Hey guys, it's Natan here. Today I'll be reviewing the KZ ES3.
In addition to video reviews, I will start posting text reviews as well! Hope you guys enjoy. I like feedback, so don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts!
I purchased the ES3 from GearBest in late 2017 and I fell in love with this earphone. You can read my full review here, or check out the YouTube video at the end of this post. Anyway, let's get started...
Overview and Design
I bought the ES3 last year for around $15 from GearBest.com. The ES3 comes in two colors: blue and purple. Both colors feature semi-transparent housings.
The ES3 is made of hard plastic, and doesn't feel cheap or fragile. On the contrary; it's actually quite well made. The plastic feels sturdy and won't break anytime soon. I did have a slight problem with my ES3: There appears to be some sort of glue trapped underneath the housing and it's visible if you look closely. The shell also appears to be slightly cracked or poorly put together, however, none of this affects the sound quality, and even though my ES3 has these manufacturing defects, they've performed well for about a year so far and I have encountered no issues.
The ES3 also features detachable cables, which is a great feature to have in such a budget earphone. The stock cable that comes with the ES3 is good quality but feels sticky and rubbery. I highly recommend purchasing the braided cable, which can be purchased from AliExpress for $2-$3.
The ES3 is a basshead's earphone, for sure. The bass is pounding and strong, especially when used with an equalizer. It may even be overpowering in some bass-heavy songs. But if you are a basshead, you will love the ES3.
The overall sound is very detailed. For $15, you might as well be listening to a $100 IEM.
The vocals are great, they're clear, but they do take a back seat on the ES3. The bass is much more noticeable.
The highs are sharp and clear, not at all harsh. However, on certain songs with a lot of treble, you may notice some sibilance.
Soundstage is wide but not too open, because the ES3 is a closed-back earphone. I would not describe the soundstage as "closed." You will hear sound coming from around you, but the sound is not "airy" like on the ZSA.
The ES3 is comfortable to wear. I am using the stock medium sized rubber ear tips that come with the ES3. They provide a great seal. If you listen to music for hours, you may find yourself adjusting the earphones or taking them out of your ears for a second.
So basically, they're comfortable, but you'll definitely notice that they're in your ears.
Noise isolation and noise cancellation is where the ES3 stands out. With these in your ears, you won't hear any outside noise at all. Other people won't hear what you're listening to as long as you keep the volume at a moderate level. But seriously, these cancel out every bit of outside noise. If you need earphones to wear to work or on the bus, these are the earphones you want.
The ES3 is well designed, made of hard plastic that doesn't feel cheap. But the housing on my ES3 isn't put together so well, and there is glue visible underneath the shell. Since these may just be manufacturing defects, I assume they aren't present on every ES3.
Sound quality is great -- for a $15 IEM, you can't get much better than this. Bass is amazing, if you're a basshead I highly recommend using an equalizer and you will be completely satisfied. Vocals are clear, soundstage is wide, I have no complaints besides the presence of sibilance in certain songs. Other than that, the sound is great.
Comfort? Acceptable. You'll have to adjust the earphones every now and then, but for short listening sessions, the ES3 won't give you any trouble. Keep in mind, changing the ear tips will not only change the sound signature, but it may increase comfort. I personally like the stock rubber tips.
Noise isolation is better on the ES3 than on any KZ earphone I've tested in the past. You won't hear any outside noise, at all. Put on some meditation music and no one will bother you.
Overall? I'd give the ES3 a 8.5/10. You will not be disappointed if you purchase this earphone!