Most of the time, I politely accept the offer of wireless headphones and then mock them behind their backs. My usual shenanigans were interrupted today when I saw Bluetooth headphones from a well-regarded brand. The headphones I’m referring to are the Audio Technica S700BT.
You can get a lot of bang for your buck with Audio-Technica. That appears to hold for the Audio-Technica ATH-S700BT wireless headphone. They are over-the-ear headphones. You can also rotate the ear cups for more accessible storage. They are also comfortable to listen to for long periods due to their lightweight design.
ATH-S700BT Wireless Headphone – In the box
There is no clear plastic or clamshell packaging on the ATH-S700BTs’ outer box. A roughly full-size picture of the headphones appears on the front. On the back, an advertising copy and a cutaway image show how each earcup contains a separate chamber for electrical and acoustic signals. The front and left sides of the box identify the ATH-S700BTs as “Street Monitoring.” Perhaps they think that in a world heavy with Beats headphones, this might add street cred.
Upon opening the outer box, a black cardboard inner box is revealed. A third box contains headphones and accessories. In addition to a soft plastic carry case, a 3.3′ USB charging cable, a 3.9′ 3.5mm audio cable, and an instruction manual in English, French, and Spanish.
In the ATH-S700BTs, all I can see are four tiny Phillips-head screws, which could also be plastic since headphone construction is becoming less and less metal. It has plastic headbands, sliders, earcups, and armature components. As a result, the ATH-S700BTs weigh just 7.1 ounces. In addition, they are pretty sturdy for plastic headphones. With the earcups rotating, the A-Ts are flat when stored; the sliders have detents to hold various positions to fit the head of each individual.
They fit firmly and without pinching. While at the gym, I tried to shake them loose but failed. They are the perfect headphones to wear while exercising if you cannot wear in-ear buds or don’t like them.
While Audio-Technica’s handsets are black and sleek, they need to learn to place words, so their labels are clear yet still look elegant. As a bonus, the A-T logo is molded into the plastic, not pasted on as a decal, unlike another model I reviewed last year. However, they have marked Left and Right at the bottom of the slider in giant letters.
The wearer is the only one who can see this—sort of like writing the size of a garment outside rather than on the inside. In tiny print, there is a “wireless stereo headset” printed on the slider — more unnecessary information that spoils the overall stealthy black appearance. Red is the only color of the cloth covering the inside of the earcups.
It has padded earcups and a faux leather headband with just the proper padding, not overly so. Because of their lightweight, A-T probably decided to reduce the padding a bit.
Unlike most Bluetooth headphones I’ve tested, the ATH-S700BTs have controls and connections on the left earcup. The screen features a rocker switch for volume up/down, as well as an audio cable port and USB charging ports, accessible through a curious rocker panel that, once removed, can’t easily be replaced. There is also an LED indicator for charging, on, and off.
The main switch is a rectangular rounded button located where the left earcup connects to the left arm. With this button, you can turn on and off the ATH-S700BTs and pair them with Bluetooth. You can then press it once to pause, twice to skip ahead a chapter, and three times to go back. The speed of scanning forward and back can be increased with simple combinations of a short and long press.
A volume control and pause/play switch are integrated into the 3.5mm cable that A-T provides for wired listening. In addition, it has a microphone for taking phone calls.
I like the oval earcups, which fit my ears perfectly for passive noise reduction. My earcups fit entirely inside my ears. It is claimed that the battery will last for six hours of continuous use or 200 hours on standby.
The range of the ATH-S700BTs’ Bluetooth wireless operation was less than many others I’ve tested: I could only get it to work indoors within about 14 feet. However, I could receive any Bluetooth signal outside within 26 feet. Three hours is precisely what Audio-Technica estimates it will take to charge the battery fully.
Once I got used to the controls, I found them easy to use. My thumb had trouble distinguishing it from the volume-up button right next to it despite its large size. I struggled with the central control button for some time until I realized that A-T had put a raised dot on it. The switch on the 3.5mm cord worked exactly as A-T predicted.
My initial impression of the ATH-S700BTs, made entirely of plastic, vanished when I first heard them. They played loudly enough that I was able to dial down the volume one notch from the maximum. There was a good balance between sound and volume.
There is some weight and heft to the mids; of course, the highs are well balanced, neither too loud nor too reticent. The lows are transparent yet very natural, and the mids have a strong presence. A broad and deep sound staging is what differentiates the ATH-S700BTs from the rest.
With their lightweight and good fit, the Audio-Technica ATH-S700BT SonicFuels will be ideal for those looking for a quality sound to accompany their physical activities, who do not want wires to get in the way and cannot use in-ear headphones. I found them to be second only in sound quality to the Koss BT540i Bluetooth wireless over-ear headphones. ATH-S700BTs are a great choice if you’re looking for low-cost and lightweight headphones.