As popular as Apple’s AirPods are, there are opportunities where other vendors can fill in the gaps. To begin with, the white plastic is enough. I had a chance to try ATH-CK3TW In-ear Wireless Headphones ($ 99) by Audio Technica at the Consumer Electronics Show. Immediately, you see the dark turquoise blue color and you know that these are not your standard headphones. They are also sold in black or white for those who prefer more mundane color options.
The other area of differentiation is power. They recharge via a USB-C port on the side (cable included) but do not support Qi wireless charging. The USB-C features will appeal to iPad Pro and Android users who want to minimize the type of cables they carry. The headphones offer 6 hours of use and can go up to 24 hours with the charging case, to which the headphones are magnetically connected for easy charging. The earbuds are also sweat and rain resistant, while Apple’s pricey AirPods Pro have olives, as does the much more affordable Audio Technica model with XS / S / M / L options.
The most important part of headphones is sound, and I found that they can be quite loud despite not having noise cancellation. I also found them very clear, even when the volume is at maximum. And you can control playback and volume using touch controls, although the small size of the outer surface of the headphones makes it challenging.
- Unique option of blue plus black or white
- The volume can be quite high
- USB-C charging port, on the side
- 6 hours of use and 24 hours with charging case
- Magnetically attaches to the charging case
- No noise cancellation
- It does not have Qi wireless charging
Audio Technica’s ATH-CK3TW are an attractive alternative to Apple’s AirPods if you don’t need wireless charging or noise cancellation.