KZ AS10 Review: A HiFi Stereo in-Ear Earphone

KZ has been a much-hyped brand in the earphone industry for quite some time now. Not all the products from this hype train were received well by the users, yet it provided some great earphones over the years.

Today, I'll discuss one such exciting product from KZ, their AS10 model. If you are already familiar with this brand, you should know how popular KZ ZS10 was. AS10 is more like a reinvention of that model with a major upgrade in the driver department. So, can the KZ AS10 can live up to the expectations as its predecessor did? Let's find out.

KZ AS10 Specification

KZ AS10 Specification

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  • Impedance - 14Ω
  • Earphone sensitivity - 105dB/mW
  • Frequency range - 20-40000Hz
  • Plug Type - 3.5mm Gilded
  • Plug Type - L curved
  • Cable Length - 1.2m±3cm
  • Colour - Black, Cyan
  • Whether with cable - Yes
  • Earphone interface - 0.75mm 2 Pin
  • Whether with mic - Optional
  • Detachable cable - Yes
  • Driver unit - 5 Balanced Armatures driver units per side

The Benefits & Drawbacks of the product

Like every earphone out there, KZ ZS10 also comes with a set of benefits as well as drawbacks. Before heading into detail, let's have a quick look at them to get a better idea about this product.

Benefits of KZ AS10

  • Great sound quality is the obvious benefit of any good earphone, and KZ AS10 is no different. Though the sound signature leans towards the bass, the overall sound reproduction is impressive.
  • Versatility is another strong suit of KZ AS10. No matter what you use this earphone for, you won't be disappointed by its performance.
  • KZ AS10 brings out the perfect blend of durability and style. This earphone is a head-turner with a transparent design and braided cable.
  • With big earbuds like these, the comfort KZ has provided is worth mentioning. The buds sit perfectly in the ear without any stress.
  • Lastly, the affordable price tag is a huge benefit of this product. KZ AS10 proves you the opportunity to experience balanced armatures design at a pretty low cost.

Drawbacks of KZ AS10

  • Lack of noise cancellation seems to be a drawback of this product. Without a dedicated cancellation system, the isolation is pretty good. But still, there is room for improvement with a dedicated system.
  • There is no companion app for EQ. Additionally, the nozzle design could definitely use some improvement as the tips come off pretty easily.
KZ AS10 Earphone Features

KZ AS10 Earphone Features and Ratings

Now that we know the product specifications, pros and cons of KZ AS10, let's see how this earphone performs in different segments. From here, you can decide what aspects you prioritize in an earphone and whether KZ AS10 is worth investing your money in.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is the most crucial factor of any audio system, and KZ impressed me in this segment from the get-go. Previously, KZ always used dynamic drivers for their earphones. However, this time KZ decides to go with armature driver units, only seen in more premium earphones.

For now, these new drivers seemed to pay off pretty well in terms of sound quality. Additionally, KZ has done one of their best tuning work here in a long time with accurate sound separation. For that, KZ deserves a round of applause. 

Lack of dynamic drivers might raise a concern in terms of bass generation. But to my surprise, this earphone provides a deep and punchy bass experience. Admittedly, the bass might seem a bit coloured to some, as the instruments were getting lost in some songs. Nevertheless, KZ AS10 seem to bring good news for bass lovers.

Let's talk about the mid frequencies now for a bit. The mid-range frequencies were pretty well balanced, but some occasional bleeding seemed to disturb a near-perfect audio reproduction.

Lastly, the earphone performed the best when it comes to high frequencies. The sound was pretty bright with an impressive amount of details. If you are not satisfied with any particular frequency range performance, you can always use a third part EQ app to eliminate the mid-frequency bleeding and squeeze the best out of KZ AS 10.

Rating: 4/5

Accessories and Packaging

Accessories and packing are one of the most impressive aspects of KZ AS10. KZ usually falls under the category of budget brands, but there is no way you can tell that after you look at the premium packaging. The earphone comes in a cardboard box with magnetic closure.

Inside the case, the earbuds come with a detachable braided cable, three pairs of KZ Starlink ear tips, and a metal plate with KZ branding and model name engraved on it. These are pretty essential accessories that most earphones out there provide in terms of numbers. But how KZ presented this whole thing is really praiseworthy.

