excess intensity and brightness to the vocals and lead instruments. Mid-treble is a bit underemphasized and rather uneven, which makes the reproduction of sibilances (S and T sounds) a bit inconsistent.

Raw Frequency Response
What it is: The average uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. For in-ears and earbuds, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the dummy head (HMS). For over/on-ear headphones, this corresponds to the average of 5 measurements/re-seats on the HMS (Head Measurement System) for the mid and treble ranges, and 5 measurements/re-seats on 5 human subjects for the bass range.
When it matters: This is for those who want to see the raw and uncompensated frequency response of the headphone. Some of the more advanced users, are able to read and evaluate headphone frequency response in its raw form and without compensation. This will be especially useful to them if they have their own headphone compensation/target curve, which may differ from the compensation curve/target response used by RTINGS.com.
Score components:
9.2 Frequency Response Consistency
What it is: The amount of deviation of each frequency response pass, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Consistency L KZ ZS-10 Consistency R
Avg. Std. Deviation
What it is: The average amount of deviation in frequency response of 5 re-seats, from the average frequency response.
When it matters: Shows how consistently the headphones perform after re-positioning them.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.16 dB

The frequency response consistency is excellent. If the user is able to achieve a proper fit and an air-tight seal using the assortment of tips that come with the headphones, then they should be able to get consistent bass and treble delivery every time they use the headphones.

8.8 Imaging
What it is: Imaging qualities are inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'reproduce' them rather than 'create' them. They determine how accurately the objects are positioned in the stereo image, and how transparent the imaging is.
When it matters: When accurate positioning of the objects in the stereo image, and clear and transparent imaging is desired.
KZ ZS-10 Group Delay KZ ZS-10 Phase Response
Weighted Group Delay
What it is: The average amount of group delay calculated based on a perceptual weighting filter. Group delay indicates how long it takes for each frequency to reach their maximum amplitude. This is a monaural quality and can be perceived even with one ear.
When it matters: Headphones with lower group delay have more transparent imaging and a tighter bass. Headphones with higher group delay in the bass range tend to have a wimpy and loose bass, and headphones with higher group delay in the treble range tend to have a less transparent imaging.
Good value: <0.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.14
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
What it is: The Left/Right balance of our test unit, that is, the amount of amplitude difference between the left and right drivers. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When a properly balanced stereo image and low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates a noticeable difference in level between the left and right drivers.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.58
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the frequency response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance, is desired. A poor score indicates there may be 'holes' in the stereo image at certain frequencies.
Good value: <2
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
1.91
Weighted Phase Mismatch
What it is: The amount of difference (Std. Err.) between the phase response of the left and right drivers of our test unit. This is not a design test, but a marker for manufacturing tolerance and ergonomics.
When it matters: When an even and stable stereo image, as well as a low manufacturing tolerance is desired. A poor score indicates there may be inaccuracies in the stereo image reproduction at certain frequencies.
Good value: <16
Noticeable difference: 3
:
3.29

The stereo imaging of the KZ ZS10 is great. Their weighted group delay is at 0.14, which is among the lowest we have measured. The group delay graph also shows that the entire response is well below our audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were very well-matched in frequency, amplitude, and phase response. This is important for accurate placement and localization of objects, such as footsteps and instruments, in the stereo field.

