Audio specialist KEF has unveiled its first pair of true wireless earbuds. The Mu3 features active noise cancellation (ANC) and IPX5 water resistance for $230, in a direct challenge to the $249 AirPods Pro.
Much like Apple’s earbuds, as well as the recent Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, the Mu3 also includes an ambient mode that amplifies nearby noise so you can hear your surroundings without taking the buds out. The real kicker is battery life: rated for 9 hours of ANC playback from a single charge, the Mu3 promises to outlast the AirPods Pro as well as many more of the best wireless earbuds.
Designed in collaboration with Welsh artist Ross Lovegrove, the Mu3 adopts a compact in-ear shape with multi-function buttons on each earbud and can connect to both Android and iOS devices via Bluetooth 5.0.
According to KEF, the Mu3’s sound output has been tuned by the same team that engineers the company’s high-end loudspeakers; its 8.2mm dynamic drivers are “engineered to reveal the smallest details of your favourite music,” with “rich midrange, detailed bass and crisp high tones.”
It’s worth noting that the charging case’s 15 hours of additional ANC playback time is rather modest, at least compared to the longevity of the buds themselves, though the total of 24 hours is still a match for the AirPods Pro and its own charging case. The Mu3’s IPX5 rating also beats the IPX4 rating of the AirPods Pro, so it should be better at shrugging off rain and sweat — ideal if you’re looking for a new pair of workout headphones.
But the KEF Mu3 also has the feature set and launch price to take on other impressive ACN earbuds, notably the Sony WF-1000XM3, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
Oddly, the press release says the Mu3 is available in silver directly from KEF, though it’s not anywhere on the site at the time of writing. We’ve asked for clarification on the Mu3’s availability and will update this story with a response.