Usability

As the most affordable TWS offering from Audio-Technica, the ATH-CKS3TW is not supported by Audio-Technica Connect App, the company’s companion App. It does, however, have voice guidance in English to aid usability.

It was observed that the magnets implemented on the ATH-CKS3TW are noticeably stronger than average; having experienced on other True Wireless offerings where one has to place the earbuds with precision for them to snap into place in the case, it is certainly something positive.

Upon placing the earbuds in the charging case, the indicator LED on the earbuds will light up in white if it is charging, turn off when charging is completed, and flashing in red indicates a charging error.

When charging the case, the red charging indicator LED to the left of the charging port will be flashing continuously, if the case is fully charged, it will light up for 12 seconds and turns off. However, if it flashes rapidly, it indicates a charging error.

According to the specifications provided by the company, the charging case provides up to 24 hours of battery life. Out of the charging case, the earbuds are in pairing mode when the indicator LED on the right earbud flashes rapidly in white, when successfully paired and connected, the indicator LEDs on both earbuds are off. It is interesting to observe that when the earbuds are unable to find any connection, it will automatically enter into pairing mode.

The touch sensor area revolves around the Audio-Technica logo on either earbud. Tapping on the touch sensor area on the right earbud once plays or pauses the music, tapping twice forwards to the next track, tapping thrice reverses to the previous record while a tap and hold will activate the voice assistant of choice. Google Assistant and Siri are supported. Tapping on the touch sensor area on the left earbud once increases the volume by 1 level, tapping twice decreases the volume by 1 level.

Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW

The earbuds also have a built-in sensor to support the ear detection feature, which pauses the playback automatically when one of the earbuds leaves the ear, and playback is resumed automatically when both earbuds are worn. For some reason, ear detection is not turned on by default, to turn on the feature, touch the touch sensor on the left earbud for about 6 seconds while the music is paused. Upon successful enabling of ear detection, one would hear a confirmation with voice guidance, “Ear detection on.” Not commonly found on entry-level offerings, this feature works well on the ATH-CK3TW and is something handy when one has to pause the music for a short conversation.

During the review process, the ATH-CK3TW registered an average battery life of 5 hours and 36 mins when paired with an Apple iPhone 11 and an average battery life of 6 hours and 21 mins when paired with an LG V40 ThinQ, not too far from the 6 hours provided by the company’s specifications. It is not surprising that the earbuds registered a better battery life when paired with the LG V40 ThinQ as the ATH-CK3TW supports Qualcomm’s TrueWireless™ Stereo Plus and is more energy-efficient and provides low-latency when working with a smartphone using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoC.

Part 1: Introduction, Design and Build
Part 2: Usability
Part 3: Sound Quality
Part 4: Product Specifications
Part 5: Review Ratings, Summary

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Goh Beng Yeow, the Founder / Editor at Porta-Fi™, is a recipient of the IT Youth Award in Singapore. Twice nominated for EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Beng Yeow has previously founded startups such as PDALive.com, Coded Pixels Consultants and was a Tech writer for TODAY, a national daily newspaper under MediaCorp.

Since 2017, he has been writing, editing and producing commentaries, interviews, news and reviews on Porta-Fi™. In 2019, Beng Yeow was appointed Advisor to LHDC™, the industry's latest low latency and high-definition Bluetooth audio codec.

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