1.3 Soundstage
What it is: Soundstage qualities are not inherent to the audio content, the headphones have to 'create' them rather than 'reproduce' them. They determine whether the sound is perceived to be coming from inside or in front of the head, how open and spacious the soundstage is, how much the headphones acoustically interact with the environment, and how strong the phantom center is.
When it matters: When an accurately produced, large and spacious soundstage, similar to that of a stereo loudspeaker setup is desired.
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
What it is: The standard deviation of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: An accurate pinna activation is mainly responsible for how natural and speaker-like the soundstage is perceived to be. The less error in the shape of the PRTF, the more natrual and speaker-like the perception of the soundstage will be. High amounts of error may indicate a soundstage that is unnatural or odd.
Good value: <2.5
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
What it is: The average amplitude of the PRTF (Pinna-related transfer function) of the headphones compared to that of a reference loudspeaker's PRTF at 30°. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is responsible for the perceived size of the soundstage. The higher the value, the larger the perceived size of the soundstage. However, values above the reference (5.0dB) could result in a soundstage that is perceived as unnatural or odd.
Good value: >3.7
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
What it is: The depth of the "10KHz notch" of the headphone's PRTF, which is caused by phase cancellations at the concha. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test does not apply to in-ears and earbuds, due to the lack of pinna interaction.
When it matters: This value is mainly responsible for the perceived distance and elevation of the soundstage. A small distance value may result in a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside the head. Larger values may help pull the soundstage out from inside of the head and bring it to the front.
Good value: >13
Noticeable difference: 1
:
N/A
Openness
What it is: How open the headphones are, and how open and spacious they sound. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This test differentiates between acoustically and electronically produced crosstalk and only takes the acoustically generated crosstalk into account. This value is the inverse of the Noise Isolation test score, and could be indirectly related the acoustic impedance of the headphones.
When it matters: When a headphone with a sense of an open, and spacious soundstage is desired. A value of 10 indicates a fully open headphone, and a value of 0 indicates a fully closed headphone.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
3.1
Acoustic Space Excitation
What it is: How loud the headphones are, and how much they excite their environment acoustically. If the headphones are loud and open enough, the sound leaking from the headphones will be affected by the environment (reflections/reverb) before reflecting back into the open headphones and to the listener's ears. This quality is monaural and can be perceived even with one ear. This value is the inverse of the Leakage test score.
When it matters: Headphones with higher excitation values, similar to openness, tend to have soundstages that are perceived as more open and spacious.
Good value: >7.5
Noticeable difference: 0.5
:
1.5
Correlated Crosstalk
What it is: How strong and solid the phantom center is. This is mostly a stereo quality and its effects on mono content are minimal. This test is sensitive to the phase of the crosstalk and whether it is produced acoustically or electronically.
When it matters: When a true reproduction of the stereo image is desired. A value of 0 indicates no crosstalk, or that the existing crosstalk is not correlated enough to affect the phantom center. A negative score means the crosstalk is out of phase with the original signal, resulting in a slightly wider stereo image at the expense of creating a 'hole' at the center of the stereo field. A positive score means the crosstalk is in phase and positively affecting the phantom center.
Good value: >1dB
Noticeable difference: 0.3dB
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the KZ ZS10 is poor. This is because creating an out-of-head and speaker-like soundstage is largely dependent on activating the resonances of the pinna (outer ear). The design of in-ears and earbuds is in such a way that fully bypasses the pinna and doesn't interact with it. Also, because these headphones have a closed-back enclosure, their soundstage won't be perceived to be as open as that of open-back earbuds like the Apple AirPods, Google Pixel Buds or the Bose SoundSport Free.

8.6 Total Harmonic Distortion
What it is: The subtle, unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 90dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at moderate listening levels.
Good value: <0.100
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.397
Weighted THD @ 100
What it is: The overall amount of harmonic distortion measured at 100dB SPL. To make the score more perceptually relevant, more weight is given to the higher frequencies.
When it matters: How pure the sound is at loud listening levels.
Good value: <0.300
Noticeable difference: 0.1
:
0.48

The harmonic distortion performance is very good. The amount of THD produced is very low throughout the range, especially in the bass range. There is a bump in the THD of the mid-range, but it's still within good limits. Also, at 100dB SPL there is a decrease in THD in low-mid, which is probably due to the increased flexibility of the driver under heavier loads.

7.5

Isolation

Score components:

The KZ ZS10 provide enough passive isolation with their in-ear fit to be suitable for most environments. However, since they are not noise-canceling headphones, they will not do as well against low-frequency sounds like that of a rumbling engine. Also since the buds are a bit bulky, it can be sometimes difficult to achieve the right airtight fit that will prevent more ambient noise from seeping into your audio. On the upside, being in-ears, they do not leak much so you can play your music at much higher volumes than average and mask some of the ambient noise without distracting the people around you.

