KEF M100: High on clarity, but not for bassheads

Price when reviewed

Synonymous with hi-fi, KEF isn’t a name you’d expect to see on a pair of earbuds, but that’s exactly what the M100s are. Designed for listening to music on the go, and with a focus on use with iPhones and other smartphones, they couldn’t be more different from the purist audio output you’d normally associate with the brand.

KEF M100: High on clarity, but not for bassheads

KEF M100: Features and design

However, a closer look at the M100s betrays their high-class heritage. Available in four different colours – we were sent the Sunset Orange edition – the M100s are utilitarian in design, but pleasingly easy on the eye. It’s no surprise to discover that these earphones were winners of a prestigious Red Dot Design Award earlier this year.kef_m100_d

Featuring what KEF calls a “race-track” aluminium casing with chamfered edges, the M100s outshine their entry-level roots, and it seem as if the Kent-based manufacturer has thought of everything. The M100s’ cabling feels sturdy, and strain-relief collars around where the cable enters each earphone reduce wear and tear.

You’ll find yourself reaching for the M100s a lot. They’re light enough go everywhere with you, but their relative bulk means they’re up to running, gym sessions or any other physical activity. Be warned, though: while the M100s’ chamfered edges look great, they pick up scuffs and dings rather easily. Our review unit looked decidedly weathered after just three weeks of day-to-day use.


Of course, the earphones’ suitability for sport is also helped by a few other factors. The M100s have an iPhone compatible inline remote so, if you don’t have an Apple Watch, you can still change the volume, change the tune, and pause and skip through tracks without touching your phone. While the KEFs don’t have the most luxurious eartips, they do provide a good enough fit to prevent them from falling out.

KEF M100: How do they sound?

When you first listen to the M100s it’s obvious they’re made by a company known for hi-fi gear. Despite having relatively small 10mm neodymium drivers, the M100s deliver the poise and clarity that lends itself well to almost any genre of music.

Able to thrash out snares, cymbals and perfectly portray vocals in equal measure, the KEFs are crisp and accurate. And, when combined with relatively snug-fitting ear pieces, they’re great at drowning out the usual sounds of the commute.


However, while their accuracy is anything but entry-level, they don’t quite have the range of other earphones, lacking the depth of bass and high-frequency zing that separates the truly great from very good.

KEF M100: Verdict

Are they worth buying? It really depends what you listen to. At £120, the KEFs don’t come cheap, and if you listen to bass-heavy music that demands an explosive range, you’re better off going for a cheaper, more blunt set of earphones such as the Sennheiser Momentums.

But, if you’re after a more balanced, laid-back performance in a stylish shell, the M100s’ smooth and unflappable performance makes them well worth considering.

If you want a cheaper, but more explosive set of earphones read our review of the Sennheiser Momentum In-ears

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