Rounding out the cheaper end of Audio-Technica’s earphone catalog, the ATH-C200BT promise “powerful low frequency performance” and “specially designed sound tubes” for just $49. They’ve got 12mm drivers, a 9-hour battery life, and an “open style earbud” that looks like the Sith-Lord version of Apple’s Airpods. Let’s put ’em to the test and see what they’re good for.
Audio Technica ATH-C200BT Review
The C200BT’s are lightweight, grey, all plastic and rubber. They’re built kind of my favorite little toy tank I had when I was kid, and that thing could take some serious abuse. Ah, Tanky. Anyway, durability probably won’t be an issue, as long as you don’t mind earphones that look like they came from the dollar store.
They also feature a big conspicuous wire clip, and an equally big and conspicuous control panel on the wire. The control panel has the standard, 3-button down/power/up arrangement powered by a last-gen Bluetooth 4.1 connection, which gave me no issues during use. And the big clip let me attach the headphones to the drawstring of my hoodie, which provided me endless amusement as I moved it up and down and whispered “weeee” to myself. Who says budget audio can’t be fun? Hmm??
Unfortunately, the dollar store-esque build quality extends all the way up to the pieces that actually fit in your ear. I see what Audio-Technica were going for… and for 1/3rd the price of Apple’s design, the C200BT’s are passable. They fit very lightly in your ear and provide practically no ambient sound isolation whatsoever. You will remain aware of your surroundings….very aware. If you wanted to use them to maybe drown out the sound of cats in heat outside your bedroom window… totally useless. The fit also never sat quite comfortably for me, and began to hurt my hears after a while.
Let me be blunt here: these earbuds are not made for music. There is no “powerful low frequency performance” to be found. The sound is entirely crammed into the highs and the mids. Heavy tracks will overwhelm these buds easily, and things like distorted walls of guitars do not translate well at all.
HOWEVER… probably the most redeeming quality of these earphones is the call quality (when you consider the price). The narrow frequency spectrum that the sound has been crammed into just so happens to be the same narrow band that humans are best at detecting: the spectrum of the human voice. Phone calls were surprisingly clear, and on both ends. For $49, a solid competitor to the Airpods… as long as phone calls are your first priority.
Look, if you want to make hands-free phone calls, and you want to shell out as little money as possible, these earbuds are for you. Or if your scrappy young teenager wants a pair of buds for the same reason, these are a pair that will probably survive being covered in Cheetos-dust. Plus they’ll match his little toy tank… that he still plays with… after all these years. Weird kid you got.
Find them at Audio 46
and on Amazon