Lypertek, the Chinese manufacturer that specialises in mid-range earphones that tend to outperform their price bracket, is back – and this time, they’re dipping their toes into the Active Noise Cancellation pool.
The Lypertek PurePlay Z5 are a pair of true wireless earphones with Lypertek’s signature balanced and ear-pleasing sound, Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX, excellent touch controls, and – for the first time on a Lyptertek pair – Active Noise Cancellation.
You get a lot for your money here – with a few drawbacks – the battery times are disappointing, for example, and the ANC is… not the star of the show. But how does the Z5 compare to Lypertek’s other offerings – and to other similarly priced earphones? Let’s dig in.
Quick Look – Lypertek PurePlay Z5
What are they: High quality true wireless earphones with “hybrid” noise cancellation, that connect to your phone/laptop/streaming device via Bluetooth.
Value for Money
- Very balanced audio that’s a joy to listen to
- LDX Sound mode saves you EQ fiddling
- Very comfortable in the ear (with lots of eartip choices)
- Wireless charging
- Dissapointing battery times (Just 4 hours with ANC on)
- Active Noise Cancellation is not overly impressive
- Bass may be a bit too soft for some
Features and Specs
- Driver unit: 10mm Dynamic drivers
- Battery Playing Time: 7 Hours (4 with ANC ON)
- Additional Battery Time on Case: 28 Hours (35 total, with ANC off)
- Case charging port: USB-C and Wireless Charging
- Audio Codecs: aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC
- Bluetooth Version: 5.2
- Waterproof Rating: IPX4
- Extra Features: Customizable EQ and LDX Audio mode / “Auto-Ambient” Mode / Customizable touch controls (via app)
In terms of audio quality, the Lypertek Z5 is an excellent pair. They’re also very comfortable, and the touch controls are accurate and fully customizable. Lypertek’s first ANC implementation isn’t very impressive, however, and the battery times are quite low, compared to other options out there.
Table of Contents
Who Are The PurePlay Z5 For?
Lypertek is a respected name in the true wireless earphones scene these days. The Chinese manufacturer first made a name for itself with the excellent TEVI earphones (later renamed to PurePlay Z3 – see our review), and then with additional budget or mid-range priced earphones that gave you a whole lot of audio quality for your money.
But in addition to impressive, balanced audio quality, brilliant battery times and good looking cases (hey, that matters too) – there was one other thing all of Lyepertek’s earphones had in common – none of them had Active Noise Cancellation.
This is where the new Lypertek Z5 model comes in – they share a lot of Lypertek’s signature pluses, but also add ANC. Lypertek is calling this “Hybrid Noise Cancellation” – because the active part works alongside the “passive” part – that is, the seal you get when the earphones are lodged in your ears.
However, it feels like the “passive” part takes most of the burden here. Yes, the noise-cancelling works well in some situations – but it’s much more due to that good seal, than due to that battery-guzzling active part.
So, do the pluses outweigh the minuses? Let’s take a closer look.
Using the PurePlay Z5
The first thing you’ll notice about the Z5 is that they’re… pretty big, in a stick-out-of-your-ear kind of way.
Lyepertek’s previous models were more pebble-shaped, hiding in your ears, while these take after the Airpods Pro, with long stems, and a very bulky middle part.
They’re so bulky, in fact, that I kept hitting them when I was rearranging my face mask (yes, that’s still a thing) – so keep that in mind if you prefer smaller buds.
On the other hand, they’re very lightweight and very comfortable – in the box, you get 10 (!) pairs of eartips, so you’re bound to find a pair that fits your ears best.
The provided earbud tips differ from each other not just in size, but also in functionality:
You get “PureSpace” Silicone tips that are meant to be “more spacious with open sound”, “PurePower” Silicone tips that give “more focused and powerful sound”, and “PureComfort“, which are high-density foam tips “for superior comfort and smoother sound”.
I’ve always been a fan of foam tips, and Lypertek is among the few companies that provide them in the box – so that’s a plus in my book.
Whichever pair of tips you prefer, once you find a good fit, the Z5 are very comfortable, even after hours of use. They also provide a very good noise-cancelling seal (which we’ll touch upon later).
The charging case is smallish (though not tiny) – and while it’s plasticky and not as impressive as the fabric-covered case of the Z3, it still looks nice thanks to the Lypertek logo emblem on top.
The case can be charged either via the supplied USB-C cable, or with a wireless charger.
The touch controls are accurate and sensitive, and thanks to the stem-based form, you won’t usually touch them accidentally when you pull the earbuds out of your ear.
The Z5 have an IPX4 water resistance rating, which means they’ll be OK if they get splashed with water (so some light rain or your own sweat) – but you can’t drop them in a puddle (or, God forbid, into the toilet).
Pairing and Controlling
With Bluetooth 5.2 support, pairing the Z5 to your devices is very quick and straightforward. You just open the case, and the earphones are ready to pair.
Subsequent connections were instant, and having used them for more than a week, I never experienced a lost connection or any of the buzzing sounds you sometimes get with Bluetooth around other people (and their devices).
The touch buttons were a joy to use – they’re not too big (to avoid accidental presses), and they’re just sensitive enough – I’ve had earphones where you had to keep hitting the buttons (and your ear) again and again, but that’s not the case here – a gentle touch, and the press is registered.
The default controls are pretty standard, but the best part is that you can customise the touch buttons to your liking – via the smartphone app.
