Balanced and coherent sound, Excellent bass extension and texture, Class-leading soundstage performance, Excellent accompanying app, Comfortable and isolating design, Great battery life, Comprehensive IPX5 rating
Tuning isn’t as clean and separated as TEVI, Midrange could do with slightly more clarity (both fixable with included eQ), Fit stability remains to be improved
Lypertek has created one of the best and most well-rounded TWS models on the market whilst retaining a sensible price on top.
Lypertek isn’t a name that conjures much imagery of rich audio legacy and quality. However, make no mistake, though their focus is on innovative form factors and value, their products are seriously competitive, with the same development team as Oriveti – a company I am a huge fan of. Their first TWS earphone, the TEVI, did not disappoint. It offered class-leading battery life and water resistance alongside a super clean, sub-bass boosted DF neutral sound. Suffice to say, I was a believer. The company recently rebranded their wireless models to accommodate the lower-end and more consumer orientated S20, the Z3 (a spec bumped TEVI) and the all new Z7. The Z7 especially piqued my interest as it offers a hybrid driver setup with newly developed DD and 2x BA tweeters in a coaxial structure. Though not the first, I was excited to see what Lypertek could do with their tuning expertise on a more capable driver platform.
The Pureplay Z7 is available for $199 USD at the time of writing. You can read more about it and treat yourself to a unit here.
I would like to thank Marco from Lypertek & Oriveti very much for his quick communication and for providing me with the Z7 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
- Page 1: Intro, Unboxing, Design
- Page 2: Usability & App
- Page 3: Sound Breakdown
- Page 4: Comparisons & Verdict
- Drivers: 1x 6mm Ti-plated DD, Exclusive Dual BA
- Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20 kHz
- Microphone: cVc 8.0 Noise Cancelling, Echo Cancellation, Noise Suppression
- Bluetooth: BT5.2 with aptX Adaptive, AAC, SBC
- Play Time: Max 10 hours + 60 hours (case)
- Waterproof: IPX5
Behind the Design –
High-Efficiency Dynamic Driver
I recall reading an old paper that concluded there was a linear relationship between driver efficiency and dynamics. I think this relationship is especially pertinent for a wireless earphone due to the focus on power and space efficiency over power output. Lypertek have addressed this with a newly improved dynamic driver. As opposed to graphene, it sports a lightweight mylar diaphragm with PPF titanium plating for added rigidity. N52 magnets improve driver control and dynamics further, the strongest neodymium magnets currently available.
Coaxial Hybrid Structure
In addition to the new dynamic driver, Lypertek have taken this design one step further by adding on two in-house developed balanced armature drivers within the nozzle and in-line with the DD. This saves space while minimising reflections and harshness with the BA drivers. By using their own design, they are able to more specifically change the frequency response and note presentation, though it is unclear what frequencies they cover. Placing the drivers in a coaxial setup – with all drivers positioned parallel to each other – simplifies phase alignment for more accurate imaging.
Replacing the aging and now much cheaper Q3020, the 40 model sports higher power efficiency, a better integrated amplifier and a far more comprehensive DSP system to allow finer control over the sound tuning. It also supports the latest BT5.2 standard in addition to aptX adaptive, AAC and SBC. aptX adaptive automatically adjusts the bitrate between 279kpbs and 420kpbs in addition to latency for a more consistent listening experience. At its highest setting, it achieves equivalent quality to aptX HD, supporting 24bit/48kHz transmission.
Lypertek have continued to improve the unboxing experience on their models and the Z7 provides the most premium experience yet. It comes in a hard box that magnetically opens to reveal the earphones and case within a protective foam inlet. Below is a box containing the accessories. A foam tray contains 3 styles of ear tips; 3 pairs of regular large-bore silicone tips, 3 pairs of short silicone tips, and 3 pairs of short Flexifit memory foam tips. The foam tips especially are some of my favourites for TWS earphones. They have a short design and don’t collapse in the ear like regular foam tips. They also provide a deeper fit with less impact on the treble response. In addition, Lypertek have included 6 adhesive nozzle filters and a short type-C charging cable. A matching wireless charger is also available from Lypertek’s website for $29. It is one of the highest quality wireless charging pads I’ve used with a non-scratch matching fabric top, aluminium housing. It uses Qi standard and supports wireless fast charging when paired with a QC2.0 or above power adaptor.
Where the S20 offered an all-new silhouette for the company, the Z7 shares more commonalities with the TEVI that came before. They are a touch wider, and not the lowest-profile earphones in turn, but are similarly slim and short making them suitable for smaller ears. Thoughtful touches have been implemented to improve the overall experience such as an improved finish that is now consistent between both halves of the shell. They have a denser construction and a new metal nozzle housing the two BA drivers, overall greatly elevating their in-hand feel and quality.
As before, they have water ingress protection rated at IPX5 which is much better than most competitors albeit slightly reduced from the IPX7 rating on the TEVI. The front-facing mic and faceplate buttons remain. I am not a fan of the button placement. Though is isn’t as stiff as the button on the TEVI, the top-mounted button on the S20 was much easier to pinch. Pressing into the canal is not ideal as it can upset the fit and cause discomfort. Nonetheless, though not so evident in renders and photos online, there are many small refinements here in build and quality over the TEVI that are suitable for the increase in price.
Fit & Isolation –
While the S20 is still the most stable-fitting Lypertek earphone for me, the Z7 is clearly more comfortable and stable fitting than the TEVI. It’s slightly longer and heavier but the inner face of the shell is shapelier too, no longer being flat. In addition, the straight, elongated nozzle of the TEVI makes way for a more standard nozzle design with a more ergonomic angle. The improved articular fit with the outer ear aids stability and fit depth, granting a snugger feel, and the new nozzle design means there is less noticeably wearing pressure than the TEVI. Still, there aren’t any retentive features such as wings or loops which, combined with their wide housings, means they can wiggle loose during active use.
Foam tips handily alleviate this and with the right silicone ear tips, I had zero issues during other daily use. Wind noise isn’t exacerbated, and they don’t suffer from driver flex. They are perfectly comfortable for extended listening sessions due to their small, rounded shells and ergonomic styling. While I would have liked to see some sort of retention feature, this would harm comfort and I found foam tips to work just as well. As far as I can tell, the Z7 is fully-sealed so you do still get some wearing pressure but, in return, a better seal and strong passive noise isolation. These do block more noise than the majority of competitors, even some with ANC. They are a great choice for commuters and can block out noise in the gym too – but you’ll want to use foam tips to alleviate footstep thud and aid fit stability.
Charging Case –
Similar to the earbuds themselves, the case too may look similar to that on the TEVI but has been heavily overhauled. The biggest change is the in-hand feel and general usability of the case. It feels far more premium with greater solidity, where the TEVI case felt somewhat hollow. It has a new design, being slightly more squared off allowing it to sit more stably on a wireless charging pad. It is slightly longer but also slightly slimmer, being a little more pocketable if still quite bulky relative to competitors. The hinge is also massively improved. It now has zero wobble a reverse magnet system that holds it open and closed at both ends.
I didn’t experience issues with the lid becoming detached as on the TEVI case. As before, it can charge via Type-C and Qi wireless charging is supported. The 4 battery level indicator LEDs make way for a unified single-LED system visible both when the case is open and closed. Another QOL upgrade is the adoption of stronger magnets, both those that close the case and those that hold the earphones in the dock. In addition, the earphones interface over a 3-pin connector that can power them off even when the case has no charge – where on the TEVI, the earbuds would not power off if the case was empty. You do lose the carrying strap that was on the TEVI case but I didn’t miss this personally.