Tokyo-based Audio-Technica is a legendary identify in the audio area. I’ve examined headphones from this model and have typically been impressed. This time, the firm has launched a brand new entrant in the aggressive TWS area in India known as the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. These no-nonsense headphones promise to ship a musical expertise, but it could come at the value of options. For the same value, you get choices like the Jabra Elite 4 (Assessment) , Google Pixel Buds A-Collection (Assessment) , and for ₹2,500 extra, you’ll be able to even get the shiny new Nothing Ear (2) (Assessment) . So, is the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW price its ₹7,490 price ticket and the way does it stack up in opposition to the competitors? Let’s discover out in my detailed evaluation.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW evaluation: design and match
Audio-Technica is positioning the new ATH-SQ1TW as a classy pair of really wi-fi headphones; out there for buy in a number of colours. Sadly, that is not the case in the Indian market, the place the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is barely out there in black, which frankly appears slightly bland in comparison with the engaging appears of the Jabra Elite 4 and Google Pixel Buds A-Collection. And naturally, nowhere does it look as cool as Nothing Ear (2). The matte texture of the case can be fairly simple to scratch.
Nevertheless, it’s price noting some design nuances. The headphones are housed in a sq. charging case with rounded corners and a delicate Audio-Technica brand on the prime. The matte black case appears respectable for the value, and the form is sort of unconventional, but as we talked about earlier, there are better-looking really wi-fi headphones for the identical value. The USB Kind-C charging port is positioned on the again subsequent to the white LED indicator.
Once you open the case, you will discover the buds neatly tucked into their designated proper and left slots, that are clearly labeled with textual content. The magnets are sturdy and the buds do not slip out simply. The physique hinge, nevertheless, appears a bit flimsy and could also be vulnerable to breaking beneath tough use, so remember.
The headphones share the identical boxy design as the charging case, and feature tiny Audio-Technica logos on the again (which doubles as a contact sensor). There may be an extra fin-like space that protrudes from every earcup that’s purely ornamental and doesn’t contribute to the match. As a substitute, it options LED-backlit R and L logos that mild up when positioned inside the case or when the case is opened. It appears fairly stylish.
How these earbuds fit your needs relies upon completely on the match of the earbuds. Audio-Technica has supplied a complete of 4 sizes of ear pads, so most customers ought to discover a measurement that matches. I discover them to be fairly cosy and safe, but the ear suggestions go very deep into the ears, which might really feel uncomfortable. Buds must be twisted and pinned in place to get a agency match. I might even run with the following tips on with out having to regulate them usually, they usually’re additionally IPX4 rated, which implies you get sweat and splash safety.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW evaluation: options
At an asking value of ₹7,490, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is surprisingly low on options. No lively noise cancellation, no app assist, no voice assistant management, no on-ear detection, no multi-point connectivity and no wi-fi charging. Most of its opponents no less than have ANC and app assist for this value, so sadly the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW appears very fundamental.
Let’s discuss the options we get. The Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW might not have ANC, but it does have a transparency mode. This may be activated by lengthy urgent the proper contact sensor. Sadly, this mode is poorly applied. As quickly as you flip it on, you will hear a low static-like noise, and ambient sounds which are amplified sound very synthetic.
Since there isn’t any ANC, you are principally relying on passive isolation to drown out ambient sound when listening to music, and fortunately the passive isolation is superb – nearly good in my view, because it’s even higher than the ANC of some funds headphones.
The headphones even have contact controls on each earbuds, but whenever you take them out of the case, these controls are turned off by default to stop unintentional presses. You simply must faucet the contact controls on the buds as soon as to activate the controls. Since the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW doesn’t assist a companion app, it isn’t potential to alter the controls. The default controls aren’t very intuitive, and it took me some time to get used to them.
The headphones run on Bluetooth v5.0, which appears a bit dated in 2023, but we did not expertise any main connectivity points. There may be additionally assist for Google Quick Pair, which considerably hurries up the course of of making a pair. The headphones additionally assist mono mode, during which one earbud can be utilized by itself whereas the different stays in the charging case. There’s additionally a low-latency mode that tries to get rid of audio-video lag. It labored fairly decently throughout my testing, so kudos!
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW Assessment: Efficiency
Outfitted with 5.8 mm dynamic audio system, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW lives as much as its musical efficiency. The headphones have a balanced sound attribute, which is uncommon at this value, as most TWS headphones are tuned for a sound attribute with low frequencies. Sadly, the headphones solely assist the SBC audio codec, but not AAC and high-end codecs like aptX and LDAC.
Regardless of this, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW are amongst the best-sounding headphones beneath ₹10,000. I in contrast the sound signature of those headphones with the Nothing Ear (2) and the Jabra Elite 4, and located the Audio-Technica to be the finest sounds The low finish is punchy and constant, with sufficient rumble to be nice to take heed to with out being too overwhelming.
Because of this, the midrange additionally sounds clear and exact, and the notes current between 250Hz and 500Hz shine by means of, regardless of heavy bass interference in some EDM and pop tracks. Vocals sound nice, but element is a bit higher on Nothing Ear (2). The highs are good and shiny, but the low finish is a bit abrupt. Nevertheless, the 4kHz – 6kHz dip saved the sound principally hiss-free. The soundstage is surprisingly vast for a pair of TWS in-ear headphones, and the imaging can be wonderful.
I actually loved listening to tracks like One thing from Nothing by Foo Fighters the place the devices had been exactly positioned on stage. Even pop songs like Rema’s Calm Down had a pleasant edge to the bass notes, but retained the element of Rema’s vocals. It isn’t the most detailed sounding headphone on the market, but in the event you get a high quality FLAC file or take heed to uncompressed audio, you’ll expertise one thing really musical.
I used to be additionally very impressed with the microphone on these headphones due to how clear my voice sounded throughout calls. There was a variety of element and readability that’s usually lacking at this value level. Nevertheless, the microphone additionally picks up ambient sounds, so do not use it for out of doors conferences.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW evaluation: Battery life
The battery lifetime of the Audio Technica ATH-SQ1TW may be described as weak. It isn’t essentially horrible, but it does not match the competitors. The headphones are designed for six.5 hours of operation from one cost, and the case supplies one other 13 hours of battery life. That is 19.5 hours of battery life – with out ANC – which is absurdly low for 2023.
Throughout my testing, the headphones lasted 6 hours and a pair of minutes at 70% quantity. The case resulted in two extra full prices. In distinction, the Jabra Elite 4 is rated for 28 hours of battery life, whereas the Nothing Ear (2) can last as long as 36 hours in whole, each with out ANC enabled.
The case may be charged utilizing a USB C cable, and so far as I might inform, there isn’t a assist for quick charging. You additionally do not get wi-fi charging assist. Throughout our assessments, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW totally charged in about 1.5 hours, which is sort of respectable.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW Assessment: Verdict
In case your sound high quality solely You possibly can select the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. These are a few of the finest, if not the finest, sounding headphones you may get beneath Rs 8,000. Nevertheless, for all the pieces else, look elsewhere. In 2023, these headphones will present a minimal return on your cash. You lose options like lively noise cancellation and app assist, and battery life is mediocre at finest. The design is not notably spectacular, and the one black choice appears fairly strange. Select the Jabra Elite 4, which has a number of extra options and higher battery life. In the event you can spend Rs 2.5k extra, the Nothing Ear (2) actually stands out.