Today may be Hot Sauce Day, but there’s little time to celebrate as the new Audio Technica ATH-SPORT7TW has just arrived at MajorHiFi. Selling for a cool $199, it’s not quite as expensive as other recent entries in the truly wireless market. But how does this inexpensive sports earphone stack up to it’s more expensive competitors?
Audio Technica ATH-SPORT7TW Review
The SPORT7TW arrives in a box that also includes the charging case, a micro-USB charging cable, four sizes of earhooks, and five pairs of eartips.
Right out of the box, these look a tad bit bulky for true wireless earphones, and I doubt they will ever stay in my ears. Yet, the fit remains surprisingly comfortable and secure once these are positioned correctly. Because, ingeniously, the SPORT7 features a silicon earhook that looks more like a simple ridge around the inside of the earpiece. Once placed in the ear, this ridge seemlessly conforms to the natural contours of your ear, guaranteeing it won’t fall out (and also blocking a good deal of ambient noise in the process!).
Playtime comes in at 3.5 hours on the earpieces themselves, with an additional 14 hours through the case. And, just 10 minutes of charging time yields a whopping 45 minutes of playtime. Running on Bluetooth 5.0 protocols, the ATH-SPORT7TW offers support for AAC and SBC codecs, but no aptX.
Touch controls and compatibility with voice assistant software allow for adjusting playback and volume on the go. Or for looking up pictures of basset hounds when you should be writing headphone reviews.
This earphone also sports an IPX5 rating, meaning it’s both waterproof and sweatproof. You may not be able to go swimming with it, but it will hold up against rough use in the rain or during the sweatiest of workout sessions.
Despite the well-executed noise-cancellation on the SPORT7TW, this earphone also has a built-in hear-through mode that allows users to better hear ambient noise. It’s a great feature to have if you like to work out where there might be possible safety hazards, like running through an intersection or lifting weights at a gator farm.
Frequency Range: 20-25,000 Hz
Nominal Impedance: 14 ohms
Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 91 dB
While it may rock a fairly standard frequency range, the Audio Technica SPORT7TW also offers an very efficient 14 ohms. And though the SPL of 91 decibels seems a bit low, I didn’t have a hard time getting these babies up to an almost-uncomfortable volume level.
See the full specs here.
The low end on the ATH-SPORT7TW comes across as tight and well controlled. There’s an acceptable level of detail at play here, but the real show-stealer is the delicious bass response. Even-keeled at lower volumes, it doesn’t sound quite that powerful until you push it to 60% volume or more. The result is a bass that remains chill and mellow for softer listening volumes, but one that can also sound powerful and emotive when you jack the volume up for more intense listening sessions.
Despite the full and emotive lows, the mids stay on track with some decent clarity. While there’s a little compression on display here, it’s not much of a deal-breaker. Vocals and instrumentation remain pretty present and articulate, allowing lyric-intensive tracks to retain their luster. In general, these mids sound more relaxed than recessed, offering good contrast but never trying to compete with the bassy low end.
Sounding just a tad bit rolled-off in the high end, the SPORT7 sounds great for pop and rock, but might miss the boat on classical tunes. That being said, if you’re not working out to Mozart or Beethoven, you’re probably going to love these highs. Delicate but fun, they work wonders alongside the thick low end and relaxed midrange.
With good depth and a little bit of space, too, the soundstage here sounds nothing short of amazing…for a sporty true wireless earphone. Sure, this soundstage won’t really compete with open-back headphones or a top-of-the-line in-ear monitor. However, for the price, you will be hard-pressed to find a deeper sound with better clarity.
For the first time, I feel like I’ve found a truly wireless earphone that I honestly believe will NEVER fall out. The ear hooks/fins/ridges (or whatever you want to call them) provide a secure fit – and one that doesn’t waver, regardless of the activity. Zero slippage and zero worries.
The sound quality is also worth noting. They sound amazing at $199, with a heady warmth that lends itself particularly well for hip-hop, rock, pop, and electronica. While maybe not as balanced as the other Audio Technica true wireless earphone, the CKR7TW, they still sound more fun and engaging.
If you need a workout earphone in true wireless form, and you can swing the $199 price of the SPORT7TW, you won’t find a better earphone. They crush Apple AirPods, no question. But even if you’re considering the Jabra True Wireless, skip the connection issues and poor sound quality, and live happily ever after with these Audio Technicas.
For folks who want more balance between the lows and highs (as opposed to the warm, low-end-centric sound of the SPORT7TW), the Audio Technica CKR7TW might do the trick, though without the water- and sweat-resistance.
Where sheer detail is concerned, though, neither of these options can truly compete with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless. At $299, this earphone will cost you a good deal more, but offers clarity and precision for days with any genre of music.
At $199, the Audio Technica ATH-SPORT7TW amounts to nothing short of a steal. Despite a somewhat short battery life and no support for aptX, these earphones still sound amazing thanks to their rich and warm sound profile and impressive soundstage. Add to this the durable build and flawless fit, and you’ve got one impressive earphone. MajorHiFi’s take? A gold-star earphone, and already one of the highlights for 2019.
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