6.8 Noise Isolation
What it is: How much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on.
When it matters: If the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
What it is: The simulated noise isolation of the headphones, demonstrating how much outside noise is blocked out by putting the headphones on. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording. For headphones with ANC (active noise cancellation), the playback simulates the isolation with ANC enabled.
When it matters: When the headphones are going to be used in a noisy envinronment (airplane, subway, etc.)
:
Overall Attenuation
What it is: The overall amount of environmental noise reduction in dB.
When it matters: In loud envinronments like planes, trains, offices, etc.
Good value: <-20dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-16.45 dB
Bass
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the bass range (20Hz-250Hz).
When it matters: When the outside noise is bass-heavy, like in airplanes.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-2.13 dB
Mid
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the mid-range (250Hz-2.5KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is mid-heavy, like in an office.
Good value: <-15dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-16.77 dB
Treble
What it is: The overall amount of noise isolation in the treble range (2.5KHz-20KHz).
When it matters: When the environment's noise is treble-heavy. Although uncommon, areas with sharp sounds fall under this category.
Good value: <-30dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
-31.89 dB
Self-Noise
What it is: The amount of noise created by the active electronics of the headphones (if applicable), measured from 300Hz-20KHz. Applies mostly to wireless and noise-cancelling headphones.
When it matters: If too loud, it could become distracting when listening to quiet material like podcasts and audiobooks.
Good value: <16dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
0 dB

The isolation performance of the KZ ZS10 is decent. In the bass range, where the rumble of airplane and bus engines sits, they achieved about 2 of isolation which is inadequate. In the mid-range, important for blocking out speech, they reduce outside noise by more than 17dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp S and T sounds, they isolate by more than 32dB, which is quite good.

8.7 Leakage
What it is: The amount of sound bleeding out of the headphones.
When it matters: When the listener doesn't want people around them (in office, recording studio, etc.) to hear what is being listened to.
Score components:
KZ ZS-10 Leakage
Leakage Audio
What it is: The simulated sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal. This recording is created using an EQ and is not an actual recording.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
What it is: The amount of sound leakage heard 1 foot away from the user, while the user is listening to a 100dB SPL signal.
When it matters: When you don't want people hear what you are listening to.
Good value: <35dB
Noticeable difference: 1dB
:
29.33 dB

The leakage performance of the ZS10 is great. These in-ears do not leak in the bass and mid ranges, and their leakage is concentrated in the treble range. Therefore, their leakage will be thin and sharp sounding. The overall level of the leakage is quiet too. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 29dB SPL and peaks at 51dB SPL, which is about the same as the noise floor of an average office.

0

Microphone

What it is: The microphone section shows the quality of speech capture and transmission by the mic, as well as how well the microphone under test handles noisy environments.
When it matters: For your speech to be transmitted to and understood properly by the listener, the microphone needs to have a good recording quality. If the environment the microphone is being used in is noisy, a microphone with a good noise handling performance would be needed as well.
Score components:
Integrated
What it is: The microphone integrated in the ear cup or ear bud of a wireless headphone.
When it matters: For calls, gaming and voice over IP software or for any other use of the microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
In-line
What it is: The microphone inside the in-line remote of audio cables for wired and wireless headsets.
When it matters: In-line microphone are usually better than integrated mics. If you need better recording quality and noise handling for calls, gaming and voice over IP software then use the audio cable of your wired or wireless headphone if it has an inline microphone.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Boom
What it is: A typically better microphone, that's also adjustable and extends so that the mic is closer to your mouth.
When it matters: Much better recording quality and noise handling than in-line or integrated mics. Primarily used for gaming and voice over IP software.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
What it is: A boom mic that is detachable from the headset.
When it matters: If you want to use your headphone outdoors without the bulk and hassle of the Boom mic.
:
N/A

The KZ ZS10 headphones don't have a microphone. For a wired headphone with a good in-line microphone check out the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II, the QuietComfort 25 or the Apple EarPods.

