Reviewed on Aug 16, 2018

KZ ZS10 HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
6.5
Mixed Usage
7.2
Neutral Sound
6.6
Commute/Travel
6.9
Sports/Fitness
6.5
Office
4.5
Wireless Gaming
6.2
Wired Gaming
2.4
Phone Call
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
Isolation 7.1
Microphone 0
Active Features 0
Connectivity 3.8
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.
  1. Update 11/21/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.1.
  2. Update 11/6/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3.

Check Price

7.1

Design

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

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. If you're not a big fan of the transparent backplate, take a look at the KZ ZSN, which have a metal-finish plate and looks a bit more high-end.

7.0 Comfort
Weight : 0.05 lbs
Clamping Force
:
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
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Ease of use : N/A
Feedback : N/A
Call/Music Control : No
Volume Control : No
Microphone Control : N/A
Channel Mixing
:
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
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
L : 2 "
W : 2 "
H : 1 "
Volume : 4 Cu. Inches
Transmitter 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
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

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

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.

Headshots 1
Headshots 2
Top

Sound

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. They sound quite similar to most KZ headphones, which means the KZ ZSN and ZST could offer better value for some. 

Sound Profile
Bass Amount
:
-0.93 db
Treble Amount
:
-0.75 db
9.2 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
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.

8.6 Bass Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
1.98 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
12.07 Hz
Low-Bass
:
-1.8 dB
Mid-Bass
:
0.08 dB
High-Bass
:
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 Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
2.3 dB
Low-Mid
:
1.32 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-2.65 dB
High-Mid
:
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 Accuracy
Std. Err.
:
3.62 dB
Low-Treble
:
2.52 dB
Mid-Treble
:
-2.16 dB
High-Treble
:
-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.

7.0 Peaks/Dips
Peaks
:
1.86 db
Dips
:
1.79 db
8.8 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.14
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.58
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
1.91
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
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.

1.0 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
N/A
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
N/A
PRTF Distance
:
N/A
Openness
:
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
1.5

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 Weighted Harmonic Distortion
WHD @ 90
:
0.139
WHD @ 100
:
0.053
7.1

Isolation

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.

6.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-16.45 dB
Bass
:
-2.13 dB
Mid
:
-16.77 dB
Treble
:
-31.89 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. The KZ AS-10 have a slightly better isolation performance overall mostly because they have a slightly more compact earbud design that fits better within the notch of your ears, just like the BGVP DM6.

8.7 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
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

Integrated
:
N/A
In-line
:
N/A
Boom
:
N/A
Detachable Boom
:
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
Recorded Speech
:
N/A
LFE
:
N/A
FR Std. Dev.
:
N/A
HFE
:
N/A
Weighted THD
:
N/A
Gain
:
N/A

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

0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise : N/A
Speech + Subway Noise : N/A
SpNR
:
N/A

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

0

Active Features

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
Battery Type
:
N/A
Continuous Battery Life
:
N/A
Additional Charges
:
N/A
Total Battery Life
:
N/A
Charge Time
:
N/A
Power Saving Feature
:
N/A
Audio while charging
:
N/A
Passive Playback
:
N/A
Charging Port : N/A

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

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

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

3.8

Connectivity

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
Bluetooth Version
:
N/A
Multi-Device Pairing
:
N/A
NFC Pairing
:
N/A
Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Default Latency
:
N/A
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
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.

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.

0 Non-Bluetooth Wireless
Non-BT Line of Sight Range
:
N/A
Non-BT Latency
:
N/A
9.5 Wired
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
Detachable : Yes
Length : 5 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRS
Wired Latency
:
0 ms

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.

PC / PS4 Compatibility
PC / PS4 Analog
:
Audio Only
PC / PS4 Wired USB
:
No
PC / PS4 Non-BT Wireless
:
No
Xbox One Compatibility
Xbox Analog
:
Audio Only
Xbox Wired USB
:
No
Xbox Wireless
:
No
0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
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.

In the box

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

Compared to other Headphones

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 and the best earbuds under $50.

KZ AS10
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ AS-10 and the KZ ZS-10 are very similar headphones. The ZS-10's sound is more accurate, while the AS-10 has more bass and a bit more punch to it. Design-wise, they are nearly identical. Both have bulky angled earbuds; the only difference being the AS-10 are a bit thinner, maybe making them a bit more suitable for everyone and more comfortable for smaller ears. The AS-10 also have better passive noise isolation.

KZ ZSN
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZS10 and the KZ ZSN are very similar headphones, but the ZS10 have a slightly better sound profile, so they're a better choice overall. They sound more balanced and more detailed than the ZSN. However, their bud design is slightly bulkier than the ZSN, so if you have very small ears and usually have trouble with in-ears, the ZSN might fit you better.

TIN Audio T2
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZS-10 and TIN Audio T2 are two fairly similar headphones, but the T2 might be better by a very slight margin. They score similarly in sound quality, but the TIN Audio have a slightly more balanced and even response, especially in the bass range. They also have better isolation performance. Also, the metal buds might be more durable than the transparent plastic cases of the KZs. On the other hand, if you’re looking for headphones that stand out, go with the KZs. They are slightly more comfortable, but this may vary from user to user. The KZs also have a model variant with an in-line remote and microphone.

KZ ZST
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZS10 are better headphones than the KZ ZST. Their earbud casings feel better made and sturdier than the ZST’s. Also, their sound profile follows our target curve better and will sound noticeably better in the treble range. Overall, both headphones still have very similar sound quality. On the other hand, the ZST are more affordable and could offer a better overall value for most people.

Shure SE215
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZS-10 are a better sounding critical listening in-ear than the Shure SE215. The ZS-10 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, while both headphones are well-built in-ears with no in-line remotes, the better sound quality of the KZ makes them the better option, especially since they are a lot cheaper than the SE215.

TIN Audio T3
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The KZ ZS-10 are better critical listening headphones than the TIN Audio T3. Their audio reproduction is more accurate, and you’ll be able to wear these headphones for a longer period of time due to their fairly comfortable design. On the other hand, if you want to listen to music during your commute, the T3s isolate more ambient noise, so they might be the better option for traveling.

1More Triple Driver
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The 1More Triple Driver In-Ear are on par, if not slightly better than the KZ ZS-10 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 have 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 due to the transparent casings for the earbuds and the braided audio cable.

Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear / Momentum In-Ear
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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 Momentum, 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 and have a slightly more compact design than the KZ ZS-10. On the upside, if you get the mic variant of the KZ, they would be the better headset overall.

Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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 ZS-10. 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 ZS-10 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 ZS-10 also look a lot more premium than the SoundTrue Ultra In-Ears, especially for their price.

BGVP DM6
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The BGVP DM6 and the KZ ZS-10 are very similar in design, style, and build quality, but the KZ ZS-10 are the better option if you’re looking for critical listening in-ears. Their sound quality is better, especially in the treble range. While our unit didn’t have one, there is a model variant that has a microphone and in-line controls, which makes them more convenient to use. On the other hand, the buds are quite large and thick and don’t create an as good seal as the DM6, which means the BGVP headphones will block more noise and be a slightly better option for commuting.

Etymotic Etymotic Research HF5
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

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
6.5 Mixed Usage

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.

7.2 Neutral Sound

Above-average for neutral 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 neutral listeners. On the upside, they will sound good enough for most and are decent sounding in-ears, especially for their price range.

6.6 Commute/Travel

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.

6.9 Sports/Fitness

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.

6.5 Office

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.

4.5 Wireless Gaming

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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