The battery life you get from true wireless earbuds is often a problem, isn’t it? Enter Audio-Technica’s newest earbuds, the ATH-CKS50TW, which may put an end to this issue thanks to a high-capacity battery inside each bud that will let them operate for an astonishing 20 hours on a single charge. Even if you switch on the noise canceling, battery life only drops to 15 hours, meaning these tiny earbuds easily outperform the competition.
Add the ATH-CKS50TW’s case into the mix, and you’ll get a total of 50 hours of playback before they actually need to visit a charger. Audio-Technica promises the fast-charging system will add 90 minutes of playback after a 10-minute charge. With this level of battery performance, it’ll be unlikely that you’ll find yourself in a situation where the earbuds are completely flat with no way to immediately get them operational again. It’s this feeling of reassurance that many true wireless earbuds are missing.
What about the sound? Each earbud is equipped with a 9mm driver, and the case has tiny ducts on the back to help manage airflow and improve acoustics, while Audio-Technica says to expect powerful, deep bass. The earbuds have Sony 360 Reality Audio certification, and support Qualcomm’s AptX Adaptive Audio, plus there’s a Low Latency Mode for playing games or watching video.
The active noise cancellation includes a “hear-through” system where the volume is quickly lowered and ambient sound is piped in to the headphones, while a special algorithm enhances tones in the vocal range. If you use Audio-Technica’s Connect app, it comes with an equalizer feature and a sound quality adjustment, while a set of physical buttons on the buds provide customizable control over some features.
Calls can be taken with one or both earbuds, and Qualcomm’s Clear Voice Capture (cVc) system will minimize echo and filter out background noise. There’s also a transparency mode-style feature where you can hear your own voice during calls, helping to keep you from having to shout. What else? The ATH-CKS50TW are IP54-rated, so they will be protected for use in the rain. They use Bluetooth 5.2 and support Fast Pair with Android smartphones, plus they can be registered with multiple devices at the same time.
Audio-Technica has announced the ATH-CKS50TW in the U.K. and parts of Europe for now, where they will cost 150 British pounds, which is the equivalent of about $202, or 169 euros. The U.S. release isn’t scheduled until March 16, but when that date arrives, it may well be worth the wait — U.S. pricing has been set at $149, which is very aggressive when you consider that many similar earbuds from top-tier brands often sell for as much as $300 or more.
- AptX Adaptive vs. aptX HD vs. LDAC: Which Bluetooth codec is the best?
- What is aptX? Cutting through the clutter of Qualcomm’s codecs
- Next-gen Qualcomm chips make wireless earbuds, headphones better for gaming and spatial audio
- FaceTime with spatial audio is nothing short of magic
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II will get lossless, Snapdragon Sound in 2023