0 Recording Quality
What it is: Microphone recording quality shows how natural, neutral, extended and intelligible speech would be with the device under test, in a quiet environment.
When it matters: A microphone with a good recording quality ensures that the person listening to you would hear a full, clear, and easily understandable speech. Therefore, it is important whenever a good quality of speech transmission and intelligibility is needed.
Score components:
Recorded Speech
What it is: Actual audio recording of the headphone's microphone, recorded while placed on the dummy head, with speech being played back through the dummy head's mouth simulator.
When it matters: When a clean, full, and intelligible speech transmission is required.
:
N/A
LFE
What it is: Low-frequency extension shows how deep the bass response of the microphone is, and therefore, how deep and full your voice would sound to the listener. It is the lowest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response.
When it matters: LFE is not a big factor in speech intelligibility and even speech recorded with a mic that has an LFE of 500Hz could still be easily understood. Therefore, it is mostly important if you are concerned with how deep and full your voice would be heard.
Good value: <150Hz
Noticeable difference: 30Hz
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
What it is: Frequency Response Standard Deviation shows how accurately and balanced sound is captured by the microphone at each frequency. FR Std. Dev. is calculated between LFE and HFE, and the rest of the spectrum is ignored.
When it matters: A good frequency response is desired when a natural and neutral speech quality is desired. As opposed to HFE which is more a metric for speech intelligibility, frequency response could be considered as a metric for a natural and neutral sound.
Good value: >3.5dB
Noticeable difference: 0.5dB
:
N/A
HFE
What it is: High-frequency extension is the highest frequency at which the frequency response reaches -3dB of the target response. It shows how extended the treble response of the microphone is.
When it matters: HFE is one the most important factors in speech intelligibility. The higher the HFE, the brighter, more open, and more extended the speech quality will be which makes it a lot easier to understand by the listener.
Good value: >8KHz
Noticeable difference: 1KHz
:
N/A
Weighted THD
What it is: The unwanted frequencies (harmonics) produced alongside the intended frequencies, which cause deformation of an output signal compared to its input.
When it matters: When clean and pure sound reproduction is desired, though its effect is not as noticable as frequency response.
Good value: <1.5
Noticeable difference: 1.0
:
N/A
Gain
What it is: Shows how much louder the microphone can go above our reference loudness level. The gain value is reported relative to our reference level, which is 94dB at a distance of 5cm from the mouth.
When it matters: A microphone with a high gain is important when the input signal (speech) is very quiet. For example when whispering, or talking on the phone in a library.
Good value: >18dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

The KZ ZS10 do not have a microphone and therefore, the recording quality has not been tested.

0 Noise Handling
What it is: How well the microphone is able to separate speech from background noise, so that the transmission would include more voice and less noise.
When it matters: When a clean and intelligible speech transmission is desired in a noisy situation like talking on the phone on a busy street or on the bus.
Score components:
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
What it is: Speech to Noise Ratio is the difference in level between speech and background noise as heard by the listener
When it matters: If the microphone is going to be used in a noisy environment, it is important for it to be able to separate the speech from background noise, so the voice would be easily audible and understandable.
Good value: >24dB
Noticeable difference: 3dB
:
N/A

They do not have a microphone and therefore, the noise handling has not been tested.

0

Active Features

What it is: Headphones with active components that require a battery. This includes noise cancelling and wireless headphones that actively reduce noise or transmit audio via a wireless connection.
When it matters: How suitable the power and wireless specifications of an active headphone will be, depending on your listening habits. The range and/or discharge time of the active headphone you select will be important if you're often on the move or have long uninterrupted listening sessions.
Score components:

The KZ ZS10 headphones do not any active features and therefore do not require a battery. They also do not have a dedicated app or software support for added customization options. 

