Looking for stylish and affordable true wireless earbuds? This Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review is a good place to start. They’re some of the best cheap headphones you can buy if you want a cool pair of buds to match your own personal style.
Audio-Technica is a trusted audio brand in the world of music, with their top of the line headphones taking a top spot in T3’s guide to the best wireless headphones. It’s great to see them offer cheaper options like the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW. Granted, they’re not perfect nor are they packed full of features but they do what they say on the tin, giving you inexpensive wire-free music.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: price and availability
You can buy the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW earbuds for about $80 in the US and £80 in the UK. Take a look at the widgets on this page for more up-to-date pricing from across the web.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: design and fit
The first thing to say about the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is that you can buy them in loads of colours including black, caramel, blueberry blue, cupcake pink or popcorn white. What that means is that there’s sure to be a colour that suits your own personal style.
When it comes to the overall design, they look a little different to standard buds as well, they’re square on the outside with a thin Audio Technica logo, and a second square poking out the top with small left and right indicators backlit by LEDs.
These wireless earbuds are far from boring, so if you don’t want to follow the crowd with simple AirPod-esque black or white buds then these will fit the bill.
In the box, the buds come with a matching charging case, it’s smooth and compact although perhaps not the smallest case you can get. The buds magnetically snap into it so they’re quick to put away when you’re in a hurry.
You get three sizes of silicone ear tips provided to help you find the right fit. I switched over to the smallest tips and they were quite hard to fit onto the headphones, it took me a good few minutes to get them on. But once I had the earbuds felt really secure and comfortable to wear even for a long period of time. You could use them on your commute or even for workouts with no problem at all - plus they’re IPX4 splashproof so will survive being hit by a raindrop or two.
To control the music, there are touch controls on each bud. Tapping on the left bud adjusts the volume while tapping on the right pauses the song and lets you skip forwards or backwards through the tracks. To prevent any accidental touches, the buds automatically lock the controls when you take them out of the case. It’s easy enough to unlock them, you just need to press down on the earbud and you should hear a tone that lets you know they’re ready to use.
The buds themselves last about 6.5 hours of listening time, with an extra 13 hours provided by the charging case. That’s a total battery life of just under 20 hours which is okay although plenty of other headphones have a lot more to offer than that. When you do run out, the earbuds will take about 1.5 hours to recharge fully while the case should take about 2 hours. There’s no wireless charging here.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: performance
The sound on the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW is fine - using 5.8mm drivers the audio is loud and clear with plenty of oomph. You can hear every word in songs, podcasts and videos while instruments are well-defined and there’s plenty of power across the audio.
I would say that the upper mid-range and treble tilts upwards slightly which means the bass frequency suffers somewhat, it won’t be a huge issue for most people but it’s still worth pointing out, audiophiles are sure to pick up on it.
If you’re big on mobile games or watching videos on your commute, the low-latency mode delivers minimal sound delay and boosts the clarity of the audio even more than with it switched off. It’s a useful feature to have if you remember to use it that is.
Unfortunately, there’s no noise-cancelling to speak of here, yet the snug fit means they do quite a good at isolating the sound. You’ll still be able to hear what’s going on around you but you won’t be too distracted by it, in my experience. When you want to be more aware of what’s going on wherever you are, then there is a hear-through mode. It activates the microphones so they pick up and let through certain ambient sounds.
Features are kept to a minimum here, which is perhaps how the price has been kept so low. There’s no manual equaliser settings, no smartphone app and there’s no ear detection that pauses the music when one falls out.
Connecting the buds to your phone is incredibly easy, especially if you have an Android handset thanks to Google Fast Pair. They hook themselves up as soon as you take them out of the case and the connection didn’t drop out even when I wandered away from my phone.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: verdict
So to sum things up, the Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW are a cool pair of true wireless earbuds that will please anyone who doesn’t want to blend into the crowd. The square shape is a welcome change from the norm, and I think it looks great.
While these headphones won’t blow you away, they do exactly what they’re meant to. The sound is good enough, they’re super comfortable and the battery life will be fine for getting you through the day. It’d be nice to have more features like ANC and manual equaliser settings to adjust the audio, but it’s not a major shortcoming to not have those extras, especially considering the fact that these are so cheap.
Audio-Technica ATH-SQ1TW review: also consider
If you want near-perfect sound, then the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus wireless earbuds are worth taking a look at. They might be simple and stripped back but they are the best headphones under $100 / £100 for sound quality.
Is noise-cancelling a must-have feature in your eyes? The Panasonic RZ-S500W are probably a better option in that case. Like these, they look and sound great, but with the added bonus of adjustable noise cancellation. The touch controls are less reliable but at this price, you have to make sacrifices somewhere.