Audio-Technica delivers the ATH-SPORT7TW for an in-ear headphone that combines cable-free convenience with a snug fit. What’s more, these in-ears boast high levels of workmanship to ensure a robust and reliable option, with waterproof properties ensuring they’re ideal for sporting activities and exercise. Powerful sound performance, fast recharging and free app connectivity make these even more desirable, while the ability to increase perception of external noise is a further plus.
These Bluetooth headphones are supplied with ergonomically shaped ear mould caps in a range of sizes so that the in-ears themselves can be rotated when inserted into the ear canal. This first requires a little concentration, but once mastered, it ensures a very secure fit that withstands even sharp, sudden shocks. Despite this high level of hold, wearing comfort is not compromised. The overall comfort level is enhanced further by the lower weight of these headphones, balancing out at about eight grams per ear when worn. Only the height of these in-ears is a potential problem, preventing the listener from wearing tight-fitting caps with them without causing unwanted pressure problems. Also, the in-ears aren’t the most discreet of options thanks to their size, although the water-resistant properties of these durable headphones provide plenty of protection against wet weather and sweat. This waterproofed finish also means cleaning is much easier.
The energy supply of these in-ear headphones hinges around fast-charging lithium-ion batteries. On average, a full charge cycle facilitates around three hours of playback. You can also expect 45 minutes of operation for a mere 10 minutes of charging when you’re in a rush. The included carry case serves as the charging station for the headphones, with a full charging cycle taking approximately two hours. This oval-shaped case is relatively compact, weighing only 64 grams. The case also boasts a battery reserve equating to 14 hours of operational time, which combined with your full charge capacity, adds up to around 17 hours of potential playback. The case can be charged to full capacity via USB in a mere three hours. Like the headphones themselves, the case is primarily made of plastic, but isn’t the worse for it. In fact, a first-rate finish that exudes high levels of workmanship and quality is standard here.
The wireless technology found with these headphones supports Bluetooth 5.0 when connecting to iOS and Android devices, with reliable range of eight metres when I tested it. The more ambitious ten metres specified by the manufacturer can therefore not be confirmed from this end. There was also some instance of isolated connectiction dropouts of the left earpiece, however these were not reproducible when carrying out the test and therefore aren’t likely to be caused by vibrations and movement experienced during sporting activity. The in-ears are paired automatically when removed from their carry case. When the system overall is switched off, they are uncoupled. Alternatively, after five minutes of device inactivity, there’s an automatic switch-off to save battery life. Another handy feature of this device is that touch control is locked when removing and can only be reactivated again by touching the correct sensor. This means contact can occur without you accidentally activating or adjusting device functions and levels without meaning to.
Device Control and Functions
When a radio connection is established, the handset on the left side is used for controlling volume. This can be done by simply tapping the relevant location to increase volume, while a double-tap will reduce volume. You can stop and start playback by using the other side, which also provides you with control over track selection and navigation. A double touch serves as jump forward, while a triple touch jumps back. You can also use this side to answer calls, while call rejection and termination requires a slightly longer press. Touch control has been implemented relatively well overall, with the sensors at work not being too sensitive , ensuring there’s minimal incidence of triggering unwanted functions or adjustments.
You’ll be pleased to hear that these in-ears utilise microphones of the utmost quality. Omnidirectional polar patterns deliver consistently clear reproduction of your voice when making calls. This is no surprise though. Audio-Technica has been a frontrunner in the manufacturer of premium studio microphones for some time also brings further perks. For example, external noise from the surrounding environment is apparent to an extent. This feature makes these a safer choice, allowing listeners to maintain a perception of traffic when jogging in busy urban areas or just about anywhere. This function can also be switched on and off with ease by holding the left earpiece for a longer period time. The app also allows you to change levels for ambient sound settings so you’re more or less aware of surrounding noises in the vicinity. You can choose from quiet, medium and loud selection options. These should allow for ideal adaptation to almost any training environment.
The Connect app is free to download for iOS and Android devices, providing users with an optional slate of personal preference settings. There’s plenty to enjoy here, from the tracking function to help users reunite with their lost headphones, as well as a media player, battery status indicator, codec information and practical quick guide that provides further insights and reference reading. Voice announcements can be switched on and off via the app, while a preferred codec can also be selected and set for use. Both AAC and SBC formats are available for selection. Should you encounter any troublesome interference with the connection or an inconsistency between picture and sound playback, the app can also be used to switch to Bluetooth SBC standard. This will often make quick work of rectifying such a problem.
These in-ears deliver a balanced and harmonious sound, with no tendency to overdraw individual frequency ranges. The result is you’ve a pair of in-ear headphones that cover a very broad stylistic range. Basses reveal themselves as dry and defined, while serving the likes of electronic productions very well indeed. The low bass range is nothing too out of the ordinary, but the foundation bass level is certainly powerful, while reserving room for the midrange and treble without any discernible drop in quality. Ultimately, the sound quality is pleasant and clear, with a rich and full profile. It might be somewhat compact, but the stereo stage of these headphones is well structured. It’s only the resolution that might meet some criticism from the more discerning audiophile, who might expect something more sophisticated. Otherwise, there’s really not anything of note to add to the criticism column with these in-ears. They not only convince with their sporting activity application, but also serve as ideal everyday listeners for everything from classical music to jazz, rock to pop and beyond. A high output also ensures there’s reserves for louder environments, meaning play at even lower levels can be enjoyable.
If you’re seeking a pair of headphones for sporting activity that combines cable-free convenience with impressive sound quality as standard, Audio-Technica’s ATH-SPORT7TW is well worth a further look. These in-ears score top marks for their stable fit and hold, refined sound quality and high-end microphone technology. Highly functional touch control design and a host of handy extras courtesy of the Connect app also deserve a mention. As long as you’re not too caught up on the size of your in-ear housing, these are a go-to listening companion that will deliver.
- Ear couplingIn-ear
- Transducer principledynamic
- Frequency response (headphones)20 - 25.000 Hz
- Impedance14 ohms
- Sound pressure level (SPL)91 dB
- Weight without cable6,4 g
What's in the box
- 4 pair of ear tips (XS, S, M, L)
- 4 pair of ear hooks (XS, S, M, L)
- 1 pair of Comply ear tips (M)
- USB charging cable
- Charging case
- BT version: 5.0
- BT profiles: A2DP, AVRCP, HFP, HSP
- BT codecs: AAC, SBC