KEF’s latest shot at the headphone market includes a sporty new pair of on-ear headphones, the M400, and a sexy new pair of in-ears at the bottom of the heap, the M100. We took the latter for a test drive recently to see if the British brand was continuing its stride towards excellence in the competitive market.
The new M100 are a sharp looking pair of ear buds, and although their $150 MSRP makes them the most affordable pair the brand has yet released, there’s plenty of quality in the build to make these a coveted new offering from the get-go.
The design begins with the diamond-cut aluminum casings, cast into rounded pills with a “race-track” beveled edge that is sure to catch the light — and a few eyes. The earphones feel very solid in your hand, and that quality is echoed in the three-button iOS-compatible mic piece, and the casing around the jack, imprinted with the KEF logo. Apart from our Racing Blue model, the M100 come in Sunset Orange, Champagne White, and Titanium Grey.
The earpieces extend from the buds at an ergonomic angle, creating an extremely comfortable fit. We were able to wear them for hours throughout the day with no issue whatsoever, though we do worry that they may hang a little loosely for any sort of rambunctious activities, such as your daily workout.
Inside the angled chamber, the M100 sport 10mm drivers, in company with a low-resonance suspension ring of high-density foam to reduce distortion and control airflow.
As for the sound, as we’ve come to expect from KEF, these headphones impress, offering a balanced exploration throughout the frequency spectrum, including firm and full bass, a smooth and detailed midrange, and some pleasant sparkle up top. Highlights include great reproduction of instrumental textures — especially instruments like sax, electric guitars, and synthesizers — as well as excellent stereo imaging. Again, balance is the key here, and the subtle approach to bass is a refreshing turn in today’s headphone marketplace.
KEF’s new M100 headphones are available now for an MSRP of $150. And in our book, that’s going to be money well spent.