Not every week goes by and not using a new pair of wire-free earbuds touchdown, so selecting the perfect pair to blow your hard-earned pennies on is getting trickier on a regular basis. But for these on a price range, the newest buds from heritage model Audio-Technica sound mighty good on paper.

Launched alongside a pricier sibling within the type of the Audio-Technica ATH-CKS5TW, these new buds provide a extra wallet-friendly choice with a price ticket of simply 99 quid. The Audio-Technica CK3TW are set to convey the model’s audio know-how to a wider viewers, however have they got what it takes to up towards the likes of Apple? Let’s discover out…


As with most earbuds, the CK3TW are available in their very own charging case. The makers have opted for a neat square-ish form with rounded corners and a silky end which feels fairly fancy contemplating the sub-£100 value level. Despite packing charging expertise, the case remains to be fairly gentle so it will not add an excessive amount of weight to your bag.

The buds are available in black, white, blue or pink and snap neatly into the case because of some built-in magnets. Not solely this snapping movement really feel inexplicably pleasing, the magnetic pull implies that even if you happen to fumble the buds barely once you take them in or out, there’s much less likelihood of them ending up on the pavement.

What’s extra, the truth that the buds stick out of the open case barely make they fairly straightforward to seize. This is a giant distinction with some rival merchandise the place rigorously excavating the buds from the case in a concentrated fingertip pincer motion seems like an excessive amount of of a problem to be coping with earlier than you’ve got even had your morning espresso.

We discovered the CK3TW buds have been extra snug to put on than the pricer CKS5TWs, with the design feeling lighter and protruding from our ears barely much less. But they’re nonetheless very a lot within the accidentally-getting-yanked-out hazard zone if you happen to’ve received lengthy hair.

There are spare silicone eartips supplied in 4 totally different sizes that can assist you get the appropriate match, and whereas this made the buds moderately cozy we discovered that they began to really feel barely much less cozy after 45 minutes or so. However, the eartips did permit for fairly good sound insulation, so you will not bug the individuals round you with leaky tunes.


Packing Bluetooth 5.0, the earbuds routinely energy on and pair together with your smartphone once you take them out the case. They additionally flip off once you put them again within the case. So far, so good. We discovered that the wi-fi connection was actually sturdy and dependable, and not using a single drop-out.

You’ll get 6 hours of playback per cost, with an additional 24 hours of juice courtesy of the charging case which must be greater than sufficient to get you thru no less than every week or so of commuting. Be warned, the buds solely sport drip-proof IPX2 water resistance, so that they positively not dunkable.


Touch sensors on the earbuds allow you to regulate audio, calls and quantity, with the appropriate bud taking good care of play and pause, whereas a protracted faucet will fireplace up whichever flavour of voice assistant you could have in your smartphone.

The left earbud takes care of quantity – one faucet for up, two faucets for down. The contact controls are respectable sufficient however they could be a little fiddly. This turns into significantly tough if you happen to do not grasp the exact pace of the double faucet and find yourself turning up the quantity by chance. Especially if you happen to do it a second time or perhaps a third time when making an attempt to decrease it once more however really cranking it up even additional to more and more ear-splitting ranges whereas trying such as you’re tapping out a misery message in Morse code in your ear.

Another small bugbear is the voice notifications – an unwelcome American woman is on-hand to bleat out phrases like “Bluetooth linked”, “play” and “pause” each time you do something. We’re unhappy to say you’ll be able to’t flip this off, although if you happen to use the controls in your smartphone as a substitute of the earbud contact controls, the voice assistant will pipe down.

On the plus aspect, the buds characteristic ear detection in order that once you take away an earbud, the audio is routinely paused. This characteristic is one thing that Apple’s AirPods are recognized for but it surely’s nonetheless removed from the norm, particularly at this value. The auto pause works rather well but it surely’s not turned on by default. You’ll must lengthy press the left earbud for six seconds to show the characteristic on.

PERFORMANCE: All about that bass

We anticipated good efficiency from Audio-Technica and we weren’t upset.

Kitted out with 5.8mm drivers, the earbuds produce a powerful well-balanced sound. Bass is huge and punchy and a lot better than you’ve got received any proper to anticipate for one thing at this value.

Qualcomm TrueWireless Stereo Plus is on board to make sure low latency so to stream with a secure connection whereas Clear Voice Capture know-how helps to cut back ambient noise in order that fortunate callers can cling in your each well-chosen phrase.

Audio-Technica CK3TW verdict

For lower than 100 notes you are unlikely to seek out audio high quality this good. A neatly designed case, respectable bud design, good sound isolation, dependable connectivity, and the helpful auto pause characteristic are all good causes to offer the Audio-Technica CK3TW a strive.

The design of the earbuds may nonetheless do with being barely much less cumbersome, however how snug they really feel is absolutely down to non-public choice.

The Touch management is not excellent but it surely’s not a catastrophe both – we have seen a lot, a lot worse. There’s positively some room for enchancment right here however if you happen to’re after strong audio high quality for a two-figure value then these buds could be the right match proper now.