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KEF takes on Sony, Bose, and Apple with its first true wireless ANC earbuds

KEF Mu3 ANC True Wireless Earbuds

Storied British audio brand KEF — known for its line of wired and wireless full-size and bookshelf-sized speakers — hasn’t done a lot in the wireless headphone space — and even less when it comes to true wireless earbuds. But that changes in a big way today with the launch of the $230 Mu3 Noise Cancelling True Wireless Earphones, a sleek, silver set of egg-shaped earbuds that include active noise cancellation (ANC).

Pricewise, KEF has placed the Mu3 in direct competition with the highest-rated true wireless ANC models: Sony’s $230 WF-1000XM3, Apple’s $249 AirPods Pro, Bose’s $280 QuietComfort Earbuds, and Jabra’s $230 Elite 85t.

KEF Mu3 ANC True Wireless Earbuds

And while it’s too early to say how the Mu3 stack up against these formidable competitors in terms of sound or ANC quality, one stat is sure to impress: The Mu3 pack nine hours of battery life per charge — and that’s with ANC turned on. That eclipses the other models handily, and it might get even better, as KEF hasn’t indicated how long the batteries will last with ANC turned off.

Their sleek charging case carries another 15 hours of life, for a minimum of 24 hours before you need to plug the case back in or take advantage of its wireless charging feature. KEF claims that a fast-charge time of five minutes will add another hour of use.

Sound is delivered via a set of 8.2mm full-range dynamic drivers, and KEF says these have been tuned by the same engineering team that’s responsible for KEF’s loudspeakers. The company promises “consistently pure and accurate sound, with rich midrange, detailed bass, and crisp high tones.”  We’ll have to see if these claims hold up under review, but given KEF’s reputation, it would be surprising if the Mu3 didn’t sound superb.

To ensure that everyone gets a good fit — the key to both sound and ANC quality — four sets of silicone ear-tips will be included with the Mu3.

KEF Mu3 ANC True Wireless Earbuds

KEF isn’t saying much about the Mu3’s ANC capabilities other than it will “eliminate external noise without affecting the details that bring music to life.” Oh, that and the fact you’ll be able to engage an ambient mode with just one click of the multifunction button.

You’ll also get full control over playback, volume, and phone calls, though KEF hasn’t said if voice assistant access is also included, or whether you’ll be able to customize these controls via a mobile app.

Those who want to use the Mu3 at the gym or while running will be happy to know that they’re IPX5-rated for water-resistance, which is very good — the best rating for the rival products we listed above is IPX4.

You can buy the KEF Mu3 from KEF’s website, but we expect they’ll also appear on Amazon and at other retailers soon.

KEF recently launched the KC62, a tiny, 10-inch, cubed 1,000-watt subwoofer that sells for $1,500.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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