If you're looking for really good audio, Astell&Kern's AK UW100 is a great choice. At S$399, the UW100 costs more than other mainstream premium earbuds, but the sound is simply top-notch. I love the detail and clarity in the earbuds, and you will, too.
- Knowles balanced armature
- DAC: 32-bit AKM AK4332ECB
- Supports wireless charging for case
- Bluetooth 5.2
Design-wise, the earbuds feature a jewel motif pattern that's visually striking. This pattern is also repeated on the charging case. The earbuds pack quite a few features, such as a Knowles Full Range driver and a 32-bit DAC. This does mean a slightly larger-than-normal earbud. It sits quite comfortably in my ear, though. The eartips do a good job of sealing against outside sound. The UW100 also come with a full set of different-sized ear tips so you can get the right fit.
I'm honestly quite impressed with the UW100's audio. While it has more of an overall neutral tone, everything is clear and balanced. There's a lot of detail in the mids and highs — even better than the Sony WF-1000XM4. It's the best pair of wireless headphones I've tested so far. While it isn't as bass-heavy as some other headphones, the bass comes out strong, but clear. For tracks such as Jessi's What Kind of X, the bass is punchy without being overwhelming.
Unlike other earbuds in this price range, the UW100 doesn't come with active noise cancelling (ANC). What it does have is an ambient noise mode that kicks in when your track stops playing. However, it doesn't have features such as Sony's “speak to chat”, which turns on ambient mode when it detects you talking. Otherwise, the passive noise isolation is pretty good, and will block out most noise. The battery life rating is six hours, but the earbuds only lasted around four hours in our full volume test. The case adds another 18. The mic quality seems a tad average. If there's wind, you'll hear quite a bit of distortion.
The Astell&Kern's AK UW100 may be expensive at S$399, but it has the audio quality to match. While it may not be the smallest earbuds, or have cool ANC features, the sound is top-notch. Get it from Shopee or Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Astell&Kern.
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