These cheap wireless earbuds from Audio-Technica are the funkiest design I've seen all year

The hi-fi and headphone legend launches cheap earbuds that don't skimp on the style

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW in white on wooden surface
(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

Audio-Technica – maker of excellent sound gear ranging from world-class turntables to top-tier affordable headphones – has announced a pair of £79/$79 true wireless earbuds, with a cool design that stands out from all the other basic budget buds. These could definitely be some of the best cheap wireless earbuds for those with an eye for aesthetics.

Available from today, the snappily named Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW feature a layered square design in different textures and in really cool colours. You can get them in 'Black', 'White' and 'Popsicle' finishes from multiple retailers, while the Blueberry, Caramel and Cupcake colours are only available directly from audio-technica.com (opens in new tab).

Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW in all colours on white background

Clockwise, from top left: Black, Popsicle, Cupcake, Blueberry, Caramel, White.

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

I suspect the square design for earbuds, and the mix of matte with metallic, will mean that not everyone agrees with me that these are an instant design icon, but I love them. Hiding your earbuds is boring – if you're going to wear something, it should say something about you. These offer you a big splash of colours, and mix of tones (even in ones that are a consistent overall colour) is bang on trend – they remind me of Apple's AirPods Max in that sense.

What's inside matters too, of course. There's a 5.8mm driver, which isn't huge for this kind of bud (the driver in Beats Studio Buds is 8.2mm, for comparison), but Audio-Technica's headphones are known for delivering strong, accurate sound for the price, and I'll bet it's the same here. It was only last month we were raving about the sound quality in our Audio-Technica M50xBT2 review, after all.

Also of note is that there's a low-latency mode, which will be welcome for gaming and video, since it helps avoid any delay between what's happening on-screen and when it reaches the earbuds. And the battery life is decent too: 6.5 hours per charge, with two more charges in the case.

The IPX4 rating means that they're splashproof, and should be able to survive a bit of sweat from exercise too.

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.