Knowledge Zenith (KZ) S2: Unboxing and Impressions
KZ’s newest true wireless (TWS) earphone has arrived and is in house for testing.
I’ve put around 9 hours of listening time on it so far and I’m quite pleased. It has KZ’s typical house sound; v-shaped tune with sparkly treble and deep bass. Mids are slightly recessed with an upper mid bump to keep them present in the mix, though this does result in some sibilance, though not a lot. The ZSN Pro and Tin T2 Pro are MUCH more sibilant in comparison. Detail and overall clarity are excellent for a TWS, likely down to that hybrid setup. I’m not hearing any tonal mismatching of the two driver types either. Sound stage is good for a true wireless earphone, and on par with similarly priced wired sets. I also found the imaging quality to be quite good with smooth channel-to-channel transitions. Tracks elements remain well separated and layered, except when you crank the volume where starts to sound a bit compressed.
Build quality is quite good, though the materials used are nothing special. The plastic used for the ear pieces has that distinct washed out look and oily feel you commonly get with inexpensive, slippery, glossy plastics. That said, it is tough as nails. When taking them out to my balcony for pictures, the right earpiece slipped out of my fingers and into a 4 story plunge, ricocheting off the 2nd floor balcony below. It still works fine and only has a couple small scuff marks from the trip. Good stuff!
I’ve run through the battery twice. The first was the charge it shipped with which lasted around 3.5 hours. The second charge just fell short of 4. Given it’s rated for up to 4 hours and I listen at atypically low volumes compared to most, I feel most people should expect to get around 3.5 hours to use per charge. Pretty standard, really.
When it comes to connection quality, the S2 can be hit and miss. This earphone has two different modes; a higher latency standard mode, and a low latency “performance” mode. Paired to my LG Q70 I get the occasional stutter in either mode but nothing too intrusive. When connected to my laptop, standard mode is fine but “performance” mode stutters quite often. Thankfully the latency on standard mode isn’t unusable with videos with only a mild sync delay, so not being able to use “performance” mode with my laptop is unfortunate, but not a huge loss.
This is probably my favorite sounding of the budget TWS sets I’ve tested. I also love the ergonomic housings which have proven to be very stable and have yet to slip out of place. The included ear tips are also quite nice. They are not the usual Starline model we’ve become accustomed to and instead use a clear, sticky silicone. Mine only came with two sizes though, small and medium, so if you typically use large tips you might have to resort to a third party set. The case is also smaller than it looks, has a metal hinge, and uses a Type-C port for charging, all big pluses. Overall I’m quite satisfied with what KZ is bringing to market, though there is always room for improvement.
The S2 is current going through an Indigogo campaign. The 40 USD early bird special was still up at the time of writing for anyone interested in ordering a set: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/kz-s2-next-generation-hybrid-tws-in-ear-monitors#/
Thanks for reading and expect a full review to be posted the weekend of April 25th, 2020. Have a happy Sunday!