The only drawback here in this segment is the lack of a carrying case/ pouch. Of course, you can always use a third-party one, but KZ should provide one with the packaging to fulfill this segment.

Rating: 5/5

Design and Build

Right out of the box, you'll notice that KZ AS10 has a premium feel, from packaging to design aesthetics. The plastic build is pretty normal for any earphone, especially in this pried range. However, KZ AS10 still manages to stand out of the bunch with its slick transparent design. You can clearly see the interior from the outside, which looks pretty cool.

The braided cable has been a trademark of KZ, and we have seen its usage in their different products. The braided cable again makes a comeback to AS10. This cable goes pretty well with the overall aesthetics of the earphone.

However, I would prefer a black one instead of the brownish colour of the cable. Another great thing about the cable is that it's easily detachable and replaceable. So, that adds up to the overall durability of this earphone in some ways.

As good as the cable quality is, the design can be a slight turnoff for some users. The Y-split of this earphone is pretty far away from the buds. As there is no chin slider, the cables get tangled easily in your pocket.

There is no denying that KZ AS10 is a petty bulky earphone compared to its competitors. But KZ still managed to tone down the size of the buds compared to AS10'S predecessors. Moreover, the angled buds sit in the ear perfectly. 

Lastly, the nozzle design seems to be an issue of the buds. Unfortunately, the nozzles fail to hold the tips tightly. As a result, you'll often see the tips coming off the nozzle while in your pocket or the ear.

Rating: 4.5/5

Comfort

Comfort isn't the strongest suit of KZ AS10. However, that doesn't mean it's bad. As mentioned above, this earphone is pretty bulky. But with armature drivers, KZ got back to a slimmer footprint again.

Also, bulky construction doesn't necessarily mean this earphone weighs a lot. As per my experience, it was pretty lightweight, and I had long music sessions with it without any fatigue.

The angled buds sit perfectly into the angled shape in our ears. After using it for some time, you'll barely even notice you have something on your ear. However, people with smaller ears might not like the bigger buds as there might be some fitting issues.

Rating: 4/5

Noise Cancellation

Noise cancellation or isolation, whichever you prefer to call it, is one of the biggest drawbacks of this earphone. There is no dedicated noise cancellation feature, whether by software or hardware. The only thing that isolates the noise is the volume and ear tips. This might not be a deal-breaker for some looking at the price. But if you ask me, I would have preferred a dedicated noise cancellation feature even it cost me a few bucks more.

Also, there are some issues regarding the sound bleed of KZ AS10. You might not notice the bleed in a loud environment, like on the road or in the park. But if you are in a library or reading room, the bleed is quite prominent at high volume. However, using foam tips instead of the default ones can help improve this bleeding issue.

Rating: 3.5/5

Related: Sennheiser HD 4.40BT Wireless Headphone Review

KZ AS10 HiFi Stereo in-Ear Earphone Alternatives

Here are some popular alternatives of KZ AS10 in the same price segment. These options also have a feature set pretty close to AS10. So if you are having a hard time deciding whether you should buy the earphone or not, these options will help you make a comparison.

KZ ZS10 Pro

If you are new to KZ, ZS10 is an earphone worth checking out. When launched, KZ ZS10 pro had created a separate place for KZ in the hybrid earphone market with its phenomena audio quality. I won't talk about the specifications much as they are pretty similar to AS10. However, if you are a fan of good old dynamic drivers and looking for options within KZ, ZS10 pro can be a great alternative to AS10.

Tin Audio T2

Another great pair of earphones has quite a few similarities with the KZ AS10 in terms of aesthetics. Tin Audio T2 has the same detachable braided cable. However, other aspects like sound staging, imaging and overall tuning are different from AS10. If you are into a more balanced sound experience, then Tin Audio T2 can be the ideal alternative for you. 

Final Verdict

Overall, KZ AS10 seems to exceed expectations with its versatility and decent sound reproduction. Whether it's music listening, podcast gaming, everything is pretty much manageable with this one pair of earphones. In addition, the price is reasonable, and KZ has done an excellent job of providing a super-premium design and build quality.

This earphone's only real deal breakers are the lack of noise cancellation and a companion app. However, these issues don't take anything away from what KZ has tried to achieve through this earphone. At this price range, it's an easy recommendation any day.

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