N/A Battery
What it is: The power source of your headphones. All headphones with active features have a battery that will deplete over time.
When it matters: To continue using the active features of your headphones. Some models lose features or switch off completely when the battery is drained, which limits what you can do with them until the next charge.
Battery Type
What it is: The type of battery that the headphones use. Usually AAA or embedded, Li-ion rechargeable batteries.
When it matters: When your headphones run out of power. Rechargeable batteries usually charge via the headphones Micro-USB port whereas AAA batteries have to be replaced or charged with an external device.
:
N/A
Battery Life
What it is: The amount of time it takes for a headphones' battery to be completely drained. Battery life will vary depending on the active features used and volume level.
When it matters: For active headphones that connect wirelessly, have noise cancellation or other audio-enhancing features, that cease to work once the battery is dead.
Good value: >10hrs
Noticeable difference: 0.5hrs
:
N/A
Charge Time
What it is: The amount of time your active headphones have to be connected to a power source to charge from 0 to a 100%. However, charging time will vary depending on your power source.
When it matters: To be able to use the active features of your headphones. Especially, wireless ones that completely switch off and need to be recharged when the battery is dead.
Good value: 2h or less
Noticeable difference: 0.25h
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
What it is: A feature that turns off the headphones, after a set time, when they're not in use.
When it matters: To prolong battery life when the headphones are not being used, or if you forget to manually turn off your headphones.
:
N/A
Audio while charging
What it is: Some active headphones remain usable while charging. They continue to stream audio and do not disable other active features.
When it matters: This makes sure that your headphones's battery are not being drained when your relatively close to a power source. However, this means wireless headphones will need a wired connection to the power source during the charging process.
:
N/A
Passive Playback
What it is: Active headphones that still work when all their active features are turned off or out of power.
When it matters: If you run out of power and do not have spare AA/AAA batteries or access to a power source to recharge your headphones.
:
N/A

These are passive headphones with no active components and no battery.

0 App Support
What it is: The additional app provided to enhance your listening experience. They typically deliver a set of practical features that give you more control over the sound, noise cancelling and effects that the headphones produce.
When it matters: An app with a lot of features allows you to customize your listening experience to suit your taste and preferences. For example, additions like an equalizer can give you more bass or treble and room effects can simulate a bigger Soundstage in closed back headphones.
Score components: Subjectively assigned
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
What it is: Parametric, graphic or preset sound profiles that slightly alter the frequency response.
When it matters: If you want to tailor, your listening experience. Depending on what you're listening to you may want more or less bass for some tracks or more mid-range for vocals-heavy audio.
:
N/A
ANC control
What it is: Control over the Active noise canceling technology. This could be either a simple on/off button, and adjustable slider or even adaptive self-regulating noise cancellation.
When it matters: If you're in an environment where you need to monitor your surroundings or completely isolate yourself from ambient noise.
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
What it is: Room effects that enhance the audio quality to make it more immersive.
When it matters: If you want to further tweak your listening experience. Adding room effects, can simulate a more spacious Soundstage or deliver a surround sound-like feel.
:
N/A
Playback control
What it is: An in-app player that gives you access to play/stop, track skipping or volume controls directly with the app.
When it matters: It's a shortcut that allows you to control your audio without leaving the application.
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

They do not have a compatible app or software support for added customization options.

4.8

Connectivity

What it is: The inputs and outputs of wired and wireless headphones, as well as their latency performance and range.
When it matters: To know how compatible your Bluetooth device, console or PC will be with your wired or wireless headset.
Score components:
  • 10% Bluetooth
  • 33% Wired
  • 10% Base/Dock
  • 22% Wireless Range
  • 25% Latency

The KZ ZS10 are a wired headphone with no in-line remote, Bluetooth or base/dock. They have a wired 1/8" TRS connector but unfortunately, the version we've tested does not have an in-line remote or mic, so they will not have voice support with console controllers. On the upside, they have practically no latency when watching movies and videos, like most wired headphones.

0 Bluetooth
What it is: Bluetooth support for wireless headphones.
When it matters: To connect wirelessly to Bluetooth sources like your phone, tablet, console, PC and TV.
Score components:
  • 80% Multi-Device Pairing
  • 20% NFC
  • <1% PS4 Compatible
  • <1% Xbox One Compatible
Bluetooth Version : N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
What it is: A Bluetooth profile that allows some headphones to be simultaneously connected to multiple Bluetooth sources, and have full call and media support on both/all devices they are connected to.
When it matters: To quickly switch between your Bluetooth sources. For example, switching from your phone to your home or work PC and still have call and media support on both devices.
Good value: 2 devices.
:
N/A
NFC
What it is: Near Field Communication technology that allows you to quickly, pair your headphones with your Bluetooth and NFC-enabled device.
When it matters: This makes pairing with an NFC-enabled device a lot easier than the typical and often tedious hold-to-pair procedure that most wireless headphones have.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your PS4.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Bluetooth compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To connect your headphones wirelessly with your Xbox one.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A

These headphones are wired and do not have a Bluetooth connection. If you want a good Bluetooth in-ear for more casual use, check out the BeatsX.

