KZ ZS3 (Review)

Written by Andrew Maxwell

Music lovers probably can’t remember any time ever, when it has been cheaper to buy earphones and in-ear monitors. Earlier this year we saw the launch of Knowledge Zenith’s (KZ) ATE earbuds, which turned out to be wildly popular. Now the company has released its latest earphones – the ZS3 – riding the wave of public enthusiasm which was stirred up by the ATE buds.

Surprisingly, however, Knowledge Zenith has refused the temptation to cash in on this new support. The company could have taken advantage of its new customer fan base, but instead has shown sound long-term strategic planning. The ZS3 earphones are available now at GearBest for just $9 (with shipping).


These new earphones have 8mm dynamic driver earbuds with a detachable cable. They certainly look like they cost more than $9. Just as with the ATE earphones, the ZS3 earphones fit over your ear, but that’s really where the comparison should end. Why? It seems that whichever feature of the new earphones you choose to look at, it is going to be better than the ATE. The design is slicker – its stylish, smooth curves are matched in chic by elegant text in handwriting style.

Product Highlights
  • Design: In-ear with built-in microphone and answer button
  • Driver unit: 8mm
  • Frequency response: 20Hz-20000Hz
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB
  • Impedance: 18 ohms
  • Cable: 1.2m detachable
  • Earbuds: 3 sets
  • Input Jack: 3.5mm stereo
  • Weight: 18g
Build Quality and Comfort

The ZS3 earphones are made of plastic – not a cheap looking type – but a high quality glossy finish. They come with a detachable two-pin cable, whose sockets are housed inside the in-ear monitor. At the end of the cable is a right angle 3.5mm headphone jack, with a gold-colored plate.


Being able to replace the cables by yourself is also a major plus, as it means the potential lifespan of the earphones is extended – it is no longer contingent on the lifespan of the cable. Notwithstanding, the cable is actually of good quality though not exactly of premium spec. It doesn’t get itself caught up in a mess, and the jack is solid and firm.

As mentioned earlier, the design is also impressive in its appearance. It might not matter to you so much if you only plan to use the earphones in bed, with the lights turned off – but if you’re going to be seen wearing them at the gym or outdoors, you’ll almost certainly get the nod of approval from all discerning people to whom such things are of importance.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment about the ZS3 earphones is that they are not expected to be made widely available. We also don’t know how long production will run for, and so it’s likely that those who leave it too long before ordering online, could find themselves empty-handed.


One thing about the replaceable cable feature, is that, while it is a neat idea which extends the life of the earphones as a whole, it’s rendered slightly pointless by the fact that a new cable will cost you as much as the earphones did (or thereabouts). Perhaps the benefit here will only be felt once the last pair of ZS3 earphones has been sold.

A final possible disadvantage for some people is that the cables pull back over the top of the ears. This has been a complaint for people before, for example, when wearing glass, shades and certain types of headwear. Just bear that in mind – if it’s really a deal breaker, you should probably consider a different style of earphone.

Audio Quality

The sound quality of the ZS3 earphones is generally excellent. It is crisp in its clarity, and delivers a full range of frequencies without issues of excess attack or decay. It is distinctly warm throughout all frequencies and the bass is adequately punchy.


No matter what kind of music you want to listen to, you’ll enjoy it using these earphones – and that applies to bass lovers, too – you won’t be left wondering where the sub bass got to, in the way other earphones can. With that said, the ZS3 is a good all-rounder when it comes to audio quality.

There may be people out there who see a $9 price tag and simply assume that the sound quality will be muffled and uneven. That would be a big mistake, as in this department, the ZS3 can compete with much more expensive models costing five times more.

The KZ ZS3 is currently available at GearBest for $8.66 shipped.

About the author

Andrew Maxwell

1 Comment

  • The other reason for the detachable cables? Upgrades! KZ currently stocks two upgraded cables for these IEMs, as well as a Bluetooth adapter.

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