Hands on: Audio-Technica's gesture-controlled, noise-cancelling ATH-ANC700BT headphones

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2018
One of the year's more notable entries into the realm of high-fidelity Bluetooth headphones comes from Audio-Technica, which is trying to bridge the gap between performance and cost with its $199 QuietPoint ATH-ANC700BT, or the 700BT for short.

Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC700BT


On the surface there's nothing particularly remarkable about the 700BT. There's one color option -- matte black -- and there's nothing ostentatious about its design. It looks fine, just nothing to write home about. Bundled accessories are limited to a pouch, a micro USB charging cable, and a 3.5mm headphone jack if you want or need to skip Bluetooth.

As it turns out, you might have to if you're a Windows PC user (gasp). Out of curiosity, we tried pairing the headphones with a Windows 10 PC, but for whatever reason the computer would only register them as a mic input. Pairing with an iPhone 6s Plus, conversely, was quick and painless.

As usual we'll have more to say in our full review, but our initial impressions are conflicted, if largely positive. The 700BT manages to be light and extremely comfortable, such that these are some of the few headphones we could imagine wearing all day at work. They'd be great at the gym too if they were waterproof.

They sound fantastic, which is probably to be expected from a company like Audio-Technica and a rated frequency response between 5 and 40,000 hertz. Music from Spotify's high-quality feed is crisp and clear, with perfect bass that's punchy without any sign of distortion or drowning out highs and mids. You can find better-sounding headphones, but only if you're willing to spring for something substantially more expensive.

Noise cancellation seems to work well too. When activated, it effectively kills any sound from our office fan and AC. This needs testing in noisier environments however, especially since any decent over-the-ear headphones have a certain amount of isolation built in.

One thing we're not a fan of is the 700BT's control scheme. Apart from an on/off/pairing switch, everything is controlled either in-app or from a touch-sensitive surface on the left earcup -- turning on noise cancellation, for example, requires covering the whole surface with your palm. This works, but only inconsistently, and we see no reason why Audio-Technica couldn't have used real buttons.

Stay tuned to AppleInsider for the full review, coming soon.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 4
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Buy Beats instead. Or AirPod.
  • Reply 2 of 4
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,162member
    I like Audio-Technica's hardwired products but when it comes to Bluetooth I'm so totally spoiled by Apple's W1 chip that I cannot bring myself to buy any Bluetooth product that does not have the W1. Until Apple licenses the W1 technology to other vendors all of my Bluetooth purchases will stay with Apple/Beats. 
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 4
    Roger_FingasRoger_Fingas Posts: 148member, editor
    dewme said:
    I like Audio-Technica's hardwired products but when it comes to Bluetooth I'm so totally spoiled by Apple's W1 chip that I cannot bring myself to buy any Bluetooth product that does not have the W1. Until Apple licenses the W1 technology to other vendors all of my Bluetooth purchases will stay with Apple/Beats. 
    I'm a fan of the W1 chip, but it's still pretty easy to pair these. These also sound better than most Apple/Beats products (spoiler alert!).
  • Reply 4 of 4
    You know what would be a great topic to cover - in both this review and elsewhere? Compatibility with the Mac! This is AppleInsider, after all, and not "IOSInsider".

    This really needs attention, too, as the situation for bluetooth headphones on the Mac is utterly fscked. I'm sure they exist somewhere, but I have yet to find a headset that can both play sound and pull sound from a mic at the same time. In other words, if you want to use it for Skype or Facetime or a softphone or... whatever, then you are totally screwed. It just doesn't work. And I can't figure out why. It seems like there's some issue with audio going in both directions at once, and if you hand-set output to mono, you may be able to get it to work (my last round of experimentation was a few years ago and my memory is fuzzy). But out of the box on a new Mac, no dice. And no indication of what's wrong or how to fix it.
    edited August 2018 watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.