The PureControl App
As they did with their previous models, Lypertek lets you control – and customise – many of the Z5’s functions via the dedicated app.
Confusingly, Lypertek’s other earphones have an app called PureControl, and the Z5 uses a NEW dedicated app, called… PureControl.
Why they couldn’t fit one app for several models is beyond me – but once you get over it, the app is quite useful. You can change and control everything – from the EQ (with preconfigured settings as well as custom ones), turn ANC on and off, define what each touch button does, and even a ‘Find my Earbuds’ feature which uses the Bluetooth connection to show you where your earphones are.
The app is also used to update the Z5’s firmware when fixes and new features are pushed out – in two weeks, I had two such updates…
PurePlay Z5 Audio Quality
When you listen to music, the Z5 certainly carry on the Lypertek torch: balance is the name of the game (again), without any elements that overpower the sound too much.
That includes the bass, mind you – so if you’re a fan of very deep, strong bass, you won’t find it here (even with the Bass Boost EQ setting).
Checking things out with Electric Light Orchestra‘s Last Train to London, ELO’s famous wall-of-sound demonstrates the Z5’s abilities when it comes to delivering clear sound.
The multi-layered soundscape was dominated by the relentless clavinet groove and silky string lines, and the overall listening experience was quite rewarding. Even easter eggs such as the train-like hi-hats part and the lead vocals’ double-harmony really popped out.
The bass was decent enough, and the great in-ear seal provided by the foam ear tips was a big help here.
Moving on to Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River, The dark Rhodes base, hypnotic tribal beat and oh so smooth male vocals made for the perfect ingredients in this 2002 recording.
The sound complements the intimate atmosphere of Arabian-inspired riffs and Gregorian chants. Some EQ tweaking for the mid-highs was needed in this case, to compensate for the somewhat shrill moments, but altogether the rich sound and comfortable design made for a rewarding listening experience.
If you don’t want to tinker with the EQ too much, you can use the app to turn on the LDX mode (“Lypertek Definition Expander”) – it’s basically an EQ preset that helps expand the sound a bit. It doesn’t make a huge difference, but it cleans everything out, giving you a very rich and accurate soundscape.
Noise Cancellation on the Z5
While the music sounds great, you can get a similar experience on some of Lypertek’s other models. But the highlight on the Z5 was supposed to be the Active Noise Cancellation.
Overall, the “hybrid” noise cancellation is not bad – but much of it comes from the good seal they manage to provide (so the “passive” part), and not from the “active” part.
This was easy to test – when I was walking near a busy road, for example, the sound of the cars was still there, but somewhat muffled – and I was on “Normal” mode. I turned the ANC ON, and – well – nothing really changed. The cars were still there.
Of course, when I took the earphones out of my ears, everything was louder – so outside noise is blocked, at least partially – but the ANC doesn’t seem to add much except for drinking more battery juice.
As is often the case with lower-cost ANC implementations, it does work somewhat better with constant humming noises – so on a train, for example, the ANC did manage to make the engine sounds go away (well, almost), and it would probably improve things for you on an aeroplane as well.
But don’t expect it to work any miracles. In fact, I’ve seen very similar performance on lower-cost earphones that excel in the ANC department (such as the Earfun Air Pro 2). And even Lypertek’s own Z3 earphones, which don’t offer any Active noise cancellation, manage to block the same types of noises thanks to their great seal.
The other side of ANC is the Ambient mode – and the neat little trick that the Z5 brings – the “Auto-Ambient” mode. With Ambient, the earbuds use the built-in microphones to amplify outside sounds – so you’re more aware of things around you (like traffic or people), even when you’re listening to music.
The Auto-Ambient mode (which can be turned on or off via the app), automatically turns Ambient mode ON whenever you stop playing music. The idea is that if you’re outside – when you stop playing music, it means you’re probably trying to listen to something near you – so you’ll be able to do that without taking the buds out of your ears, thanks to the powerful Ambient mode that kicks in.
PurePlay Z5 Battery Times
When fully charged, you can use the earbuds for up to 7 hours (at a volume of around 50%) – but that’s with ANC turned OFF. With ANC on, you only get 4 hours.
Inside the case, you get 28 more hours – but again, that’s with ANC off – so a total of 35 hours with ANC off.
These are disappointing numbers, especially from a company like Lypertek. I always use their Z3 model as an example of amazing battery times (you get 10 hours on the earbuds, and 80 hours combined with the case!), so going from 80 down to 35 feels like a big downgrade.
And while I understand ANC is always a battery hog, other earphones out there do manage to give you double the playing time (or more), with ANC still on – so I do wish Lypertek manage to improve on this front in the future.
Bottom Line: Are The PurePlay Z5 Worth It?
The Z5 earphones are a bit of a weird beast. The sound is great (for music, podcasts AND for watching films), they’re very easy to use and control, and they’re VERY comfortable.
But all that is also true for Lypertek’s cheaper model, the Z3 – which boasts much-improved battery times.
So the main highlight here was supposed to be the ANC. You do get some decent noise cancelling, thanks to the good seal, with the Active part only adding some minor support. But does that even matter, when the bottom line is that the outside world doesn’t interfere with your listening too much?
If you’re looking for a pair that gives you excellent, balanced sound – and ANC isn’t your top priority – then the Z5 certainly deliver – but they’re a bit expensive for what you get.
Note: The Z5 were supplied by the manufacturer for this review. As always, this did not influence my unbiased opinion of the product.