7.2 Wired
What it is: The type and compatibility of audio cables for wired and wireless headphones.
When it matters: For all devices with a regular audio jack (line-out) and also compatibility of the in-line remote/boom microphone with consoles and Personal computers.
Score components:
  • 13% Analog
  • 9% USB
  • 26% PS4 Compatible
  • 26% Xbox One Compatible
  • 26% PC Compatible
Cable Tested : Not OS specific
Analog
What it is: A regular 1/8" TRS audio jack or a 1/4 or 1/16 TRS with a 1/8 TRS adapter.
When it matters: For all devices with a line out.
Good value: Yes
:
Yes
USB
What it is: A USB or USB adapter to connect to your devices for audio and microphone.
When it matters: A digital USB adapter usually offers a slight advantages over a regular audio jack, like a DAC, and amplifier module or software support and compatibility with PCs. However it may not be as compatible with consoles.
Good value: Yes
:
No
PS4 Compatible
What it is: PS4 compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PS4
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Xbox One compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your Xbox One
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only
PC Compatible
What it is: PC compatibility with a regular 3 or 4 pin 1/8 TRS audio cable.
When it matters: When you want to use a wired headphone with your PC.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
Audio Only

The KZ ZS10 have a simple 1/8" TRS audio cable with no in-line remote or mic so they will only provide audio when connected to your phone, PC or console controllers. However, you can purchase a version with a limited control scheme and mic that should work with your console controllers.

0 Base/Dock
What it is: The base station, dock or dongle transmitter of wireless headphones that receive data/audio via a proprietary frequency range.
When it matters: Knowing the inputs and outputs of the base/dock/dongle as well as its compatibility with consoles and Personal Computers. Also whether the base supports dock charging to easily recharge the headphones without any cables.
Score components:
  • 5% Optical Input
  • 22% Line In
  • 5% Line Out
  • 22% USB Input
  • 4% RCA Input
  • 9% PS4 Compatible
  • 9% Xbox One Compatible
  • 9% PC Compatible
  • 2% Power Supply
  • 13% Dock Charging
Wireless Type
What it is: The type of wireless connection used by the base station/dock to communicate with the headphones.
When it matters: For latency and range. For example Radio frequency has low latency but mediocre range when obstructed and proprietary docks have their own 2.x GHz or 5 GHz frequency which varies in performance.
:
N/A
Optical Input
What it is: Optical input for audio.
When it matters: Optical can carry a bit more data at faster speeds than typical wired connection which allows for more high quality, lossless audio.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line In
What it is: The regular wired input via a 1/8" TRS audio jack.
When it matters: For any device that has a line out for audio transmission.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
Line Out
What it is: A regular 1/8TRS audio jack output.
When it matters: If you need to share the audio source with other devices. A line out lets you connect other headphones or speakers to the dock/base station.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
USB Input
What it is: A digital USB input instead of a typical 1/8 TRS line-in.
When it matters: A USB connection can provide both an audio input and power to the Dock or Base station.
:
N/A
RCA Input
What it is: Audio input using via an RCA connectors.
When it matters: Provides better stereo audio to the dock/base that's then transmitted to the headphones.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the PlayStation 4.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with the Xbox One.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
:
N/A
PC Compatible
What it is: Dock/Base station compatibility with your Personal Computer.
When it matters: To be able to use all the features of the dock/base station with out losing audio or microphone capability.
Good value: Audio + Microphone
:
N/A
Power Supply
What it is: The connector type of the power source.
When it matters: The accessibility of the power source. For example a power supply with USB/USB-C connects to multiple devices, PC , PS4, Xbox One or even with your regular phone charger whereas a A/C adapter is less common.
Good value: USB/USB-C
:
N/A
Dock Charging
What it is: Charging the headphones via the dock/base station instead of a charging cable.
When it matters: It makes charging your headphones easier and gives you a sport to store your headphones when they are not in use.
Good value: Yes
:
N/A

These headphones do not have a dock. If you need a headphone with a dock that also has a wired connection for gaming or watching movies, then consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7. However, they will not have the portability of the KZ ZS10.

