There's no mistaking it and at first glance, it's glaringly obvious. Uber popular Chi-Fi earphone maker KZ has brazenly ripped off the expensive Campfire Audio IEM's.
Morality aside you can see why they have gone ahead and done this after all the Campfire Audio earphones are some of the best on the market.
So with that said I am going to do this review of the KZ ZS5 with an open mind and rate them on their merits and performance.
Are the KZ ZS5 the Chinese companies new flagship?
KZ traditionally deal with cheap and cheerful earphones that for the price sound much better than they should. They are one of the leading companies showing that good sound isn't out of reach and their previous models like the KZ ATE and ZS3 represent outstanding value for money.
The KZ ZS5, however, is a little pricier than the other models and comes in at a whopping $20-$30. I wouldn't quite say that they are the flagship but
Style and Design
Right away get it out your head that you are getting anything even remotely like a Campfire Audio Earphone. The styling is where that starts and ends.
They are a good looking earphone and build quality is comparable with other KZ earphones of the past. They are solid enough if you take care of them.
The housing is plastics and the ZS5 can be picked up in a few different color options we opted for the blue and will admit they are actually really good looking in hand.
The cable is detachable (2 pin connector) and since the earphones are worn over the ear do not transfer anything in the way of cable noise. I also quite like the Jack point and strain relief is pretty decent at both the ear pieces and cable splitters
Comfort and Isolation
A shallow to mid insertion length means that the KZ ZS5 are good to average isolators. I found them able to block out most unwanted noise when using the rubber medium sized tips.
If you have small ears you may struggle with comfort due to the sharp edges on the driver housing but for medium and large ears they are actually quite comfortable for long listening sessions.
Sound quality I am happy to report lives up to KZ's reputation for excellent sound at a low price. Definitely one of the best sounding sub $50 earphones on the market right now we were highly impressed with their performance throughout this review.
Bass is strong and tight and gives you that impact you crave if you are looking for something to listen to pop EDM and Hip-Hop. It gives a good amount of rumble and yet it still remains tight and punchy
Midrange is smooth and a little warm which I like. Guitars and Vocals both sound amazing, especially male vocals. The hint of warmth means that they also performed really well with acoustic and stringed instruments. There is a slight upper mid peak in there but it's easily tuned out with a slight alteration to the EQ settings.
Highs are surprisingly quite prominent and this makes for an enjoyable listening experience. You get that low down thud from the bass but at the same time the sparkle of the highs make for a very energetic overall sound from the KZ ZS5
Whilst the KZ ZS5 might be designed to look like something else I already own I actually really like them. They represent outstanding value for people on a budget. Great sound coupled with solid build and great (stolen) styling) make them a no brainer if you have a spare $20-$30 dollars around right now these would make a great primary or backup set of earbuds