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Astell&Kern Announces UW100 MK II True Wireless Earphones

New 2nd generation Astell&Kern true wireless earphones offer a few upgrades, while keeping its $299 price tag the same.

Woman with Astell&Kern UW100 MK II in-ear holding charging case.

Astell&Kern has just unveiled an improved version of the UW100 true wireless earphone called the UW100 MK II. The second generation model retains the same $299 price tag and external industrial design as the original UW100 which was released in 2022, but now features some tweaks in regard to the placement of the driver, improved battery performance, and a much smaller charging case.

Astell&Kern UW100 MK II in Charging Case Open Angle on Table

What’s new?

The position of the BA driver has been moved towards the inside of the ear to better deliver the finer audio details more directly, and the acoustic chamber structure and mesh size have been re-designed in accordance with the new BA driver position to deliver the optimal sound output.

Astell&Kern UW100 MK II Earbud Parts Exploded

Astell&Kern also claims its proprietary AMP and circuit technology enables further noise reduction than the previous model, allowing for clearer sounds with higher separation levels.  

The UW100 MK II includes a smaller charging case, yet is able to extend battery life from 6 to 9.5 hours on a single charge. That’s a claim we will certainly want to test once we get these in for review.

Astell&Kern UW100 MK II in Charging Case Open Left Angle Floating Earbud

Comparison

UW100UW100 MK II
MSRP$299.00$299.00
BT ChipsetQualcomm 5141Qualcomm 5141
Driver UnitKnowles Balanced ArmatureKnowles Balanced Armature
DACAKM AK4332ECBAKM AK4332ECB
BT Version5.25.2
BT CodecSBC, AAC, aptX™ AdaptiveSBC, AAC, aptX™ Adaptive
BT ProfileHFP, A2DP, AVRCPHFP, A2DP, AVRCP
Sound Pressure Level(SPL)94dB (1m@1kHz)94dB (1m@1kHz)
Earbud ControlCapacitive TouchCapacitive Touch
SensorProximity SensorProximity Sensor
Microphone2-mic / per earbud2-mic / per earbud
Playback TimeUp to 6hrs
(Maximum 24hrs)
Up to 9.5hrs
(Maximum 29hrs)
USBC Type for chargingC Type for charging
CradleSupports Wireless ChargingSupports Wireless Charging
Control APPAndroid and iOS versionAndroid and iOS version
Firmware UpgradeOTA (Over The Air)OTA (Over The Air)
Weight (Earbuds)~7g~7g
Weight (Charging Case)~65g~65g
Dimensions (Earbud)22.2 x 21.2 x 22.8 (mm)22.2 x 21.2 x 22.8 (mm)
Dimension (Cradle)76.8 x 41 x 34 (mm)72 x 32 x 34 (mm)

What’s the same?

Both UW100 models utilize Knowles Balanced Armature Drivers, which are typically used in expensive IEM (in ear monitor) systems, instead of the Dynamic Drivers that are common in generic TWS systems. From what we can tell so far, both products use the same Bluetooth chipsets and DACs. Neither has ANC, but rely on Passive Noise Isolation (PNI) to reduce unwanted ambient noise.

If the listener wishes to hear ambient sounds, a single tap on the left earbud activates ambient mode.  You can switch between the four ambient modes by tapping the left earbud or using the AK Control app, available for iOS and Android devices.

The AK UW100 MK II features powerful wireless performance enabled by the premium-tier Qualcomm QCC5141 Bluetooth chipset and includes support for aptX™ Adaptive, Qualcomm’s next-generation high-quality codec for wireless 24-bit sound quality and Bluetooth 5.2 support, for better connectivity than other TWS products.

In addition, Qualcomm True Wireless Stereo Plus mode minimizes transmission delay by transmitting independent signals to each earbud. 

Astell&Kern UW100 MK II Charging Case Open Angle Earbud Hover

With support for USB-C fast charging and wireless charging support, the UW100 MK II can provide one hour of playback with a ten-minute charge. 

The UW100 and UW100 MK II both contain two mics per earbud and feature Qualcomm® cVc™ Generation 8.0 (Clear Voice Capture) codec that creates enhanced call solutions for clearer and more stable call quality.  The Clear Voice Capture technology used in cVc Generation 8.0 keeps background noise in check and always delivers clear voice audio. 

Touch controls on each earbud allow a simple tap to switch between functions including playing music, answering calls, activate ambient mode, adjust the volume and more.  Tapping the left earbud three times will activate your smartphone’s Voice Assistant function and allow you to control music playback, make phone calls and more just with the sound of your voice.

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Astell&Kern UW100 MK II in Charging Case Open Front

With support for multipoint and multi-pairing, you can pair your UW100 MK II earbuds to multiple devices at the same time.  Not only can you easily switch your connection to another mobile device, but you can also listen to songs played on your tablet, computer, or DAP, while actively allowing phone notifications and calls from your smartphone.  The Multi-Point function supports a connection of up to two devices.

The AK UW100MKII also supports Google’s Fast Pair Service, allowing for easier and faster connection with Android devices. Fast Pair Service utilizes Bluetooth Low Energy technology to automatically recognize and pair Bluetooth devices. By simply opening the cradle of the UW100 MK II near an Android device, it enters pairing mode, eliminating the hassle of opening Bluetooth settings, and providing a simple and convenient way to pair the device.

The AK Control companion app, available for iOS and Android devices, allows the listener to customize the touch controls, ambient levels, use pre-set EQ settings, create custom EQ profiles and more.  

Five different sized ear tips are included for the best fit.

Astell&Kern UW100 MK II in Charging Case Open with Ear Tip Sizes

Price & Availability

The Astell&Kern UW100 MK II will be available in September 2023 at authorized Astell&Kern dealers worldwide for $299.  

Related reading: Astell&Kern UW100 Wireless Earbuds Review

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