0 Wireless Range
What it is: Headphones that offer a cable-free listening experience over a wireless network, typically via Bluetooth or radio frequency.
When it matters: If you don't want to be limited by the length of an audio cable. This means having the freedom to move around in your home or office with a much greater range than an audio cable could provide, especially, if the Bluetooth source is heavy or difficult to carry.
Score components:
Obstructed Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when the Bluetooth source was placed in another room.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in an indoor environment. Although, the obstructed wireless range will slightly depend on your home or office layout.
Good value: >35ft
Noticeable difference: 5ft
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
What it is: The range that the wireless headphones can reach before dropping any audio when in direct line of sight of the Bluetooth device.
When it matters: If you can't or prefer not to carry your Bluetooth source on you, while listening to your audio in a large and open environment.
Good value: 170ft or more
Noticeable difference: 10ft
:
N/A

These are passive headphones that do not have a wireless range since they're wired. If you want a good wireless headphone for critical listening, consider the Bose SoundSport Wireless.

10 Latency
What it is: How long it takes for audio to play through your headphones once the audio signal has been sent from a source.
When it matters: When gaming or watching movies. High latency means you will hear the audio much later than the images you see on screen.
Score components:
Default Latency
What it is: The Base RF latency or the default sub-band coding (SBC) of most Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos a high latency can cause sync issues between the images you see and the audio you hear.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
0 ms
aptX Latency
What it is: An audio coding algorithm (Codec) that improves bit rate efficiency. It reduces latency and improves sound quality over Bluetooth.
When it matters: For better sound quality if your often streaming music over Bluetooth. Also it slightly improves latency when watching videos with wireless headphones.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 15ms
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
What it is: Low latency variation of aptX that significantly reduces sync issues between video and sound when using Bluetooth headphones.
When it matters: When watching videos or gaming latency is a lot more noticeable than just listening to music.
Good value: 50ms or less
Noticeable difference: 5ms
:
N/A

The KZ ZS10 have a simple wired connection with practically no latency. Unfortunately, this also means that they're limited by the range of the provided cables.

In the box

KZ ZS-10 In the box Picture

  • KZ ZS-10 Headphones
  • Earbud tips (x3)
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

KZ ZS-10 Compare Picture

The KZ ZS10 are a great looking pair of wired in-ears with a decent enough performance for most use cases. They're lightweight and very portable so you can have them on you at all times. They also have a stable in-ear fit with a pseudo ear hook design that will prevent them from falling out of your ears even during more strenuous exercises. They're a bit more comfortable than typical in-ear, however, since the earbuds are somewhat bulky, they may not be the ideal choice for all listeners especially those with smaller ears. On the upside, they're one of the best sounding earbuds; they deliver a satisfying sound quality and a decent noise isolation performance that makes them versatile enough for most use cases and even better than some of the pricier in-ears compared below. See our recommendations for the best budget earbuds.

KZ AS-10

The KZ AS10 and the KZ ZS10 are very similar headphones. The ZS10s’ sound is more accurate while the AS10 has more bass, a bit more punch to it. Design-wise, they are nearly identical. Both have bulky angled earbuds; the only difference being the AS10 are a bit thinner, maybe making them a bit more suitable for everyone and more comfortable for smaller ears. The AS10 also have better passive noise isolation.

1More Triple Driver In-Ear

The 1More Triple Driver  are on par, if slightly better than the KZ ZS10 thanks to the in-line remote. The 1More have a slightly better balanced audio reproduction than the KZ. They also come with a great in-line remote and has volume controls unlike the mic version of the KZ (which should be a bit more versatile than the variant we reviewed). The KZs on the other hand, have a more durable build quality, thanks to the replaceable cable. They also look a little more premium thanks to the transparent casings for the earbuds and the braided audio cable.

Shure SE215

The KZ ZS-10 are a better sounding critical listening in-ear than the Shure SE215. The ZS10 have a slightly more premium-looking design and a better-balanced sound. The SE215 on the other hand, have a slightly more comfortable fit and better noise isolation than the KZ. However, both headphones are well-built in-ears, with no in-line remotes but the better sound quality of the KZ makes them the better option, especially since they are a lot cheaper than the SE215.

Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear are a slightly better and more versatile option than the KZ ZS-10 with no mic. The KZ have a better sound quality, they're more comfortable and they're a lot more durable thanks to the good build quality and replaceable cable. The HD1 In-Ear however, have an in-line remote, which provides control for iOS devices and has a microphone for taking calls, making them more versatile for everyday casual use. They also come with a case, have a slightly more compact design than the KZ ZS10. On the upside, if you get the mic variant of the KZ, they would be the better headset overall.

Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear

The Bose Soundtrue Ultra In-ear are a slightly better headphone overall than the KZ ZS-10. The Bose have a more comfortable earbud fit, which most will prefer over the in-ear design of the ZS10. They also have an in-line remote and a mic so you can more easily use them with your phone, and they're more convenient when gaming. On the other hand, the KZ ZS10 are better built, with a replaceable cable. They also have a variant with a mic that should perform a little better than the Bose. The ZS10 also look a lot more premium than the SoundSport Ultra In-Ears, especially for their price.

Etymotic HF5

The KZ ZS-10 are slightly better critical listening than the Etymotic HF5. They have a more comfortable fit despite their larger than average earbuds. The KZs also have a better-balanced sound quality with a stronger bass, a better mid-range and a more balanced treble. They also have a more durable and eye-catching design with a detachable audio cable. On the other hand, the Etymotic isolate passively a lot better than the KZs. They're also more portable and come with a case and more accessories than the ZS-10.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.5Mixed Usage
What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
Decent for mixed usage. The KZ ZS10 have a fairly comfortable in-ear fit, above-average isolation, and low leakage, which makes them suitable for most environments. They're compact enough to carry on you at all times and they have a stable ear-hook design which makes them a decent choice for commuting, sports, and the office. Unfortunately, their short audio cable won't be ideal most home theater setups. Also, the lack of in-line controls and a mic is not ideal for gaming and is a bit limiting when commuting or running since you will have to change tracks directly on your phone.
7.1Critical Listening
What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
Above-average for critical listening. The KZ ZS10 have a punchy bass, a decently well-balanced mid-range and a good treble that sounds fairly detailed with instruments and vocals without sounding too sharp like some of the in-ears we've tested. Unfortunately, although they are decently well balanced, they do sound a bit boomy and cluttered at times due to the bump in the bass range. They also tend to push instruments and vocals slightly back in the mix and have a small soundstage which won't be ideal for more critical listeners. On the upside, they will sound good enough for most and are decent sounding in-ears, especially for their price range.
6.3Commute/Travel
What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
Score components:
Okay for commuting. They block a decent amount of noise passively and barely leak so you can play your music at higher volumes to mask the sounds of your environment. They're also compact enough to carry around in your pocket at all times. Unfortunately, the variant we've tested does not come with an in-line remote, and their passive isolation is not ideal against low-frequency noise like that of an engine.
7.1Sports/Fitness
What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
Score components:
Above-average for sports. They have a stable ear-hook design that will not move much during exercise. They're also decently comfortable lightweight and compact enough to carry on you at all times. Unfortunately, the variant we've tested does not come with an in-line remote so they have no control scheme, which is not ideal for working out. However, even with the in-line remote, they do not have volume controls which is a bit limiting.
6.2Office
What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:
Average for office use. They barely leak and block a decent amount of noise passively. This makes them suitable for quiet and more lively office environments, although they do not have many connection options and no mic for making calls. Also despite having a decently comfortable in-ear fit, they may not be the ideal headphones to wear for your entire work shift, and they won't do as well at blocking ambient chatter if you're not playing any music.
6.0TV
Score components:
Mediocre for home theater use. They're decently comfortable, they have an above-average sound, and no latency thanks to their wired connection. Unfortunately, their cable is relatively short so unless you watch most of your movies on your PC or tablet the short cable will not be ideal for all home theater setups.
5.6Gaming
Score components:
Sub-par for gaming. They have an above-average sound, a decently comfortable design and a no latency wired connection. Unfortunately, they have no mic or in-line controls. They're also not as customizable as typical gaming headphones, and their relatively short audio cable won't be as convenient for gaming as the some of the wireless gaming headsets we've tested. On the upside, they will provide audio when connected to your Xbox one PS4 controller.

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