Astell Kern UW100MkII earbuds look to set a new standard in true wireless sound

Astell & Kern has announced its UW100MkII true wireless, which it claims goes a step further in setting a new standard in true wireless sound.

It follows on from the original UW100 (which are no longer on sale), in trying to offer a “natural sound that is close as possible to the original” signal. That means that the lack of active noise-cancellation continues with this model as Astell & Kern remain staunch in opinion that ANC will affect the overall audio performance. The Ambient Mode continues on, though, offering the users the ability to parse the outside world through to their ears.

Inside the true wireless is a 32-bit DAC and a full range Balance Armature drive, a combination Astell Kern claims delivers “class-leading precision and detail”. The acoustic chamber has been redesigned too, not only to improve the sound but also improve wireless playtime too.

Battery has been bumped to 9.5 hours out of the buds and a total of 29 hours with the charging case. The size of the charging has been reduced so it fits easily into pockets for travel. Fast-charging is supported with a hour of playback claimed back from a 10-minute charge. The case is also compatible with wireless charging mats.

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AptX Adaptive Bluetooth is supported to ensure the UW100 MkII doesn’t lose connection to your (Android) device. Bluetooth multipoint is supported for connecting to multiple devices at the same time. Google Fast Pair will enable a quicker connection to an Android device during first time pairing.

AstellKern UW100MK2 product image

Call quality is said to have been improved to deliver a more stable performance, while Qualcomm’s Clear Voice Capture technology aims to keep background noise to a minimum in busy environments.

There’s also the A&K app that’s been slightly tweaked from a visual stand point. Inside the app is an adjustable 1-band EQ to change the sound of the UW100MkII, as well as customisation of the touch controls and management of the ‘Ambient Mode’ levels.

The UW100MKII is accompanied by an exclusive App to offer state-of-the-art customisability for the listener. The App offers an adjustable 10-band EQ to alter the sound of the UW100MKII to suit your preferences while also enabling listeners to reconfigure the touch controls of the earbuds and change the ‘Ambient Mode’ levels.

The original UW100 were a pair of wireless earbuds we enjoyed very much when we reviewed them, and we’re hoping for a similar level of performance from the

MkII. We’ll have to wait a little while to hear them as they go on sale early October 2023 for £269 / $280 / €319 and AUS$499, putting them firmly in Sony WF-1000XM5 and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II territory.

Originally posted 2023-08-08 08:06:03.