One of the leaders in the professional audio segment, Audio Technica is also slowly but surely beginning to establish itself as a valuable contender in the consumer audio space. Their latest range of consumer headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-S200BT headphones, are priced conservatively at Rs 4,490. This might be the first time Bluetooth headphones in this price range have lasted around 40 hours, which is amazingly good. However, let’s take a closer look at exploring these looks as we put them to the test.
The Audio Technica ATH-S200BT headphones give consumers plenty of reason to invest their money in them just for the battery, but the sound quality is pretty good on these affordable Bluetooth headphones. The headphones cover the basics pretty well and sound pretty solid across a wide variety of genres. They are tonally competent, the bass isn’t overpowering or overpowering, the highs aren’t overly sharp or muffled, and the mids aren’t too restrained either. However, the headphones are dynamically flat, in the sense that they can struggle to bring music to life unless the volume is turned up quite a bit. However, this tends to emphasize the okay-ish sophistication of the higher mids and other than that, it just makes things louder, not dynamically lively.
In pull me under by means of Dream Theater, the headphones cannot properly separate the vocals and instruments. The vocals seemed to have drowned behind instruments in rock and metal music. Paradise City by means of Guns ‘n Roses seems generally lethargic unless the volume is set to over 80 percent, which we don’t recommend (if you like your hearing).
On the other hand, the vocals are very clear on these headphones when not masked by a range of instruments, and there is almost no noticeable distortion even in intensive songs like centuries by means of Fall Out Boy† While most Bluetooth headphones seem to be on the quiet side, which is often a source of complaints, these cans can get extremely loud. The headphones also seem more suitable for warmer tracks.
Playing media on Netflix and YouTube was also quite an enjoyable experience and the headphones emulated the dialogue and background noise well, making for a great experience. There was absolutely no lag between the media content and playback on the headphones, which is great. Call quality is somewhat touch-and-go on these headphones. The voice coming through seems to be hollow and distant, but the person on the other end of the line could hear what we were saying very clearly.
Design and comfort
At first glance, you’ll notice that the ATH-S200BT headphones look like typical Audio Technica headphones despite the price. They have sleek black and gray accents that Audio Technica is known for, which in turn enhances the look of the headphones, making them more visually appealing. However, upon closer inspection, you will realize that the headphones are largely made of plastic and also feel quite flimsy in the hand. Despite this, the construction is decent as they don’t creak when you put them on and the buttons don’t rattle. The Audio Technica logo sits flat on the center back of the cups and looks like geometric works of art.
While aesthetics may not be an issue here, especially at this conservative price point, comfort was definitely a drawback for us. The Audio Technica ATH-S200BT headphones are on-ear headphones, so they don’t completely envelop your ear. The pads on the earcups use basic reflex foam instead of memory foam, making them significantly less comfortable to wear. We found that after wearing these cans for an hour, it became quite uncomfortable, especially with earrings. The headphones don’t flip up either, which is a shame. However, the ear cups can be rotated for easier storage.
The clamping force of the headphones was a little too tight for our taste, they can become especially uncomfortable over time if you’re wearing glasses or earrings, or even otherwise. However, the tight fit makes them very secure and also minimizes sound leakage.
While the headphones don’t have flashy, premium features like water resistance, app supported, USB-C charging and others, there are some built-in features that are quite useful and perform as advertised. The Audio Technica ATH-S200BT headphones have an excellent battery life that lasts up to 40 hours. Most headphones at this price point, or even higher, including the Infinix Quiet X, Ant Audio H82 Treble and JBL E55BT, don’t come close to the battery life of the ATH-S200BT. At this competitive price, you can own a pair of headphones that you charge to 100 percent once and then forget about it for days, which is fantastic.
The playback controls are all located on the underside of the left earcup. There is a physical on/off switch, but the headphones seem to go into standby mode if not used for a while. We left them on all night and were greeted with more or less the same amount of battery left when we started testing them in the morning. In addition, the ATH-S200BT headphones also include a Bluetooth notification light, physical volume, and pause/play buttons. The pause/play button also doubles as a call button. This is also where the micro USB charging slot is located. While we’d prefer a USB Type-C port, that might be a bit too much to ask for at this price.
The Audio Technica ATH-S200BT headphones are cheaper than most of the wireless headphones we recommend, both for those seeking features and those vying for great sound. These affordable cans have incredible battery life, great wireless connectivity and good overall sound, which is more than we’d expect at this price. While they may have some issues, such as a non-folding design, too-tight clamp, and less-than-ideal sound dynamics, they have many redeeming qualities. It would be really hard to find a pair of Bluetooth headphones that would cough up the battery life and sound quality of the ATH-S200BT. If you’re on a budget, these headphones might be the ideal pair for you.